Sources for Japanese viewpoint/pre-Pearl Harbor

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by diddyriddick, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    This may be a reach. I've been doing a little snooping for a project, and I've hit a brick wall. I'm trying to find original sources for the Japanese viewpoint prior to Pearl Harbor. Specifically, I'd like the view of the senior military leadership as well as newspaper accounts to get a feel for the opinion of the "man on the street."

    What were the Japanese thinking about their potential enemy?

    Almost forgot....My limitations are that I don't speak Japanese, and don't want to travel, so on-line translations would be a big help.
     
  2. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Some suggestions:

    Empires in Balance (H P Wilmott)

    The Setting Sun of Japan (Carl Zandau and Leane Zugsmith)

    Japan's War (Hoyt)

    Japan Prepares for Total War (Michael A Barnhart)

    Japan Must Fight Britain (Lt Cdr Tota Ishimura)

    How Japan Plans to Win (Kinoaki Matsuo)

    Japan's Greatest Victory, Britain's Worst Defeat (Tsuji)

    From Marco Polo to Pearl Harbor: Who Was Responsible? (The Yomiyuri Shimbun)


    Hope this helps....
     
  3. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    Its a start! Thank you, kindly!
     
  4. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Didn't the Navy and Army have differing opinions and strategic preferences?
     
  5. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    That is my understanding, G. The Army were the hard-liners while the Navy were much more reluctant warriors.
     
  6. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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  7. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    NP. Its the closest I've got to an original source, drawing on Yamamoto's papers and orders.
     
  8. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    I know. I'm afraid that I'm butting my head against a wall.

    But hey, nothing new, right?
    ;)
     
  9. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Good list. i would also reccomend Stanley Falk's "70 days to Singapore", it went into some depth about the beginnings of the Japanese - Allied conflict, including the role of the oil embargo and the 2 Imperial confrences held in the second half of 1941
     
  10. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Freebird. Can you guess the early war in the Far East is my pet area of interest? Falk is ok but he succumbs to many of the common misperceptions about the Malayan Campaign. Of recent histories, I think Warren's is the best but I still feel there's more new material to be discovered about the fall of Singapore, particularly dealing with the relationship between the intelligence services and operational decisions made by both Brooke-Popham and Percival.
     
  11. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Just curious, what parts do you think Falk got wrong?
     
  12. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    It's been a while since I read it but, IIRC, it emphasises command mistakes without mentioning the impact of intelligence on the decision-making process. I don't think it covers the air campaign at all, except to say that the RAF was wiped from the skies. Finally, and I freely admit I may be mis-remembering here, but I seem to recall Falk underplays the lack of experience within the British Army units assigned to defend the Malay peninsula. Despite these criticisms, it's still a pretty decent book on the subject, and way better than even some recent tomes (Smith's book springs to mind) on the subject.
     
  13. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Actually it does cover the RAF. (Although not in as much detail as Shores)
    I think he did also cover the lack of experience, especially the raw Indian troops who fared poorly against the Japanese. (One of my best buys at the used bookstore, for the magnificent sum of $3 :D )
     
  14. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    How about this one, Diddy, though it's slightly newer than 1941?
    Here is his excuse...KURUSU SPEAKS.
     

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  15. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    You da man! Thank you kindly!
     
  16. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    You are welcome, Diddy!
    I hope it being useful for your study.
     
  17. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    It is, indeed! Thank you again!
     
  18. ppopsie

    ppopsie Member

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    For broader understandings;
    1) Bankrupting the Enemy E. Miller, Naval Institute Press, 2007
    2) The Japanese Enemy, His powers and his vulnerability H. Byas, Alfred A. Knopf Press, New York, 1942
    In my opinion 2) above explains the Japanese' psychology rather well, though with minor misunderstandings. I believe this is even better than some of recent Japanese books on the same field.
     
  19. cherry blossom

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    Firstly, I apologise for the belated reply and secondly for exceeding the length of a single post. I should say that I sympathise with diddyriddick as I also know no Japanese and have spent some time trying to understand what was happening with very limited success (the title of Michael A. Barnhart's article “The Origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific: Synthesis Impossible?Wiley InterScience :: Session Cookies” suggests that this is a difficult task). One almost primary source for what a variety of people were thinking is "Japan at War: An Oral History"by Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook (The New Press, 1992), although most of the book is about events after 7th December 1941.

    You may want to start with accounts of the Japanese decision for war. An old but free account is "Japan's Decision for War" by Louis Morton at http://www.history.army.mil/books/70-7_04.htm. Other free studies include "The Origins of the Pacific War" by Scott D. Sagan, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 18, No. 4, The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars, Spring, 1988, pp. 893-922 at http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic248058.files/March%203%20readings/Sagan_The_Origins_of_the_Pacific_War.pdf and "War Leadership Concept before the Greater East Asia War: Aftermath of the Imperial National Defense Policy" by Taeru Kurono at http://www.nids.go.jp/english/publication/kiyo/pdf/bulletin_e1999_7.pdf. Two books by Akira Iriye “Pearl Harbor and the Coming of the Pacific War: A Brief History with Documents and Essays” (The Bedford Series in History and Culture, Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999, ISBN-10: 0312147880) and “The Origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific” (Longman, 1987, ISBN-10: 05824934981987) might be worth obtaining. More general accounts such as “The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945” by John Toland (Modern Library, 2003, ISBN-10: 0812968581), “Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan” by Ronald Spector (Vintage, 1985, ISBN-10: 0394741013) and “The Clash: U.S.-Japanese Relations Throughout History” by Walter Lafeber (W. W. Norton Co., 1999, ISBN-10: 0393318370) also contain interesting information.

    (end of part 1)
     
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