The war has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage… Hirohito


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A war it was always going to lose : why Japan attacked America in 1941  Jeffrey Record  Washington, D.C. : Potomac Books, c 2011  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xiii, 167 p. : map ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 133-158) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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The attack on Pearl Harbor is one of the most perplexing cases in living memory of a weaker power seeming to believe that it could vanquish a clearly superior force. On closer inspection, however, Record finds that Japan did not believe it could win; yet, the Japanese imperial command decided to attack the United States anyway.

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Conventional explanations that Japan’s leaders were criminally stupid, wildly deluded, or just plumb crazy don’t fully answer all our questions, Record finds. Instead, he argues, the Japanese were driven by an insatiable appetite for national glory and economic security via the conquest of East Asia. The scope of their ambitions and their fear of economic destruction overwhelmed their knowledge that the likelihood of winning was slim and propelled them into a war they were always going to lose.

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Japanese intelligence in World War II  Ken Kotani ; translated by Chiharu Kotani  Oxford, U.K. ; New York : Osprey, 2009  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. x, 224 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 191-203) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

In the eyes of history, Japanese intelligence in World War II has fared very poorly. However, these historians have most often concentrated on the later years of the war, when Japan was fighting a multi-front war against numerous opponents. In this study Kotani re-examines the Japanese Intelligence department, beginning with the early phase of the war. He points out that without the intelligence gathered by the Japanese Army and Navy they would have been unable to achieve their long string of victories against the forces of Russia, China, and Great Britain. Notable in these early campaigns were the successful strikes against both Singapore and Pearl Harbor.

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Yet as these victories expanded the sphere of Japanese control, they also made it harder for the intelligence services to gather accurate information about their growing list of adversaries. At the battle of Midway in 1942, Japanese intelligence suffered its worst mishap when the Americans broke their code and tricked the Japanese into revealing the target of their attack. It was a mistake from which they would never recover. As the military might of Japan was forced to retreat and her forces deteriorated, so too did her intelligence services.

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