Hiroshima, Nagasaki...was Tokyo next?

If Japan hadn’t surrendered after the US dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, did Truman have plans to drop a third bomb?

If so, would it have been Tokyo (in order to up the ante)?

No, Tokyo was not on the list of potential nuclear targets.

Earlier in 1945, the Army Air Corps had firebombed Tokyo twice- in March and May, with total casualties of roughly 183,000, so the feeling was that atomic bombing the city would accomplish little.

The short list of atomic targets was: Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama, and Kokura Arsenal. Nagasaki was a secondary target that gained primary status after Kyoto was struck from the list due to its cultural significance.

http://www.webster.sk.ca/GREENWICH/HIRO2BMB.HTM
http://www.dannen.com/decision/targets.html

No. They didn’t have any more nukes, and if they nuked the capitol, who would there be to offer a surrender? In a country where people worshipped their emperor, what kind of craziness might happen if were to die suddenly.

[QUOTE]
*Originally posted by bump *
**No, Tokyo was not on the list of potential nuclear targets.

Earlier in 1945, the Army Air Corps had firebombed Tokyo twice- in March and May, with total casualties of roughly 183,000, so the feeling was that atomic bombing the city would accomplish little.

The short list of atomic targets was: Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama, and Kokura Arsenal. Nagasaki was a secondary target that gained primary status after Kyoto was struck from the list due to its cultural significance.

[QUOTE]

And then there was the slight problem that they were out of bombs after nagasaki.

wow, those responses were quick. Thank you to all.

(gee, I love this place)

They were in fact out of bombs after Nagasaki absolutely true.

However, it was not an extraordinary amount of time before more bombs were on-line. Recall the invasion was not scheduled until November. As the BBC tells us:

In actual fact, a fourth ‘Fatman’ type weapon was available on 13 August, 1945, and could theoretically have been dropped within a week of being deployed. Three more bombs were available by the end of September, and by the end of the year the Americans had a total of seven atomic weapons in their arsenal.

Gotta love this board. For some reason I was under the impression that the US was a LONG way from making more nukes. It was such a huge effort to make the first three (one was blown up for testing purposes) that I had assumed getting more together would have been a big undertaking. Granted the US had the lead here and after the first few the rest would become easier to produce but I still thought it was something on the order of 6 months for the US to field more nuclear weapons and even then only a few. As a result I had the impression that the US was somewhat lucky that the Japanese decided to surrender after the second nuke. If they hadn’t and no more followed shortly after they might have gotten the impression that they could actually hold out against this new weapon.

Did I make all that stuff up in my head or did I have reason to suppose this was the case? (Obviously I’m not entirely certain where I got these notions but I’d like to think I read them somewhere rather make them up completely.)

Don’t foreget that with one bomb drop, then another, the USA could run a bluff until a third was ready. After all, the proof had been shown twice to the Japanese (and the rest of the world).

Whether a third bomb existed or not really made no difference.

<hijack>
Kinda similar to the bluff charge the USA is running now against Iraq. By openly displaying invasion plans to topple Saddam, America is already running a propoganda war, not just with Iraq, but the rest of the world as well. Bush already has his father’s war as the first bomb and the war on terror as his second. He’s hoping the bluff charge with instigate instability in Iraq now.

Unfortunately, Bush will have to support his bluff words with action. If he doesn’t, the face saving game will lower his esteem in the eyes of the surrounding countries and make toppling Saddam just that much more dificult.
</hijack>

Considering that the Americans had clobbered Japan’s navy, they had all the time they needed to crank out the nukes and level Japan one city at a time. Even if the attacks were a month apart, their cumulative morale and economic impact is immense, especially since the Americans kept improving their designs for higher yields. The Japanese historically have strong distaste for deformity, and the country flooded with horribly burned victims and defective babies would have shocked them. It would have been extremely difficult for the Japanese government to keep the citizens in the cities (and factories) with the overwhelming threat of atomic death, forcing more military effort focused on civil control than defense. Japan’s ability to counter an invasion (I picture a joint American/British/Canadian/Australian operation)would be gradually reduced, though it still would have been an immensely expensive and difficult operation, to be avoided at all costs.

A little paranoid of me to revive a thread 2 days later, but I didn’t see that until today.

Here is a Bulletin of Atomic Scientists link putting the nuclear Arsenal of the US at 6 in 1945 (at the bottom of the page). If you are asking if we were 6 months or more from dropping another bomb on Japan after Nagasaki, I would say that is probably a wrong notion. By say Christmas, I think we could have dropped 3-4 more bombs. It is safe to say at least 2 by Thanksgiving (I think the evidence supports that).

http://www.thebulletin.org/issues/nukenotes/nd97nukenote.html

The problem besides the difficulty of bomb making was transport. There was “A” bomb assembly team and the Bombs were transported by Ship. (As late as October 1947, the Air Force had only 18 operational B29s modified to drop atomic bombs, with only 11 qualified crews and two bomb assembly teams), not to mention 32 bombs.

I don’t know where you got the notion W-a-M, But it is far from uncommon or ignorant – and not entirely wrong. It would be at least September before another Bomb was dropped, so Nagasaki was going to be it for a while.

My fear, re the OP, would have been an attempt to use it tactically, i.e. drop 2 near the LZ 2 days before and march 50,000 GI’s thru the radioactive dust to establish a beachhead. “We invaded Japan and didn’t lose a man on the beach” Yikes!!! That’s me postulating & I am sure such a plan didn’t exist, re the OP they would have re-looked at targets as the time to bomb drew nearer.