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Diversion Books (2020-04-07)
Aktuelles Material
Politics & government


The Story of Japan's Last Chance to Avert Armageddon

by Barrett, David Dean

Historian David Dean Barrett puts readers inside the halls of power in Washington and Tokyo during the desperate final months of World War II.

America's strategic bombing campaign systematically incinerated Japan's cities while the leaders of the Pacific's two military giants waged a war of strategy, cultural differences, and diplomatic intransigence. The military brain trust of the United States called for "unconditional surrender." Japan's senior leaders responded with a plan of all-out military and civilian resistance termed Ketsu-Go, or "The Decisive Battle." What Emperor Hirohito and his Supreme Council at the Direction of War seemed unable to grasp was the Americans' development of a catastrophic ace-in-the-hole. As US leaders weighed a two-phrase invasion of the Japanese mainland that would have been twice as large as D-Day and astronomical in casualty count, a nuclear clock was tickingAmerica was arming itself with the ultimate weapon.

Within the war-room debates, two menone Japanese, Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo; and one American, President Harry S. Trumanassumed leading roles. Togo risked assassination in his struggle to convince his dysfunctional government, dominated by militarists and determined to fight the decisive battle on Japanese soil, to save his country from annihilation. In Washington, an untested President Truman inherited the mandate of unconditional surrender, the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War, the plans for the invasion of the Japanese Homeland, and the development of the most terrible weapon the world has ever seen.

Even when Japan's "Big Six" heard from the US that failing to surrender America's terms would result in "a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth," why did they not lay down their arms? The answer lies in 140 DAYS TO HIROSHIMA and the book's nearly day-by-day account of the struggle to terminate a conflict when the positions of enemy leaders from different cultures seemed intractable. Seventy-plus years after the fact, the use of atomic bombs by the US in World War II remains one of the most controversial decisions of the 20th Century, and 140 DAYS TO HIROSHIMA unpacks the human drama that led to the decision, including the frustrating near-misses in diplomacy that could have prevented it.

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 Consulting/Producer for Lou Reda Productions' two-hour documentary, tentatively titled The Real Mighty Eighth, which will air as a primetime global event on National Geographic in late 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.

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Barrett drops you right into the situation rooms with the most powerful figures in the world during the most critical days of the 20th century - the climax of World War II. Innovatively structured, highly detailed, and well-documented, this book will draw you in from page one."

Quote: A.J. Baime, NYT bestselling author of The Accidental President

Reading like a Tom Clancy thriller, David Dean Barrett's 140 Days to Hiroshima is a gripping, day-by-day account of the run-up to, and the aftermath of, one of the most cataclysmic and world-changing events of all time - the atomic bombing of a Japanese city. With scrupulous attention to detail, Barrett lays bare the fateful decisions that were made by both sides - and the inside story of why the Japanese high command was so determined to plunge ahead toward defeat in a war they could not possibly win. 140 Days to Hiroshima is required for anyone seeking the truth behind history-altering events.

Quote: Flint Whitlock, editor of WWII Quarterly magazine

David Dean Barrett's detailing of the ruling militarists' iron grip on Japanese decision-making - even after two atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the Pacific War - should finally put to rest any notion that the Japanese were trying to surrender. As 140 Days to Hiroshima clearly shows, it was the bomb that influenced the Emperor to make his historic interventions forcing his government to finally surrender. Yet even then, Japan's military almost derailed Hirohito's decree to end the war.

Quote: D. M. Giangreco, author of Hell to Pay

The interplay between the leaders of Japan and America during the conclusion of the Pacific War - when some leaders in Japan did their best to lead their country to surrender - is a narrative of human drama that still challenges minds around the world. David Dean Barrett's work is an important contribution to an in-depth understanding.

Quote: Kazuhiko Togo, professor Koyto Sangyo University; former Ambassador of Japan NL

David Dean Barrett's 140 Days to Hiroshima offers a comprehensive and definitive account of the events and decision making that culminated in the American use of atomic weapons against Japan in August 1945. Barrett's meticulous and balanced review of the evidence makes it clear that the circumstances at the time justify Truman's decision to use atomic weapons...

Quote: Michael Kort, professor of social science at Boston University, author

140 Days to Hiroshima utterly destroys the revisionist fictions that Japan would have surrendered months earlier if only they had been notified that they could retain their emperor, and that Truman dropped the bombs to awe the Soviets rather than to defeat an already-defeated Japan. It is an important book and a gripping read.

Quote: Robert James Maddox, author of Weapons for Victory

140 Days to Hiroshima is a deeply researched and carefully nuanced narrative, especially powerful on US and Japanese decision-making throughout 1945, culminating in Japan's surrender. David Dean Barrett shrewdly integrates essential military realities with the potent domestic cross currents affecting leaders on both sides of the Pacific. Highly recommended.

Quote: Richard B. Frank, author of Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire

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