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Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

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Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Unabridged edition (27 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400169089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400169085
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,996,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David I. Walker on 13 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book to any one interested in WW2 and the Pacific War - I read the on-line article "OPERATION DOWNFALL :The devil was in the details" a few years ago by the author at the Joint Forces Quarterly - and eagerly read things I never knew about eg the Inundation of the Tokyo Plain and also the example of the Invasion of Leyte Island as an example of over-optimistic planning which took far longer to conquer than anticipated -

Leyte is a perfect example. It was to the Luzon campaign what the Kyushu invasion was to the capture of Tokyo, a preliminary operation to create a huge staging area. Today, we can recall MacArthur wading ashore triumphantly in the Philippines. But what Truman and Marshall knew only too well was that MacArthur was supposed to have retaken Leyte with four divisions and
have eight fighter and bomber groups striking from the island within 45 days of the initial landings. Nine divisions and 60 days into the battle,however, only a fraction of that airpower was operational because of unexpected terrain conditions
(and this on an island which the United States had occupied for forty years). Nor had fighting on the ground gone as planned. The Japanese even briefly isolated US Fifth Air Force headquarters and also captured much of the Burauen airfield complex.
This is just one rare or not known nuggets of information - which I had never heard of
( and I read a great deal on WW2 )-
the other thing was how hard it was to capture insignificant features of ground from the Japanese and how good their anti-tank guns were , so that the Invasion would have been no walkover .........The operational plan for Operation Coronet called for a swift strike up the Kanto Plain to cut off Tokyo by a pair of US armored divisions from Europe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By catholic reader on 8 April 2014
Format: Hardcover
I think the premise that the saving of many, many allied lives justified the atomic bombs is neither new, nor unpopular. There is plenty of revisionist views that say different, but it generally holds it own, but read this book and the case becomes overwhellming. Even the planned invasion would have used multiple nuclear weapons in a obvioulsy misunderstood 'tactical' role. The Japanese had husbanded resources, and mass Kamikazie attacks would have had a serious effect on the invasions. It is sobering stuff. Tthe book is repetative in parts - possibly as a collection of academic papers - makes one do the occasional double take, but it is fascinating, well presented stuff. The inhumanity is not in tTruman giving the go ahead for the bombing of cities, a matter of concern to all, but of the complete disregard for the lives of those they were suppsoed to protect, on the part of Japanese diehard military fanatics. Well worth a read for those who like to believe that it was all over before the bombs.The book does seem to discount any further role for the Red Army,sweeping through Manchuria, but in the end the allied lives saved, and the loss of any chance for some sort of 'unclear' victory because of unsustainable casualties inflicted on the Americans and their allies shines clearly from this book, based on detailed study rather than assumed political positions. Enlightening, and sobering.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1945, the American invasion of Japan was cancelled because the Japanese surrendered. The American high command seems to have believed that it would have been tough, but the Japanese had taken such a beating that it wouldn't have been too terrible. This book digs deeper including analysis of Japanese sources (as opposed to American analyses of Japanese capabilities which throughout the war showed severe over-optimistism), leading to some horrifying conclusions. The Japanese had a very sophisticated plan, knew exactly what was coming, were planning to accept appalling losses perhaps in the tens of millions, and had plenty of troops and equipment including aircraft and fuel held back from the previous fighting. By 1945 the loss rates in island assaults were around 100% for the Japanese defenders, and had gradually reached almost one American casualty for every one to two Japanese dead; combining that with the knowledge that the Japanese had assembled millions of troops backed by civilian militia leads to some sobering arithmetic.

In general the various chapters of this book are extremely well written,thorough and persuasive, and both the technical capabilities of the sides and the sheer impending human catastrophe are brought to life very well. It clearly brings to life the terrible situation for all concerned : the American planners who wanted desperately to end the war but faced terrible decisions; the American troops (and navy and air force) facing mass death; the Japanese military and civilians who would have been slaughtered; and the 400,000 people per month (largely civilians) who were dying in Asia at the time of the surrender.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gloop on 28 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great 'what if' book and very revealing about the casualties the US might have sustained (they were not keen to have the allies involved). There is some repetition in this book which gives it the feel of a series of academic articles strung together.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 58 reviews
114 of 122 people found the following review helpful
The plans for Operation Downfall and the planned invasion of Japan 18 Oct. 2009
By Susanna Hutcheson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I enjoy reading about WW11 and war strategy especially interests me.

D.M. Giangreco is a respected writer and has a deep knowledge of his subject. He has written an impressive account of what the United States planned to do had the war not ended when it did.

America planned an enormous invasion of Japan. The book gives us inside details of how both sides prepared for this invasion. Operation Downfall, as it was called, would have made D-Day look minute. Had the bombs not been dropped that ended the war, what would have happened, as described in this book, would have changed the course of history. It would have shed much more blood and the war been a much larger and deadlier war than it was.

If you ever questioned the correctness of the decision to drop the Atom bomb that ended the war, reading this book is likely to change your mind. That turned out to be a wise decision. The alternative would have been almost unthinkable --- yet it was going to happen between 1945 and 1947 as described in this book.

It has been said that Japan was trying to surrender in 1945. This book lays that, and other myths to rest. If you're interested in WW11 and if you want to know the truth about its end and the plans that were in place to demolish the enemy had it not ended as it did, when it did, you'll want to read this book. It's a valuable resource and a most interesting read.

Highly recommended.

- Susanna K. Hutcheson
89 of 98 people found the following review helpful
Extremely well researeched and referenced 25 Oct. 2009
By Terry Sofian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The morality of the U.S. use of atomic weapons to end World War Two has been argued about since news of the destruction of the two Japanese cities was reported. In the current atmosphere of revisionist history this event and the men who decided to perform it have been castigated and defamed. This book sets the record of events leading up to that decision straight and provides the primary source material to show how the bombs came to be dropped. It also takes a very close look at events that did happen after the war ended (such as weather) and others that did not but might have (such as the assault landings on the Japanese Home Islands). The author describes how that informtion is important and how it would have affect the conflict in Japan. He quotes extensively from sources on both sides of the war. It is amazing to me that our current intellectuals have been so critical of American leaders who publically stated their remorse over the destruction of innocent human life in the form of citizens of a nation we were at war with, while giving a pass to the leaders of that nation who were entirely willing to sacrifice 20,000,000 of their own civilians to get a better deal in the treaty to end the war.

Every poorly constructed arguement of the revisionists is demolished with facts. No the Japanese military leadership was not about to surrender. No the invasion would not have been a walk over. No the horrific casualty projections were not made up after the war as a post facto justification for using the atomic weapons. Yes the civilians in Japan would have suffered even more in the event of a long drawn out blockage or even worse if the invasions had go in.

Nowhere in revisionist history have I seen mention of the massive humanitarian aid that the USA intended upon supplying in the areas of occupation immediately upon controlling those areas, but detailed information on those efforts is here. We were allocating and transporting food and medical supplies into a war zone for the citizens of the nation that had attacked us, a nation that killed millions of Chinese for purely economic gain.

This book should not only be read, it should be quoted, discussed and distributed. Well worth a read if you beleive that the use of the atomic weapons was justified. If you do not believe so read this book and its included references with an open mind and see if you still hold the position afterwards.
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Wonderfully comprehensive and thorough -- a must-read 1 Nov. 2009
By James Meek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Japanese-fluent American with an intense interest in the history of WWII in the Pacific, and of the war-end period in particular, I had long been frustrated by the unavailability of any definitive analysis of the Japanese preparations for defense against the invasions that might have been needed to end the war on terms acceptable to the democracies, and of the expectations of America's leaders regarding the casualties the invasion forces would incur.

Although I haven't time now to write the fuller review this excellent book so richly deserves, I am compelled to at least take the time to give it my very highest acclaim as a book that every serious student of the war-end period absolutely must read.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Perhaps the most compelling argument for use of atomic weapons 18 Jan. 2010
By Todd Bartholomew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has spurred considerable public and historiographical debate over the necessity of doing so to end the war with Japan and obviate the need for an invasion of the Japanese mainland. Much of the debate centers on the ethics and morality of bombing civilian targets with weapons of mass destruction balanced against the loss of military and civilian deaths in a prolonged conflict. Giangreco enters into the fray with "Hell to Pay", a carefully researched and well written book that dials down the emotionally charged rhetoric that usually pervades the topic. "Hell to Pay" isn't polemical in nature, but it does seek to counter recent revisionist scholarship that has been dominating the historiographical debate.

Giangreco puts forward a vast amount of information from both American and Japanese archives, including recently declassified documents and other observations missed or overlooked by previous scholars. Giangreco smartly shifts focus away from the usual Amero-centric guilt issue and takes into account Japanese perspectives on the issue, and more specifically, their own predictions as to the casualties they expected to incur during an American invasion. Giangreco discusses familiar themes, such as America not wanting a Russian invasion of Japan and the resultant joint occupation as was the case in Germany and Austria, the much debated forecast that America would suffer casualties in the millions, and other themes. But Giangreco introduces a new perspective - that Japan expected the death of 20 million as a result of the American invasion, and that they would engage in a fanatical scorched earth policy of fighting to the last man, heedless to the deaths of civilian non-combatants. Japanese plans for resisting the invasion were indeed quite formidable, and if carried out without an intervening event, certainly would have produced staggering casualties on both sides. And unlike Germans who rejected and abandoned Hitler as the die of war turned in January 1945, the Japanese remained slavishly devoted to Emperor Hirohito and the nation, and were likely willing to perish in a cataclysmic showdown. Surely some Japanese would have survived but the result of a cataclysmic invasion would almost certainly have been the end of Japanese culture and civilization as it existed, and the resultant peace would have been far more punitive than the relatively magnanimous peaces signed in August of 1945.

Ultimately it is the focus on the Japanese perspective that separates "Hell to Pay" from other books on the subject. Giangreco is not an apologist, and his prose allows the facts to speak for themselves with only gentle prodding and persuasion. The result is a most compelling argument!
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
A total bloodbath avoided 25 Nov. 2009
By Occam's Razor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading this book and the detailed plans of both combatants for Operation Olympic and Coronet, I've learned that

1) the US really underestimated the resolve of the Japanese to defend the Home Islands against foreign invasion.
2) the US very much underestimated the number of Japanese forces facing the invasion troops such that the US would have had only a 1:1 ratio in troops with the defender in very rugged terrain that gave the Japanese every advantage.
3) the troops of the first wave landing on the beaches were very much afraid that they were facing a 75-80% casualty rate and with good reason, especially from the Japanese to attack the transports with thousands of suicide planes and boats and to target the landing beaches heavily with artillery
4) the Japanese knew exactly where the invasion forces were going to land and were on schedule to heavily fortify Kyushu with tunnels and caves and defend it in depth.
5) the military leaders were prepared to sacrifice every Japanese civilian to the defense of Kyushu and didn't care how many died.
6) the US was considering using the atom bombs as tactical nukes rather than strategic nukes and would have inadvertently contaminated its own troops with radiation had they used it against Japanese troops in the invasion zones.

A lot of Americans and Japanese would not be alive today or even born had Japan not surrendered and the planned invasion of Japan taken place.
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