Hell to Pay

Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947
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Published:October 15, 2017

PRESS RELEASE: "Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947" by Naval Institute Press on Scribd.

EXCERPT: Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947.

Two years before the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki helped bring a quick end to hostilities in the summer of 1945, U.S. planners began work on Operation Downfall, codename for the Allied invasions of Kyushu and Honshu, in the Japanese home islands. While other books have examined Operation Downfall, D. M. Giangreco offers the most complete and exhaustively researched consideration of the plans and their implications. He explores related issues of the first operational use of the atomic bomb and the Soviet Union’s entry into the war, including the controversy surrounding estimates of potential U.S. casualties. 

Following years of intense research at numerous archives, Giangreco now paints a convincing and horrific picture of the veritable hell that awaited invader and defender. In the process, he demolishes the myths that Japan was trying to surrender during the summer of 1945 and that U.S. officials later wildly exaggerated casualty figures to justify using the atomic bombs to influence the Soviet Union. As Giangreco writes, “Both sides were rushing headlong toward a disastrous confrontation in the Home Islands in which poison gas and atomic weapons were to be employed as MacArthur’s intelligence chief, Charles Willoughby, succinctly put it, ‘a hard and bitter struggle with no quarter asked or given.’”

Hell to Pay examines the invasion of Japan in light of the large body of Japanese and American operational and tactical planning documents the author unearthed in familiar and obscure archives. It includes postwar interrogations and reports that senior Japanese commanders and their staffs were ordered to produce for General MacArthur’s headquarters. This groundbreaking history counters the revisionist interpretations questioning the rationale for the use of the atomic bomb and shows that President Truman’s decision was based on real estimates of the enormous human cost of a conventional invasion.

This revised edition of Hell to Pay expands on several areas covered in the previous book and deals with three new topics: U.S.-Soviet cooperation in the war against Imperial Japan; U.S., Soviet, and Japanese plans for the invasion and defense of the northernmost Home Island of Hokkaido; and Operation Blacklist, the three-phase insertion of American occupation forces into Japan. It also contains additional text, relevant archival material, supplemental photos, and new maps, making this the definitive edition of an important historical work.

List Price: $35.00
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Product Details
  • Subject: World War II
  • Hardcover : 584 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (October 15, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1682471654
  • ISBN-13: 9781682471654
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 X 9.3 in
  • Shipping Weight: 38.56 oz
  • Military History Visualized: Why not blockade Japan into Surrender? (feat. D.M. Giangreco)
  • The John Batchelor Show Interview
  • “Giangreco . . . synthesizes years of research in a definitive analysis of America's motives for using atomic bombs against Japan in 1945. . . . [An] excellent examination.” —Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)
  • “Drawing on solid research in both countries, Giangreco lays out the U.S. planning and the whole scenario of what would have happened: millions of casualties, prolongation of the Pacific War, possibly past 1947, and manpower shortages and war weariness in the United States, with Japanese militarists and their no-surrender policy in control in Japan. Illustrative of just how much the war with Japan was a close-run thing, this is essential reading.” —Library Journal (Starred Review)
  • “...a worthy complement to Richard B. Frank’s classic Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire, will not end the decades-long debate about the endgame in the pacific, but its presentation of hard facts and thorough analysis is undeniably compelling.” —World War II Magazine
  • “Giangreco’s updated work is a superb example for future historians . . . as it hits square at the Schwerpunkt [Centre of Gravity – Ed.] of the critics’ arguments, arguments that continue to proliferate virtually unchallenged in mediums such as Netflix, the Internet, and through those who continue to distort history ‘in the service of peace.’ It is an increasingly-unavoidable truth that is inconvenient for some: the atomic bombing of Japan saved millions of lives. And among them would have been Canadian lives from the 6th Canadian Division, and RCAF Tiger Force Lancaster crews committed to Operation OLYMPIC.” —Canadian Military Journal
  • “D.M. Giangreco provides copious evidence that the United States sought Russian entry up to and even after the bombs were dropped.” —History News Network
  • “This work is a must-read for those interested in U.S. and Japanese military and political historiography and strategy in the final year of World War II and the critical factors contributing to war termination in the Pacific.” —Naval War College Review
  • “This is an important work. While it challenges the moralistic issue of the atomic bomb this emotive topic may be gradually fading from contemporary conversation. Of greater weight is the military implications of invasion which are as relevant now as they were 70 plus years ago.” —Australian Naval Institute
  • Hell to Pay is the definitive work on the planned invasion of Japan. Giangreco sets the standard for a historical argument and includes his key sources in the appendices. The book is powerful and sobering, offering a glimpse of a road not taken but with the discipline not to stray into fantasy or what ifs. Sobering, Giangreco makes an unassailable case that the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the atomic bomb and resulting Japanese surrender was not only the right choice at the time, but a deliverance for both nations.” —Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • “This book is a weapons specialist’s, military history buff’s and conspiracy theorist’s best friend.” —RUSI
  • “With it’s new material, Hell to Pay is indispensable for anyone studying the end of the war in the Pacific.” —Warships: International Fleet Review
  • D.M. Giangreco’s 2009 book, Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947, set the gold standard for research on the end of World War II in the Pacific. This new edition of the authoritative work has been greatly expanded and updated, and provides further insights into the context of Allied decision making in the conflict’s final months, with fascinating new research regarding Soviet planning and participation in the war against Japan." —Strategy Page
  • "The updated version of Hell to Pay is a must read for any student of World War II as Giangreco has greatly improved on his already impressive work." —Strategy Page
  • "Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan 1945–1947 is a major work that renders obsolete much of what has been written before. Its research is deep and broad, its conclusions compelling. . . . Indispensable." —Robert J Maddox, editor of Hiroshima in History: The Myths of Revisionism and Weapons for Victory: The Hiroshima Decision
  • “Giangreco makes a powerful case for the deadly struggle that would have been involved in an invasion of the Home Islands. The updated and expanded edition focuses on the Soviet General Staff’s planning for operations in the Far East following the end of the war in Europe and addresses the impact of those operations. This edition deepens Giangreco’s contribution to the literature on the end of the war in the Pacific.” —Jacob W. Kipp, Professor Emeritus of the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies, former director of the U.S. Army's Foreign Military Studies Office, and professor of history at the University of Kansas

D. M. Giangreco served at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for more than 20 years as an editor at Military Review, followed by work in the Foreign Military Studies Office.  An award-winning author of thirteen books on military and sociopolitical subjects, he has also written extensively for numerous national and international publications and news agencies.

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