A Japanese historian examines why Japan went to war. Alfred A. Knopf, , pages When Japan attacked the United States in Japan Countdown to Infamy. By Eri Hotta. pp. Alfred A. Knopf, $ Why did Japan start a war its top leaders knew it had. In Japan Countdown to Infamy, Japanese author Eri Hotta attempted to discuss this question via use of newly revealed information from.

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A fascinating portrait of Japanese leadership, or lack thereof, in the months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success.

The possibility of war with the U. You do not currently have access to this article.

Book review: ‘Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy,’ by Eri Hotta

Countdown to Infamy by Eri Hotta. JAPAN,as of now is the best work dealing with the Japanese viewpoint and decision making process leading to war with the United States, and should remain so for a long time to come.

Of course there were other options. He was probably unaware of Japanese atrocities, but he japqn certainly aware of, and approved, Japanese aggression. Sign In Forgot password? The Emperor, though a Shinto god, was really just a figurehead whose only authority was to rubberstamp proposals agreed on by the highest levels of government.

Book Review: Japan Countdown to Infamy , by Eri Hotta – Inverarity is not a Scottish village

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. The reason that Japan went to war against the United States, says Hotta, is that the civilian anti-war faction, despite having the constitutional authority to do so, was too pusillanimous to resist the powerful war faction. Eastern Time on Dec. World opinion was increasingly hostile. If you countsown interested WWII history this book would interest you. E ri H otta.


Aug 29, Countdwn Chick rated it really liked it. Her analysis though is a bit tepid and the prose sometimes wanders into asides. This is a fresh and invigorating look at how a nation can stumble into a painful and debilitating war, and one that Japan barely survived. Some people have criticized Hotta for letting Prime Minister Tojo off too easy. You could almost say that Japan went to war because they wanted to sit at the big kids table and the other big kids countdwon let them.

Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy

Tojo held onto countdiwn post of Army Minister while serving as Prime Minister, so had direct infajy over much of the war effort. Japanis not really a counterpoint to that book. They were too aware of Japan’s limited resources and were convinced that the country would be annihilated in the end.

Many officials after the war were complicit in hiding the extent of Hirohito’s knowledge and involvement in actual war planning, but it is hard to see Hirohito as a complete innocent here.

I came away with a much greater understanding of why Japan decided to launch the sneak attack and go to war with the United States in Close mobile search navigation Article navigation. Eri Hotta, a Japanese historian, tackles a subject that much of her country, even today, has difficulty talking about – the events leading up to Japan’s disastrous decision to go to war with the United States.

The most interesting question, of course, is always “Why would Japan do this? He worked for a non-aggression pact with the Soviets in to get himself in the news again, and then, after Germany invaded in June of that year, then wanted to invade them from the east. There are references to the Meiji Restoration that are significant to the behavior of some of the main players; further elaboration would have been helpful for those of us without much knowledge of the Meiji Restoration.


The Japanese leaders would not take a stand that they knew was politically and morally correct when it was in opposition to others or to consensus. May 03, Brandon Abraham rated it really liked it.

Tojo interpreted this as support for an attack on Pearl Harbor. Appearances were supremely important. Because Japan was forced to open its doors to western nations, their leaders often felt as though they were “being ganged up on.

The economy was in trouble. When its unofficial nature was discovered, the Japanese thought balloons deflated. Furthermore, new ships were built at shipyards around the U. They saw it through the lens of racial discrimination that clouded their judgment when making decisions. In an intimate account of the increasingly heated debates and doomed diplomatic overtures preceding Pearl Harbor, Hotta reveals just how divided Japan’s leaders were, right up to and, in fact, beyond their eleventh-hour decision to attack.

The Japanese constitution allowed the military to advise the Emperor independently of the rest of the government.

Here, in a nutshell, is her thesis: Rice was already of such low quality that one diarist says it was like mouse droppings. It’s more an indictment than an apologetic – you can sense Hotta’s desire to be as even-handed as possible while acknowledging that Japan’s actions were short-sighted, ill-advised, and driven by petty egos, intercultural blunders, miscommunication, arrogance, delusion, and multiple failure Eri Hotta, a Japanese historian, tackles a subject that much of her country, even today, has difficulty talking about – the events leading up to Japan’s disastrous decision to go to war with the United States.