"Execute against Japan"
The U.S. Decision to Conduct Unrestricted Submarine Warfare
6 x 9, 262 pp.
14 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 04/01/2009
Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series
  cloth
Price:        $37.50

978-1-60344-083-7
  paper
Price:        $19.95

978-1-62349-061-4
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Selected as one of the 20 most "Notable Naval Books of 2009" by the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings Naval Review issue. 

"Execute against Japan"

The U.S. Decision to Conduct Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

Joel Ira Holwitt

“ . . . until now how the Navy managed to instantaneously move from the overt legal restrictions of the naval arms treaties that bound submarines to the cruiser rules of the eighteenth century to a declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare against Japan immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor has never been explained. Lieutenant Holwitt has dissected this process and has created a compelling story of who did what, when, and to whom.”—The Submarine Review

“Execute against Japan should be required reading for naval officers (especially in submarine wardrooms), as well as for anyone interested in history, policy, or international law.”—Adm. James P. Wisecup, President, US Naval War College (for Naval War College Review)

“Although the policy of unrestricted air and submarine warfare proved critical to the Pacific war’s course, this splendid work is the first comprehensive account of its origins—illustrating that historians have by no means exhausted questions about this conflict.”—World War II Magazine

“US Navy submarine officer Joel Ira Holwitt has performed an impressive feat with this book. . . . Holwitt is to be commended for not shying away from moral judgments . . . This is a superb book that fully explains how the United States came to adopt a strategy regarded by many as illegal and tantamount to ‘terror’.”—Military Review

JOEL IRA HOLWITT earned his PhD in history from Ohio State University in 2005. His work has also been published in the US Naval Institute Proceedings magazine, Naval History magazine, the Journal of Military History, Military History of the West, the Submarine Review, and US Naval Academy textbooks. A graduate of the US Naval Academy, he is an active duty submarine officer in the US Navy.

What Readers Are Saying:

"Joel Holwitt's ‘Execute Against Japan'  is a wonderful military history that examines with sophistication the development of ideas within the U.S. Navy about unrestricted submarine warfare. It is a major contribution to the history of World War II."  --Williamson Murray, author of The Iraq War,: A Military History

"It is a complex story of diplomacy, politics, and doctrinal debate, involving strong personalities and powerful intellects. It is well told and will reward the general reader and the specialist in naval history alike."  --
John F. Guilmartin Jr., professor of history, Ohio State University

"'Execute Against Japan' is the first military history book I can remember reading in which the whole story was a revelation. It has completely changed the way in which I now view many of the most significant events of the 20th Century. By laying down a framework that explains how advances in technology made certain aspects of International Maritime Law irrelevant it bursts the bubble of precedants upon which some past conflicts were justified, including World War I. This book is a true ground breaker and something that any academic press should be delighted to have its brand on."--Thomas E. Crew, author of Combat Loaded: Across the Pacific on the USS Tate


". . . Holwitt, a U.S. Navy submariner, delivers an impressive account . . . although the policy of unrestricted air and submarine warfare proved critical to the Pacific war's course, this splendid work is the first comprehensive account of its origins--illustrating that historians have by no means exhausted questions about this conflict."--World War II Magazine


"The radical change in U.S. warfare policy discussed in this book has been noticed a number of times before, but this study is without doubt the most comprehensive and compelling analysis yet published. The heart of the book is a finely detailed and carefully nuanced analysis of the development of ideas and policy in the critical years before the U.S. entered the Second World War . . . The carefully researched narrative of this book makes it more suited for academic readers, although general readers with an interest in the subject will undoubtedly find it interesting as well. This worthwhile book also deserves the attention of scholars not only of naval and military policy, but those with an interest in civil-military relations."--International Journal of Maritime History


 "Holwitt’s conclusions are provocative, nuanced, and convincing . . . The depth of its scholarship and breadth of its conclusions make this book a “must” read not only for historians and naval professionals but also for Americans citizens in general."--Pacific Historical Review


 “Holwitt has meticulously researched a study of the legal history relating to the order given on 7 December 1941 and it should be included in a collection of anyone who is seriously interested in either naval warfare or the issue of warfare and the legal attempts to restrict it. The fact that the book aims itself at arguably the most important issue related to the submarine war, one not really discussed or understood, makes this a must-read for anyone interested in this field.”--The Northern Mariner


 " . . . until now how the Navy managed to instantaneously move from the overt legal restrictions of the naval arms treaties that bound submarines to the cruiser rules of the eighteenth century to a declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare against Japan immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor has never been explained. Lieutenant Holwitt has dissected this process and has created a compelling story of who did what, when and to whom.”--The Submarine Review


"Execute Against Japan should be required reading for naval officers (especially in submarine wardrooms), as well as for anyone interested in history, policy, or international law."--Admiral James P. Wisecup, President, U.S. Naval War College for Naval War College Review

 



"An important contribution to the literature of the Pacific War."--Strategy Page


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