Japan 1941

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Eri Hotta considers the attack on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese perspective and argues that when Japan launched hostilities against the United States in 1941, its leaders largely understood they were entering a war they were almost certain to lose. Her book Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy poses an essential question: Why did these men—military men, civilian politicians, diplomats, the emperor—put their country and its citizens so unnecessarily in harm’s way? She draws on material little known to Western readers to find an answer.


Eri Hotta

Comments [11]

Mr. Bad from NYC

@ RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Japan had been trying to surrender for almost a year before they finally capitulated. They made a series of diplomatic overtures via the Soviets that went unanswered for a variety of reasons but Truman was well aware that the Japanese were willing to treat and concede pretty much everything before he dropped the bomb. It was felt that the Soviets needed to be sent a message. "House of War" by James Carrol gives a good readable account of the relevant history.

Dec. 04 2013 02:32 PM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Great segment. I would like to hear Ms. Hotta's opinion on the accuracy of the contention, most recently expressed in Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States", that Japan would have surrendered as early as May of 1945 *if* the US had agreed to not prosecute the emperor as a war criminal. (We did finally *did* agree to that.)

Japan had lost dozens of cities to Curtis Lemay's firebomb campaigns and the destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima by atomic weapons were essentially just two more cities on the list. Once we agreed that the emperor would *not* be executed or tried, they capitulated.

Dec. 04 2013 01:12 PM
Hiroshima from Nagasaki

If it's okay for the current Japanese Emperor to visit the WWII shrine, how come it's not okay for the German politicians to pay homage to the (despicable) Nazi leaders?

Were there any differences?

Dec. 04 2013 12:48 PM
Mick from Inwood

Has Ms. Hotta's book been published in Japanese? It would seem very important refutation of the myth of Japaneae victimhood that is promoted by new nationalists.

Dec. 04 2013 12:40 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Unlike Nazi Germany, which truly never had a chance to defeat the Allies, Japan took a calculated gamble and lost. Naval battles are much less predictable than land warfare. There is no golden ratio (3:1) that guarantees success and that is especially true in the carrier age. Even after the failure at Pearl to destroy the pacific carrier fleet they had another chance at Midway. If they had won at Midway they could have taken Pearl Harbor and dominated the entire Pacific. A position that strong would have been near impossible to challenge even for the US.

Dec. 04 2013 12:29 PM

Corrupt morons starting wars. Sounds familiar.

Ernst Neizvestny said it best when he observed that we are ruled by kitchen midgets.

Dec. 04 2013 12:22 PM
oscar from ny

A hoax just like 911 ...Satan politics and his construction of his hell..

Dec. 04 2013 12:22 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To what extent did the world depression have on the Japanese economy that may have made them choose to go war?

Dec. 04 2013 12:21 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To what extent did the world depression have on the Japanese economy that may have made them choose to go war?

Dec. 04 2013 12:21 PM

What would have been the outcome in Asia if Japan had not gone to war with the US?

Dec. 04 2013 12:17 PM
kim from brooklyn

I always find it very curious that the general American view of Japan is that it is an incredibly civilized, peaceful country. And yet, it was fairly recently that it quite brutally conquered and occupied numerous other countries.

Dec. 04 2013 12:12 PM

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