Hitler's Japanese Confidant: General Oshima Hiroshi and Magic Intelligence, 1941-1945

Hitler's Japanese Confidant: General Oshima Hiroshi and Magic Intelligence, 1941-1945

by Carl Boyd
     
 

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In 1940 the U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Service broke the Japanese diplomatic code. In 1975 Oshima Hiroshi, Japan's ambassador to Berlin during World War II, died, never knowing that the hundreds of messages he transmitted to Tokyo had been fully decoded by the Americans and whisked off to Washington, providing a major source of information for the Allies on Nazi

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Overview

In 1940 the U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Service broke the Japanese diplomatic code. In 1975 Oshima Hiroshi, Japan's ambassador to Berlin during World War II, died, never knowing that the hundreds of messages he transmitted to Tokyo had been fully decoded by the Americans and whisked off to Washington, providing a major source of information for the Allies on Nazi activities.

Resurrecting Oshima's decoded communications, which had remained classified for several decades, Carl Boyd provides a unique look at the Nazis from the perspective of a close foreign observer and ally. He uses Oshima's own words to reveal the thought and strategies of Adolf Hitler and other high-ranking Nazis, with whom Oshima associated.

In addition to providing illuminating insight into Nazi activities and attitudes—military buildup in North Africa, the unwillingness to accept a separate peace with the Soviets—Boyd illustrates the functions of MAGIC. He demonstrates how that intelligence, gathered by teams of American cryptographers, influenced Allied strategy and helped bring about the downfall of Hitler and his Japanese confidant.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An extremely valuable work. It clears up many puzzles, and it helps to make understandable how high-level communications intelligence was used in Washington during World War II."—Ernest R. May, author of Imperial Democracy: The Emergence of America as a Great Power.

"An essential contribution to our understanding of major aspects of World War II history. This book will have a special place in the story of the war in Europe and also in that of the wartime relations of Germany and Japan, which has been much neglected."—Harold C. Deutsch, author of The Conspiracy Against Hitler in the Twilight War.

"Offers new insight into the otherwise obscure story of how American ability to penetrate Japanese codes provided unique, valuable knowledge of German military plans and capabilities."—Stanley L. Falk, author of Seventy Days to Singapore.

"An essential contribution to our understanding of major aspects of World War II history. This book will have a special place in the story of the war in Europe and also in that of the wartime relations of Germany and Japan, which has been much neglected."—Harold C. Deutsch, author of The Conspiracy Against Hitler in the Twilight War.

"Every student of the history of the present century, in which the war of 1939-45 formed so crucial a part, must read this-and one uses the word advisedly-definitive account."—Robert H. Ferrell, author of American Diplomacy: The Twentieth Century.

"Boyd skillfully integrates interviews with surviving American cryptanalysts who worked with MAGIC to reconstruct the distribution system for the precious intelligence. In particular his ingenious unraveling of the complex distribution system in effect during presidential trips strikes me as model detective work. First-rate scholarship complemented by superior writing skills."—Edward J. Drea, author of MacArthur's ULTRA: Codebreaking and the War Against Japan.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Allied cryptographers broke the Japanese diplomatic code in 1941, after which Ambassador Oshima Hiroshi's messages from Berlin to Tokyo were intercepted, deciphered, translated and passed along to U.S. and British intelligence operatives. Gen. George Marshall, the U.S. Army chief of staff, called the Oshima intercepts the ``main basis of information regarding Hitler's intentions in Europe.'' Oshima inadvertently provided the Allies with advance information about Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, the Axis buildup in North Africa and the Wehrmacht's defensive system along the Normandy coast (which proved vital to the success of the Allied invasion of June 1944). In this valuable study, Boyd carefully analyzes Oshima's messages and reports, places them in political and military contexts, and sheds new light on Germany's strategies during the war as well as on German-Japanese relations. Oshima died in 1975, never having learned that the enemy had read his mail throughout WW II. Boyd is a history professor at Old Dominion University in Virginia. Photos. (Mar.)
Library Journal
General Oshima, Japan's ambassador to Berlin throughout World War II, sent detailed reports to Tokyo on his Axis partner. Oshima was an intelligent observer, and from his notes we are able to obtain a new view of Germany. Unbeknownst to Oshima, the Japanese diplomatic code had been broken by the United States, and the ambassador's comments proved to be of great value to the Allies. Indeed, the information gathered from deciphered Japanese codes was called Magic. Author Boyd (history, Old Dominion Univ.) here presents two works: one deals with observations on Germany and the other with the uses of military intelligence. Because there is little available on Magic during the conflict, this book fills a definite need. Combined with Ronald Lewin's The American Magic: Codes, Ciphers, and the Defeat of Japan (Farrar, 1982), this will give readers a good understanding of Magic. Recommended for academic libraries and large public libraries. Smaller libraries may also want to purchase in order to give their users a background on intelligence work in World War II.-- Dennis L. Noble, Lewistown P.L. , Mont.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700611898
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
03/28/1993
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)

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