Based on this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9raqHGJH4Q, I thought we could revive a part of previous debates about the end of WWII in the Pacific. Basically, this often comes up in the threads discussing the use of atomic bombs as an argument for why we shouldn’t have used the bomb, and instead just blockaded Japan into surrender.
Some assumptions I think are necessary. Russia still enters the war as they did. They also invade and push out Japanese forces from Manchuria the mainland as they did. They also invade the northern islands as they did. However, when it comes to the main island invasion, the US basically declares they won’t invade the southern islands while Russia invades the northern core islands as was proposed, and this forces the Russians to backoff of their own further invasion plans in the face of having to go it alone. I think those are reasonable assumptions…I seriously doubt Russia would or could have invaded the core islands on their own without allied support. Finally, obviously the US decides against using it’s atomic bombs to end the war.
So, the above video, for those unwilling to watch it, basically goes into why blockade wasn’t really a viable option. It can be broken down into 3 reasons (I’ll give another one at the end that’s mine, not part of the video).
No guarantee of success: This one is talking about the time frame, and posits that there is nothing in the Japanese makeup demonstrated during WWII that they weren’t willing to starve if necessary to hold out. In addition, the US et al would have to station and support almost permanent forces to maintain the blockade.
Japanese civilian and military causalities would have gone easily into the millions from the blockade alone. Pretty self explanatory.
Prolong the war. Again, this one is self explanatory, but I’ll elaborate and say the war planners in the US were worried about a prolonged war and the effects on public morale. I’m fairly sure the other allies would have been worried about that as well, though the US would have been doing the lions share of maintaining the blockade.
The other reason I will give is sort of implied in the above…basically the cost would be staggering in terms of resources and money. The US would have to maintain, permanently (or until the Japanese surrendered) a very large naval force. In addition, we’d still need to keep troops on hand in case they were needed. The cost of this over time would be tremendous, and the American people (as well as the citizens of the other allies) would be paying it for an unknown time.
So, I’m going to say this one is resolved…it was not a viable option and would have been more costly than using the atomic weapons in basically all terms, including Japanese killed.