The Last Mission by Jim Smith & Malcolm McConnell
The Secret History of World War II's Final Battle

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Synopsis

A gripping account of the final American bombing mission of World War II and how it prevented a military coup that would have kept Japan in the war.

How close did the Japanese come to not surrendering to Allied forces on August 15, 1945? The Last Mission explores this question through two previously neglected strands of late—World War II history, whose very interconnections could have caused a harrowing shift in the course of the postwar world. On the final night of the war, as Emperor Hirohito recorded a message of surrender for the Japanese people, a band of Japanese rebels, commanded by War Minister Anami's elite staff, burst into the palace. They had plotted a massive coup that aimed to destroy the recordings of the Imperial Rescript of surrender and issue false orders forged with the Emperor’s seal commanding the widely dispersed Japanese military to continue the war. If this rebellion had succeeded, the military would have proceeded with large-scale kamikaze attacks on Allied forces, costing huge casualties and just possibly provoking the Americans to drop a third atomic bomb on Japan over Tokyo–and continue to drop more bombs as Japanese resistance stiffened.

Meanwhile, in the midst of an “end-of-war” celebration on Guam, Air Force radio operator Jim Smith and his fellow crewmen received urgent orders for a bombing mission over Japan’s sole remaining oil refinery north of Tokyo. As a stream of American B-29B bombers approached Tokyo, Japanese air defenses, fearing the approaching planes signaled the threat of a third atomic bomb, ordered a total blackout in Tokyo and the Imperial Palace, completely disrupting the rebels’ plans. Smith and his fellow crewmembers completed the mission, and a few hours later, the Emperor announced the surrender over Japan’s airwaves, dictating the end of the war.

The Last Mission is an insightful piece of speculative investigation that combines narrative storytelling with historical contingency and explores how two seemingly unrelated events could have profoundly changed the course of modern history.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Jim Smith & Malcolm McConnell

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Jim Smith, (born James Carl Jobb in 1954, Lubbock, Texas), iJim Smith, (born James Carl Jobb in 1954, Lubbock, Texas), is an American animator and musician. He worked on Mighty Mous an American animator and musician. He worked on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures with his long-time working partner Jose: The New Adventures with his long-time working partner John Kricfalusi. Smith later briefly worked on Tiny Toon Advenhn Kricfalusi. Smith later briefly worked on Tiny Toon Adventures, and then along with Kricfalusi, Bob Camp, and Lynne Ntures, and then along with Kricfalusi, Bob Camp, and Lynne Naylor, he founded Sp mc where he co-created Ren & Stimpy andaylor, he founded Sp mc where he co-created Ren & Stimpy and The Ripping Friends. Jim also worked on Dreamworks feature The Ripping Friends. Jim also worked on Dreamworks feature film Monsters Vs. Aliens. He is also the one playing the guifilm Monsters Vs. Aliens. He is also the one playing the guitar for the Ren and Stimpy theme in the intro. His performantar for the Ren and Stimpy theme in the intro. His performance name is Jelly-Roel, Jelly Roll. ce name is Jelly-Roel, Jelly Roll. One of the UK's leading educational innovators, trainers and speakers, combining work with young people and educationalists around the world with writing and TV appearances. He is the author of numerous books including The Little Book of Thunks which won the Author's Licensing and Collecting Society Award for Educational Writing by the Society of Authors.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Broadway Books. 384 pages
Genres: War, Literature & Fiction, History, Travel, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A radio operator on the final US bombing mission over Japan teams with military historian McConnell (Inside Hanoi’s Secret Archive, 1995, etc.) to chronicle that mission’s unintended effect on a nationalist attempt to prevent Emperor Hirohito’s surrender.

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Publishers Weekly

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As dramatized by Smith, a WWII B-29 radio operator, and prolific military historian McConnell, Japan's surrender looks something like this: Emperor Hirohito, persuaded by the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and by the active imprecations of some of his cabinet ministers, decid...

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