Appendices - Hirohito's War
E. Typhoons and Divine Winds: Kamikaze
Special Attack Units (Tokubetsu Kogekitai), which later became know by the Japanese as kamikaze, were launched at the time of the almost complete annihilation of the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, arguably itself a suicide mission by the Japanese Navy, when it was clear to most senior Japanese commanders that the war was well and truly lost. Nevertheless, there remained the belief that if enough casualties could be inflicted on the US, there was scope for a favourable negotiated peace that would fall well short of complete surrender. This view permeated the upper echelons of Japanese command and continued right up to the dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.