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It is a virtually impossible to cover all of the key elements of this appalling and cruel conflict in such a short book but Mark Black has done a pretty good job. This time I think Black has missed a few vital things:
- The US industrial war machine geared up quickly after the shock of Pearl Harbour and vastly over-produced and replaced ships and weaponry compared to the Japanese, giving a great strategic advantage.
- The terrible losses to gain victories on Guam, Saipan and Iwa Jima and other heavily fortified islands gave American B-29 bombers land bases from early 1945 within range of Japan to start to destroy their manufacturing capacity.
- Most people do not realise that B-29 fire bomb raids on Tokyo on 9-10 March 1945 with collateral damage through fire-storms resulted in more immediate deaths (around 100,000) than both A-Bombs and destroyed a vast amount of sub-contract productive capacity. It is arguable that continued large-scale bombing raids might have created conditions for surrender without the need to use the A-bombs.
- There is no mention of the invasion on 9 August 1945 of Japanese occupied Manchuria by 1 million battle hardened Russians. This had an important strategic impact on both the Japanese and the Americans. It could be argued that both the expected huge losses with an invasion of Japan plus the Soviet entry to the Pacific War played a part in Truman's decision to use the A-Bombs.