AN INSTANCE OF TREASON: Ozaki Hotsumi and the Sorge Spy Ring by Chalmers A. Johnson

AN INSTANCE OF TREASON: Ozaki Hotsumi and the Sorge Spy Ring

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The politics behind the espionage activities of Ozaki Hotsumi and Richard Sorge are so complicated that even today men who knew the two spies can't agree about their political motives. Basically, they were helping the Russian revolution in China. But Sorge was also selling secrets to the Gestapo, and Ozaki was himself surprised at his trial to discover that he had been working for Red Army intelligence and not the Kremlin. Whatever the cat's cradle of their politics, they were among the most successful spies of the century. They did not specialize in technological information, but compiled political data on the trend of events. Ozaki joined Gorge's ring in 1934 while Sorge was a high Nazi journalist. Then Ozaki, being the most informed Japanese observer of the China problem, was given a position with Japan's Konoye Cabinet, and thereafter he and Sorge were helping to make the governmental decisions which they later gave to Russia and Germany as secrets. The triumph of their work was gaining the authoritative news that Japan would honor its non-aggression pact with Russia, which allowed Russia to keep its army together on one front against the Nazis. Both men were unmasked in 1941 and hung in 1944 after complex legal procedures. Today Ozaki is regarded in some quarters as a hero, not a traitor--the most effective fighter of Japanese military imperialism. Johnson's study reveals a man of vast sensitivity and intellectual stature; it is a compelling portrait, one simply can't stop reading it.

Publisher: Stanford University Press