Pearl HarborJapan's Attack and America's Entry into World War II
Pearl Harbor
Japan's Attack and America's Entry into World War II
Translated by Nick Somers
Hawaii, 7th December 1941, shortly before 8 in the morning: Japanese torpedo bombers launch a surprise attack on the US Pacific fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor. The devastating attack claims the lives of over 2,400 American soldiers, sinks or damages 18 ships and destroys nearly 350 aircraft. The US Congress declares war on Japan the following day. 

In this vivid and lively book, Takuma Melber breathes new life into the dramatic events that unfolded before, during and after Pearl Harbor by putting the perspective of the Japanese attackers at the centre of his account. This is the dimension commonly missing in most other histories of Pearl Harbor, and it gives Melber the opportunity to provide a fuller, more definitive and authoritative account of the battle, its background and its consequences. Melber sheds new light on the long negotiations that went on between the Japanese and Americans in 1941, and the confusion and argument among the Japanese political and military elite. He shows how US intelligence and military leaders in Washington failed to interpret correctly the information they had and to draw the necessary conclusions about the Japanese war intentions in advance of the attack. His account of the battle itself is informed by the latest research and benefits from including the planning and post-raid assessment by the Japanese commanders. His account also covers the second raid in March 1942 by two long-range seaplanes which was intended to destroy the shipyards so that ships damaged in the initial attack could not be repaired. 

This balanced and thoroughly researched book deepens our understanding of the battle that precipitated America’s entry into the war and it will appeal to anyone interested in World War II and military history.
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  • November 2020
  • 200 pages
  • 145 x 219 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $25.00
  • 9781509537204
  • Open eBook $20.00
  • 9781509537211
About the Author
Takuma Melber teaches history and transcultural studies at Heidelberg University.
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'Melber offers a fresh, dramatic account of events in 1941, when Japan headed into a war with the United States that most Japanese policymakers knew their country was not likely to win... Readers know how the story ends, but Melber’s just-the-facts narrative re-creates the tension of the events as they were lived.'
Foreign Affairs

‘Melber clearly is on top of his subject matter, having mastered the story of Pearl Habor from the perspectives of both Japan and the United States.  In so doing he offers fascinating new insights into what led to the attack on Pearl Harbor and thus to America’s entry into the Second World War.  He displays a thorough knowledge of the Japanese and American literature, and he writes in a manner that is both accessible and authoritative.  This is an excellent book and it will find a ready readership both among university students and among the general public.’
Richard Bessel, University of York

‘There is no shortage of historical literature on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, so it is a brave historian who seeks to find a new way to present a familiar story. The great merit of Takuma Melber’s new book on the battle is his access to Japanese sources and literature. This is the dimension commonly missing in most accounts, and it gives Melber the opportunity to provide a fuller, more definitive and authoritative account of the battle, its background, and its consequences.  Melber writes with great economy on a big subject, and he writes with flair and precision: this book is a literary achievement as well as a work of exceptional scholarship.’
Richard Overy, University of Exeter

‘Here is a new look at the dramatic way Japan drew the United States into World War II.  The drawing of additional details from a variety of Japanese sources as well as the published and archival material in English and German offers the reader an excellent and balanced introduction to a very important event.’
Gerhard L. Weinberg, William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of History Emeritus, University of North Carolina

"[A] penetrating study of one of the key events of the 20th century from the Japanese rather than the usual American perspective. Melber’s nuanced picture of Japanese wartime decision-making exposes the deep rifts in the country’s military and civilian leadership. His clinical analysis of the diplomatic to-and-fro between Tokyo and Washington in the months before the attack lays bare the inevitable slide towards war."
The Australian

"In this vivid book, Takuma Melber breathes new life into the dramatic events that unfolded before, during, and after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. By putting the Japanese attackers' perspective at the centre of his account, he provides a more comprehensive and authoritative history of the battle, its background, and its consequences."
Military History
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