August 9, 1945, A Date that Will Live in Infamy
President Truman ordered this attack even though Japan was already effectively defeated. It possessed no capability to harm Americans in their home territory, and its surrender was only a matter of time, especially in light of the Soviet Union’s declaration of war against Japan on August 9, four days after its unilateral abrogation of the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, and its initiation of military actions against Japanese forces in Manchuria. Japan, not yet a rich country, was militarily and economically exhausted from the wars in which it had been engaged since 1937. The Japanese government sought only reasonable terms, including retention of the emperor as the nation’s supreme political authority.