Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Book Review: Downfall

Author:Richard B Frank
484 pages
I have a lot of books to review as it's been quite some time since I last posted some reviews and was thinking that I'd just do a mega, mega review, but that's never going to happen as it's just too much writing at once. I'm going to start the reviews with one of Downfall. I think that this should be required reading for anybody who is willing to start up the argument for or against using atomic weapons on Japan. It's been thoroughly researched and showed the impact of each successive US plan on Japan on both the population of the country and on the leaders. It was abundantly clear that it wasn't the Soviets that caused Japan to capitulate - they were ready to take Ketsu-go to the US forces and they would have absolutely crushed resolve in the States to move forward. While the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and drawn us into World War II to begin with, Germany was seen as the main attraction. If the insistence on unconditional surrender started costing too many US casualties, there would have been enormous pressure on Truman to give in to Japanese demands, which were essentially "give us the Treaty of Versailles." Such a surrender wouldn't have produced the amazing results that unconditional surrender did. On top of that, US forces would have been overwhelmed by the firepower and ferocity of the Japanese counterattack. They were preparing all their forces and civilians to fight to the last in order to protect the view of the people that the Emperor could do no wrong. The only thing that weakened this resolve was the bomb, and regardless of how many people it killed, Frank makes it abundantly clear that it was worth every casualty. If you are a student of World War II, you absolutely have to read this book.

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