Marching Orders: The Untold Story of World War II

Overview

Robert T. Crowley, an intelligence officer in World War II who later became a senior executive at the CIA, has called Marching Orders simply "one of the most important books ever published about World War II." At last available in paperback, the book reveals a host of previously untold stories about codes and codebreaking—including how the American breaking of the Japanese diplomatic Purple ciphers led to the defeat of Germany, as well as why America and England agreed to use nuclear weapons against Japan. Bruce ...

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Overview

Robert T. Crowley, an intelligence officer in World War II who later became a senior executive at the CIA, has called Marching Orders simply "one of the most important books ever published about World War II." At last available in paperback, the book reveals a host of previously untold stories about codes and codebreaking—including how the American breaking of the Japanese diplomatic Purple ciphers led to the defeat of Germany, as well as why America and England agreed to use nuclear weapons against Japan. Bruce Lee, who had access to 1.5 million pages of U.S. Army documents and 15,000 pages of the sometimes daily top-secret messages sent to Tokyo from Japanese diplomats stationed in Berlin and elsewhere, constructs the most complete history available on American codebreaking activity and its consequences. He concisely documents the extraordinary casualties both American and Japanese forces would have suffered in an invasion and occupation of Japan, demonstrating through intercepted secret communications between Japanese leaders that Tokyo was adamant in its refusal to surrender.

Lee takes decrypts, 15,000 pages detailing sensitive military secrets of Germany and Japan, and shows, with an overlay on wartime chronological events, what their impact on Chief of Staff George C. Marshall and how they influenced his strategic prosecution of the war. New light is shed on issues, including the ceding of Berlin to the Soviets, the bombing of Japan and more.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This sprawling, undisciplined study argues that the U.S. breaking of Japanese diplomatic and military codes played a major role as well in the defeat of Nazi Germany. Lee (coauthor of Pearl Harbor: Final Judgment) suggests that intercepts expressing Germany's commitment to world conquest helped determine the Allied policy of unconditional surrender. He demonstrates that Japanese reports on German defenses in northeastern Europe shaped plans for D-Day. And he argues that decoded messages stressing Japan's search for common ground with the Soviet Union near the end of the war encouraged the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan to end the war before this approach could bear fruit. Lee, however, significantly overstates the direct connection between Magic code intercepts and Allied decision-making. Much of his information is also available in Carl Boyd's Hitler's Japanese Confidant-a significantly superior work of analysis and interpretation. Author tour. (Apr.)
KLIATT
By now it is old news that the US and the Allies eavesdropped on their enemies throughout WW II. Breaking the German Enigma ciphers and the Japanese Purple code early in the war provided Roosevelt and Churchill with advance information on numerous tactical and strategic thrusts. By itself, this was not enough to win the war, and at any rate the clandestine information had to be used with the utmost delicacy. What it did do, however, was to provide a priceless insight into the minds of the Axis leadership. Just how priceless and how extensive these insights really were is the subject of this captivating study by Bruce Lee, an eminent editor and researcher for some of the most important WW II scholars. Lee burrowed endlessly through the mountains of once-secret intelligence reports, especially the decrypted Japanese diplomatic radio traffic, and made some remarkable discoveries. Japanese military attachÃ(c)s, for example, conducted a meticulous survey of Germany's defense wall in Normandy and sent every detail back to Tokyo—and to the ears of the planners of the D-Day invasion. Lee's discoveries about the atomic bombing of Japan are equally informative. Even after the second bomb was dropped, on Nagasaki, the radio traffic confirms that the Japanese civil and military leadership remained adamant against surrender until Emperor Hirohito intervened. Their very last messages crafted a public relations strategy of victimization, to shame the American victors before world opinion. This book is potentially one of the most important to be published about the war in the last 20 years. Happily, it is also one of the most readable. Lee has edited enough manuscripts to appreciate thevalue of easy communication, and literate YAs will have no trouble with this fascinating study. Highly recommended for high school, university, and public collections. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1995, Perseus, Da Capo, 608p. index., $20.00. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Raymond L. Puffer; Ph.D., Historian, Edwards Air Force Base, CA , November 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 6)
Library Journal
Lee, the editor of David Garrow's Pulitzer Prize-winning Bearing the Cross (LJ 11/15/86) and coauthor with Henry Clausen of Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement (LJ 9/15/92), has analyzed recently declassified Magic codes (Japanese secret crypts) and U.S. Army Intelligence documents. The result is the most complete history available of American code-breaking activity and its consequences during World War II. Lee shows convincingly how these daily decrypts influenced Generals Marshall and Eisenhower in their strategic prosecution of the war. Daily top-secret messages sent to Tokyo by Japanese diplomats in Berlin gave American leaders unique access to the thoughts and battle plans of Hitler and the German General Staff. Many of the mysteries that have eluded historians since the end of the war are much clarified: the Pearl Harbor fiasco, D-Day, why the Americans let the Russians capture Berlin, and why the decision to drop the atomic bomb was made. This is the most significant publication about World War II since the recent series of books on the Ultra revelations and should be purchased by all libraries.-Richard Nowicki, Emerson Vocational H.S., Buffalo, N.Y.
From Barnes & Noble
With an overlay of wartime chronological events, the author reveals how the MAGIC and ULTRA operations of the Americans broke Japanese diplomatic codes and German uncovered military secrets--leading directly to the monumental decisions that ended WWII quickly. Bruce Lee re-creates the tense drama surrounding D-Day, the atomic bombing of Japan, and many more historic wartime events that were made possible by the correct and timely interpretation of the wartime plans of the Axis powers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306810367
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Pages: 640
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Lee, in a long and distinguished publishing career, has been editor-researcher for Cornelius Ryan and the editor of Gordon Prange, Admiral Edwin T. Layton, Ronald Lewin, Gordon Wekhman, William Craig, Ralph Bennett, and Charles B. MacDonald. He lives in New York City.

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