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Hiroshima in History: The Myths of Revisionism 1St Edition Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0826217325
ISBN-10: 082621732X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This invaluable work comprises an introduction by the editor followed by nine essays on the highly contentious ending of the Pacific war. The individual essays assembled here display enormous merit, but this work is far more than the sum of its parts: It marks a key milestone in where the controversy has been, and where it is going.
-- Richard B. Frank, The Weekly Standard, 8/20/07 --The Weekly Standard 8/20/07

About the Author

Robert James Maddox is Professor Emeritus of History at Pennsylvania State University. His other books include Weapons for Victory: The Hiroshima Decision (University of Missouri Press) and The United States and World War II. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press; 1St Edition edition (May 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082621732X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826217325
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,194,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This book changed my mind. This is a excellent, balanced, and scholarly analysis of the literature and the decision making concerning the use of the atomic bombs. It thoroughly debunks the standard revisionist myths: of Japan being willing to surrender, the expected light US casualties, and the unwelcome nature of the Soviet entry into the war in the Pacific.

This book systematically undermines the arguments of the main anti-bomb proponent, Gar Alperowitz, who is exposed as someone who manufactured evidence to fit his argument.

This is achieved through a collection of essays, each of which examines a different aspect of the topic. The first part of the book deals with the arguments of Gar Alperowitz (probably the most famous anti-bombing proponent). These arguments are exposed as distorted, and Alperowitz is accused of academic dishonesty in his use of quotes and sources. The evidence provided is convincing, and Alperowitz's argument is wholly undermined as a result.

The second essay deals with the Japanese reaction to the dropping of the atomic bombs. Using diaries, personal accounts, and documentention the essay demonstrates that the Japanese were not willing to surrender unconditionally, and that it was only with the dropping of the second bomb that the government changed its position (after the intervention of the Emperor). This evidence is tied in with the consequences of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, and the impression is that it was the combination of these events that forced the Japanese decision.

The next three essays deal with planning for the invasion of Japan and the expectations of the likely casualties.
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Format: Hardcover
As editor of Hiroshima in History: The Myths of Revisionism, Robert James Maddox directly challenges the school of "Hiroshima revisionists" who insist that the atomic bomb was dropped for motives ulterior to the ending of the war against Japan. Within the nine articles that comprise this single entry is the desire to dispel what the various authors, as well as Maddox, consider to be long-standing myths about issues surrounding the dropping of the atomic bomb. These revisionist fabrications are best described in one of the included articles by Robert Numan, and include: claims that Japan was ready to surrender in early 1945; that the United States rejected peace with Japan only because the latter wished to retains its emperor; that the numbers of suspected casualties during an invasion of Japan were created after the war; that the Soviet Union played a huge role in the Japanese decision to surrender; that the decision to drop the atomic bomb was merited by political considerations regarding the Soviets, instead of military considerations regarding the Japanese. The articles in this volume offer a prompt and utter squashing of all these assertions to which recent literature has subscribed.

Robert James Maddox is Professor Emeritus of History at Pennsylvania State University, and is the author of numerous books on the subject of the atomic bomb, including a 1995 solo entry, Weapons for Victory: The Hiroshima Decision Fifty Years Later. The contributing authors represent a wide assortment of professors and military historians who have previous experience with various relevant subjects including American and Japanese history, the Pacific War, the atomic project, and biographical sketches of American and Japanese leaders.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well written book. Thank you for writing it. I enjoyed reading it and it has helped me understand better the issues and events around dropping the atomic bombs as well as those who have a political ax to grind in shaping the events that suit their political ideology.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The "revisionism" of the title is the position that the sole or primary reason that the United States dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a political one having to do with its future relationship vis-a-vis the Soviet Union rather than a military one having to do with hastening the end of the war (i.e., Hiroshima was an exercise in "atomic diplomacy"). Leading proponents of this view or variants thereof have been P.M. Blackett, Gar Alperovitz, Martin J. Sherwin, and the staff responsible for the controversial script for the proposed 1995 "Enola Gay" exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Air & Space.

Revisionism rests on a number of propositions of historical fact, chief among them: 1) In early August 1945, Japan was on the brink of surrender, and dropping the atomic bomb was wholly unnecessary to end the war (rather, all the U.S. needed to do was drop its demand for unconditional surrender and assure the Japanese that they could retain their emperor); 2) Statements by Truman, Stimson, and other administration/military leaders that they expected American casualties from an invasion of Kyushu to be 500,000 to 1,000,000 or more were after-the-fact lies, as evidenced by internal military planning documents with casualty estimates as low as 100,000; 3) Further, statements by Truman and other administration officials (Byrne, in particular) reveal an overriding desire to keep the Soviets from entering the war and to demonstrate America's new-found atomic might for purposes of the upcoming "war" against communist expansion.

The hey-day of revisionism was probably the early 1990s.
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