May 28, 2011

The Fall of Japan

Title: The Fall of Japan
Author: William Craig
Publisher:  Galahad Books (1997)
Pages:  368
Genre: Historical non-fiction

"The enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but would also lead to the total extinction of human civilization.  Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, or to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our Imperial Ancestors?  This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers." - ignoring Imperial protocol Emperor Hirohito in his first ever public address to the nation of Japan on August 15, 1945, four days after the surrender of Japan and six days after the unleashing of the 2nd atomic bomb that devastated Nagasaki.

The fall of Japan was a dramatic time in an august nation.  Young and zealous men of military indoctrination continued the fight despite the words of their Emperor.  Coupes to overthrow the surrender rose and fell overnight.  Those in favor of surrender were stalked and murdered in their sleep.  To many, surrender was the denial of the sanctity of their Emperor and their nation.  Disembowelment, assisted suicides, self inflicted shootings, murders, terrorized this people.  The nightly bombing of Tokyo killed thousands.  The atomic bombs killed tens of thousands and thousands more in the following days and months.

The book was very interesting and includes perspectives from a wide spectrum both Allied and Imperial.  It is evident that a lot of time was spent in the research of this book.  From survivors of the Fat Man in Nagasaki to Gen Wainwright (an amazing story) POW in the Philippines, the perspective changes from personal to capacious giving a very unique insight into the events.  Highly recommended for anybody interested in 20th century history, Japanese culture, philosophy or military history