Killing the Rising Sun | Bill O’Reilly

Summary of: Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan
By: Bill O’Reilly


Discover the harrowing historical account of the American campaign against Japan during World War II, as narrated by Bill O’Reilly in ‘Killing the Rising Sun.’ Covering pivotal events from the infamous Pearl Harbor attack to the eventual surrender of Japan, this summary takes you through the gruesome battles in the Philippines and Peleliu, introduces the Samurai code of ‘Bushido’ and the Japanese belief in ‘hakkō ichiu,’ and provides a glimpse into the horrifying acts of the Japanese military. Learn about President Truman’s decision to deploy atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and finally, Japan’s surrender that brought an end to a devastating war.

The Fierce Battles of WWII in the Pacific

The United States declared war on Japan after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Fast forward to the autumn of 1944, the Allies were on the
verge of winning the war when fierce Japanese resistance was encountered in both the Philippines and the small island of Peleliu. The battles lasted for weeks, and the US army suffered heavy losses due to the code of Bushido, which believes surrender is dishonorable.

Japanese Imperialism in World War II

The ruthless military tactics of Imperial Japan during World War II are examined, highlighting their brutal treatment of civilians and prisoners of war.

In the Second World War, Imperial Japan went to great lengths to gain control over Asia. They believed that their Emperor Hirohito was a divine being and did not waver in their allegiance to him, even if it meant fighting to the death. Their goal was to unite all of Asia under their Emperor, which led them to invade and plunder neighboring countries for resources such as oil and steel.

Unfortunately, these invasions resulted in horrors, such as the mass execution of Chinese prisoners of war and civilians in Shanghai in 1937. The soldiers participated in gruesome contests, wagering on how many heads they could chop off. In Nanking, an estimated 80,000 women were systematically raped by Japanese soldiers. The devastating attack on Pearl Harbor showed their cruelty and tactical cunning.

Despite numerous setbacks, the Japanese refused to surrender, leading to a new strategy by the US Air Force, led by General Curtis LeMay. The campaign targeted civilian cities with mass aerial bombardment, starting with the infamous bombing of Tokyo, which killed and badly burned thousands. However, these methods still did not break the will of the Japanese.

In conclusion, Imperial Japan’s military tactics in World War II were ruthless and marked by an utter disregard for the lives and dignity of civilians and prisoners of war. Their pursuit of control over Asia came at the expense of countless lives and left a legacy of atrocities still remembered today.

Truman and the Atomic Bomb

On April 12, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United States, died, leaving Harry S. Truman to handle the rest of World War II. Truman had a powerful weapon in his hands: the atomic bomb. Before the war, scientists had discovered a way to split the nucleus of an atom, releasing a tremendous amount of energy. Both Germany and Japan were racing to build the first atomic bomb, but the United States was the first to succeed with the Manhattan Project. On June 23, 1945, Okinawa was finally taken after 82 days of fighting, but Japan still refused to surrender. The stage was set for Truman to make a critical decision, one that would change the course of history forever.

The Birth of the Atomic Age

In 1945, the Trinity atomic bomb test detonated successfully. President Truman, attending a summit in Germany, received news of its power and believed it could be the weapon to end the war against Japan. Despite some surrendering Japanese soldiers, there were still millions ready to fight. Truman authorized two atomic bombs to be dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This decision would change the landscape of war and spark the beginning of the atomic age.

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