Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath

Paul Ham. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $35 (640p) ISBN 978-1-250-04711-3
Australian journalist Ham (Sandakan) re-examines the atomic attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, confronting the popularly held belief that the nuclear attacks were justified because they ended WWII in the Pacific without a costly invasion of Japan’s home islands. Ham’s central argument is that such an invasion would not have occurred because the American leadership had deemed it too costly in potential U.S. casualties. Ham backs up his assertion by pointing out that both American and Japanese commands were well aware that Japan was already defeated by the summer of 1945 through the combined effects of naval blockade and conventional air bombardment. He counters the common justification for the atomic attacks by proposing that the strongest influence for the attacks was the threat of Russia entering the Pacific War and dominating Asia after the war. An absorbing and thoroughly researched work, it is a must-read for those interested in the moral aspects of total war and military strategy in general. Ham’s work will be cited as an important addition to a debate that continues 70 years after the event. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
Release date: 08/05/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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