World War II

Far East & Pacific Theaters

A - D

Aldrich, Richard J.

1. "Britain's Secret Intelligence Service in Asia during the Second World War." Modern Asia Studies 32, no. 1 (Feb. 1998): 179-217.

"[T]his essay seeks to shed some preliminary light upon ... the troubled Asiatic branch of SIS from the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 to termination of Britain's post-war administrative duties in Southeast Asia in 1946.... [T]he experience of SIS in Asia after 1941 was distinctly different in character" than SIS in London. "[I]t encountered new problems that became more awkward and intractable as the war progressed.... [O]perational problems, peculiar to Asia, were compounded by serious mistakes committed at a higher level, notably by the regional head of SIS, Colonel Leo Steveni, during the period 1942-44."

2. "Imperial Rivalry: British and American Intelligence in Asia, 1942-46." Intelligence and National Security 3, no. 1 (Jan. 1988): 5-55.

3. Intelligence and the War Against Japan: Britain, America and the Politics of Secret Service. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

According to Jonkers, AFIO WIN 23-00 (9 Jun. 2000), this work explores "the complex wartime connections between the politics of secret service and the politics of empire.... Readable ... and expertly done, for the scholar and student of political science and history." To Wiant, Studies 46.1, the author's "trenchant treatment of the achievement of strategic surprise against the British in Malaysia and Singapore and the Americans at Pearl Harbor is among the best summations in indications and warning literature."

Bath, NIPQ 16.4, notes that the geographic scope of this work is more limited than the title suggests. The work covers only Mountbatten's South East Asia Command and Stillwell's China-Burma-India Theater. Nonetheless, the author "has produced a thoughtful study of a previously unexplored aspect of Anglo-American wartime intelligence.... [I]t is not an easy read, but one that is destined to become a cornerstone of future research."

For Kruh, Cryptologia 25.2, this is a "comprehensive, scholarly history of the development of the British secret intelligence and its relations with its American counterparts during the war against Japan." The author supplies "a cogent analysis of the role of intelligence in Far Eastern developments."

Best, I&NS 16.1, notes that Aldrich's work is divided into two parts. The first, shorter portion deals with "the development of British intelligence in East and South-East Asia in the period up to December 1941." The reviewer wonders whether the author "goes a little too far in his efforts" to show that British estimates of Japanese ambitions and capabilities were not as skewed as is usually accepted. Nonetheless, "Aldrich has provided a most interesting account of the run-up to war." The second, longer portion of the work "analyses the activities of the various British and American intelligence services in the Indian, Chinese and Southeast Asian theatres during the war." Aldrich's "is clearly an important work.... There are few books that describe the activities of the intelligence community in such detail and demonstrate so clearly that intelligence is a vital aspect of decision-making."

4. The Key to the South: Britain, the United States, and Thailand During the Approach of the Pacific War, 1929-1942. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1993.

According to Surveillant 3.2/3, Aldrich "examines the accelerating Western struggle with Japan for control over 'independent' Thailand.... Many clandestine aspects of this struggle are explored for the first time." Kruh, Cryptologia 18.1, notes that "[a]lthough this excellent, meticulously researched study ... does not focus on espionage or other types of intelligence, it contains numerous references to clandestine activities."

Allen, Lewis. Singapore 1941-1942. London: Davis-Poynter, 1977. Rev. ed. London: Frank Cass, 1995.

Allen, Louis. "Burmese Puzzles: Two Deaths that Never Were." Intelligence and National Security 5, no. 1 (Jan. 1990): 193-198.

This article concerns the reported deaths of two Japanese generals by Burmese guerrilla forces. The author believes the deaths never occurred.

Atherton, Louise. SOE Operations in the Far East: An Introductory Guide to the Newly Released Records of the Special Operations Executive in the Public Record Office. London: PRO Publications, 1993.

Aldrich, I&NS 10.1: "This publication is, on the whole, commendably thorough and knowledgeable."

Ban Kah Choon. Absent History: The Untold Story of Special Operations Branch in Singapore, 1915-1942. Singapore: SNP Media Asia Pte Ltd., 2001.

Unsinger, IJI&C 15.3, views this as "overall a good book," even though the materials from which it is drawn were "limited." This is "a fine report on colonial intelligence in the interwar years."

Bickers, Robert. "The Business of a Secret War: Operation 'Remorse' and SOE Salesmanship in Wartime China." Intelligence and National Security 16, no. 4 (Winter 2001): 11-36.

Chapman, Freddie Spencer. The Jungle Is Neutral. London: Chatto & Windus, 1949. London: Corgi, 1973. [pb] New York: TimeLife Education; 1988. Guildford, CT: Lyons Press, 2003.

From the Back Cover: "After the fall of Malaysia to the Japanese, the unflappable ... Chapman survived for years in the jungle as a guerilla fighter. The Jungle is Neutral is his amazing tale of survival and valor against all odds." See also, Moynahan, Jungle Soldier (2009).

Cruickshank, Charles G. SOE in the Far East. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.

According to Rasor, The China-Burma-India Campaign, 1931-1945 (1998), p. 140, this is the "official history of British clandestine operations in China, India, Burma, Indochina, Malaya, Thailand, and Indonesia; included psychological warfare and freeing POWs." Seaman, I&NS 20.1 (Mar. 2005), 33, calls this "official" history "a worthy, if workmanlike, book."

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