The Desperate Diplomat: Saburo Kurusu's Memoir of the Weeks before Pearl Harbor (Hardcover)

The Desperate Diplomat: Saburo Kurusu's Memoir of the Weeks before Pearl Harbor Cover Image
By J. Garry Clifford (Editor), Masako R. Okura (Editor)
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On December 7, 1941, the course of U.S. history changed forever with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Three weeks prior, Japanese Special Envoy to the United States Saburo Kurusu visited Washington in an attempt to further peace talks between Japan and America and spare his country the loss he knew would occur if a war began. But as he reported, “Working for peace is not as simple as starting a war.” For more than seventy years, many have unfairly viewed Kurusu and his visit as part of the Pearl Harbor plot. Editors J. Garry Clifford and Masako R. Okura seek to dispel this myth with their edition of Kurusu’s memoir, The Desperate Diplomat.

Kurusu published his personal memoir in 1952, in Japanese, describing his efforts to prevent war between the two nations, his total lack of knowledge regarding the Pearl Harbor attack, and what “might have been” had he been successful in his endeavor for peace, while offering an exclusive perspective on the Japanese reaction to the attack. However, the information contained in his memoir was unavailable to most of the world, save those fluent in Japanese, because it had never been published in another language. With the discovery of Kurusu’s own English memoir, his story can finally be told to a wider audience.

Clifford and Okura have used both the Japanese and English memoirs and added an introduction and annotations to Kurusu’s story, making The Desperate Diplomat an essential look at an event that remains controversial in the history of both nations. Anyone who takes interest in the history of Pearl Harbor cannot afford to omit this previously unavailable information from their library.

About the Author

J. Garry Clifford (1942-2014) was an award-winning historian and Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut. He received the 2012 Distinguished Writing Award from the Army Historical Foundation. He was the author and editor of numerous books, including Presidents, Diplomats, and Other Mortals, with Theodore A. Wilson(University of Missouri Press).

Masako R. Okura is Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia.

Praise For…

“A unique and invaluable study of American-Japanese diplomatic history. The authors present a compelling explanation of how Americans—both the general public and critical members of the Roosevelt administration—perceived Kurusu. The authors also highlight Kurusu’s relevance in the run-up to war and do much to bring him out from behind Admiral Nomura’s shadow, while also presenting a compelling portrait of familiar figures including Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The use of often overlooked but essential sources such as the Bernard Baruch and Arthur Krock papers make this an impressive volume.”—Sidney Pash, author of The Currents of War: A New History of American-Japanese Relations, 1899–1941

“This is a fascinating look at the intense negotiations in Washington, D.C., just prior to the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It is the view seen by a special Japanese envoy, Saburo Kurusu, who was hurriedly dispatched to Washington in November 1941 to assist Japanese ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura. U.S. and Japanese policies were at loggerheads over the issue of Japanese aggression in China and what appeared to be impending Japanese moves into Southeast Asia. Talks in Washington between Ambassador Nomura and U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull were attempting to reconcile the two nations’ positions in a vain attempt to prevent eruption of a war.”—Air Power History

“This book presents the best account in English of the activities of the Japanese diplomats in Washington during the negotiations. As such, it should be required reading for all those interested in the outbreak of the Pacific War.”—Journal of American-East Asian Relations

“Thanks to the labors of Clifford and Okura, it will be difficult to look again at the last three weeks of peace in quite the same way.”—H-Net

Product Details
ISBN: 9780826220370
ISBN-10: 0826220371
Publisher: University of Missouri
Publication Date: March 29th, 2016
Pages: 176
Language: English