By NANCY BARTLIT Historian and coauthor of “Silent Voices of WWII”
If you want to fathom the Japanese military mind when the Allies asked for Japan’s surrender in July/August of 1945, I urge you to attend the film “Japan’s Longest Day,” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12 in the Pajarito Room of Fuller Lodge.
This documentary, a Japanese production with famous Japanese actors, explains why the Emperor wanted to stop the war after Hiroshima was bombed. Army General Korechika Anami wanted to continue the War, even after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
The Emperor needed, and achieved, unanimous support for surrender from his War Council and Cabinet. Even after this remarkable turnabout, the Emperor’s surrender broadcast almost did not happen when the Commander of the Imperial Palace Guard was killed by Army officers during Japan’s Longest Day.
Persons wishing to understand how the atomic weapons shocked Japan into surrender will learn much from this film, shown as part of the Los Alamos Historical Society Atomic Film Festival. In Japan, a newly filmed version of this story was released this weekend.