Annotated Pacific War Bibliography
Part IV. Showa and Post-Pacific War Periods

A. The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). Works which focus primarily on the IJA as an institution, its history, and demise.

1. Barnhart, Michael A. Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security, 1919-1941. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987.

Barnhart's classic study of the Imperial Japanese Army "total war" faction during the inter-war period. These officers exerted a profound influence on Japanese strategic thinking and policy as a result of their analysis of the WWI lessons regarding industrial warfare. Barnhart illustrates the irony of a Japanese quest for autarky for a fight with the Soviet Union that eventually embroils them in wars with both China and the United States.

2. Coox, Alvin D. Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939, Vols I&II . Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985.

Alvin Coox's huge two-volume set is essentially a history of the Manchurian-based Kwantung Army (KA). This work's title refers to the Soviet-Japanese conflict along the Khalkin Gol River in 1939 near the village of Nomonhan A complete history is provided of the KA and its important role vis--vis Japan's quest for natural resources and stability in China. Perhaps most importantly Nomonhan documents the increasing independence of the KA, which had a malign and profound influence on the events leading to war. Too, Nomonhan illustrates historically the failure of the Japanese to perhaps learn the more fundamental tactical and operational lessons of modern war in the climactic disaster along the Khalkin Gol River.

3. ________. "Flawed Perception and its Effect upon Operational Thinking: The Case of the Japanese Army, 1937-41," in Michael I. Handel (ed.) Intelligence and Military Operations, London: Frank Cass and Company, 1990.

Coox supports the standard view of IJA mismanagement and failure at the operational level of war.

4. Coox, Alvin D. The Anatomy of a Small War: The Soviet-Japanese Struggle for Changkufeng/Khasan, 1938. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1997. Originally published London, 1977.

Coox account of the "warm-up" in Chngkufeng between IJA and Soviet army for Nonomhan.

5. Drea, Edward J. Nomonhan: Japanese-Soviet Tactical Combat 1939. Leavenworth Paper #2. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, U.S.Army Command and General Staff College, 1981.

A detailed examination and translation of the war diary of a battalion of the IJA 28th infantry regiment. Drea's motivation came from the Cold War desire to study Soviet tactics at the battalion level. Drea provides substantial evidence regarding the archaic Japanese tactical and operational doctrine just prior to the Pacific War and their complete dependence upon "spirit" or courage as a counterweight to modern firepower.

6. Drea, Edward J. In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1998.

A must for any serious student of the Pacific War, particularly those interested in the institution known as the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). Drea covers a surprising range of topics that include, but are not limited to, the Pacific War period He manages to do this in part because he has no need to support an overarching thesis or theme. In the process he manages to provide valuable insight on most of the current dialogues and issues regarding the IJA and the Japanese Military in general. . Of particular note is the essay "Chasing a Decisive Victory," among the most concise and illuminating examinations of the Japanese strategic leadership during the war.

7.___________. "In the Army Barracks of Imperial Japan," from Armed Forces and Society 1989 15 (3), 329-348.

8. Harries, Meiron and Susie. Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army. New York: Random House, 1991.

Soldiers of the Sun is a comprehensive institutional history of the IJA, covering 1868-1945. This lengthy work came out in the early 90's and serves a good reference source, covering the most important themes, events, and individuals in the creation, development, and eventual dissolution of the IJA.

9. Hoyt, Edwin P. Japan's War: The Great Pacific Conflict. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986.

A pedestrian popular history of World War II in the Pacific.

10. Humphreys, Leonard. The Way of the Heavenly Sword: The Japanese Army in the 1920s. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.

Humphreys attempts to explain how the Japanese army evolved from the promising nationalist army of the late nineteenth century to the dysfunctional Imperial Army of the 1930s. Humphreys identifies the key period of transformation as the 1920s. Perhaps the strongest point of Humphreys's book is the fact that he illuminates the process by which a once unified army under Yamagata evolved into an army split into cliques and factions.

11. Nunneley, John ed. And Kazuo Tamayama ed. Tales By Japanese Soldiers of the Burma Campaign 1942-1945. London: Cassell & Co., 2000.

This book portrays the war in Burma from an entirely different perspective. The editors present the sixty-two stories in chronological order and provide notes and a brief introduction to describe, very basically, the operational aspect of the war.

12. Peattie, Mark R.. Ishiwara Kanji and Japan's Confrontation with the West. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975.

A spellbinding book and a must for anyone who wishes to understand the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) prior to the Pacific War. Peattie's vehicle is the career of the enigmatic theorist of war and mastermind of the Japanese conquest of Manchuria: Ishiwara Kanji. For Peattie understanding Ishiwara provides insight into the broader topic of Japan's confrontation and eventual war with the west.

13. Saburo, Hayashi. Kogun: The Japanese Army in the Pacific War. (Quantico Va: Marine Corps Association, 1959).

An excellent summary of the Japanese Army's role in the Pacific and Asia in the Pacific War. Saburo provides unique insight due to his training as an intelligence officer and from a vantage point within the inner circle of the Japanese high command in the last year of the war.

14. Shillony, Ben-Ami. Revolt in Japan: The Young Officers and the February 26, 1936 Incident. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973.

An important and seminal work that is key to understanding the role of the Japanese Military in the interwar period. Provides detail and narrative on IJA factionalism that lead to the violent coup attempt in 1936. The Young Officer, Kodoha or Imperial Way faction, and Toseiha (control) factions are all addressed. This study highlights the sub-currents and cross-purposes within the culture of the IJA as well as illustrating the firm roots of the Young Officers with the important rural elements of Japan.

15. Richard Smethurst. A Social Basis for Prewar Japanese Militarism: The Army and the Rural Community. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.

In this impressively researched text, Richard Smethurst analyzes the relationship between the Japanese military and Japanese civilians between 1910 and 1945.

16. Yoshihashi, Takehiko. Conspiracy at Mukden: The Rise of the Japanese Military. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1980.

Yoshihashi provides context and detail for the key event in the early 30's leading to Japan's establishment of the puppet regime of Manchuoko in Manchuria. With respect to the IJA and KA it is full of detail and provides excellent context for the process of the military's resurgent role in dominating Japan's policy not just for China but for the entire region.