Even before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the war situation had developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage. Allied forces had been taking island after island, and were firebombing dozens of cities to the ground. So I assume the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki wasn't the sole cause of Japan's surrender. But did it contribute to Japan's surrender?

A sizeable proportion of Americans apparently believe that the bombing contributed to Japan's surrender. Even some who disapprove of the atomic bombing think it contributed to Japan's surrender. From Majority Supports Use of Atomic Bomb on Japan in WWII, 57% approved of the bombing and 38% disapprove, and 80% think that the bombing saved American lives, so at least 18% (38 + 80 - 100) both disapprove of the bombing and think it saved American lives. (As a side note, at the time of the war, there was some public sentiment in favour of more bombing regardless of whether it was necessary: 22.7% of the population in December 1945 wished more bombs had been dropped before it could surrender)

I've come across articles claiming that the atomic bombing didn't contribute to Japan's surrender, but they've usually been by people with some potential bias against the bombing. For example I've read (the now paywalled) The Bomb Didn't Beat Japan - Stalin Did (referring to the USSR's war against Japan) which, according to a comment in the question "How many lives were estimated to have been saved by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs?", was by a lifetime opponent of nuclear weapons.

The question How many lives were estimated to have been saved by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs? is related, but it's assuming that the atomic bombing contributed to Japan's surrender, and is asking about the costs and benefits of doing it.

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    Plenty of people have argued that the bombings were not necessary for inducing Japan to surrender; others have argued that it was less important than the Soviet entry. I've yet to see anyone argue that the atomic bombs didn't "contribute" at all, however.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 16:23
  • @Semaphore Australian Greens MP Jamie Parker linked to an article by the neonazi, holocaust-denying "Institute of Historical Review", which ended with "General Curtis LeMay, who had pioneered precision bombing of Germany and Japan (and who later headed the Strategic Air Command and served as Air Force chief of staff), put it most succinctly: "The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war."" I don't know if they count though.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 1:47
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    I wouldn't pay attention to anything coming out of the Institute of Historical Review. But Curtis LeMay did say that, but it wasn't a reasoned argument as much as him being bitter at the atomic bombs stealing credit from his bombers. He went to explain that "The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians entering and without the atomic bomb." - so he thinks the atomic bombing contributed to Japan's surrender by hastening it by up to two weeks. I don't think he ever gave an exact breakdown of Soviet/Atomic contribution though. It really wasn't a well reasoned claim.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 7:09
  • @Semaphore It could be if the surrender was already decided upon. So, the question is correct.
    – Gangnus
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 12:52
  • @Semaphore, the article linked by the OP The Bomb Didn't Beat Japan...Stalin Did claims exactly that. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 21:34

2 Answers 2


It did and the Japanese emperor, in announcing the surrender of Japan to Allied forces specifically referred to atomic weapons in his speech which was broadcast to the entire country with these words:

... Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should We continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization. ....

Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War issued by the Chrysanthemum Throne on August 14, 1945.

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    While I too agree it was due to the A-bomb, the article mentioned by the OP says "The Bomb was the perfect excuse for having lost the war [and] served to deflect blame from Japan’s leaders.", but it was not the real reason. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 21:32
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    wtf? the japanese thought that all human life would be eradicated together with all human life in Japan if further nuking of Japan had occurred? the bombs were nowhere close to wiping out all of humanity from being dropped over japan ..
    – hanshenrik
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 0:49

The atomic bombings likely sped up the surrender of the Japanese forces, but it wasn't the only cause. It was a larger one, but not the only one. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria also helped speed up the surrender, as Japan was struggling. Without the bombings, America likely would've had to invade Japan, possibly with help from the Soviets. The question itself, is YES, in all caps, since it is pretty straight forward.

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