Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947
Hell To Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 is a comprehensive and compelling examination of the myriad complex issues that comprised the strategic plans for the American invasion of Japan. U.S. planning for the invasion and military occupation of Imperial Japan was begun in 1943, two years before the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In its final form, Operation Downfall called for a massive Allied invasion--on a scale dwarfing D-Day--to be carried out in two stages. In the first stage, Operation Olympic, the U.S. Sixth Army would lead the southern-most assault on the Home Island of Kyushu preceded by the dropping of as many as nine atom bombs behind the landing beaches. Sixth Army would secure airfields and anchorages needed to launch the second stage, Operation Coronet, 500 miles to the north in 1946. The decisive Coronet invasion of the industrial heartland of Japan through the Tokyo Plain would be led by the Eighth Army, as well as the First Army, which had previously pummeled its way across France and Germany to defeat the Nazis. These facts are well known and have been recounted, with varying degrees of accuracy, in a variety of books and articles. A common theme in these works is their reliance on a relatively few declassified high-level planning documents. An attempt to fully understand how both the U.S. and Japan planned to conduct the massive battles subsequent to the initial landings was not dealt with in these books beyond the skeletal U.S. outlines formulated nine months before the initial land battles were to commence, and more than a year before the anticipated climactic series of battles near Tokyo. On the Japanese side, plans for Operation Ketsu-go, the decisive battle in the Home Islands, have been unexamined below the strategic level and seldom consisted of more than a list of the units involved and a rehash of U.S. intelligence estimates of Kamikaze aircraft available for the defense of Kyushu. Hell to Pay examines the invasion of Japan in light of the large body of Japanese and American operational and tactical planning documents unearthed by the author in both familiar and obscure archives, as well as postwar interrogations and reports that senior Japanese commanders and their staffs were ordered to produce for General MacArthur's headquarters. Hell to Pay clarifies the political and military ramifications of the enormous casualties and loss of material projected by both sides in the climatic struggle to bring the Pacific War to a conclusion through a brutal series of battles on Japanese soil. This groundbreaking history counters the revisionist interpretations questioning the rationale for the use of the atom bomb and shows that President Truman's decision was based on very real estimates of the truly horrific cost of a conventional invasion of Japan.
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I have read several books about the end of the war against Japan, but none of them go into the depth of this b... ...more