Japan's Imperial Army : its rise and fall, 1853-1945 /
Edward J. Drea.
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2009.
ix, 332 p.
0700616632 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780700616633 (cloth : alk. paper)
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series title
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2009.
0700616632 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780700616633 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Prelude to imperial restoration -- Civil war and the new army -- Dealing with the samurai -- The Army of Meiji -- To Asia : the Sino-Japanese War -- Back to the continent : the Russo-Japanese War -- Institutionalizing national military strategy -- Short war or total war? -- Conspiracies, coups, and reshaping the army -- The pivotal years, 1937-1941 -- The Asia-Pacific War -- Epilogue.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-02-01:
For historians of pre-WW II Japan's armed forces, this monograph may serve as a companion volume to Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941 (CH, May'98, 35-5234), by Mark R. Peattie and the late David C. Evans. Drea recounts how domestic, rather than external, factors shaped the Imperial Japanese Army's (IJA) notable--or notorious--characteristics, such as independence of command, excessive emphasis on fighting spirit, detesting of captivity, and atrocities--especially during WW II. Drea regards the 1920s as a crucial watershed period that marked the beginning of the IJA's fateful path to its ultimate demise, as did Leonard A. Humphreys in his The Way of the Heavenly Sword (CH, Jan'96, 33-2882). Even though many of the Japanese-language sources listed in the book's bibliography already address these topics, this publication is meaningful as the first English-language source to analyze them from a Western viewpoint. A debatable aspect is Drea's frequent quoting from Western sources (or even absence of footnotes) in his discussion of controversial issues, including atrocities, despite his policy of a heavier reliance on Japanese-language sources as professed in the preface. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Undergraduates to researchers/faculty. M. Yamamoto The University of Wyoming
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2010
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Main Description
Popular impressions of the imperial Japanese army still promote images of suicidal banzai charges and fanatical leaders blindly devoted to their emperor. Edward Drea looks well past those stereotypes to unfold the more complex story of how that army came to power and extended its influence at home and abroad to become one of the worlds dominant fighting forces. This first comprehensive English-language history of the Japanese army traces its origins, evolution, and impact as an engine of the countrys regional and global ambitions and as a catalyst for the militarization of the Japanese homeland from mid-nineteenth-century incursions through the end of World War II. Demonstrating his mastery of Japanese-language sources, Drea explains how the Japanese style of warfare, burnished by samurai legends, shaped the army, narrowed its options, influenced its decisions, and made it the institution that conquered most of Asia. He also tells how the armys intellectual foundations shifted as it reinvented itself to fulfill the changing imperatives of Japanese society-and how the army in turn decisively shaped the nations political, social, cultural, and strategic course. Drea recounts how Japan devoted an inordinate amount of its treasury toward modernizing, professionalizing, and training its army-which grew larger, more powerful, and politically more influential with each passing decade. Along the way, it produced an efficient military schooling system, a well-organized active duty and reserve force, a professional officer corps that thought in terms of regional threat, and well-trained soldiers armed with appropriate weapons. Encompassing doctrine, strategy, weaponry, and civil-military relations, Dreas expert study also captures the dominant personalities who shaped the imperial army, from Yamagata Aritomo, an incisive geopolitical strategist, to Anami Korechika, who exhorted the troops to fight to the death during the final days of World War II. Summing up, Drea also suggests that an army that places itself above its nations interests is doomed to failure.

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