MacArthur's ULTRA: Codebreaking and the War against Japan, 1942-1945

Overview

"No one writing on military operations in the Southwest Pacific will be able to ignore this book."—William M. Leary, editor of We Shall Return: MacArthur's Commanders and the Defeat of Japan, 1941-1945

"Adds significantly to our understanding of the war and of MacArthur as commander and strategist."—Stanley L. Falk, author of Bataan: The March of Death

"A 'must' item for analysis of the Pacific war."—Harold ...

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Overview

"No one writing on military operations in the Southwest Pacific will be able to ignore this book."—William M. Leary, editor of We Shall Return: MacArthur's Commanders and the Defeat of Japan, 1941-1945

"Adds significantly to our understanding of the war and of MacArthur as commander and strategist."—Stanley L. Falk, author of Bataan: The March of Death

"A 'must' item for analysis of the Pacific war."—Harold Deutsch, author of Hitler and His Generals

Author Biography: Edward J. Drea is chief of the Research and Analysis Division at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C., and author of The 1942 Japanese General Election. He is fluent in Japanese.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
A must for anyone with more than a superficial interest in World War II or military history. This is the first comprehensive examination of General Douglas MacArthur's use of ULTRA. Drea's use of primary sources and secondary Japanese material results in a balanced picture that gives both sides of the story. Particularly fascinating is his description of the Japanese codes themselves and how they were decoded by MacArthur's Central Bureau.
Cryptologia
A superb book that will surely be the prime reference work on the subject for years to come.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The acronym ``ULTRA,'' as employed here, refers to special intelligence derived from the interception and decryption of Japanese radio traffic and its use by Gen. Douglas MacArthur in his New Guinea and Philippines campaigns. Drea's excellent study uncovers the motivation behind certain command decisions that have puzzled historians, particularly in regard to the 1944 Hollandia operation in New Guinea. He demonstrates how ULTRA enabled MacArthur to select the weakest point in the enemy's defenses and then strike with overwhelming superiority. On the other hand, Drea also shows that MacArthur's use of ULTRA became a ``hit or miss proposition'' after Hollandia, and comes to the surprising conclusion that the general did not rely heavily on ULTRA, usually dismissing intelligence that failed to mesh with his preconceived strategic vision. The book presents a detailed illustration of the interplay between intelligence-gathering and operational planning, and uses one of history's most successful commanders as its model. Drea is chief of the research and analysis division at the Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C. Photos. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Ten years after the appearance of Ronald Lewin's The American Magic: Codes, Ciphers, and the Defeat of Japan ( LJ 1/1/82), Drea has produced a revisionist view of American strategy and decision-making in the Pacific theater of World War II. Drea posits that MacArthur's access to ULTRA radio intercepts and decoding gave him an enormous advantage over the Japanese, an advantage he did not always employ. The ``American Caesar'' tended to believe radio intercepts that reinforced his preconceptions of Japanese resources and strategy at the expense of other intelligence. The decision to employ atomic weapons against Japan is presented as based upon analysis of Japanese anti-invasion defenses, and MacArthur's postwar flip-flop--his criticism of the use of atomic weapons--is seen as consistent with his pattern of intelligence use and misuse. This important study belongs in all World War II collections, but readers unfamiliar with events in the Pacific theater might be advised to keep one of the single-volume histories of the war at hand, since Drea is more interested in documenting decision-making than in producing a traditional campaign history. Previewed in ``The Day of Infamy in Print,'' LJ 9/1/91, p. 206-7.-- Stanley Planton, Ohio Univ.-Chillicothe Lib.
Booknews
A lucid account of the process of machine translation. Nagao (engineering, Kyoto U) details recent developments in MT systems and makes suggestions for their utilization. The book will interest general readers. Surveys current intellectual activity in machine translation. It is the first book to provide detailed accounts of five different methodologies for machine translation research developed in Europe and Japan as well as the United States and Canada. Of particular interest are chapters on the Japanese Government Machine Translation Project and on the European Economic Community's EUROTRA program. Paper ed. $17.95. Drea recounts the story behind the Army's painstaking decryption operation and its dramatic breakthrough. He demonstrates how ULTRA (intelligence from decrypted Japanese radio communications) shaped MacArthur's operations in New Guinea and the Philippines and its effect on the outcome of World War II. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700605040
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 11/1/1991
  • Series: Modern War Studies
  • Pages: 296

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