INTERWAR PERIOD

United States

L - M

Leshuk, Leonard. US Intelligence Perceptions of Soviet Power, 1921-1946. London: Frank Cass, 2002.

Hanyok, I&NS 18.3, notes that the author concentrates on U.S. perceptions of "the development of the Soviet military power" from the end of World War I to the beginning of the Cold War. The story presented "is one of almost constant and large-scale failure."

Linn, Brian M. Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

Dunnavent, History 26.1, praises Guardians of Empire as "the definitive work on the U.S. Army in the Pacific from the Philippine wars to World War II."

Mahnken, Thomas G. "Gazing at the Sun: The Office of Naval Intelligence and Japanese Naval Innovation, 1918-1941." Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 3 (Jul. 1996): 424-441.

"Scholars have as a group been critical of the performance of US intelligence in the years prior to World War II.... The charge historians most frequently level is that racial stereotypes ... blinded the US Navy to the growth of Japanese power.... If racial bias was pervasive..., then one would expect to find a consistent pattern of underestimation of Japanese capabilities.... [N]o such pattern is apparent. Rather the record is one of relatively accurate assessment during the 1920s and early 1930s, followed by ... generally less detailed reporting beginning in the mid-1930s.... [S]uch a pattern was the result not of ... distorted racial stereotypes, but of the failure of both analytical constructs and preconceived beliefs about war to accommodate the development of new weapons and concepts by Japan."

Mahnken, Thomas G. Uncovering Ways of War: U.S. Intelligence and Foreign Military Innovation, 1918-1941. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002.

According to Bacevich, FA 82.1 (Jan.-Feb. 2003), the author reassesses the performance of the U.S. Army's MID and the Navy's ONI during the interwar period. Mahnken "finds that those two largely neglected institutions performed with considerable effectiveness" in that time. He "also explores why authorities in Washington -- skeptical of evidence that departed from their own conception of warfare -- failed in too many instances" to give intelligence about the innovations that would prove decisive when war came "the credence that it deserved."

Campbell, NIPQ 18.2/3, sees this as a "work of first-rate scholarship.... Mahnken concludes that American military intelligence during the Interwar period succeeded to obtain information on established ways of war -- such as tank warfare, airplanes, and amphibious warfare -- but failed to grasp the emerging ways of war, such as carrier strikes, radar and rockets."

For Mercado, IJI&C 16.3, the author's "historical review and subsequent conclusions are based on solid archival research and on extensive reading of secondary sources.... Uncovering Ways of War thoughtfully revises the conventional view of interwar military intelligence." Avant, Journal of Cold War Studies 6 (2004), says that the author "provides excellent case studies, telling us what the [U.S. military and naval] attachés actually did and how they contributed to U.S. preparations, and will be a great resource for future scholars."

Peake, Studies 46.4, finds that Mahnken "examines the primary sources and evaluates nine cases of 'innovation,' wherein Army and Navy intelligence elements tried to do, and in several instances accomplished, just what they were supposed to do.... This is a very valuable study. Conventional wisdom has been refuted and some practical guidance for the future provided." To Hanyok, I&NS 18.3, this work "is an important step in evaluating the effectiveness of intelligence." Mahnken "considers the entire context of how the intelligence was gathered," and "[h]is arguments and discussions are clear and comprehensive."

Maurer, Alfred. "A Delicate Mission: Aerial Reconnaissance of Japanese Islands before World War II." Military Affairs 26, no. 2 (Summer 1962): 66-75.

Millman, Chad. The Detonators: The Secret Plot to Destroy America and an Epic Hunt for Justice. New York: Little, Brown, 2006.

Boghardt, Studies 51.1 (Mar. 2007), notes that the Black Tom explosions of July 1916 are discussed; but the "main focus is on the ... legal battles of the German-American Mixed Claims Commission" after the war. The author's "elucidation of the fluid German secret service networks that operated in the United States throughout the period of American neutrality" is of "particular interest.... Unfortunately, the book's readability occasionally comes at the expense of accuracy and nuance.... Millman's lack of nuance is partially due to the fact that he ignores German sources and scholarship." Nonetheless, the author "tells an exciting story and captures the big picture."

Moreira, Peter. Hemingway on the China Front: His WWII Spy Mission with Martha Gellhorn. Dulles, VA: Potomac, 2006.

Miller, IJI&C 21.2 (Summer 2008), notes that this work concerns a trip Hemingway and Gellhorn made to China from January to May 1941. "At the behest of Harry Dexter White," Hemingway had "agreed to 'spy' for the Treasury Department." This is a "lively and informative book"; and it draws "memorable profiles of two accomplished writers at work and the limits and vagaries of American intelligence-gathering on the China front."

Murphy, John F. "The Alaskan Mystery Flights." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 9, no. 1 (Spring 1996): 97-111.

Were the events described in this article a major reconnaissance activity directed against the Soviet Union? The July-August 1934 "Arctic mystery flights of 'Hap' Arnold, the Navy planes of Lieutenant Commander Shoemaker, and the abruptly canceled trip of Major Riddick must together remain one of the great mysteries of aviation." In IJI&C 9.3, G.J.A. O'Toole (pp. 329-330) and David Kahn (p. 330) separately take issue with Murphy's premise. A response by Murphy to the criticisms is also carried (pp. 331-336).

 

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