Sworn to Secrecy: Secrets of War: Season 1, Episode 35

Japan: The Invasion That Never Was

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The secret US plan for the invasion of Japan was shrouded in secrecy. It was anticipated to be the most horrific battle of the war with hundreds of thousands of casualties. New revelations ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Narrator
Carl Boyd ...
Himself - Author 'Hitler's Japanese Confidant' (as Professor Carl Boyd)
Katsuhiro Hara ...
Himself - Author / Historian
Larry I. Bland ...
Himself - Editor, George C. Marshall Papers (as Dr. Larry Bland)
Norman Polmar ...
Himself - Co-Author 'Code Name: Downfall'
Thomas B. Allen ...
Himself - Co-Author 'Code Name: Downfall' (as Thomas Allen)
Sheldon H. Harris ...
Himself - Author 'Factories of Death' (as Sheldon Harris)
John Moon ...
Himself - Professor of History Emeritus, Fitchburg State College (as John Ellis van Courtland Moon)
David Hatch ...
Himself - Director, Center for Cryptologic History (as Dr. David Hatch)
Joseph E. Persico ...
Himself - Roosevelt and Espionage Historian
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hirohito ...
Himself (archive footage)
Douglas MacArthur ...
Himself (archive footage)
George C. Marshall ...
Himself (archive footage)
Chester W. Nimitz ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

The secret US plan for the invasion of Japan was shrouded in secrecy. It was anticipated to be the most horrific battle of the war with hundreds of thousands of casualties. New revelations detail manipulated casualty figures and secret plans to stockpile gas weapons as the US prepared for "hell on earth." Written by Anonymous

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User Reviews

Too Awful To Think About.
16 May 2015 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

The Japanese code of Bushido dated back to the 11th century, about the time Robin Hood was enjoying himself in Sherwood Forest. Bushido called for honor unto death, although several variations were in effect. It mostly applied to the warrior class.

Before and during World War II, the militarist government of Japan imbued the whole population -- noble or otherwise -- with the idea that dying for the Emporer was somehow good. A nationalist spirit existed part of, and yet apart from, the individual. This may or may not be difficult for Westerners to understand but it shouldn't be. Every nation has it to a greater or lesser extent. (What is "American Exceptionalism"? What is the difference between gallantry and fanaticism?)

Throughout the war, the Japanese fought with ferocity and rarely surrendered. They often preferred suicide to capture, including the civilians of Saipan. And these were the people, hunkered down on their four home islands, that the Allies would face during an invasion. Charlton Heston, the narrator, must have found this episode interesting because he was at a staging area in the Aleutian Islands preparing for the attack.

It's curious to see how the president, Truman by then, was subject to manipulation. The former president Herbert Hoover advised him to negotiate a surrender, even if it meant leaving Korea to the Japanese, because nothing would be worth the half-million to one million casualties incurred by an invasion. The military, led by Generals Marshall and MacArthur, wanted to plunge ahead. But Truman balked at the estimate of American dead. So his military staff began to mask the horrifying raw numbers by giving Truman ratios of dead Japanese to dead Americans. Some of the sting was taken out of the message.

But Truman was still worried, and gave consideration to General Marshall's suggestion that Japanese cities be bombed with poison gas. The Chiefs of Staff agreed The US already has more than 144 thousand tons of poison gas stockpiles and Marshall was intent on seeing them used.

In the event, the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan brought the war to an end, but only after the Emporer himself had decided that his people had suffered enough. Some militarists, intent on fighting to the death, attempted a coup but were put down. The public had never heard the Emperor's voice before the broadcast, and the pronouncement was carefully written. "The war did not develop according to plan, and our people have suffered enough. Therefore, we end the war." The word "surrender" was never used.


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