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My Witness: Richard K. Sutherland

 

My Name: Virgil G.

 

Background: 

 

I was born in Hancock, Maryland on Nov. 27, 1893. I graduated from Yale Univ. and first served on the Mexican Border in the Connecticut National Guard. I was also promoted to captain in 1917. Also I served in France and then attended the Army War College in Washington. In 1937 I went to China in command of the 15th Infantry battalion. In 1938, I was promoted to major and then was transferred to Manila as an adviser to the Philippine Army. In addition, I was promoted to Lieutenant colonel in July of that year and then to major general in 1941. General MacArthur named me his Chief of Staff in charge of the Far East. Here I organized the mobilization of the Philippine Army into the U.S. forces. Moreover, I was among the officers ordered to escape from Corregidor at the fall of Bataan by the Japanese.  Also, I was one of the strategists of Operation Downfall, the plan to invade Japan and force their unconditioned surrender and was present at the signing of the Japan surrender on the battleship Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945.

 

Death: June 25, 1966 at the age of 72.

 

Connection to this Case: 

 

I was a strategist for Operation Downfall. Because of my knowledge of this plan, I realize that this mission to invade Japan would have cost millions of casualties on both the U.S. side and on the side of the Japanese.  Millions of Japanese civilians including women and children would have died due to the reluctance of the Japanese government to surrender.  Operation Downfall would have been a bloody battle. Yet, at this time the United States had no other viable option. Yet, with the successful test of the atom bomb at Los Alamos, President Truman had a second and perhaps more beneficial option. President Truman's decision to use atomic weapons was a correct one and this decision cost the lives of millions of U.S. military personnel and Japanese civilians. It was a speedy end to a brutal and bitter World War.  A war that could have gone on longer and with escalated deaths.

 

Your Testimony:   

 

1) Operation Downfall would have cost the lives of millions of U.S. military personnel and Japanese military and civilians including women and children. 

2) The decision to use the atom bomb ended the war quickly and saved millions of lives both military and civilians.  

3) The decision to use the atom bomb ensured an unconditional surrender by Japan.

4) President Truman's decision guaranteed that the United States would be a post-war keeper of world peace. 

 

Key Sources: 

 

Source Evaluation:  

 

Source #1-  Estimated Casualties for Operation Downfall

 

Origin- 

 

Allen, Thomas B., and Norman Polmar. Code-name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan and Why Truman Dropped the Bomb. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Print.

 

The casualty statistics from the above chart, were analyzed from the the book Code-name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan and Why Truman Dropped the Bomb, which was published in July 1995. (Secondary source)

 

Purpose-

 

To prove that Operation Downfall would have resulted in many more casualties than the Truman's actions. 

 

Value of this source in preparation of my testimony-  

 

It is an estimate of the casualties from various military and civilian sources showing the high numbers of casualties on both sides of the battle.

 

Limitations of this source in preparation of my testimony-

 

The number of casualties are simply estimates. This means that the actual number of casualties is based on predictions. There is also a limitation to the Japanese casualty estimates since there were no specific predictions of Japanese casualties in each part of the operation.

 

Source #2- Passage

 

"The defensive plan called for the use of the Civilian Volunteer Corps, a mobilization not of volunteers but of all boys and men 15 to 60 and all girls and women 17 to 40, except for those exempted as unfit. They were trained with hand grenades, swords, sickles, knives, fire hooks, and bamboo spears. These civilians, led by regular forces, were to make extensive use of night infiltration patrols armed with light weapons and demolitions. Also, the Japanese had not prepared, and did not intend to prepare, any plan for the evacuation of civilians or for the declaration of open cities. The southern third of Kyushu had a population of 2,400,000 within the 3,500 square miles included in the Prefectures of Kagoshima and Miyazaki. The defensive plan was to actively defend the few selected beach areas at the beach, and then to mass reserves for an all-out counterattack if the invasion forces succeeded in winning a beachhead."

 

Origin- 

 

"OPERATION KETSU-GO." OPERATION KETSU-GO. Federation of American Scientists, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <http://fas.org/irp/eprint/arens/chap4.htm>.

 

The above passage about Operation Ketsugo originated from the organization, Federation of American Scientists (Secondary source).

 

Purpose-

 

To show the extent at which the Japanese were reluctant to surrender. It also shows that the Japanese would be using unarmed civilians to defend at Kyushu.

 

Value of this source in preparation of my testimony-

 

This source confirms that Operation Downfall would result in many Japanese civilian casualties further supporting Truman's decision. 

 

Limitations of this source in preparation of my testimony-

 

This source does not mention how many individuals were involved. In addition, this information is presented from the Federation of American Scientists, which means that the source may not be guaranteed reliable. 

 

Source #3- Official document for the planning of the Strategic Plan, "Downfall"

 

 

Origin- 

 

"Operation Downfall- The Plan for the Invasion of Japan -." U. S. 7th Armored Division Association. U. S. 7th Armored Division Association, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <http://www.7tharmddiv.org/docrep/images/Japan/M-Downfall.pdf>.


This is an actual document (Primary source) from the General Headquarters U.S. Army in the Pacific, which I signed for the strategic planning of Operation Downfall, in May 28, 1945.

 

Purpose-

 

The purpose of this document is to show that this operation was planned, in order to force the unconditional surrender of Japan.

 

Value of this source in preparation of my testimony-

 

This document is significant because it explains that the reason this military operation was designed/planned (for the invasion of Japan) was because the Japanese were unwilling to surrender unconditionally. 

 

Limitations of this source in preparation of my testimony-

 

This document does not include any statistics about the estimated number of casualties for this Operation from both sides of the war. In addition, it does not show a geographical map of the Japanese Archipelago with the areas that would be invaded.  

 

 Source: "Japan Surrender on USS Missouri." YouTube. YouTube, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

 

Allen, Thomas B., and Norman Polmar. Code-name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan and Why Truman Dropped the Bomb. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Print.

 

"Japan Surrender on USS Missouri." YouTube. YouTube, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.


"Operation Downfall- The Plan for the Invasion of Japan -." U. S. 7th Armored Division Association. U. S. 7th Armored Division Association, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <http://www.7tharmddiv.org/docrep/images/Japan/M-Downfall.pdf>.

 

"OPERATION KETSU-GO." OPERATION KETSU-GO. Federation of American Scientists, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <http://fas.org/irp/eprint/arens/chap4.htm>.

 

 

 

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.