Antony Best


Best, Antony. Britain, Japan and Pearl Harbor: Avoiding War in East Asia, 1936-41. London: Routledge, 1995.

The reviewer in American Historical Review 102.3 (Jun. 1997) calls this work "essential rrading for anyone concerned with power and diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region during the tewntieth century."

[Japan/PreWWII; UK/Interwar/30s]

Best, Antony. British Intelligence and the Japanese Challenge in Asia, 1914-1941. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

Mercado, I&NS 18.1, finds Best's work to be "a fine account of British intelligence and policy in the face of the Japanese challenge in Asia." The author's "argument is well ordered and defined.... [T]hose interested in both the particulars of British intelligence and the general problem of intelligence's place in foreign policy will find this book well worth reading."

[Japan/PreWWII; UK/Interwar/Gen]

Best, Antony.

1. "Constructing an Image: British Intelligence and Whitehall's Perception of Japan, 1931-1939." Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 3 (Jul. 1996): 403-423.

"[B]y the summer of 1939,... a consensus began to emerge among some policymakers that Japan was considerably overrated as a military power and that its bluff was waiting to be called, a judgement that was to have disastrous effects in 1941."

2. "'This Probably Over-Valued Military Power': British Intelligence and Whitehall's Perception of Japan 1939-1941." Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 3 (Jul. 1997): 67-94.

Best finds a tendency in prewar Whitehall to "undervalue Japanese capabilities and intentions." He concludes that this tendency "was dangerous because it argued against the need to increase Britain's intelligence resources, warped the interpretation of the intelligence available and encouraged those in power, in the absence of good intelligence, to fill in the gaps in its knowledge with suppositions based on ideas about Japan's relative inadequacy."


Best, Antony. "Intelligence, Diplomacy and the Japanese Threat to British Interests, 1914-41." Intelligence and National Security 17, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 85-100.

Best seeks to "assess the impact of the new intelligence records ... on the history of Anglo-Japanese diplomatic relations in the inter-war period, using as case studies MI5's surveillance of the spy Frederick Rutland, the origins of the Leith-Ross mission of 1935, and British intelligence on Japanese pan-Asianism."


Best, Antony. "'Straws in the Wind': Britain and the February 1941 War-Scare in East Asia." Diplomacy & Statecraft 5, no. 3 (1994): 642-665.


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