“These proceedings are closed.” With these four words, General Douglas MacArthur marked the end of World War II. Open Road Integrated Media has reissued William Craig’s 1968 classic The Fall of Japan: The Final Weeks of World War II in the Pacific.
Historical writer and novelist, William Craig (1925-1997) brings to life the closing down of the Pacific war from both the American and Japanese vantage points. He writes about the major Japanese military and political figures, the leading American military figures—Admiral Bull Halsey, General Jonathan Wainwright—and the crews which dropped the atomic bombs.
Most disturbing is his story of the destruction caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Page after page he describes the suffering, terror and fury of nuclear war. Craig tells about the firebombing of major Japanese cities in the last months of the war.
Once the Emperor decided to surrender, the hardliners in the military plotted a coup d’etat in the name (but without the knowledge) of the Emperor). Craig reports on the conspiracies and machinations in the last hours before surrender was announced.
Germany was almost totally occupied before it surrendered. Japan however, was never invaded before it surrendered. Its military and government remained in place and in power. Craig tells how the Japanese government continued to function and assisted the Americans in beginning the occupation.
Most puzzling is the question, “Was the dropping of the atomic bomb necessary.” Craig describes the Allied declaration at the Potsdam conference, Japanese peace feelers, and the final negotiations leading to the surrender.
Though The Fall of Japan is almost 40 years old, the book is fresh and satisfying. It is a good read for World War II buffs, and everyone who likes a good story.
Japanese delegates to the surrender ceremony arrive on the USS MISSOURI.