The Last Mission

The Last Mission

The Secret Story of World War II's Final Battle

Book - 2002
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Baker & Taylor
Traces the events surrounding the final American bombing mission of World War II, identifying a Japanese rebel plot for a massive coup that would have kept Japan in the war and prevented its surrender to Allied forces in August 1945.

Blackwell North Amer
How close did the Japanese come to not surrendering to Allied forces on August 15, 1945? The Last Mission explores this question through two previously neglected strands of late-World War II history. On the final night of the war, as Emperor Hirohito recorded a message of surrender for the Japanese people, a band of Japanese rebels, commanded by War Minister Anami's elite staff, burst into the Imperial Palace. They had plotted a massive coup that aimed to destroy the recording of the Imperial Rescript of surrender and issue orders, forged with the Emperor's seal, commanding the widely dispersed Japanese military to continue the war. If this rebellion had succeeded, the military would have proceeded with large-scale kamikaze attacks on Allied forces, inflicting many casualties and possibly provoking the Americans to drop a third atomic bomb on Japan - and continue to drop more bombs as Japanese resistance stiffened.
Meanwhile, in the midst of an "end-of-war" celebration on Guam, B-29B crewmen, including radio operator Jim Smith, received urgent orders to begin a bombing mission over Japan's sole remaining oil refinery north of Tokyo. As a stream of American B-29B bombers approached Tokyo, Japanese air defenses, fearing that the approaching planes signaled the threat of a third atomic bomb, ordered a total blackout in Tokyo and the Imperial Palace, completely disrupting the rebel's plans. Smith and his crew completed the mission, and a few hours later the Emperor announced the surrender over Japan's airwaves, dictating the end of the war. Did this final bombing mission of World War II literally, if inadvertently, prevent months of accelerating carnage on both sides?

Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, 2002
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780767907781
0767907787
Branch Call Number: 940.5449 MCCON
Additional Contributors: Smith, Jim B.
Notes: Expanded and revised version of Jim B. Smith's 1st person account: The last mission. 1995

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