Imperial Japan's World War Two

By Werner Gruhl

        Gruhl's narrative makes clear why Japan's World War II aggression still touches deep emotions with East Asians and Western ex-prisoners of war, and why there is justifiable sensitivity to the way modern Japan has dealt with this legacy. Knowledge of the enormity of Japan's total war is also necessary to assess the United States' and her allies' policies toward Japan, and their reactions to its actions, extending from Manchuria in 1931 to Hiroshima in 1945. Gruhl takes the view that World War II started in 1931 when Japan, crowded and poor in raw materials but with a sense of military invincibility, saw empire as her salvation and invaded China.

        Japan's imperial regime had volatile ambitions but limited resources, thus encouraging them to unleash a particularly brutal offensive against the people of Asia and surrounding ocean islands. Their 1931 to 1945 invasion and policies further added to Asia's pre-war woes, particularly in China, by badly disrupting marginal economies, leading to famines and epidemics. Altogether, the victims of Japan's World War Two aggression took many forms and were massive in number.

        Gruhl offers a survey and synthesis of the historical literature and documentation, statistical data, as well as personnel interviews and first hand accounts to provide a comprehensive overview analysis. The sequence of diplomatic and military events leading to Pearl Harbor, as well as well as those leading to the U.S. decision to drop the atomic bomb are explored here as well as Japan's war crimes and post war revisionist/apologist views regarding them. This book will be of intense interest to Asian specialists, and those concerned with human rights in a historical context.

        Werner Gruhl is former chief of NASA's Cost and Economic Analysis Branch with a lifetime interest in study of the First and Second World Wars.




1. Remembrance: The Matter of Representation in WWII Historiography

2. War Victims and Statistics

3. War and Peace and Imperial Japan

4. The Stage for Tragedy (Battles in China 1931-1941 & U.S. Reaction)

5. The Expanded Stage for Tragedy (Battles in China, S.E. Asia & Pacific, 1942-45)

6. Violent Death in China

7. Violent Death in Southeast Asia and the Indian and Pacific Islands

8. Forced Laborers, Refugees, and Privation Victims

9. The Raped, Tortured, Prisoners, and the Horrific Total

10. Devastation

11. China's Plight and Contribution to Allied Victory

12. Responsibility for War And War Crimes

13. The Bombs of August: Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Perspective

14. Conclusion




World Map of Axis Conquests

China Map with Major Battles and Events, 1931-1941

Asian-Pacific Theater Map and Events, 1931-1945

China Map with Major Battles and Events, 1942-1945

Tables & Figures

1. Comparison of Casualty Estimates

2. Comparison of Casualty Estimates, Continued

3. Measuring Axis Aggression, and World War II Cost in Lives

4. Military and Civilian Deaths, and Military Forces

5. Chinese Death Toll, 1931-1945

6. Understanding Famine & Disease Deaths

7. Allied Asian-Pacific War Deaths by Cause, and by State

8. Allied Asian-Pacific War Severely Affected Casualties

9. Japanese Casualties

10. Cities, Villages, and Populations Sacrificed to the War

11. Cost of Battles in Defense of China, and Chinese Resolute Actions or Victories against the Japanese

12. Lives Taken in Previous Wars & Colonization

13. "The whole goddamn war was a horrible thing," and Lives Spared by the A-Bomb

14. Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Perspective

15. War Crimes Trials

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Hardcover and Soft Covers,
254 pages

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Copyright © 2006 Werner Gruhl