Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan / Edition 1

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Overview

With startling revelations, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa rewrites the standard history of the end of World War II in the Pacific. By fully integrating the three key actors in the story--the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan--Hasegawa for the first time puts the last months of the war into international perspective.

From April 1945, when Stalin broke the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact and Harry Truman assumed the presidency, to the final Soviet military actions against Japan, Hasegawa brings to light the real reasons Japan surrendered. From Washington to Moscow to Tokyo and back again, he shows us a high-stakes diplomatic game as Truman and Stalin sought to outmaneuver each other in forcing Japan's surrender; as Stalin dangled mediation offers to Japan while secretly preparing to fight in the Pacific; as Tokyo peace advocates desperately tried to stave off a war party determined to mount a last-ditch defense; and as the Americans struggled to balance their competing interests of ending the war with Japan and preventing the Soviets from expanding into the Pacific.

Authoritative and engrossing, Racing the Enemy puts the final days of World War II into a whole new light.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review

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

Times Literary Supplement

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

Christian Science Monitor

A landmark book that brilliantly examines a crucial moment in 20th-century history...[An] important, enlightening, and unsettling book.
— Jonathan Rosenberg

Philadelphia Inquirer

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

U.S. News and World Report

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

Los Angeles Times

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

Winston-Salem Journal

[Racing the Enemy] might be called the definitive analysis of the U.S. decision to use atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has mined both Japanese and Soviet sources to produce the first truly international study of the Hiroshima decision.
— Errol MacGregor Clauss

The Exile

Managing to convey the thought processes, assumptions and biases of the Imperial elite is Hasegawa's greatest achievement...Hasegawa's story is a weird, compelling one, and his case for revising our view of the leadup to VJ Day is overwhelming.
— John Dolan

Pacific Affairs

Hasegawa's study provides the most comprehensive examination yet published on the international factors that shaped the decision-making processes and policies adopted in Washington, Moscow, Potsdam and Tokyo, and which ultimately contributed to Japan's surrender in 1945. Racing the Enemy provides a fresh and multi-faceted perspective on a well studied topic primarily because the author draws on information from Russian, Japanese and American archives and sources. While this study both complements and challenges the well-informed findings of Asada Sadao, Robert Butow, Richard Frank and Leon Sigal, the international framework in which Hasegawa places the surrender of Japan makes this book a compelling read for students and scholars alike.
— J. Charles Schencking

American Historical Review

Will we ever really know why Japan surrendered in World War II? In this judicious and meticulously researched study of the endgame of the conflict, [Hasegawa] internationalizes (by a thorough look at American, Japanese, and Soviet literature and archives) the diplomatic and political maneuvering that led to Japanese capitulation...No study has yet to bundle together the myriad works on the war's end in such a complete manner...This work should become standard reading for scholars of World War II and American diplomacy.
— Thomas Zeiler

Monumenta Nipponica

Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's Racing the Enemy is a splendid book—the first to examine the end of the Second World War in the Asia Pacific from a comprehensive, international perspective. Based on archival and published materials in Russian, English, and Japanese, it provides a gripping account of the complex diplomatic maneuvers and political battles that culminated in the tumultuous events of August 1945...Hasegawa has written the first truly international history of the end of the Pacific War. By bringing hitherto separate literatures together into a much-needed dialogue, he has recast the contours of the whole debate. Racing the Enemy will remain essential reading for students of foreign policy and international history for many years to come.
— Anno Tadashi

Historian

This book is a well-researched and provocative analysis of a fascinating yet neglected aspect of World War II: the American public's conventional assumption is that Japan surrendered to the Allies because of American atomic bombs...Hasegawa's conclusion raises tempting hypothetical questions for further research of this topic, and he provides intriguing answers to them.
— Sean Savage

Boston Globe

What ended World War II?...Tsuyoshi Hasegawa—a highly respected historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara—has marshaled compelling evidence that it was the Soviet entry into the Pacific conflict, not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that forced Japan's surrender. His interpretation could force a new accounting of the moral meaning of the atomic attack. It also raises provocative questions about nuclear deterrence, a foundation stone of military strategy in the postwar period. And it suggests that we could be headed towards an utterly different understanding of how, and why, the Second World War came to its conclusion.
— Gareth Cook

John W. Dower
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.
Ernest R. May
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.
Herbert P. Bix
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.
Fredrik Logevall
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.
New York Times Book Review - Richard Rhodes
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.
Times Literary Supplement - Warren I. Cohen
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.
Christian Science Monitor - Jonathan Rosenberg
A landmark book that brilliantly examines a crucial moment in 20th-century history...[An] important, enlightening, and unsettling book.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Gar Alperovitz
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.
U.S. News and World Report - Alex Kingsbury
One of the first to make a detailed study of the political interplay among the Soviet Union, Japan, and the United States in 1945.
Los Angeles Times - Kai Bird And Martin J. Sherwin
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.
Winston-Salem Journal - Errol Macgregor Clauss
[Racing the Enemy] might be called the definitive analysis of the U.S. decision to use atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has mined both Japanese and Soviet sources to produce the first truly international study of the Hiroshima decision.
The Exile - John Dolan
Managing to convey the thought processes, assumptions and biases of the Imperial elite is Hasegawa's greatest achievement...Hasegawa's story is a weird, compelling one, and his case for revising our view of the leadup to VJ Day is overwhelming.
Pacific Affairs - J. Charles Schencking
Hasegawa's study provides the most comprehensive examination yet published on the international factors that shaped the decision-making processes and policies adopted in Washington, Moscow, Potsdam and Tokyo, and which ultimately contributed to Japan's surrender in 1945. Racing the Enemy provides a fresh and multi-faceted perspective on a well studied topic primarily because the author draws on information from Russian, Japanese and American archives and sources. While this study both complements and challenges the well-informed findings of Asada Sadao, Robert Butow, Richard Frank and Leon Sigal, the international framework in which Hasegawa places the surrender of Japan makes this book a compelling read for students and scholars alike.
American Historical Review - Thomas Zeiler
Will we ever really know why Japan surrendered in World War II? In this judicious and meticulously researched study of the endgame of the conflict, [Hasegawa] internationalizes (by a thorough look at American, Japanese, and Soviet literature and archives) the diplomatic and political maneuvering that led to Japanese capitulation...No study has yet to bundle together the myriad works on the war's end in such a complete manner...This work should become standard reading for scholars of World War II and American diplomacy.
Monumenta Nipponica - Anno Tadashi
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's Racing the Enemy is a splendid book--the first to examine the end of the Second World War in the Asia Pacific from a comprehensive, international perspective. Based on archival and published materials in Russian, English, and Japanese, it provides a gripping account of the complex diplomatic maneuvers and political battles that culminated in the tumultuous events of August 1945...Hasegawa has written the first truly international history of the end of the Pacific War. By bringing hitherto separate literatures together into a much-needed dialogue, he has recast the contours of the whole debate. Racing the Enemy will remain essential reading for students of foreign policy and international history for many years to come.
Historian - Sean Savage
This book is a well-researched and provocative analysis of a fascinating yet neglected aspect of World War II: the American public's conventional assumption is that Japan surrendered to the Allies because of American atomic bombs...Hasegawa's conclusion raises tempting hypothetical questions for further research of this topic, and he provides intriguing answers to them.
Boston Globe - Gareth Cook
What ended World War II?...Tsuyoshi Hasegawa--a highly respected historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara--has marshaled compelling evidence that it was the Soviet entry into the Pacific conflict, not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that forced Japan's surrender. His interpretation could force a new accounting of the moral meaning of the atomic attack. It also raises provocative questions about nuclear deterrence, a foundation stone of military strategy in the postwar period. And it suggests that we could be headed towards an utterly different understanding of how, and why, the Second World War came to its conclusion.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674022416
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 806,051
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tsuyoshi Hasegawa is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Cold War Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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Table of Contents

Introduction : race to the finish 1
1 Triangular relations and the Pacific war 7
2 Stalin, Truman, and Hirohito face new challenges 45
3 Decisions for War and Peace 89
4 Potsdam : the turning point 130
5 The atomic bombs and Soviet entry into the war 177
6 Japan accepts unconditional surrender 215
7 August Storm : the Soviet-Japanese War and the United States 252
Conclusion : assessing the roads not taken 290
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Nothing new; another interpretation

    Mr. Hasegawa presents a detailed timeline of Allied talks and negotiations towards the end of the Pacific War and the issue of unconditional surrender, but he doesn't present any new facts in this book. It's another interpretation of data already known.

    While Hasegawa frequently refers to MAGIC (intercepted Imperial diplomatic dispatches), he deliberately excludes any reference to ULTRA (intercepted Imperial military dispatches), a significant omission considering Imperial military leaders were, at that time, in unyielding control of the Japanese government and war machine.

    Hasegawa often makes weakly substantiated claims and contradicts himself in the book. For example, in the chapter Potsdam: The Turning Point, (pgs. 152-153) Hasegawa goes into detail about a conversation between Stimson and Marshall regarding Soviet involvement in the Pacific War, harshly stigmatizing Stimson for having inferred "and misrepresented" Marshall's comments to Truman. Given the material Hasegawa has presented, and the fact he was not present to read body language and intonation vital in face-to-face, interpersonal communication, I find the criticism groundless.

    In another example, Hasegawa goes into detail about Truman's "insecurity and inadequacy" before the attending the Potsdam Conference, but then later in the same chapter claims, "It is inconceivable that [Truman] was unaware of the implications of the timing, signatories, and substance of the Potsdam Proclamation" and was "completely confident Japan would reject it" (pgs. 159-160). President Truman couldn't be both insecure and confident on the direction of the war.

    It continues through subsequent chapters.

    What I'm most surprised at is the personal emotion and innuendo Hasegawa interjects throughout his book. It is filled with his own inferences and assumptions of alleged intelligence and America's "diabolical" plan to use the atomic bomb at any length, regardless of developments. There is nothing wrong about expressing personal opinions in a concluding chapter, but if he wants to be regarded as a respected historian rather than a propagandist, he needs to omit his personal biases from chapter to chapter and stick to the unadulterated facts. I'm dismayed these got by the editors of Harvard University Press.

    If one is going to read Hasegawa's book, I would also recommend reading Richard B. Frank's, 'Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire,' which details in chronological order the intercepted MAGIC and ULTRA Imperial dispatches. Frank's book offers a clearer picture of what Americans and the Allies knew about Imperial Japan's intentions, in the words of the Japanese leaders, to end WWII. The reader can then weigh the information presented in both books and come to their own conclusions.

    I'll leave you with a quote from Hasegawa's conclusion: "To be sure, the [Imperial] Japanese government was guilty of its own atrocities in violation of the laws governing the conduct of the war. The Nanking Massacre of 1937, biological experiments conducted by the infamous Unit 731, the Bataan March, and the numerous instances of cruel treatment of POW's [as well as the comfort women issue] represent only a few examples of Japanese atrocities. Nevertheless, the moral lapses of the Japanese do not excuse those of the United States and the Allies. After all, morality by definition is an absolute rather than a relat

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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