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War in the American Pacific and East Asia, 1941-1972

edited by Hal M. Friedman with contributions by Rebecca Robbins Raines, Steven C. Call, Stephen Houseknecht, Josh Levy, Katherine Reist, Nicholas E. Sarantakes, Sarandis Papadopoulos, and David Ulbrich

Availablecloth$60.00x 978-0-8131-7655-0
AUSA Books
278 pages  Pubdate: 02/22/2019  6 x 9  3 b&w photos, 13 maps

Before 1940, the Japanese empire stood as the greatest single threat to the American presence in the Pacific and East Asia. To a lesser degree, the formerly hegemonic colonial powers of Britain, France, and the Netherlands still controlled portions of the region. At the same time, subjugated peoples in East Asia and Southeast Asia struggled to throw off colonialism. By the late 1930s, the competition exploded into armed conflict. Japan looked like the early victor, but the United States eventually established itself as the hegemonic power in the Pacific Basin by 1945. Yet when it comes to the American movement out into the Pacific, there is more to the story that has yet to be revealed.

In War in the American Pacific and East Asia, 1941–1972, editor Hal Friedman brings together nine essays that explore lesser known aspects and consequences of America’s military expansion into the Pacific during and after World War II. This study explores how the United States won the Pacific War against Japan and how it sought to secure that victory in the decades that followed, ensure it never endured another Pearl Harbor–style defeat, and saw the Pacific fulfill a Manifest Destiny–like role as an American frontier projected toward East Asia.

The collection explores the role of the US military in the Pacific Basin in different ways by presenting essays on interservice rivalry and military advising as well as unique topics that are new to military history, such as the investigations of strategic communications, military public relations, institutional cultures of elite forces, foodways, and the military’s interaction with the press. Together, these essays provide a path for historians to pursue groundbreaking areas of research about the Pacific and establish the Pacific War as the pivotal point in the twentieth century in the Pacific Basin.

Hal M. Friedman is professor of modern history at Henry Ford College. He is the author of Governing the American Lake: The US Defense and Administration of the Pacific, 1945–1947, Arguing over the American Lake: Bureaucracy and Rivalry in the US Pacific, 1945–1947, and Digesting History: The US Naval War College, the Lessons of World War II, and Future Naval Warfare, 1945–1947, among other works.

This fine collection of essays relating to the Pacific War and its aftermath truly meets its goal of offering “New Dimensions.” Subjects range from theater-wide communications, media and popular culture, civil-military relations, bickering over atomic strategy, and training allied forces to the question of employing ultra elite troops within an already select service. Highly recommended. -- John B. Lundstrom, author of Black Shoe Carrier Admiral

War in the American Pacific and East Asia, 1941–1972 is a powerful analysis of the US military’s influence—both good and bad—on the Asian Pacific peoples and nations during and after World War II. Editor Hal Friedman and the collection’s distinguished authors also present truly insightful interpretations of the impact on the military services resulting from their combat and occupational duties in the region. This book is a must-read for those interested in the strategic, operational, joint-service, administrative, and cultural aspects of the American presence in Asia during an especially eventful era. -- Edward J. Marolda, editor of The US Navy in the Korean War

The seven historians represented here address previously little examined aspects of World War II and its aftermath in the Pacific and East Asia. They identify and analyze problems the US military had to deal with during the war and in the years immediately following, and the various roles they were called upon to play. Each of these essays is the product of broad reading in the field as well as substantial original research, much of it archival. The thoughtful conclusions rendered provide a lens though which to view the present challenges in the Pacific and East Asian areas. -- Kathleen Broome Williams, Ph.D.

Unlike conventional histories of World War II and the Cold War, this book neither ends nor begins with the Japanese surrender of 1945.  Instead—and therein hangs its great strength – it shines a bright light on the continuities of the pre- and post-surrender periods, and in so doing adds greatly to our understanding of both.  Hats off to the historians who have unearthed and polished the jewels contained in this volume, and for the facts and insights they have presented in such a provocative and highly readable fashion. -- Capt. Peter Swartz, USN (Ret.), research team director at the Center for Naval Analyses

Eschewing the traditional strategic and operational aspects of World War II and early Cold War in the Pacific histories, this outstanding study addresses such diverse topics as communications technology, mass media public relations, and cultural interaction underscoring the theme of “war by other means” and demonstrating the ability of the United States to overcome obstacles to ultimate victory. -- Stanley D. M. Carpenter, author of Military Leadership in the British Civil Wars, 1642-1651: "The Genius of This Age"

There is more to the story of American movement out into the Pacific than the battles and campaigns most readers are familiar with. Each of the essays in this strong collection tells us about some of the lesser known, but important, aspects and consequences of America’s military expansion into the Pacific during and immediately after World War II. Written in clear accessible prose, this collection is well-suited for undergraduate and graduate student audiences. -- Marc Gallicchio, co-author of Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific, 1944-1945