- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reissue edition (May 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141001461
- ISBN-13: 978-0141001463
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire Reissue Edition
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Frequently Bought Together
Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire is an impeccably written analysis of the last months of the Pacific War and the unfolding of the American air campaign over Japan. The story opens with a searing description of the fire-bombing of Tokyo in March 1945, which caused more deaths than the atom bomb in Hiroshima. Within five months, Japan's economy was collapsing and the country faced catastrophic starvation. Richard B. Frank coolly analyzes different scenarios for ending the war (Russia waited in the wings). Frank concludes that the emperor and the Japanese military were far from ready to surrender, and that the decision to use the atom bomb probably saved millions of lives, not only Allied but Japanese and other Asian lives, also--perhaps a hundred thousand Chinese were dying each month under Japanese occupation. The effects of the bomb worked on many levels, even lending faces to the Japanese militarists, who could convince themselves that they were defeated not by a lack of spiritual power but by superior science. Densely documented, intelligently argued, Downfall recreates the end of the war from the viewpoints of the principals, giving the book an unusual immediacy. A highly valuable insight into the disintegration of the Japanese Empire, one of the most dramatic episodes of World War II. --John Stevenson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The premise behind this excellent history of the concluding stages of WWII in the Pacific is that the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has cast a light so bright that it has blinded historians to many of the political, diplomatic and military realities that existed before August 6, 1945. In his comprehensive study of the last months of WWII, Frank (Guadalcanal) aims to present events "as they were perceived and recorded by American and Japanese participants in 1945Anot years or decades thereafter." In 1945, American strategists developed their plan, "Operation Downfall," for forcing the unconditional surrender of Japan. Japanese leaders, meanwhile, mobilized all available military and civilian resources for a final defense of the homeland. Though they knew the war was lost, Japanese military strategists believed their preparations were sufficient to compel the Allies to offer more generous terms on which the war might end. Frank immerses his readers in the flow of intelligence estimates, battle experience and shifting strategy on both sides. The centerpiece of the book is an exacting and dispassionate examination both of the American decision to use the atomic bomb and of whether Japan would have surrendered absent the bomb. Frank marshals an impressive and complex array of evidence to support his contention that surrender by Japan was by no means imminent in August 1945, and that alternatives to the bomb, such as incendiary bombing, carried no certainty of causing less suffering and fewer deaths than the atomic bomb. In his balanced use of sources and in his tough-minded sensitivity to moral issues, Frank has enriched the debate about the war's conclusion. Agent, Robert Gottlieb of William Morris.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
1. While the United States was intercepting diplomatic messages sent from Japan to the USSR attempting to achieve a negotiated peace through Russian intervention, it was also intercepting many more messages planning for the last ditch battle against the expected American invasion of Japan. An invasion that the Japanese - including the Emperor - expected to end in a Japanese victory followed by a relatively favorable peace for Japan. (In fact, by August of 1945, Admirals Nimitz and King of the United States Navy worried that the planned invasion would end in a Japanese victory!)
2. The fire-bombing of Japanese cities was just as horrendous as the use of the atomic bomb, causing more deaths when done "correctly," and causing many more deaths in total than were caused by the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Plus, if General LeMay hadn't figured out how to "do it" right using B-29s and "conventional" weapons, he would have almost certainly been replaced by someone else, almost as fast as he replaced his predecessor. (His predecessor having failed to get much obvious destruction in Japan out of the B-29s at his command.)
3.Read more ›
People know amazingly little about the Pacific War, compared to the epic conflict between the white nations in Europe. Indeed, the first two weeks of August 1945 loom larger for the chattering classes than do the four years that preceded them--eight years if you date the war from the invasion of China proper--fourteen years if you consider that it started with Japan's annexation of Manchuria. I've been reading about the events of August 1945 for a decade, and I have to say that the analysis gets better as the years go by. Richard Frank's book is the best yet.
Olympic: First off, Frank gives a good capsule description of Operation Olympic, the invasion of Kyushu planned for November 1, and Ketsu-go, the preparations being made to destroy the American invasion force at the beaches. Frank then brings up evidence that during the summer of 1945, the Japanese reinforcement of Kyushu was so fearsome that American planners were beginning to turn against the invasion. By October 15, they now believed, 625,000 troops would be defending Kyushu. On Luzon, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima, the Japanese had shown their willingness to fight almost to the last man, with death tolls running as high as 97 or 98 percent. Meanwhile, they inflicted casualties at the rate of one American for every one or two defenders. To me, that suggests 600,000 Japanese soldiers dead on Kyushu, and upwards of 300,000 Americans killed, wounded, or missing. No wonder Truman wanted the Russians in the war, and no wonder he dropped the atomic bombs.
The Russians are coming!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very clean book. Complete with DC, very little wear, proud to own it.Published 16 days ago by Keith
If you are one of those people who thinks Truman's use of the atomic bomb was justified in the closing days of WW2 then Downfall is a book you should read. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book gives a clear and complete picture of how President Truman reached the decision to use the atom bomb to force Japan to end World War 2. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Orange County Guy
A marvelous exegesis that responds to the revisionists who believe that Japan was prepared to accept unconditional surrender without the use of the atomic bomb. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Robert
Frank makes use of both the Japanese and American records that have, finally, 60+ years later, been collated, to describe the real end of the Second World War for Japan. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Craig Sheeley
Exhaustive in his research, dispassionate and thorough in his analysis of the facts, Franks has to my mind settled the debate over the decision to use atomic bombs to end the war... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dave F.
Read this book before history has been completely rewritten by the left leaning crowd.Published 4 months ago by Common Sense
I have read more than a few books lately about the Japanese Empire and World War II. The end of the war has been of particular interest because of the constant discussion of the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Narut Ujnat
There has been an incredible amount of ill-informed drivel on the internet challenging America's use of the atomic bomb to ens the war. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kopernik