- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316831247
- ISBN-13: 978-0316831246
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Ethnic studies professor Takaki argues that racism and a desire to intimidate the Soviet Union were important factors in the decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
The bombing of Hiroshima was one of the pivotal events of the twentieth century, yet this controversial question remains unresolved. At the time, General Dwight Eisenhower, General Douglas MacArthur, and chief of staff Admiral William Leahy all agreed that an atomic attack on Japanese cities was unnecessary. All of them believed that Japan had already been beaten and that the war would soon end. Was the bomb dropped to end the war more quickly? Or did it herald the start of the Cold War? In his probing new study, prizewinning historian Ronald Takaki explores these factors and more. He considers the cultural context of race - the ways in which stereotypes of the Japanese influenced public opinion and policymakers - and also probes the human dimension. Relying on top secret military reports, diaries, and personal letters, Takaki relates international policies to the individuals involved: Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, Secretary of State James Byrnes, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, and others... but above all, Harry Truman.
Top customer reviews
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Whatever arguments Truman and his team have resorted to justify nuclear bombing does not carry weight upon a closer analysis.There was no need for Americans to invade Japanese mainland.Japan was pulverized from the air by American bombers and US Navy subs had imposed a virtual maritime blockade so much so that ordinary Japanese had started feeling the pinch.If Americans had kept up this devastating attacks for a few more months ,Japan would have collapsed.This has also been the opinion of America's leading soldiers.However President and his men had no patience for this form of warfare.
If the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan was prompted by a desire to intimidate Soviet Union ,as author has endeavoured to show ,then one must admit that incident backfired.Stalin saw to it Soviet Union was not subjected to an American nuclear blackmail by quickly developing a nuclear deterrent.
Japan was willing to surrender despite opposition from die-hard militarists. But only obstacle was they sought clarification about Emperor's status;never wanted emperorhood abolished.President thanks to media propaganda had a warped view about Japanese;considered them scounderels for launching a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor thus deserving terrible punishment.If Truman had endorsed this Japanese demand which he later accepted the horrible human tragedy could have been averted.
Conditional ultimatum while issuing Potsdam declaration would have ensured Japan's surrender.
Ronald Takaki does an excellent job encapsulating the political climate in the U.S., Japan and Russia of 1945. The death of Roosevelt and the elevation of Truman to the presidency had a profound impact on world events. These presidents had different philosophies concerning the use of atomic weapons, and the world might be a very different place had Roosevelt lived to see the end of the war. Truman and Stalin provided a smooth transition from World War II to the beginnings of the Cold War.
Ultimately, I left "Hiroshima : Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb" with a better understanding and appreciation of why America decided to use atomic weapons against Japan. Takaki provides motivations for most of the key players, along with supporting evidence. The book is extremely readable, and was as captivating as any novel.
Whether or not dropping the bomb was "good" or "bad" is left up to the reader. Honestly, I have yet to decide.
Takaki uses as his sources for these conclusions, magazine articles, letters to editors and anecdotal conversations with "real" Americans.
The value of Takaki's book is as a readable counterpoint to mainstream historical writing - it might provoke discusion and thought. The reader should bear in mind that Takaki has "an axe to grind."
If you are looking for a more balanced view on the topic of why the atomic bombs were used on Japan try J. Samuel Walker's "Prompt and Utter Destruction." In his book Walker cuts through the political posturing and tries to present the facts and his opinions in a logical, balanced way. Historian Gar Alperovitz (another revisionist historian) dismisses Walker's book as "a mere 110 pages" - that in itself recommends the book as an interesting read.
Most recent customer reviews
BY PATTI IIYAMA
Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb by Ronald Takaki. 193 pp.With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion, and Moral Imagination,,Fighting Racism in World War II,,,,.Read more