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 storythe United States, the Soviet Union, and JapanHasegawa 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.
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Cold War Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
What People are Saying About This
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.
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. John W. Dower, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II
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. Ernest R. May, author of Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France
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
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. Herbert P. Bix, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan
Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan 3 out of 5based on
Shrike58 on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
This is an important but flawed book. Important because it concentrates on the termination of the Pacific War from the Soviet perspective, and thus the roots of the Cold War. One also is given a strong sense of the roles of the secondary personnel of the three main governments involved, and how they swayed the decision process.The main problem here is the Hasegawa's moralizing, as though he claims that he repudiates the the revisionists who formulated the initial arguements against the American first use of nuclear weapons, it does seem clear that he has a certain sympathy with their position. It would be better to accept the atomic bomb as not so much an innovation, but as the final culmination of total war. To me it always seemed academic to make a distinction between dying as a result of an air raid by several hundred bombers as opposed to an attack by a single machine.I also find the depiction of Pres. Truman offered to be something of a caricature. Hasegawa sees a man motivated by a sense of revenge and at the same time a victim of the machine, which is certainly understandable. To fail to do so is also an anachronism. That there was the small matter that there was a war going on sometimes get lost in Hasegawa's moral revulsion against nuclear weapons. It's hard to imagine any American president recoiling from first use when it appeared to offer a solution to multiple problems. Though the question is never addressed of why the American leadership would consider the new weapon that stunning of an advance when already waging aerial warfare in an indiscriminate manner. This being the case I'm perfectly willing to accept Hasegawa's arguement that the Soviet intervention is more important than American analysts are willing to credit.Finally, the real question to be dealt with here is the inadequacy of the American diplomacy of the time towards the issue of war termination. At a certain point it becomes obvious that the lack of a clear channel to the Japanese government was a real hinderance in terms of bringing the slaughter to an end, a point that Hasegawa fails to treat in as analytic a fashion as needed and where a legitimate critique can be made of the Truman Administration; military victory is not enough. This also then becomes an indictment of FDR's style of governance, and his failure to prepare Truman to take on the role of commander in chief; though you can argue that would be an anachronistic position to take. As has been said, the graveyards are filled with indespensible men.