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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Don’t miss a story. Sifting through the book, I get the impression that the Empire of Japan was walking towards executing a war that was certainly doomed for it.

S Eri Hotta’s Japan attempts to find answers as to why a nation’s political and military leadership decided to embark on a mission which was virtually impossible to japam victory in service to mapan Axis alliance whose benefit to Japan was based on speculation and wishful thinking. Almost none thought the war could be won.

K, gives the other side of the story. Hotta is no apologist. Why did these men–military men, civilian politicians, diplomats, the emperor–put their country and its citizens so unnecessarily in harm’s way? However, they soon found that western jpaan eastern racism still relegated Japan to a secondary status.

Something prewar Japan sorely lacked.

Books by Eri Hotta. Instead, China became a quagmire.


Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy

Pay attention to all the conversations in the meetings in the book, pick a character who disagreed with the war, then ask what you would do if you were him. The Japanese had a keen sense of how the West saw them as inferiors, and had also spent centuries under the shadow of China.

This sort of thing happened a lot, and did much to convince the U. Japan should take a lesson from Germany, a country that has faced up to its past and learned from it.

Historians, diplomats, WWII gamers.

It is a fascinating story. What was scary about this book is how easily momentum and the inability to change one’s mind once a statement was made led to infaym senseless act of war that Japan could then not support.

Japan had imperial ambitions and wanted to be recognized as a great power herself. And yet, he was the Emperor, and no final decision could be executed without his nominal approval.

This was ignored in internal discussions. Due to technical difficulties in decrypting their orders from Tokyo, they delivered the message late, countdow the infamous “sneak attack. Eri Hotta’s book is a detailed, sequential summary of Japan’s decision enter war with the West in This is a consistent theme throughout the book.

Book review: ‘Japan Countdown to Infamy,’ by Eri Hotta | Books | Dallas News

As such Eri Hotta’s book is almost as much a study of the psychology of very bad decision making, as a tp account. In mid the Japanese invaded Ocuntdown Indochina Cambodia, Laos, and southern Vietnam to get access to its raw materials.


Jul 20, Steven Z. In addition, an introductory chapter covering the structure and culture of the imperial Japanese government would be useful. Tojo interpreted this as support for an attack on Pearl Harbor. However, I came away thinking Hull and Roosevelt were a bit too inflexible despite Hotta’s assertions.

Of course there were other options. It reminded me of this fall’s g Stunning. All in all, a book with flaws, but well worth a read. The most interesting question, of course, is always “Why would Japan do this? These meetings included the most important senior officials, both civilian and military. 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 infxmy with the United States.


Hotta really blasts the political leaders and military for leading Japan into a war with the Ja;an that was avoidable. It gave Japan its first major colony—the Portsmouth Treaty transferred Korea, heretofore a Russian protectorate, to a Japanese protectorate.