Many politicians as well as much of the general population today prefer to remain ignorant of what led up to, and what happened during World War II when the Imperial Japanese military forces behaved in a manner that seems almost unimaginable today. During the years from 1931 to 1945, the Japanese Imperial Army was responsible for some of the most horrible atrocities the world has ever seen. Few of the younger generation Americans (or Japanese) are able to neither identify the incidents nor those guilty of the decisions that brought death to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in Asia and on the islands of the Pacific. Neither are they aware of the magnitude of the loss of life that occurred during the fierce battles that took place during the war.

Even in today?s environment over a half century later, the Japanese public is being kept in the dark about their country's role before and during the war. Young Germans today are aware of the unspeakable behavior of its former Nazi leaders. This is not the case in Japan, where for example, the younger generation has little knowledge of the recent past. As a young Japanese student explained: ?We Japanese tend to forget bad things quickly?.

We are now three generations removed from the war with each generation having its own perspective of the national problems of the 1940?s and what was the best way to solve them. This situation indeed creates what it takes to be a divided people and is the price we are paying for not knowing our history and what really happened prior to and during World War II and how and why the decisions were made to use the atomic weapons.

With the wide publicity support provided by media organizations for antinuclear activists, the use of the atomic bombs has been isolated from the context of the war. Doubts about the wisdom of using the atomic bombs have grown in subsequent generations fueled by protesters and revisionists attempting to rewrite history. This has resulted in a distorted and sometimes biased treatment of many issues surrounding the causes of the war, what occurred during the war, and the role nuclear weapons played in bringing it to an abrupt conclusion.

This book is a compilation of data that have been collected from various sources, such government documents, as eyewitness accounts, and contemporary news reports written by authoritative and skilled journalists who saw much of the war first hand. The objective is to give the reader an overview of the conditions and events that occurred before the war; some of the happenings during the war, and what could have taken place had the atomic bombs not been used.

Obviously no history can possibly include all of the events, so any history will always be limited by the writer?s ability to select and comprehend the facts and package them for his audience. The events selected for this account represent the more significant happenings during this time period and are believed to be fair and balanced as to which are included and which have been left out. The facts are presented as far as possible without any intentional bias, personal opinion and discussion, interpretation or editorial analysis. The objective is to let the facts speak for themselves. We do not have a North and South Japan today!

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