It's 1945 and you're Harry Truman

Do you drop the bomb?

At the time, hell yes.

In hindsight, yes, also, but the reasons can be debated. At the time, no debate was possible. The bomb had to be dropped.

If “drop the bomb” means “drop it on a major metropolitan area,” no. If “drop the bomb” means “drop it two miles offshore, and tell the Emperor that the next one lands on Tokyo,” probably.

A demonstration first.
If no surrender, then…

They minted 500,000 Purple Hearts for the invasion of Japan. We’re still handing them out today.

I wouldn’t have hesitated.

We didn’t have enough fissile material on hand to make that work. It was unknown whether they would surrender and we didn’t have a third bomb ready yet. Also, the more warning they get to tighten up their air defenses, the harder it would be to deliver a bomb.

No, I don’t even see how there could be any question. Truman did the only right thing. He was 100% right at the time, and hindsight makes him even more right than that.

Another “in hindsight” of ending the war quickly (which the bombs certainly contributed), was that it prevented Joe Stalin from taking over even more parts of Japan, e.g., Hokkaido and maybe a good chunk of Honshu. Note that the parts he did take over are still under Russian control today.

It’s not clear if the bombs affected the division of Korea, Stalin agreed to the split on Aug. 10 after the bombs but before Japan surrendered.

The question I have is would there be any Japanese people left had the invasion gone through. They were not interested in surrender and I think they would have gone down to close to the last man, woman, and child had the emperor not commanded them to stop.

The argument for dropping the bomb then has stood the test of time in retrospect. The Japanese were prepared for a very very long war and had no intention of surrender. They did indeed intend to fight to the death - theirs and that of their foes. The bomb was intended to bring that philosophy to a full stop, which in essence it did. It was a terrible burden for any man to bear, but thankfully we had Truman in the right place at the right time to be able to do just that.

It’s 1945.

Two planned invasions of Imperial Japan are being prepared. The D-day of the first invasion is rapidly approaching. More U.S. soldiers may have to be called up for military service.

Estimates suggest that more than a million people will die before Imperial Japan surrenders.

I’m the POTUS and I’m assured that these new atom bombs will end WWII.

I’m ordering that these new weapons be deployed as secretly (no warnings) and as destructively (military targets in populated cities) as possible.

Of course, Operation Downfall would have used atomic bombs to soften up the battlefield before the actual invasion. So, the real question is whether you’d drop the bomb in August or wait until November.

Hell yes, with or without hindsight.

The bomb on Hiroshima didn’t get them to surrender; why would an offshore bomb have done so?

Even knowing and feeling what I do now; in an instant. To paraphrase an expression - its a rotten alternative until you compare it to all the others.

In a New York minute.

It didn’t get them to surrender unconditionally and fast enough.

Why would an offshore bomb have done so?

ETA: An immediate and unconditional surrender was absolutely called for.

Given what was known by US officials at the time, yes.

Did they even understand what had happened at Hiroshima, before we hit them again, just three days later?

You needed that second hit to make them understand it wasn’t some sort of fluke one-off.

Japan is just about my favorite place in the entire world, but really, they were asking for it, and I see no need for any qualifications like “based on what we knew at the time.” The only answer is a good, hearty yes.