By Francis Owen Rice, Edward Teller
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The future promised graver and disastrous shortages. The rice crop was expected to be the worst in forty-six years. By November 1, which by coincidence was the beginning of the 1946 rice year as well as X-Day for Operation Olympic, existing stocks would provide only four days' issue of the stringent July ration. With the Allies controlling Japanese waters there would be less fish. Loss of producing areas and the Allied blockade had already reduced to a trickle the food imports on which the nation depended so greatly, and could be expected to shut them off entirely.
To do so would give the Allies use of their ground forces as well as naval and airpower while denying the enemy time to strengthen homeland defenses. " The final argument may have been the persuasive one. In most minds, the specter of staggering losses overshadowed other considerations. The final decision to invade or not to invade rested upon President Harry S. Truman and the price concerned him gravely. S. Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall told the President at Potsdam that Downfall would cost a minimum of a quarter-million casualties and possibly a million.
There was also support for a third strategy: not to invade at all but to complete the encirclement of Japan and force capitulation through blockade and bombardment. There were two chief arguments for preliminary landings in China and elsewhere. They would provide new bases from which to bomb the home islands, reducing Japan's ability to resist invasion, and they would block the movement of reinforcements and supplies from the mainland. General MacArthur opposed this course on the grounds it would send the weight of the Allied advance off on a tangent and so spread Allied strength over a vast expanse of the Pacific that no attack on Japan could be mounted without troops from Europe.