×
Home Intro People Events Equipment Places Maps Books Photos Videos Other Reference FAQ About
     

World War II Database

Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy

Author:
ISBN: 978-1452666778
Contributor:
Review Date:

Author Eri Hotta was born and raised in Japan and attended institutions of higher education in the United States and the United Kingdom. This gave her the perspective across both sides of the Pacific War. While in the West we often think of major Japanese figures one dimensionally, Hotta's Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy provided information on how each of these figures thought, each of their successes and failures, and how their collective actions and inactions ultimately resulted in war. Saburo Kurusu was described by Cordell Hull as deceitful, and so his reputation was sealed as so for Americans; Hotta, however, revealed Kurusu's sentiments against a war with the United States, his sincere efforts in peace negotiations, and the fact that he was purposely kept out of the decision process so that he had no idea that war was unavoidable by late Nov 1941. While Hideki Tojo's warmongering was well known, the author shared Tojo's early reluctance to engage in war, believing that to seize Dutch resources was to lower Japan to the level of common thieves. Additionally, Hotta went back in time and introduced the readers to the Meiji Constitution and how the complete separation of civilian and military leadership, each reporting directly to the Emperor, gave way to the situation in which the two branches could move in separate directions, as they did in the 1930s. The Japanese ideal of pursuing collective goals while abandoning individual goals also caused Isoroku Yamamoto, Fumimaro Konoe, Koichi Kido, and many others to be ineffective in steering the course away war. While the author successfully presented the Japanese perspective, she made clear that the responsibility of war fell squarely on the shoulders of the Japanese leadership, who lacked the will and courage to challenge their hawkish colleagues (perhaps lacked the creativity that there was such a course of action?).

I had reviewed this book in its audio book format. Laural Merlington did a fine job with the reading.

While we already had many great western resources on the weeks leading up to the Pacific War, Hotta's Japan 1941 formed a great complement for a full understanding. She walked the fine line well, presenting how Japan moved toward various decisions, supported by sources not readily cited by western publications, all the while made no apology for those who ultimately brought on a deadly and destructive war for both sides. This title would surely go on my recommendation list for fellow Pacific War history enthusiasts.



Back to Main | Back to Book Reviews Index




Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:

 Facebook
 Reddit
 Twitter

Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds


Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments
Security Code
 

 

Note: We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

Change View
Desktop View

Search WW2DB & Partner Sites
More on Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy
Related People:
» Showa
» Konoe, Fumimaro
» Kurusu, Saburo
» Matsuoka, Yosuke
» Nomura, Kichisaburo
» Tojo, Hideki

Related Events:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor



Famous WW2 Quote
"We no longer demand anything, we want war."

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939