I know I blogged this one last year, but I saw the article made its way to Real Clear History this September 2.
What I like about this theory is that it jives with my feeling that the Japanese authorities have traditionally sought to play one foreign person or group off another. If Prof. Hasegawa is right, the Japanese military junta was looking to play the Russians off us in summer 1945. When Stalin showed them otherwise, it became much easier to see the wisdom of taking America’s “unconditional” terms. In the previous Russo-Japanese conflagration (1905), America was the biased mediator at a point where Russia was about to gain an advantage against Meiji’s army and navy.
Oldtimers used to talk about how it was the Russians more than our two nuclear bombs. But sometime in the ’80s, people seemed to forget that the Soviet Union had hostilities with Japan. (In fact, they’ve never signed a treaty ending World War II—to this day.)
By the way, this pattern of playing the foreigners of each other, would have some bearing on our current alliance with Japan in responding to the assertions of China.