Cover: Racing the Enemy in PAPERBACK

Racing the Enemy

Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan

Add to Cart

Product Details


$30.50 • £24.95 • €27.50

ISBN 9780674022416

Publication Date: 09/30/2006


432 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

44 halftones, 5 maps - as two 16-page inserts

Belknap Press


The long debate among historians about American motives and Japanese efforts at ending World War II is finally resolved in Racing the Enemy, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa’s brilliant and definitive study of American, Soviet and Japanese records of the last weeks of the war.—Richard Rhodes, New York Times Book Review

Without doubt the best-informed book in English on Japanese and Soviet manoeuvres in the summer of 1945… [Hasegawa] provides an international context sorely missing from most previous work. He has mined Japanese and Russian literature and documentation and, despite much that is based on surmise, provides fresh insight into the extraordinary inability of Japanese leaders to surrender, and into Stalin’s machinations aimed at maximizing Soviet territorial gains in East Asia.—Warren I. Cohen, Times Literary Supplement

A landmark book that brilliantly examines a crucial moment in 20th-century history… [An] important, enlightening, and unsettling book.—Jonathan Rosenberg, Christian Science Monitor

What ended World War II? …Tsuyoshi Hasegawa—a highly respected historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara—has marshaled compelling evidence that it was the Soviet entry into the Pacific conflict, not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that forced Japan’s surrender. His interpretation could force a new accounting of the moral meaning of the atomic attack. It also raises provocative questions about nuclear deterrence, a foundation stone of military strategy in the postwar period. And it suggests that we could be headed towards an utterly different understanding of how, and why, the Second World War came to its conclusion.—Gareth Cook, Boston Globe

As Tsuyoshi Hasegawa has shown definitively in his new book, Racing the Enemy—and many other historians have long argued—it was the Soviet Union’s entry into the Pacific war on Aug. 8, two days after the Hiroshima bombing, that provided the final ‘shock’ that led to Japan’s capitulation.—Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, Los Angeles Times

The most comprehensive study yet undertaken of Japanese documentary sources. The highly praised study argues that the atomic bomb played only a secondary role in Japan’s decision to surrender. By far the most important factor, Hasegawa finds, was the entry of the Soviet Union into the war against Japan on Aug. 8, 1945, two days after the Hiroshima bombing.—Gar Alperovitz, Philadelphia Inquirer

Managing to convey the thought processes, assumptions and biases of the Imperial elite is Hasegawa’s greatest achievement… Hasegawa’s story is a weird, compelling one, and his case for revising our view of the leadup to VJ Day is overwhelming.—John Dolan, The Exile

One of the first to make a detailed study of the political interplay among the Soviet Union, Japan, and the United States in 1945.—Alex Kingsbury, U.S. News & World Report

[Racing the Enemy] might be called the definitive analysis of the U.S. decision to use atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has mined both Japanese and Soviet sources to produce the first truly international study of the Hiroshima decision.—Errol MacGregor Clauss, Winston-Salem Journal

Will we ever really know why Japan surrendered in World War II? In this judicious and meticulously researched study of the endgame of the conflict, [Hasegawa] internationalizes (by a thorough look at American, Japanese, and Soviet literature and archives) the diplomatic and political maneuvering that led to Japanese capitulation… No study has yet to bundle together the myriad works on the war’s end in such a complete manner… This work should become standard reading for scholars of World War II and American diplomacy.—Thomas Zeiler, American Historical Review

This book is a well-researched and provocative analysis of a fascinating yet neglected aspect of World War II: the American public’s conventional assumption is that Japan surrendered to the Allies because of American atomic bombs… Hasegawa’s conclusion raises tempting hypothetical questions for further research of this topic, and he provides intriguing answers to them.—Sean Savage, Historian

Tsuyoshi Hasegawa’s Racing the Enemy is a splendid book—the first to examine the end of the Second World War in the Asia Pacific from a comprehensive, international perspective. Based on archival and published materials in Russian, English, and Japanese, it provides a gripping account of the complex diplomatic maneuvers and political battles that culminated in the tumultuous events of August 1945… Hasegawa has written the first truly international history of the end of the Pacific War. By bringing hitherto separate literatures together into a much-needed dialogue, he has recast the contours of the whole debate. Racing the Enemy will remain essential reading for students of foreign policy and international history for many years to come.—Anno Tadashi, Monumenta Nipponica

Hasegawa’s study provides the most comprehensive examination yet published on the international factors that shaped the decision-making processes and policies adopted in Washington, Moscow, Potsdam and Tokyo, and which ultimately contributed to Japan’s surrender in 1945. Racing the Enemy provides a fresh and multi-faceted perspective on a well studied topic primarily because the author draws on information from Russian, Japanese and American archives and sources. While this study both complements and challenges the well-informed findings of Asada Sadao, Robert Butow, Richard Frank and Leon Sigal, the international framework in which Hasegawa places the surrender of Japan makes this book a compelling read for students and scholars alike.—J. Charles Schencking, Pacific Affairs

In summer 1945 Truman and his advisers set a foreign policy course that demanded American use of doomsday weapons not only against Japan but, indirectly, against humanity itself. In this groundbreaking book, Hasegawa argues that the atomic bombs were not as decisive in bringing about Japan’s unconditional surrender as Soviet entry into the Pacific War. His challenging study reveals the full significance of Truman’s decision not to associate Stalin with the Potsdam Declaration and offers fresh evidence of how Japan’s leaders viewed Stalin’s entrance into the war as the decisive factor. Others have shown that Truman missed opportunities to secure Japan’s unconditional surrender without an invasion or the nuclear destruction of Japanese cities. But few have so thoroughly documented the complex evasions and Machiavellism of Japanese, Russian, and, especially, American leaders in the process of war termination.—Herbert P. Bix, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

Racing the Enemy is a tour de force—a lucid, balanced, multi-archival, myth-shattering analysis of the turbulent end of World War II. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa sheds fascinating new light on fiercely debated issues including the U.S.–Soviet end game in Asia, the American decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan’s frantic response to the double shock of nuclear devastation and the Soviet Union’s abrupt declaration of war.—John W. Dower, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

In this landmark study, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa gives us the first truly international history of the critical final months leading to Japan’s surrender. Absorbing and authoritative, provocative and fair-minded, Racing the Enemy is required reading for anyone interested in World War II and in twentieth-century world affairs. A marvelously illuminating work.—Fredrik Logevall, author of Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam

With this book, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa will establish himself as the expert on the end of the war in the Pacific. This important work will attract a wide readership.—Ernest R. May, author of Strange Victory: Hitler’s Conquest of France

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

(logo) SpeakOUT: 50th Anniversary

Speaking with SpeakOut Boston

We continue our celebration of Pride Month by talking with some of the speakers who volunteer with SpeakOUT Boston. They share their stories with a variety of audiences to foster a better understanding of the LGBTQ+ community, so we thought we’d ask them some questions of our own.