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Potsdam Declaration


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(26 July 1945)

An ultimatum of the Allied governments to Japan, with which Britain and the USA were still at war, drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. Britain and the USA demanded unconditional Japanese surrender. Japan was to be stripped of its empire, and occupied until a peaceful polity had been established. Failure of the Japanese to comply would result in complete destruction. Finally, the Declaration left the position of the Emperor, whom the Japanese revered as a demi‐god, ambiguous. These demands increased the mood of defiance among the more radical military circles in Japan. At the same time, they undermined the moderate peace faction among policy‐makers, which only asked for the preservation of the Emperor's status. As Japan failed to respond, President Truman authorized the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thus fulfilling his threat, and to bring a quick end to the war.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence — Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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