It took the Japanese fleet twenty-two days to sail from Japan to Pearl Harborin 1941, the same twenty-two days that witnessed the German assault on Moscow and the Crusader battles in North Africa. The Germans failed to knock the Soviets out; the Japanese succeeded in bringing the Americans in. These twenty-two days sealed their mutual fate.
With each chapter structured around one of the twenty-two days leading up to Pearl Harbor, SEALING THEIR FATE narrates the battles, the preparations for battle, the diplomatic manoeuvres and the intelligence wars. The story shifts from snowbound Russian villages to the stormy northern Pacific, from the North African desert to Europe's warring capitals, and from Tokyo to Washington. The book features a host of ordinary soldiers, sailors and airmen, and those political and military figures who played a key role in the war. Taking the momentum of the Japanese fleet, SEALING THEIR FATE works as an exciting countdown. Other countdowns -- the gradual halting of the German advance in Russia, the erosion of Rommel's resources in North Africa, the institutionalization of the Holocaust -- is worked into this basic structure. As Winston Churchill memorably remarked 'Hitler's fate was sealed. Mussolini's fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. All the rest was merely the proper application of overwhelming force.'
David Downing is the author of Zoo Station and Silesian Station (political thrillers), The Moscow Option: An Alternative Second World War as well as a number of books on military and political history and other subjects as diverse as Neil Young and Russian Football.
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