A history of the trial of Japan's leaders as war criminals—the largely overlooked Asian counterpart to Nuremberg.
In the weeks after Japan finally surrendered to the Allies to end World War II, the world turned to the question of how to move on from years of carnage and destruction. For Harry Truman, Douglas MacArthur, Chiang Kai-shek, and their fellow victors, the question of justice seemed clear: Japan's militaristic leaders needed to be tried and punished for the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor; shocking atrocities against civilians in China, the Philippines, and elsewhere; and rampant abuses of prisoners of war in notorious incidents such as the Bataan death march. For the Allied powers, the trial was an opportunity to render judgment on their vanquished foes, but also to create a legal framework to prosecute war crimes and prohibit the use of aggressive war, building a more peaceful world under international law and American hegemony. For the Japanese leaders on trial, it was their chance to argue that their war had been waged to liberate Asia from Western imperialism and that the court was victors' justice.
An elegantly written and comprehensive treatment of the prosecution of Japanese war crimes after the Second World War ... Though Bass’s book does not stint on historical analysis, it is written with the panache of a journalist who knows how to pace a scene ... Dramatic.
Bass begins his massive, magisterial account of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials with American military police arriving to arrest former Japanese prime minister Tojo Hideki at his home on September 11, 1945 ... Bass is a marvelous writer. He has a sharp, clear eye for telling detail. He may tell readers more than they care to know about the Tokyo war trials over the course of 692 pages, but the book, as he puts it, is history 'in the round.' Readers will learn a great deal about a fascinating time that saw the collapse of Western empire in the Far East, the rise of Communist China, and the astonishing birth of a modern, peaceful, democratic Japan from the ashes of a war-mongering, semi-feudal society run by militarists with a death wish.
[A] comprehensive, landmark and riveting book, which is both a sickening record of atrocities and a legal, hairsplitting analysis, as the judges argued over natural law, aggressive war, chain of command and more ... Bass employs the complexities of the trial as a fulcrum to sketch a wide canvas.