One of the most remarkable books to emerge from the treasure trove of communications between the Germans and the Japanese...


MARCHING ORDERS: The Untold Story of World War II

One of the most remarkable books to emerge from the treasure trove of communications between the Germans and the Japanese intercepted by the Allied code breakers in World War II. Bruce Lee -- coauthor of Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement (not reviewed), and an editor or researcher for a number of highly respected authors on this subject, including Cornelius Ryan, Gordon Prange, and Ronald Lewin -- has reviewed the massive archive of diplomatic summaries made of the interceptions of the Japanese diplomatic communications, code-named Magic, and also interviewed many of the American military commanders before they died. Baron Oshima, the Japanese ambassador in Berlin, had remarkable access to Hitler and other German leaders, and his reports back to Tokyo are, as Lee rightly remarks, ""so devastatingly accurate that allied strategists might as well have been sitting in on the meetings."" This access provides a perspective that most histories of WW II have failed to take into account, either because the information was classified or because of security constraints. The information crossing General George C. Marshall's desk every day was amazing: Hitler informs Baron Oshima how and where and when he believes the D-Day invasion will take place, and he is wrong in every respect; Eisenhower pushes forward on a wide front, which enables him to move decisively to take advantage of the weak points disclosed by the intercepts; the Americans decide not to drive to Berlin because they calculate it will cost 100,000 additional casualties (it costs the Russians 300,000); and they have no difficulty in persuading the British to agree to dropping the atomic bomb when it becomes clear that the Japanese military leadership will never accept unconditional surrender. The book is written in a rather irritating historic present tense, but it is an important, extraordinarily informed, and comprehensive insight into the grand strategy of the Second World War.

Pub Date: May 5, 1995

ISBN: 0306810360

Page Count: 624

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995