Because a surprise attack on a military base justifies destroying two cities.
There have been several memes in “conservative” Facebook-land that have a similar theme. And yet, James Bradley demonstrates in The Imperial Cruise that the Japanese learned about the value of the surprise attack by the Americans.
Further, it ought to be clear by now that bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not militarily necessary. As John Denson, a brilliant revisionist historian, writes in The Hiroshima Myth, the Japanese were willing to surrender as early as May of 1945, provided that the emperor remained in power.
So why did the US bomb Hiroshima? According to Denson:
The conclusion drawn unmistakably from the evidence presented, is that [James] Byrnes is the man who convinced Truman to keep the unconditional surrender policy and not accept Japan’s surrender so that the bombs could actually be dropped thereby demonstrating to the Russians that America had a new forceful leader in place, a “new sheriff in Dodge” who, unlike Roosevelt, was going to be tough with the Russians on foreign policy and that the Russians needed to “back off” during what would become known as the “Cold War.” A secondary reason was that Congress would now be told about why they had made the secret appropriation to a Manhattan Project and the huge expenditure would be justified by showing that not only did the bombs work but that they would bring the war to an end, make the Russians back off and enable America to become the most powerful military force in the world.
If the surrender by the Japanese had been accepted between May and the end of July of 1945 and the Emperor had been left in place, as in fact he was after the bombing, this would have kept Russia out of the war. Russia agreed at Yalta to come into the Japanese war three months after Germany surrendered. In fact, Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945 and Russia announced on August 8, (exactly three months thereafter) that it was abandoning its neutrality policy with Japan and entering the war. Russia’s entry into the war for six days allowed them to gain tremendous power and influence in China, Korea, and other key areas of Asia. The Japanese were deathly afraid of Communism and if the Potsdam Proclamation had indicated that America would accept the conditional surrender allowing the Emperor to remain in place and informed the Japanese that Russia would enter the war if they did not surrender, then this would surely have assured a quick Japanese surrender.
In other words, Truman dropped the bomb because, among other reasons, he wanted to be in a strong negotiating position with Russia after the war ended. Pearl Harbor had nothing to do with it. As a result, countless innocent people sufferred.
Now can we apologize?