Stalin's War on Japan

The Red Army's 'Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation', 1945

Charles Stephenson

Date Published :
June 2021
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
20 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526785947
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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The first full-length popular history of the Soviet Union's decisive offensive against the Japanese in Manchuria and Korea at the end of the Second World War.

Did Japan surrender in 1945 because of the death and devastation caused by the atomic bombs dropped by the Americans on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or because of the crushing defeat inflicted on their armies by the Soviet Union in Manchukuo, the puppet state they set up in north-east China? Indeed, the Red Army’s rapid and total victory in Manchukuo has been relatively neglected by historians.

Charles Stephenson, in this scholarly and highly readable new study, describes the political, diplomatic and military build-up to the Soviet offensive and its decisive outcome. He also considers to what extent Japan’s capitulation is attributable to the atomic bomb or the stunningly successful entry of the Soviet Union into the conflict.

The military side of the story is explored in fascinating detail – the invasion of Manchukuo itself where the Soviet ‘Deep Battle’ concept was employed with shattering results, and secondary actions in Korea, Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands.

But equally absorbing is the account of the decision-making that gave rise to the offensive and the political and diplomatic background to it, and in particular the Yalta conference. There, Stalin allowed the Americans to persuade him to join the war in the east; a conflict he was determined on entering anyway.

Charles Stephenson’s engrossing narrative throws new light on the last act of the Second World War.

About The Author

Charles Stephenson is an established author on naval and siege warfare and the history of fortifications, with the following books in print: The Fortifications of Malta 1530-1945, Zeppelins: German Airships 1900-40, The Channel Islands 1941-45: Hitler's Impregnable Fortress, The Admirals Secret Weapon: Lord Dundonald and the Origins of Chemical Warfare and Germanys Asia-Pacific Empire: Colonialism and Naval Policy, 1885-1914\. He was Consultant Editor and a contributor to Castles: A History of Fortified Structures: Ancient, Medieval & Modern. He is also the creator of the three books that (thus far) constitute the Samson Plews Collection.


"The Soviet offensive in Manchuria had other long-lasting effects on the geopolitics of East Asia. One of its legacies is the ongoing dispute between Russia and Japan over the Kurile Islands. The division of Korea is another. This marks a critical reason for Stephenson’s book to be read by scholars of the Second World War."

- Journal of Military History

"...recounts the experiences of these different armies as they managed to penetrate the surrounding mountains, cross the Gobi Desert, push through swamps and across waterways to reach the central plain of Manchuria."

- Military Review

"The author has written a very professional account of the events of August 1945. He handles political, diplomatic, and military affairs equally well. What could have been a shallow knockoff turns out to be one of the best books we've seen this year. Meticulously footnoted, including many Russian sources. Good photos. Decent maps. Thorough bibliography. For many readers, Stalin's War on Japan will contain everything they want to know about the end of the war in the Far East."

- Stone & Stone Second World War Books

"The author covers the campaign at multiple levels, from the high-level interactions between leaders like Truman and Stalin to the battlefield experiences of the participants."

- WWII History Magazine

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