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The Invasion of Japan: Alternative to the Bomb Paperback – January 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570033544
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570033544
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,162,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The two-stage invasion of Japan planned for the fall of 1945 and the spring of 1946 has frequently been discussed only cursorily, usually as an adjunct to considering the debate over the dropping of the atomic bombs. Skates persuasively argues that Japanese military power was so nearly exhausted that the invasion would have been much less costly than has usually been supposed by those seeking to justify the bombs and that Japan might have surrendered without either bombs or invasion if the terms made available had been less than unconditional. He also offers a mass of hitherto unavailable data concerning what would have been one of the largest, most complex military operations in history. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book is a careful reconstruction of history based on primary documents and some secondary sources.
Dave Schranck
It seems that the author started out with the idea that the A-Bombs were bad and sought to justify his beliefs rather than take an objective look at the evidence.
Bradford
Overall, I thought this book did a good job of explaining the logistics and construction of the invasion plans.
Jeffrey T. Munson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Peter Hobson on December 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Skates believes that invading Japan would have been preferable to dropping nuclear weapons. He spends most of the book describing how the invasion would have happened. He does admit that there would have been problems with the invasion. For instance, over half of the divisions would have come from Europe, however, most of the combat veterans in these units were being discharged and replaced with new draftees. Retaining the veterans would have caused severe morale problems.

Skates' main argument is that an invasion would have caused fewer casualties than died in the nuclear bombing. I believe he fails to sustain this argument. The War Department staff in Washington estimated there would be 250,000 to 500,000 American casualties in an invasion of Japan. After the war, some politicians casually made this a "half-million dead" and then "a million dead." In any event, the estimate of casualties included killed, wounded and missing. The original estimates were a not-unreasonable figure based on American experience with fanatical Japanese defenders of the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and one which a postwar examination of Japanese plans for the defense of the Home Islands bore out. There was no indication the Japanese would fight any less strenuously if their Home Islands were invaded. Indeed, it was a safe bet that the fighting would have been even more costly. And this doesn't even consider the Japanese casualties.

The Japanese consistently demonstrated a marked reluctance to surrender, either on the battlefield or at the negotiating table. The American people, in light of Germany's surrender in May 1945, were eager to get the war in the Pacific over with as soon as possible.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Bradford on June 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading a book like this for me is a bit of a disappointment. It seems that the author started out with the idea that the A-Bombs were bad and sought to justify his beliefs rather than take an objective look at the evidence. In my opinion there are much better books out there that lay out the facts and let you draw your own conclusions.

In a nutshell the author postulates that the Japanese were just about starved out, were worn down, and were ready to throw up their hands in surrender at the first sight of American troops on Japanese soil.

IMHO, nothing could be further from the truth. The Japanese were not used to losing wars, and their multi-generational Bushido code called for death to the last man rather than surrender. This code was being adhered to rigorously throughout the war, and as American invasions came closer to the home islands (ie Okinawa & Iwo Jima) the suicide code was adhered to almost exclusively. Further, based on the civilian suicide training being ramped up as American forces drew nearer there is little evidence to suggest that they would have surrendered as meekly as the author seems to suggest. The Japanese public was being spoon fed false news of great successes which buoyed their false hopes for ultimate victory, as well as news of the atrocities Americans would commit upon them in time of invasion. Given these factors (and many others) along with the fanatical Kamikaze spirit that had already been continuously demonstrated, I don't think the Japanese would have given up as easily as the author does.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey T. Munson on March 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
As early as mid-1943, the American joint chiefs had begun to analyize the alternatives to ending the war in the Pacific. This book describes one alternative; the invasion of Japan itself. The invasion was to take place in two assaults; one, scheduled for November 1, 1945, was to involve the southern Kyushu area while the other, scheduled for March 1, 1946, was to occur in the Kanto plain area near Tokyo. After the island of Okinawa was secured in June, 1945, the Americans turned their attention to the coming invasion. The Kyushu portion of the invasion had the endorsement of President Truman and the joint chiefs. The invasion would have been on a scale never seen before. Thousands of ships, planes, and men would land on Kyushu and begin their drive northward. However, due to ULTRA intelligence intercepts, the Americans learned that the Japanese build up on Kyushu was much larger than expected. Many divisions of men and upwards of 10,000 aircraft were poised to meet the Americans. The Japanese were also prepared to meet the Americans on the beaches, differing from their customary approach of leaving the beaches uncontested and fighting it out inland. If the Japanese defense of Kyushu failed, there would be little left to defend the Kanto plain with, so the road to Tokyo would be wide open.
The author takes the view that Japan was a defeated nation ready to surrender due to the blockade and bombing missions being employed by the Americans. He points out that Japan had virtually no navy or air force and that the remaining elements of the imperial army were so poorly fed and equipped that they would be no match for the Americans. I tend to disagree on some points. The Japanese have always been fanatical fighters, and would be even more so if their home islands were invaded.
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