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Behind US Secret Invasion Plans for Japan


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''We had the ability to intercept Japanese codes down to the military unit level, so we could literally watch the formation of more than 20 additional Japanese divisions in anticipation of the invasion,'' Allen notes.

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US military planners knew Japan would rely primarily on 2 million regular troops already on the home islands, nearly 600,000 of whom were already deployed on Kyushu by August, three months before the planned US invasion.

Besides regular troops, Japan created a civilian pool of millions of men and women trained to use everything from hand grenades to bamboo spears. The civilians were galvanized by the motto that ''killing just one American soldier will do.''

''With a sword or spear, neither swing vertically nor horizontally, but always thrust tall Yankees in their belly,'' advised one manual the Japanese war ministry issued. ''With a sickle, hatchet, heavy kitchen knife, or fireman's hook, attack from behind.''

Under the master plan for the final defense of the islands, dubbed ''Ketsu-go,'' more than 10,000 aircraft were readied to repel the invaders with what Allen and Polmar describe as an ''orgy'' of day and night attacks.

Thousands more individual suicide bombers - frogmen, missile pilots, and torpedo and speedboat drivers delivering high-explosive warheads - were poised to kill thousands of American troops before they hit the beaches.

Those who made it to shore would face withering fire from machine gun nests, booby-traps, trip-wire mines, and - as a last resort - kamikaze foot soldiers with explosives strapped to their backs. According to one historian, US occupation forces that visited the planned landing sights immediately after the Japanese surrender were awe-struck by the sight of high sea walls ''backed by gun-bristling fortifications'' that were even more formidable than those erected on Okinawa.

''The weaponry prepared for ketsu-go, the operation to crush the American landings, was prima facie evidence that the casualties were certain to be much higher against Japanese defending the familiar terrain of their sacred home islands than they had been on distant possessions and conquered territory,'' writes George Feifer in ''Tennozan: The Battle of Okinawa and the Atomic Bomb'' (Ticknor and Fields, 1992).

''We shall throw everything conceivable, material and spiritual, into the battle and annihilate the enemy landing force by fierce and bold offensive attacks,'' a decree issued by the Japanese War Ministry in April announced.

As a last resort, Japanese defenders might have used biological weapons against the invading American troops.

During the war, a Japanese germ-warfare factory in Manchuria had used human subjects to test weapons inflicting the plague, cholera, typhoid, and other diseases. Plans to deliver such pestilence included unleashing hordes of infected rats or dropping ceramic bombs each containing up to 30,000 infected fleas.

Because of the likelihood of massive retaliation, Japan had so far refrained from using biological weapons. But in a last-ditch attempt to defend the home islands and inflict maximum casualties, the Japanese might well have resorted to germ warfare, even at the cost of many more Japanese lives, historians speculate.

With or without germ warfare, it would have been ''one of the most horrible campaigns in the history of modern man,'' writes retired US Army Col. James Martin Davis, in ''Dishonoring America: The Falsification of World War II History.''