Bernstein’s reply does not advance the debate on the atomic bombing of Japan. His critiques of Fuller’s statistics are unjustified, and he unconvincingly asserts the primacy of politics over economics. His reply distracts from the atom bombs’ central economic lessons: Japan embraced autarky in the 1930s, while the U.S. embraced protectionism. These economic mistakes put the nations on a collision course. The takeaway is that protectionism and autarky led to the war, and the war led to the atomic bombing.

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Edward W. Fuller is a graduate of the Leavey School of Business.
American HistoryAsiaDefense and Foreign PolicyInternational Economics and DevelopmentLaw and Liberty
Other Independent Review articles by Edward W. Fuller
Summer 2023 An Economic Case against the Atomic Bombing of Japan