I was nine at the time of the Doolittle Raid. I remember the talk in the school yard, and among the adults, was that Doolittle should have bombed the palace and killed Hirohito. The same view was expressed by ‘man in the street’ interviews on the radio.
The Administration response was that, in order to be most effective, the raid concentrated on military targets and that loss of the Emperor would make Japan ungovernable and therefore unable to surrender. Good propaganda, but not what folks wanted to hear.
If all planes had concentrated on the Palace area they would have obliterated the principal physical, political and religious icon of the country. It would have been difficult or impossible for the Emperor’s uncle to take his place. Also, the issue of retaining the Emperor would have been removed from peace talks.
This event would have been followed by the disaster of Midway. That could have led to an early capitulation.
What is you view?