WORLD WAR II

MAGIC

S - Z

 

Showers, D. M. [RADM/USN (Ret.)] "ULTRA: The Navy's First COMINT Weapon." Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly 10, no. 2 (Apr. 1994): 8-10. Reprinted, together with "some other materials," as "ULTRA: The Navy's COMINT Weapon in the Pacific," American Intelligence Journal 15, no. 1 (Spring-Summer 1994), 49-53.

"[T]he rate of progress of the entire war, and possibly even the outcome, would have been vastly different without our effective use of the COMINT weapon."

Smith, Michael. The Emperor's Codes: The Role of Bletchley Park in Breaking Japan's Secret Ciphers. London: Bantam, 2001. [pb] New York: Penguin, 2002.

Jacobsen, intelforum, 17 Jun. 2001, says that "[t]his book grossly exaggerates the British and Dominion cryptologic successes against the Japanese navy during and preceding WWII. It is an Anglophilean attack against well established American successes.... Smith's failure to list page number citations makes it difficult or often impossible to verify his sources. He 'cherrypicks' many of his sources to support his more outrageous allegations when a thorough review of the same sources shows the opposite viewpoint."

According to Kruh, Cryptologia 25.1, this "excellent book" highlights the work of John Tiltman and Eric Nave in breaking Japanese codes. The author will "raise the ire of the U.S. Navy with his claim that the vast majority of Japanese codes and ciphers were broken ... by British and Australian cryptanalysts." Bath, NIPQ, Summer 2001, finds this to be "an interesting book ... [that] has something for everyone with an interest [i]n the subject or the times." After dismissing some of the more outrageous claims for this book, Mercado, I&NS 16.2, finds that "Smith offers in greater detail than ever before the story of British code breakers working against Japan."

Spector, Ronald H., ed. Listening to the Enemy: Key Documents on the Role of Communications Intelligence in the War with Japan. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1988.

According to Sexton, this volume "[r]eproduces 21 monographs detailing the scope of U.S. Comint activities directed against Japan from 1917 through 1945."

van der Rhoer, Edward. Deadly Magic: A Personal Account of Communications Intelligence in World War II in the Pacific. New York: Scribner's, 1978. London: Robert Hale, 1979.

Constantinides: The author served in U.S. naval communications intelligence (in OP-20-G) as a Japanese linguist. It would have been better if van der Rhoer had dwelled more on cryptologic aspects of the war than on general strategic, tactical, and battle concerns.

Whitlock, Duane L. [CAPT/USN (Ret.)] "The Silent War against the Japanese Navy." Naval War College Review 48, no. 4 (Autumn 1995): 43-52.

Clark comment: This is an excellent review of the Navy's traffic analysis and cryptanalytic efforts from 1921 to 1942. It encompasses both the establishment and the work of Stations ABLE, BAKER, CAST, and HYPO.

"[A]t the outset of the war, traffic analysis was, as it had been for many years, the only source of current intelligence bearing upon the strategic posture and the disposition of the surface, subsurface, and air elements of the Japanese navy.

"As cryptanalysis began to catch up with current events in 1942, it started to add to the traffic analysis picture the timely and precise details essential to achieving tactical advantage.... However, as has not been well understood by historians who have highlighted the many tactical successes, cryptanalysis made a rather limited contribution to 'the big picture' in the 'silent war' against the Japanese navy. Had it not been for the considerable number of victories mutually achieved by these two analytical methods in the silent war, the shooting war in the Pacific would have taken a far different and much more painful course."

Wilcox, Jennifer. The Secret of Adam and Eve. Ft. George G. Meade, MD: National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History, 2003. [http://www.nsa.gov/about/cryptologic_heritage/center_crypt_history/publications/secret_adam_eve.shtml]

"In May 1943, Adam and Eve only resembled what their descendents would become: huge gray machines standing seven feet high, ten feet long, and two feet wide. But Adam and Eve were merely components, motors, and wire spread across workhorses and mounted in cabinets in Building 26 of the National Cash Register Company in Dayton, Ohio. Like the machines they preceded, they held nearly 400 vacuum tubes, 64 individually wired bakelite rotors, and innumerable feet of wire. They were the first of their kind, the U.S. Navy‘s Cryptanalytic Bombes." [Italics in original]

Wilcox, Jennifer. Solving the Enigma: History of the Cryptanalytic Bombe. Ft. George G. Meade, MD: National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History, revised 2006. [http://www.nsa.gov/about/_files/cryptologic_heritage/publications/wwii/solving_enigma.pdf]

Rejewski, Bertrand, Turing, Welchman, Desch, Bombes, WAVES -- all are mentioned here. The emphasis, however, is the work done in Dayton and at Arlington Hall.

Wilcox, Jennifer. Sharing the Burden: Women in Cryptology during WWII. Ft. George G. Meade, MD: National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History, 1998. [http://www.nsa.gov/about/_files/cryptologic_heritage/publications/wwii/sharing_the_burden.pdf]

"Only those women meeting higher qualifications were admitted into cryptologic work. Women in the Army had to meet officer qualifications, as well as have strong mathematics or language skills. The Navy competed with the Army for women with similar qualifications and offered officer status for cryptographers.[footnote omitted] However, both services placed a higher value on a woman's integrity than on her skills. A woman with the right qualifications, but not trained in cryptography, could learn the skills."

Williams, Jeannette, with Yolande Dickerson. The Invisible Cryptologists: African-Americans, WWII to 1956. Ft. George G. Meade, MD: National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History, 2001. [http://www.nsa.gov/about/_files/cryptologic_heritage/publications/wwii/invisible_cryptologists.pdf]

The author's "exhaustive search of the cryptologic archives ... recovered the basic story of the segregated cryptologic organizations -- including the previously unknown existence of a large office of African-Americans in World War II."

Winton, John [pen name of John Pratt]. ULTRA in the Pacific: How Breaking Japanese Codes and Cyphers Affected Naval Operations Against Japan, 1941-45. London: Leo Cooper, 1993. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1993.

Kruh, Cryptolog 15.3, finds that this book combines a "well written, chronological format" with a "detailed examination of the practical applications of Ultra intelligence." The material on British FECB work against JN-25 "is basically a rehash" of Rusbridger and Nave. Overall, this is a "fine work that shouldn't be marred by a rash comment."

The MI 21.1 reviewer says that the reader comes "away with a real sense of the skill and devotion that code breakers brought to their work." This is a "balanced work that will appeal to the crypto fan and the historian" and is a "quickly read presentation." Best, I&NS 10.1, concludes that ULTRA in the Pacific "is an entertaining and well written piece of work.... [W]hat separates Winton's book from its peers is its accessibility. This is not a dry academic tome; it is a book that communicates its interest in the subject and shows very clearly both the benefits to be gained from a superior intelligence-gathering capacity and the limits to its utility."

According to Bates, NIPQ 10.3, Winton "does not subscribe to the conspiracy theory that Churchill knew about Pearl Harbor ... but did not tell Roosevelt." He "does, however, say that '...there had been plenty of intelligence in the months before Pearl Harbor which, with hindsight, can clearly be shown to have revealed Japanese intentions'.... Regarding the shootdown of Admiral Yamamoto, Winton states that Admiral Nimitz '... obtained approval from everyone from President Roosevelt downwards.'" The reviewer take issues with these conclusions: "I ... do not believe there was plenty of intelligence before Pearl Harbor to predict the attack.... I also do not believe the decision to shoot Yamamoto down went any higher than Nimitz.... I have some problems with this one, I suggest you approach it with skepticism. But, it's a readable, interesting book that provides some new information and clearly identifies the contribution of radio intelligence in the Pacific in WW II."

Barnhart, I&NS 11.2, says that the "most original parts of ULTRA in the Pacific deal with Great Britain's role ... and its intelligence contributions.... Unfortunately, as Winton admits, Britain left most of the intelligence work to the Americans.... Winton is curiously silent upon the role of the Commonwealth services.... [R]eaders concerned with the role of intelligence in the Pacific[] would do better to consult John Prados' latest work, Combined Fleet Decoded."

Return to WWII MAGIC Table of Contents