AUTHORIenaga, Saburo
TITLEThe Pacific War, 1931-1945: A Critical Perspective on Japan's Role in World War II
PUBLISHERPantheon Books
CITYNew York, NY
DATE PUBLISHED1978
ISBN0-394-73496-3


Ienaga, a Japanese scholar, examines the 15-year Japanese war that began with the Manchurian incident of 1931and culminated in World War II in this historical account. The stated purpose of the book is "to show the Japanese people the naked realities of the Pacific War ... [and] to stimulate reflection and self-criticism about the war" (preface to the English edition). The 256-page account certainly does not capture every dimension and detail of Japan’s military, culture, and society over this period, but the broad scope does include why the war was fought, its conduct, and its result. Military engagements are not examined in any depth, except for the appalling casualties suffered on both sides. Ienaga brings harsh criticism upon the Japanese imperial, jingoist mentality that catalyzed the country’s expansion. He also asserts that his country learned that mentality from European imperialists.


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