Academic journal article Military Review

RACING THE ENEMY: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan

Academic journal article Military Review

RACING THE ENEMY: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan

Article excerpt

RACING THE ENEMY: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2005, 382 pages, $29.95.

Did the atomic bomb end the war in the Pacific? Tsuyoshi Hasegawa vehemently contends that U.S. President Harry S. Truman's use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not play a major role in influencing the Japanese to surrender. Rather, Hasegawa argues, Russian dictator Joseph Stalin's decision to enter the war in the Pacific caused Japan's capitulation.

Backed by research in three languages (Russian, Japanese, and English), Hasegawa provides a critical assessment of the roles the atomic bomb and the Soviet Union played in the Pacific Theater at the end of World War II. Despite volumes of research and multiperspective accounts of the final months of the war, Hasegawa relies heavily on the theories advanced by Gar Alperovitz in The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (Vintage, Westminster, MD, 1996).

Hasegawa details Japan's diplomatic overtures to the Soviet Union and Stalin's political maneuvering between his alliance with the United States and neutrality with Japan. Hasegawa concludes that the Soviet Union exercised great influence over the course of action in the Pacific and that the United States unnecessarily rushed to end the war with the atomic bomb. …

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