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

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9781591143161: Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947

Hell To Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 is a comprehensive and compelling 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 its 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, the U.S. Sixth Army would lead the southern-most assault on the Home Island of Kyushu preceded by the dropping of as many as nine atom bombs behind the landing beaches. Sixth Army would secure airfields and anchorages needed to launch the second stage, Operation Coronet, 500 miles to the north in 1946. The decisive Coronet invasion of the industrial heartland of Japan through the Tokyo Plain would be led by the Eighth Army, as well as the First Army, which had previously pummeled its way across France and Germany to defeat the Nazis. 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 list of the units involved and 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 the large body of Japanese and American operational and tactical planning documents unearthed by the author in both familiar and obscure archives, as well as postwar interrogations and reports that senior Japanese commanders and their staffs were ordered to produce for General MacArthur's headquarters. Hell to Pay clarifies the political and military ramifications of the enormous casualties and loss of material projected by both sides in the climatic struggle to bring the Pacific War to a conclusion through a brutal series of battles on Japanese soil. This groundbreaking history counters the revisionist interpretations questioning the rationale for the use of the atom bomb and shows that President Truman's decision was based on very real estimates of the truly horrific cost of a conventional invasion of Japan.

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About the Author:

D. M. Giangreco served for more than twenty years as an editor for at Military Review, published by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has written and lectured widely on national security matters, and is an award-winning author of numerous articles and eleven books, including Dear Harry...Truman's Mailroom, 1945-1953.

Review:

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. --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. --Library Journal

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. Starred Review PW (Oct. 15) --Publisher's Weekly

Arthur Goodzeit Award for Best Military History Book of 2009, New York Military Affairs Symposium
< br /> This book breaks new ground and is an important addition to previous works about war in the Pacific Theatre. It is thoroughly recommended.

--WARSHIP 2011's Naval Books of the Year

Arthur Goodzeit Award for Best Military History Book of 2009 --New York Military Affairs Symposium

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