General Oshima Hiroshi and Magic Intelligence, 1941-1945
Email this review


 One of Washington's key sources of information on Hitler's designs during WW II was Japan's ambassador to Germany, General Hiroshi Oshima. Shortly before the emperor's emissary began his second Berlin posting (early in 1941), the US military had broken the sophisticated Japanese diplomatic code, enabling it to supply FDR and senior aides deciphered translations of Oshima's frequent communications with superiors in Tokyo. Drawing on access to recently declassified archival files, Boyd (History/Old Dominion University) offers an analytic appreciation of this high-grade intelligence (known as ``Magic'') and of how the Allies employed it in their ETO campaigns. An ardent nationalist, Oshima had personal rapport with Hitler and other top Nazis. As one result, intercepts of his message traffic provided detailed data on Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, albeit not of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. Unwittingly, Oshima also reassured Anglo-American strategists that cooperation among Axis powers was minimal. In addition, following an inspection tour of the Wehrmacht's coastal defenses in France, Oshima sent a full report to his foreign minister, which proved of great assistance to D-day planners. He even furnished advance warning of the Battle of the Bulge, which, Boyd concludes, Allied cryptanalysts failed to evaluate accurately. On the eve of destruction, Oshima afforded his monitors authoritative estimates of Germany's intentions, as well as eyewitness accounts of siege conditions inside the Third Reich. Throughout the conflict, moreover, he kept Tokyo apprised on the slim chances of Germany's negotiating a separate peace with the USSR, a cause for continuing concern in the UK/US camp. An illuminative briefing on a little-known but invaluable source of intelligence during WW II. (Maps, photos, and tabular material--some seen.)

Pub Date: March 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-7006-0569-X
Page count: 294pp
Publisher: Univ. Press of Kansas
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1993