Books by Bradley F. Smith

Released: Oct. 25, 1996

WW II historian Smith (The Ultra-Magic Deals, 1992, etc.) persuasively argues (contrary to the consensus that Stalin and his Western allies were standoffish partners) that sharing of wartime intelligence between the Anglo-Americans and Soviets was extensive and that it continued until the very last days of the war. When Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union in June 1941, the outlook for Russo-British cooperation seemed inauspicious. After all, Britain had directed an international military campaign against the nascent Soviet regime in the years following the Russian Revolution. The US was so anti- Soviet that it did not recognize the USSR until 1935. Meanwhile Stalin, himself xenophobic, dismissed British warnings of an imminent Nazi invasion as part of a Western plot against Russia. However, Smith shows that despite a mutual abiding mistrust, the ideological adversaries were compelled to share secrets by the exigencies of war and a demand for anti-Nazi intelligence that outstripped the lone resources of the USSR or England. Even before US entry into the war Harry Hopkins, FDR's personal envoy, helped cement a working relationship among the Allies with intelligence sharing and equipment grants. Despite frequent personality clashes with the more secretive Soviets and conflicts over the appropriateness of sharing sensitive data, the Anglo-Americans shared secrets ranging from estimates of German and Japanese war strategy and materiel to intercepts from America's MAGIC program, which read Japanese codes. While the US was warier of Soviet intentions than Britain in the early stages of the partnership, Smith contends, by war's end the US had become an enthusiastic sharer of intelligence and, hoping to involve the Soviet Union in war against Japan, was giving high-level secret information to the Soviets as late as August 1945. Although compelled by lack of access to Soviet files to base his account almost solely on Anglo-American sources, Smith gives a richly detailed and well-researched contribution to the literature on WW II intelligence. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

Much has been written (e.g., David Kahn's Seizing the Enigma, 1991) about the high-grade intelligence (dubbed ``Ultra'' and ``Magic'') available to the Allies during WW II as a result of the UK's ability to read many of Nazi Germany's ciphers and of America's success in cracking Japanese codes. Comparatively less attention has been paid to the lengthy and difficult negotiations that preceded the sharing of information gained from Axis message traffic. Drawing on declassified archival sources, Smith (The Shadow Warriors, 1983, etc.) bridges this gap with an engrossing account of how Whitehall and Washington finally consented to pool their cryptoanalytic resources to defeat common enemies. Noting that most countries spy on friends as well as foes, Smith first focuses on the security concerns and obstacles that long delayed a comprehensive accord. While Great Britain had managed to centralize its code-breaking operations between the wars, US efforts, the author points out, were an uncoordinated hodgepodge marked by intense, distrustful rivalry among the Army's Signal Corps, the FBI, the Office of Naval Intelligence, the State Department, and other agencies. By May 1943, however, necessity, patience, and confidence engendered by working relationships yielded the so-called ERUSA agreement that set the stage for unprecedented cooperation during the war's final 30 months—and for an enduring productive partnership. Given the secrecy surrounding any nation's code and cipher activities, the author is unable to pinpoint just when in 1947 a permanent Anglo-American pact was concluded (in response to fears about USSR ambitions). At the close, though, he leaves little doubt that the entente inspired by the sharing of WW II intelligence contributed as much to the winning of the cold war as to victory in Europe and the Pacific. An illuminating rundown on a largely ignored, albeit important, chapter in diplomatic and military history. (One map.) Read full book review >