Britain's Secret War against Japan, 1937-1945

By Douglas Ford

© 2006 – Routledge

260 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415514101
pub: 2011-11-16
US Dollars$54.95
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Hardback: 9780415358460
pub: 2006-07-20
US Dollars$168.00
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About the Book

A new look at how Britain’s defence establishment learned to engage Japan’s armed forces as the Pacific War progressed.

Douglas Ford reveals that, prior to Japan’s invasion of Southeast Asia in December 1941, the British held a contemptuous view of Japanese military prowess. He shows that the situation was not helped by the high level of secrecy which surrounded Japan’s war planning, as well as the absence of prior engagements with the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army.

The fall of ‘Fortress Singapore’ in February 1942 dispelled the notion that the Japanese were incapable of challenging the West. British military officials acknowledged how their forces in the Far East were inadequate, and made a concerted effort to improve their strength and efficiency. However, because Britain’s forces were tied down in their operations in Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean, they had to fight the Japanese with limited resources. Drawing upon the lessons obtained through Allied experiences in the Pacific theatres as well as their own encounters in Southeast Asia, the British used the available intelligence on the strategy, tactics and morale of Japan’s armed forces to make the best use of what they had, and by the closing stages of the war in 1944 to 1945, they were able to devise a war plan which paved the way for the successful war effort.

This book will be of great interest to all students of the Second World War, intelligence studies, British military history and strategic studies in general.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Ambiguity and Complacency: Britain’s Assessment of Japan Prior to the Outbreak of War 2. The Lessons of Defeat and Limited Victories, December 1941 to January 1943 3. Gauging the Balance of an Unpredictable War: The Evolution of British Intelligence on Japanese Strategy, January 1943 to August 1945 4. Material and Technology vs. Methods of Use: Intelligence on the Tactical and Technical Capabilities of Japan's Armed Forces 5. Racial Contempt or Logical Analysis?: British Intelligence on Japanese Military Morale Conclusion: The Intelligence War in Asia and the Pacific, 1937-1945 - the British and Japanese Experiences in Comparison

About the Author

Douglas Ford is a Lecturer in Military History at the University of Salford. He has written several articles on British intelligence during the Pacific War, and is currently conducting research on US intelligence on Japan’s armed forces during the inter-war period.

About the Series

Studies in Intelligence

The growing interest in intelligence activities and the opening of hitherto closed archives since the end of the Cold War has stimulated this series of scholarly monographs, wartime memoirs and edited collections. With contributions from leading academics and prominent members of the intelligence community, this series has quickly become the leading forum for the academic study of intelligence.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HIS027000
HISTORY / Military / General
HIS027100
HISTORY / Military / World War II
POL036000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Intelligence