Allied Victory Over Japan 1945
The book’s title, Allied Victory Over Japan 1945, is a little misleading as the first, very detailed chapter delves into the strategic overview of the Pacific and Asian War with the Japanese blitzkrieg beginning in December 1941 through 1942. The Japanese victories in China, the Dutch East Indies, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya, New Guinea, the Solomon, Mariana and Marshall Islands and the Philippines set the stage for this book on a long forgotten and neglected theater of World War II. The author does an amazing job simplifying the complex conditions, multi-national components, and the incredible distances encountered. The more one studies the Pacific War, the deeper the rabbit holes; the author’s strength is making it understandable and relatable. The first two maps alone are worth the price of the book and really help the reader understand the complexities of these campaigns with their vast distances.
From the Acknowledgments,
This archival photograph volume in the ‘Images of War’ series is dedicated to the multinational Allied Armed Forces’ service members who fought, were wounded, captured and perished in the hellacious land, sea and air combat to defeat the Japanese in 1944-1945 and bring the Pacific War to a conclusion. We ponder upon viewing these photographs about the heroic sacrifice made to maintain freedom over military aggression, hegemony and brutality, lest we forget.
The book is a fascinating photographic insight into the Pacific War complete with extensive photographs and maps, composing the following five chapters, each with their succinct overview of the photographs to follow:
- Chapter One – Strategic Overview of the Pacific and Asian War
- Map 1. Strategic Overview of the Pacific War, 1941-1942
- Map 2. Allied Counteroffensive Axes in the Central, South and South-
- West Pacific Areas of Operations, 1943-1945
- Map 3. Planned Invasion of Japan, 1945-1946
- Map 4. Combat in Burma, 1942-1945
- Chapter Two – Combatant Forces’ Plans, Leaders and Troops
- Chapter Three – Allied Aerial and Naval Interdiction of the Japanese Home
- Chapter Four – Australian-American Invasion of Borneo
- Chapter Five – Atomic Detonations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The book breaks down very complex campaigns into easy-to-understand segments. What sets the ‘Images of War’ series apart are the amazing photographs for the reader to really understand what is happening. In 232 pages (20 pages are dedicated to the chapter overviews, the rest are well detailed captions accompanying the photographs and maps) the book follows the rough timeline of the Japanese conquest, the political, operational and strategic conferences and plans, the aerial and naval interdiction of the Japanese home islands (amazingly, this section could be several tomes of books, but again, the author simplified it without sacrificing quality) which relied heavily on its merchant fleet, which was one of the largest in the world at the time, to the questionable Australian-American Invasion of Borneo, to the two atomic detonations that thankfully ended the war before an Invasion of Japan was necessary. The book also discusses the planned Soviet intervention in Manchuria and Korea, a topic often ignored in western accounts, but places the Russo-Japanese wars in better context.
From the Epilogue,
By Hastings' account, 185,647 Japanese were killed in China between 1937 and 1941. The IJA (Imperial Japanese Army) lost an additional 1,140,429 dead between 7 December 1941 and August 1945. The IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) lost 414,879 sailors and airmen. The Tokyo incendiary raid in March 1945 caused at least 414,879 deaths and a further 86,336 in other cities from bombing raids. Many deaths have gone unrecorded. With the atomic detonations, more than 100,000 Japanese died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. On Okinawa 250,000 civilians perished, many by mass suicide. After the war ended, it is speculated that 250,000 Japanese soldiers and civilians died in Manchuria during the frigid 1945 winter months there.
The death toll in China, Indochina and the Dutch East Indies numbered in the several million, but any semblance of a reliable toll does not exist.
As for the US Army, 55,145 were killed in the Pacific War, while the US Navy lost 29,263. The US Marine Corps lists 19,163 killed. British servicemen killed fighting the Japanese numbered about 30,000, many of whom were PoWs.
This was a war on an unimaginable scale and heavy toll in human lives. The aftereffects of the Pacific War were felt for decades and are still being felt as colonies rebelled against the yoke of imperialism and became independent, China’s civil war concluded with a communist state, Korea was split, and remains to today, the US was embroiled in Vietnam, and currently, China is assuming the role of aggressor in the Pacific. Standing strong against these incursions is our erstwhile and now staunch ally, Japan.
On a personal note, I was fortunate to visit the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas during the 2023 IPMS/USA Nats. The museum is world class and takes several visits over time to take it all in. This book would be a great companion piece for the museum and the bookstore would benefit by selling this book. As the grandson of career Navy petty officer who served in the Pacific, currently living in New Mexico who still “Remembers Bataan” for the New Mexico Army National Guard 200th Coast Artillery, and less than 100 miles from Trinity Site, this book hits on a personal level and I cannot recommend it enough.
To say that I learned a lot about the Pacific and Asian War would be an understatement. The author, Jon Diamond, is to be commended for his attention to detail, great use of maps and amazing photographs. Readers of the Images of War series will understand the format of a few pages’ introduction to a chapter, followed by amazing photographs that many have not seen before. For modelers, there are more images than can relayed here, covering tanks, amphibious craft, aircraft (from carrier to land based, fighters to bombers), naval ships and equipment, artillery of all assortments, heavy machine guns and supporting arms, environmental conditions ranging from dust to mud to jungle to sand, and great detailed shots of the combatants. This book is a plethora of ideas for models, vignettes, and dioramas.
Author Jon Diamond does not hold the typical credentials of an author of the Second World War. He is an American medical doctor, a kidney specialist, with a deep interest in the Second World War. With his interest and collection of WWII photographs, it seems natural for him to put both together for historian, modeler, and casual reader’s benefit, in an informal conversation manner. He has authored over two dozen books in the Images of War series. Allied Victory Over Japan cannot be recommended enough, and this book may perhaps be his best yet.
Profuse thanks to Casemate and IPMS/USA for providing the review sample.