Judgement at Tokyo: World War II on Trial and the Making of Modern Asia

Gary J. Bass     Recommended by Staff    

 ‘A work of singular importance . . . balanced, original, human, accessible, and riveting’ – Philippe Sands, author of East-West Street. 

 The definitive account of the Tokyo war crimes trials of 1946-8, WWII and the beginning of the end of the European empires in Asia and the impact the settlement has had on post-war China and Japan, the wider history of East and South Asia – and of the world – to this day.

From the prizewinning author of the acclaimed The Blood Telegram, a landmark, magisterial history of the postwar trial of Japan’s leaders as war criminals – and their impact on the modern history of Asia and the world.

In the weeks after Japan finally surrendered to the Allies to end World War II, the victorious powers turned to the question of how to move on from years of carnage and destruction. To them, it was clear that Japan’s militaristic leaders needed to be tried and punished for their crimes. For the Allied powers, the trials were an opportunity both to render judgment on their vanquished foes and to create a legal framework to prosecute war crimes and prohibit the use of aggressive war. For the Japanese leaders on trial, it was their chance to argue that their war had been waged to liberate Asia from Western imperialism and that the court was no more than victors’ justice.

Gary J. Bass’ Judgement at Tokyo is the product of a decade of research, a magnificent, riveting story of wartime action, dramatic courtroom battles, and the epic formative years that set the stage for the postwar era in the Asia–Pacific.

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