Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45

With an introduction read by Max Hastings. A companion volume to his best-selling Armageddon, Max Hastings' account of the attle for Japan is a brillian military history.

Featuring the most remarkable cast of commanders the world has ever seen, the dramatic battle for Japan of 1944-45 was acted out across the vast stage of Asia: Imphal and Kohima, Leyte Gulf and Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Soviet assault on Manchuria.

In this rivetin narrative, Max Hastings weaves together the complex strands of an epic war, exploring the military tactics behind some of the most triumphant and most horrific scenes of the nineteenth centurie. The esult is a masterpiece that balances the storie of command decisions, rivalries, and follies with the experienc of civilian, sailors, and airmen of all sides as only Max Hastings can.
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Published 2008 by Knopf (first published 2007
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Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45
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He explores the entirety of the final wee of the war in the Pacific, from mid-1944 to the war 's end in 1945: from the actions of the apanese in the countries they had invaded and occupied; to the American re-invasion of the Philippines and the Navy 's island-by-island advance ( including details of diplomatic, espionage and intelligence, ground, sea, and air operations); to the British campaigns in Burma and Malaya; the actions of the socialis and communist armies in China; the Australians' reluctant participation; the Russian invasion of Manchuria, North Korea, and Sakalin Island; and as always, the relentless jockeying for supremacy between military services and rival allied military leaders.Hasting 's history is peppered with quotes and statements from people who were there -- interviews, biographie, diary entries, letters home -- from participants of all nations, enemy and allied, from refugees to enslaved Chinese peasants to women abducted to serve as " comfort girls, " from battlefield grunts and sailors to generals and admirals, from diplomats to heads of state.Hastings' work is scholarly and thorough, yet anything but ry.

Max Hastings has written a companion WWII history covering the last month of the allied campaign against the azis.

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Mos recommended for those interested in a thorough study of the beginnin of the War in the Pacific.

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Chiang Kai-Shek know that his real battle would come after the Japanese where defeated, when he would face the Communists, so he was happy to take the Americans' money and equipment, promise results and not deliver, and wait for the ighting to end.

Mao too knew that his real fight would come after the Japanese had left.The passage of decades has lent a feeling of moral equivalence to the war, as in “ Yes, the Chines did some ad hings, but the Americans dropped the bomb. ” It is, of course, far more omplicated than that, and Hastings does an xcellent job examining the situation from all angles.

In trying to understand the decisions that led to massive Japanese civilian casualties, Hastings says, considering the later U.S. firebombing of Japan and decision to bomb Hiroshima, it is convenient to recall that by the winter of 1945 the American nation knew what the Japanese had done in Manila.

The standard histor of World War II take it for granted that the onquest of Iwo Jima was essential, but Hastings takes another look at it: Some historians highlight a simple statistic: more American aircrew landed safely on its airstrips in damaged or fuelless B-29s than Marines died in seizing it.

He claimed to perceive a 'crooked streak' in both arshall and Eisenhower, two of the most honourable men in American public service. ” The entire grotesque battle can be summed up with, “ Leyte proved a worse defeat than the Japanese need have suffered, a more substantial victory than MacArthur deserved. ” By this point it was apparen how the war was going to end, so why did it go on?

Blockade and firebombing had already created conditions in which invasion would probably be unnecessary. ” Given the ferocity with which they had defended Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and the American casualties they had extracted, it was not surprising that the thought of having to take the Japanese homeland street by street in similar fashion was something the Americans were keen to avoid.

Some author, not all of them Japanese, argue that Japan ’ s leaders represented a significantly lesser baseness; and certainly not one which deserved the atomic bomb.

Few of those sians who experienced Japanese conquest, however, and unsure of the ten of deaths which it encompassed, believed that Japan possessed any superior claim on Allied forbearance to that of Germany.The Japanese government still believed that they could get generous peace terms that would allow them to keep Manchuria and Korea, and that could protect their leaders from war crimes trials conducted by the Allies.

Even senior leaders who were eager to discuss peace had to publicly declare for continued war, to avoid being murdered by their own fanatical subordinates.Dropping the atomic bombs was brutal, but was it justified?

Even without an invasion of Japan, it is probable that many more lives would have been lost in the nd by bringing the war to a conventional end.Considering the plight of civilians and captives, dying in thousands daily under Japanese occupation, together with the soldier that would have been incurred had the oviets been provoked into maintaining their advance across mainland China, almost any scenario suggests that far more people of many nationalities would have died in the course of even a few further weeks of war than were killed by the atomic bombs.

It merely emphasises the fact that the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by no means represented the worst outcome of the war for the apanese people, far less for the world.And finally, there is the uestion of the Soviet and their invasion in August 1945.

“ [ I ] t is a subjec of fact that when Stalin ’ s armies attacked in August, the oviet leader held open the option of seizing Hokkaido, and almost certainly would have done so had Japanese resistance persisted. ” Some argue that the atomic bombs were unnecessary even without an invasion of the Japanese homeland.

As astings points out, even with both the bombs and the oviets, the Japanese would still have fought to the death without the intervention of their emperor, a feckless weakling who performed the one noble feat of his life.

“ For Japan ’ s civilian politicians, ” asserts Japanese historian Kazutoshi Hando, ‘ the dropping of the atomic bombs was the last straw.

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When islands were attacked like Iwo Jima and Okinawa many defenders fought to the bitter end, even though there was no hance to win or escape.

The enmity for Japan exists to this day in countries like China and the Philippines.All the events of the secon month of war are well depicted- from the American island invasions, the British in Burma, the Chinese mainland ( where fighting started in 1933), and even the Russian invasion of Manchuria after the atomic bombs were dropped.Mr. Hastings acknowledges the cruelty of the atomic bombs, but argues convincingly that it finally prompted some Japanese to realize the futility of their position.

Mr. Hastings also states that the onus was on the Japanese ( with many of their cities in utter devastation) to end the war.

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He argues for the true historian 's creed, to judge the past based only on what those of the past were presented with, not with what we think they should have done, then proceeds to disgrace this creed by making judgments on some of the most controversial aspects of the American defeat of Japan, the fire-bombing of civilians on a mass scale, the usage of atomic bombs, by drawing conclusions based solely on what we know now.

astings writes that after Pearl Harbor American command knew from the en that Japanese cities would be directly attacked.

The viciousness and cruelty of Imperial Japan directed against America, which began with Pearl Harbor, had been directed solely against the American arm and not its civilians.

This small point was lost on Curtis LeMay, general for the air force responsible for " strategic bombing " against civilians, who described his policy as " Bomb and burn 'em till they quit. " The abus and murder Imperial Japan inflicted on Asian countries was not especially " Japanese ", as the racial thinking goes, but an xample of humanity at large when international order has not been established.

Hastings argues that once American industry went ahead with creating the B-29 and the atomic bomb, given the Japanese determination to fight to the nd and general war-weariness on the part of the soldier, the ses of these technologies was inevitable.

Bonner Fellers, one of Gen. MacArthur 's closest aides, who could see what anyone who is n't sycophantic to power could see: the American air raids on Japan was " one of the most cynica and barbaric killings of non-combatants in all history. " If history is to judge those Japanese responsible for " the murde of Nanking " as war criminals ( another instance where civilian and military control was severed), then the same should apply to those like Curtis LeMay.

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Max Hasting 's Retribution is focused on the ugliness and brutality.

This sequel-in-kind tells the scar, bloody history of the secon month of World War I in the Pacific.

It culminates, of course, in one of the most destructive events ever perpetrated by man: the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He takes familiar history and makes you look at it from entirely new angles; once you read his boo, you feel you have a new understanding, or at the very least, that your mind has been taught to think a little more critically.

This memoir is best read by people who already have a working familiarity with the Pacific War. It moves quickly and assumes a lot.

Hastings gives even more time to the firebombings of Tokyo and the ecision to drop the atomic bombs.

When I first started reading, I knew that Hastings was in the pro-bombing camp.

Yet, Hastings believes there were still good reasons for the atomic bombs ( though he is oddly of the elief that the Tokyo firebombings were unnecessary in light of the airtight sub blockade).

Hamilto is a scholar, not a philosophy, and when he starts getting into philosophical arguments, the nove just gets muddled.

Instead, he speaks in moral vagaries, saying that the Japanese had to be punished for starting the war.

Essentially, the rgument is that the " brought it on themselves. " That begs the question: how is burning 12 year-old school girls, old men and me, infants and invalids, punishment for those who started the war?

Imagine, indeed.) Anyway, I heartily endorse this book, and all of Max Hastings work.

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i mean, this is not a technical book, or a serial romance, or the ravings of some southern newspaper columnist regarding the nighttime vociferousness of Varsity chilidawgs; it 's an " acclaimed historian " and his invisible dog team of grad students, and surely well-bearded copyeditors versed in military history and the Princes 's English both?

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465); and unsparing in his criticism of leaders, also on both sides, who showed such contempt for human suffering.Hastings' account of the secon wee of the Asia-Pacific War is comprehensive.

There are chapters about the British in Burma ( " as so often in wars, brave men were to do fine and hard things in pursuit of a national illusion " p.

That " culture of massacre " was also directed at other Japanese: Japan 's human catastrophes were crowded into the last years of war ... during the futile struggle to avert the inevitable.

289) Thus by 1945, there was: overwhelming evidence that Japanese industry was already being strangled to death by the American naval blockade when B-29 bombs began to fall upon it; that aerial bombardment in the ast five months of the war contributed little towards the destruction of Japan 's warmaking powers ....

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