What were the advantages and disadvantages of the wartime policy of unconditional surrender?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The major advantage of the Allied policy of accepting only unconditional surrender was that it made the war aims perfectly clear in the eyes of the military and the general populace.  There was no question about how we would know the war was over and therefore no pressure to make peace and end the war.  The disadvantage was that it made the enemy more likely to fight to the bitter end.  The policy made it impossible for the Axis powers to negotiate a surrender.  They knew that anything could happen to them if they surrendered.  Therefore, they were more likely to fight long and hard (as the Japanese notably did), causing more casualties for the Allies.

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