140 Days to Hiroshima: The Story of Japan's Last Chance to Avert Armageddon

140 Days to Hiroshima: The Story of Japan's Last Chance to Avert Armageddon

by David Dean Barrett
140 Days to Hiroshima: The Story of Japan's Last Chance to Avert Armageddon

140 Days to Hiroshima: The Story of Japan's Last Chance to Avert Armageddon

by David Dean Barrett


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On the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki comes this heart-pounding account of the war-room drama inside the cabinets of the United States and Japan that led to Armageddon on August 6, 1945.

Here are the secret strategy sessions, fierce debates, looming assassinations, and planned invasions that resulted in history’s first use of nuclear weapons in combat, and the ensuing chaotic days as the Japanese government struggled to respond to the reality of nuclear war.

During the closing months of World War II, as America’s strategic bombing campaign incinerated Japan’s cities, two military giants locked in a death embrace of cultural differences and diplomatic intransigence. The leaders of the United States called for the “unconditional surrender” of the Japanese Empire while developing history’s deadliest weapon and weighing an invasion, Downfall, that would have dwarfed D-Day. Their enemy responded with a last-ditch plan termed Ketsu-Go, which called for the suicidal resistance of every able-bodied man and woman in “The Decisive Battle” for the homeland.

But had Emperor Hirohito’s generals miscalculated how far the Americans had come in developing the atomic bomb? How close did President Harry Truman come to ordering the invasion of Japan?

Within the Japanese Supreme Council at the Direction of War, a.k.a. “The Big Six,” Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō risked assassination in his crusade to convince his dysfunctional government, dominated by militarist fanatics, to save his country from annihilation.

Despite Allied warnings of Japan’s “prompt and utter destruction” and that the Allies would “brook no delay,” the Big Six remained defiant. They refused to surrender even after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

How did Japanese leaders come to this impasse? The answers lie in this nearly day-by-day account of the struggle to end the most destructive conflict in history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635765816
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 04/07/2020
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

David Dean Barrett is a military historian, specializing in World War II. He has published work in WWII Quarterly magazine, U.S. Military History Review, and Global War Studies. He is the history content consulting producer for Lou Reda Productions’ two-hour documentary on "Heroes of the Sky: The Real Mighty Eighth," which will air as a primetime global event on National Geographic in May of 2020. David has been a frequent guest speaker for more than a decade on the use of the atomic bomb in the final days of WWII and the end of the Pacific War. Mr. Barrett began his career as a professional historian late in life, after spending nearly thirty years in Information Technology. David was awarded his master's degree in history from the University of Colorado, Denver, in the summer of 2006. Six years later, in 2012, he officially entered his new profession, opening the doors of One with History, Inc. Mr. Barrett lives in Littleton, Colorado.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Prologue xi

1 Tokyo Burn Job 1

2 A Third Prime Minister in Less Than a Year 12

3 A New President Gets Up to Speed 28

4 Planning for the Invasion of Japan 51

5 Ketsu-Go, "The Decisive Operation" 90

6 Potsdam Declaration, A Missed Opportunity 103

7 The Final Countdown Begins 129

8 Hiroshima 155

9 A Shift of Power, The First Imperial Intervention 174

10 The Second Imperial Intervention 210

11 A Failed Coup d'État and Surrender 248

Epilogue: Traditionalists and Revisionists 271

Map of Operation Downfall, The Proposed Invasion of Japan 291

Acknowledgments 293

Bibliography 297

Notes 309

Index 339

About the Author 353

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