- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Belknap Press (September 30, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674022416
- ISBN-13: 978-0674022416
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan
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Racing the Enemy is a tour de force -a lucid, balanced, multi-archival, myth-shattering analysis of the turbulent end of World War II. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa sheds fascinating new light on fiercely debated issues including the U.S.-Soviet end game in Asia, the American decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan's frantic response to the double shock of nuclear devastation and the Soviet Union's abrupt declaration of war. (John W. Dower, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II)
With this book, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa will establish himself as the expert on the end of the war in the Pacific. This important work will attract a wide readership. (Ernest R. May, author of Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France)
In summer 1945 Truman and his advisers set a foreign policy course that demanded American use of doomsday weapons not only against Japan but, indirectly, against humanity itself. In this groundbreaking book, Hasegawa argues that the atomic bombs were not as decisive in bringing about Japan's unconditional surrender as Soviet entry into the Pacific War. His challenging study reveals the full significance of Truman's decision not to associate Stalin with the Potsdam Declaration and offers fresh evidence of how Japan's leaders viewed Stalin's entrance into the war as the decisive factor. Others have shown that Truman missed opportunities to secure Japan's unconditional surrender without an invasion or the nuclear destruction of Japanese cities. But few have so thoroughly documented the complex evasions and Machiavellism of Japanese, Russian, and, especially, American leaders in the process of war termination. (Herbert P. Bix, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan)
In this landmark study, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa gives us the first truly international history of the critical final months leading to Japan's surrender. Absorbing and authoritative, provocative and fair-minded, Racing the Enemy is required reading for anyone interested in World War II and in twentieth-century world affairs. A marvelously illuminating work. (Fredrik Logevall, author of Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam)
The long debate among historians about American motives and Japanese efforts at ending World War II is finally resolved in Racing the Enemy, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's brilliant and definitive study of American, Soviet and Japanese records of the last weeks of the war. (Richard Rhodes New York Times Book Review 2005-05-15)
Without doubt the best-informed book in English on Japanese and Soviet manoeuvres in the summer of 1945...[Hasegawa] provides an international context sorely missing from most previous work. He has mined Japanese and Russian literature and documentation and, despite much that is based on surmise, provides fresh insight into the extraordinary inability of Japanese leaders to surrender, and into Stalin's machinations aimed at maximizing Soviet territorial gains in East Asia. (Warren I. Cohen Times Literary Supplement 2005-08-19)
A landmark book that brilliantly examines a crucial moment in 20th-century history...[An] important, enlightening, and unsettling book. (Jonathan Rosenberg Christian Science Monitor 2005-08-02)
The most comprehensive study yet undertaken of Japanese documentary sources. The highly praised study argues that the atomic bomb played only a secondary role in Japan's decision to surrender. By far the most important factor, Hasegawa finds, was the entry of the Soviet Union into the war against Japan on Aug. 8, 1945, two days after the Hiroshima bombing. (Gar Alperovitz Philadelphia Inquirer 2005-08-07)
One of the first to make a detailed study of the political interplay among the Soviet Union, Japan, and the United States in 1945. (Alex Kingsbury U.S. News and World Report 2005-08-08)
As Tsuyoshi Hasegawa has shown definitively in his new book, Racing the Enemy--and many other historians have long argued--it was the Soviet Union's entry into the Pacific war on Aug. 8, two days after the Hiroshima bombing, that provided the final 'shock' that led to Japan's capitulation. (Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin Los Angeles Times 2005-08-05)
Racing the Enemy is a tour de force -a lucid, balanced, multi-archival, myth-shattering analysis of the turbulent end of World War II. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa sheds fascinating new light on fiercely debated issues including the U.S.-Soviet end game in Asia, the American decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan's frantic response to the double shock of nuclear devastation and the Soviet Union's abrupt declaration of war. (John W. Dower, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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In August the Japanese government tried to manoeuvrer the Soviets into acting as intermediaries in a negotiated peace. The Soviets however had other intentions. Stalin wanted to grab large parts of what had been the Japanese Empire. He was keen to intervene in the war so that he could extend his empire. He however kept these aims from the Japanese till he was ready to move.
The strength of this book is that it shows that rather than the surrender of Japan resulting from one cause such as the dropping of the Atom bomb it was a combination of that and the Soviet attacks. The Soviets attacked the Japanese army in Manchuria with one and a half million men thousands of tanks and aircraft. The Japanese forces collapsed with the Soviets talking over Manchuria and North Korea.
With this attack the hope that the Japanese had of inflicting a defeat on the Americans and using the Soviets as intermediaries collapsed. While that was happening two bombs were dropped that killed 150,000 or so people. It was this that led to the decision of the Emperor to back those in his cabinet who favoured peace.
The book is one of the fullest outlines of the last days of the Japanese Empire. It also explodes a number of myths. For instance it is clear that Truman did not make a decision to drop the bomb. What he did was not to prevent the military making the decision to drop it. It would appear that he was keen to do so for the reasons of avenging Pearl Harbour and demonstrating to the Soviets the power of the bomb. Truman also had hoped that the existence of the bomb might have led to the end of the war before the Soviets could intervene. Stalin however was keen to get into the action and to grab parts of the far east. Thus it was a race to get into the war before Japanese resistance collapsed.
By the summer of 1945, Japan was isolated, blockaded, and in ruins. The end was near. However, America was still smarting over Pearl Harbor, and Truman was eager to defeat the Japanese quickly without Russian involvement; as a result, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were incinerated even though Washington knew that Tokyo was looking for ways to exit the war. Meanwhile, Moscow fooled Tokyo into thinking it might broker peace talks with the U.S.; in reality, Stalin was planning to betray Japan and grab territories in Manchuria and the Kuriles. Finally, military and civilian leaders in Tokyo were hopelessly divided about how to save Japan and its monarchy from destruction, even though it was clear (to the civilians, at least) that the war was lost. The upshot was lost diplomatic opportunities, atomic warfare, massacred innocents, and Soviet power grabs. The collapse of the would-be "Moscow connection" probably did more to cause the Japanese surrender than the atom bombs did. No one comes off well.
"Racing the Enemy" is clearly written and informed by the latest archival discoveries. The author has a sharp understanding of how decisions are made (or not made) in government bureaucracies. It is truly a tour de force. However, I gave the book only four stars for two reasons: First, it needed more biographic information on the principal decision-makers; unfortunately, most of them come across as names and titles, not as flesh-and-blood personalities. Second, the book needed an appendix containing the full text of documents such as the Potsdam Declaration or the Byrnes Note; the absence of these key texts is a bizarre omission in a book that depends so much on the careful reading of memos, cables, and demarches.