Japan

A preeminent author recalls his experience as one of America's first combat historians, among a handful of men who accompanied soldiers into the bloodiest battles to write history as it was being made

Editor’s note: Fresh from Williams College’s history program, the author entered World War II as a 24-year-old combat historian, earning four combat medals and a Bronze Star. Read more >>

A young man from Queens jumps into the thick of World War II intelligence activities by translating secret Japanese messages

IN HIS MARVELOUS MEMOIR, Flights of Passage, my friend and onetime colleague Samuel Hynes, a Marine Corps combat aviator in World War II, writes that the war is the shared secret of his generation—those young men who came of age between December 7, 1941, and September 2, 1945. Read more >>

Was he the Beast of Bataan, or was his true war crime defeating Douglas MacArthur? A troubling look at the problems of military justice

Stationed near Nagasaki at the close of the war, a young photographer ventured into the devastated city, and stayed for months

A historian of the ancient world believes that in every era humankind has reacted to the demands of waging war in surprisingly similar ways, and that to protect our national interests today Americans must understand the choices soldiers and statesmen made hundreds and even thousands of years ago

In a time when the usefulness of the past as a means to comprehend the present remains the object of skepticism, if not outright attack, inside the academy, Donald Kagan, the former dean of Yale College and a professor of ancient history, has published a book about the necessit Read more >>

An overheard remark sent the author off on a years-long quest to discover the truth about a man whose power to inspire both rage and reverence has only grown after his death

As a ten-year-old boy, the author had a role to play in bringing Douglas MacArthur’s vision of democracy to a shattered Japan

On August 30, 1945, just days after Japan capitulated, ending World War II, Douglas MacArthur first set foot on the island nation, to set up temporary headquarters at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama—and to set in motion a unique experiment that little more than three and a half Read more >>

The author entered the conquered capital days after the surrender to meet high officers of the Imperial Navy

Fifty years ago, in the summer of 1945, I was a naval officer in Norfolk, Virginia, contemplating my inevitable return to the Western Pacific, when two bombs were dropped, the Soviets entered the war, and the Japanese emperor prevailed on his government to th Read more >>
On the morning of August 6, 1945, the American B-29 Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later another B-29, Bock’s Car , released one over Nagasaki. Read more >>

How Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Agriculture sent an eccentric Russian mystic on a sensitive mission to Asia and thereby created diplomatic havoc, personal humiliation, and embarrassment for the administration

Early in 1934 Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Read more >>

Early in the century a young American accurately predicted Japan’s imperialism and China’s and Russia’s rise. Then he set out to become China’s soldier leader.

In October 1941 Clare Boothe Luce, the playwright, journalist, politician, and wife of the magazine tycoon Henry Luce, had dinner with half a dozen army officers in their quarters on top of an ancient Spanish fort beside the harbor of Manila. Read more >>

These World War II airmen had one of the most dangerous missions of all, piloting unarmed cargo planes over the Hump—the high and treacherous Himalayas

Cookie Byrd is punching my card. We’ve just met in the convention center at Harrah’s, in Reno. Read more >>

In a conflict that saw saturation bombing, Auschwitz, and the atom bomb, poison gas was never used in the field. What prevented it?

Forty years ago, on August 6 and 9, 1945, American B-29s dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, killing at least 110,000 and possibly 250,000 Japanese and speeding that nation’s surrender. Read more >>

Two letters from a Navy lieutenant to his wife tell the story of the last hours of World War II

YOKOSUKA 9·4·45 My dear: Read more >>

She was the last major American warship sunk during World War II, and her sinking was the single worst open-sea disaster in our naval history. How could it have happened?

On July 16, 1945, the heavy cruiser Indianapolis departed the California coast for the Pacific island of Tinian. On board was a heavily guarded top-secret cargo destined to end the war. Read more >>
It is early 1945. An American bomber crew is anxiously nearing the now familiar islands of the Japanese Empire. Flak begins to burst around the plane as the target comes into view. Read more >>

A marine correspondent recalls the deadliest battle of the Pacific war

The Horrors of Bataan, Recalled by the Survivors

During three harrowing years as a prisoner of the Japanese, an American woman secretly kept an extraordinary journal of suffering, hope, ingenuity, and human endurance

On any list of events that have altered the course of history the opening of Japan to foreign trade in 1854 must surely rank high. Read more >>

Sixteen years before Pearl Harbor an English naval expert uncannily prophesied in detail the war in the Pacific. Now comes evidence that the Japanese heeded his theories—but not his warnings

As soon as Imperial Japan destroyed the Russian Navy in a spectacular sea battle at the Straits of Tsushima in 1905, a rash of would-be Cassandras began to foretell the day when the rays of the Rising Sun would spread eastward across the Pacific, bringing Jap Read more >>

An eyewitness account of the World War II battle in the Pacific.

Japan’s feudal, shut-in history suddenly came to an end when the bluff American commodore dropped anchor in Tokyo Bay

Throughout the mid-1830’s there raged in American naval circles, as veil as in Congress when defense appropriations came up, a debate on the wisdom of introducing into our sail-driven frigate fleet a revolutionary new method of propulsion—steam. Most captains as well as congressmen were opposed to the innovation. It was costly. It was uncertain. Sailors knew nothing about machinery and did not want to learn. There had even been a near-mutiny when a Navy crew refused to hoist out firebox clinkers from an experimental floating battery designed by Fulton. Read more >>

The story of Manjiro, the shipwrecked waif; of the kindly captain from Fairhaven; and of how Japan, hidden away from the world, learned strange news of other lands