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Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947

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Overview


Hell To Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 is the most comprehensive examination of the myriad complex issues that comprised the strategic plans for the American invasion of Japan. U.S. planning for the invasion and military occupation of Imperial Japan was begun in 1943, two years before the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In final form, Operation Downfall called for a massive Allied invasion--on a scale dwarfing "D-Day"-- to be carried out in two stages. In the first...
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Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947

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Overview


Hell To Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 is the most comprehensive examination of the myriad complex issues that comprised the strategic plans for the American invasion of Japan. U.S. planning for the invasion and military occupation of Imperial Japan was begun in 1943, two years before the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In final form, Operation Downfall called for a massive Allied invasion--on a scale dwarfing "D-Day"-- to be carried out in two stages. In the first stage, Operation Olympic, after the dropping of multiple atom bombs the U.S. Sixth Army would lead the southern-most assault on the Home Island of Kyushu to secure airfields and anchorages to support the second stage, Operation Coronet, a decisive invasion of the industrial heartland of Japan through the Tokyo Plain, 500 miles to the north, led by the First and Eighth armies. These facts are well known and have been recounted-- with varying degrees of accuracy-- in a variety of books and articles. A common theme in these works is their reliance on a relatively few declassified high-level planning documents. An attempt to fully understand how both the U.S. and Japan planned to conduct the massive battles subsequent to the initial landings was not dealt with in these books beyond the skeletal U.S. outlines formulated nine months before the initial land battles were to commence, and more than a year before the anticipated climactic series of battles near Tokyo. On the Japanese side, plans for Operation Ketsu-go, the "decisive battle" in the Home Islands, have been unexamined below the strategic level and seldom consisted of more than a rehash of U.S. intelligence estimates of Kamikaze aircraft available for the defense of Kyushu. Hell To Pay examines the invasion of Japan in light of substantial new sources, unearthed in both familiar and obscure archives, and brings the political and military ramifications of the enormous casualties and loss of material projected by trying to bring the Pacific War to a conclusion by a military invasion of the island. This ground breaking history counters the revisionist interpretations questioning the rationale for the use of the atom bomb and shows that the U.S. decision was based on very real estimates of the truly horrific cost of a conventional invasion of Japan.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Giangreco, a longtime former editor for Military Review, synthesizes years of research in a definitive analysis of America's motives for using atomic bombs against Japan in 1945. The nuclear bombing of Japan, he concludes, was undertaken in the context of Operation Downfall: a series of invasions of the Japanese islands American planners estimated would initially cause anywhere from a quarter-million to a million U.S. casualties, plus millions of Japanese. Giangreco presents the contexts of America's growing war weariness and declining manpower resources. Above all, he demonstrates the Japanese militarists' continuing belief that they could defeat the U.S. Japan had almost 13,000 planes available for suicide attacks, and plans for the defense of Kyushu, the U.S.'s initial invasion site, were elaborate and sophisticated, deploying over 900,000 men. Japanese and American documents presented here offer a “chillingly clear-eyed” picture of a battle of attrition so daunting that Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall considered using atomic and chemical weapons to support the operation. Faced with this conundrum, in Giangreco's excellent examination, President Truman took what seemed the least worst option. 44 b&w photos, 12 maps. (Oct. 15)
Library Journal
A former editor at Military Review provides us with one of the first books to detail the planned U.S. invasion of the Japanese home islands in October 1945 and the Japanese preparations for that invasion. Drawing on solid research in both countries, Giangreco lays out the U.S. planning and the whole scenario of what would have happened: millions of casualties, prolongation of the Pacific war, possibly past 1947, and manpower shortages and war weariness in the United States, with Japanese militarists—and their no-surrender policy—in control in Japan. The two-pronged invasion would have begun on the island of Kyushu, preceded by no fewer than nine atom-bomb drops behind the landing beaches. Illustrative of just how much the war with Japan was a close-run thing, this is essential reading.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591143161
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 486,637
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


D. M. Giangreco has been an editor for the U.S. Army's professional journal, Military Review, for over twenty years. He has lectured widely on national security matters and is an award-winning author of numerous articles on military and political subjects and six books, including Dear Harry. He is a resident of Fort Leavenworth, KS.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Foreword: "Three Colonels" Stanley Weintraub Weintraub, Stanley

Ch. 1 The Maximum "Bloodletting and Delay" 1

Ch. 2 Spinning the Casualties 8

Ch. 3 The First Army and Kwantung Redeployments 18

Ch. 4 The Pacific Build-up and Berlin Decision 28

Ch. 5 "Not a Recipe for Victory" 37

Ch. 6 The Decision 49

Ch. 7 Japanese Defense Plans 61

Ch. 8 "Victory Might Be Salvaged" 76

Ch. 9 The "Manpower Box" 92

Ch. 10 Mistakes and Misperceptions 102

Ch. 11 What Is Defeat? 114

Ch. 12 The Amphibious Operation 125

Ch. 13 On the Ground 141

Ch. 14 Unexamined Factors 156

Ch. 15 A "Target-Rich Environment" 167

Ch. 16 Half a Million Purple Hearts 187

Ch. 17 "Punishment from Heaven" 197

Appendix A G-2 Estimate of Enemy Situation on Kyushu, U.S. Sixth Army, August, 1945 205

Appendix B G-2 Analysis of Japanese Plans for the Defense of Kyushu, U.S. Sixth Army, December 31, 1945 246

Appendix C Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender Issued at Potsdam, July 26, 1945 (Potsdam Declaration) 276

Appendix D Extract from a Letter Written by James Michener, October 20, 1995 278

Notes 280

Index 349

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Foreword

"The complex conditions perceived by both Japanese and American decision makers, and the difficult assessments made at the time, require, in Hell to Pay, the portrayal of vast arrays of numbers. In few books about any subject other than astrophysics are figures more provocative, and more persuasive. Giangreco turns number-crunching into high drama."
-STANLEY WEINTRAUB, author of 15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall: Three Generals Who Saved the American Century from his Preface for Hell to Pay
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    WWII

    Anyone who doubts that we should have used the atomic weapons against Japan needs to read this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2014

    Thorough and well-documented, if a bit repetitive in some chapte

    Thorough and well-documented, if a bit repetitive in some chapters. Provides significant new documentation as to both the context and actual choices facing President Truman in his choice to use nucler weapons. This is a significant contribution for those wishing to understand the issues involved, and not rely on revisionist accounts drawn selectively from the historical record.

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    Posted January 17, 2010

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    Posted April 17, 2010

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    Posted January 14, 2010

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    Posted April 25, 2011

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