Signals Intelligence


Intelligence & National Security

Issue 14, no. 1 (Spring 1999)

Alvarez, David, ed. "Special Issue on Allied and Axis Signals Intelligence in World War II." Intelligence and National Security 14, no. 1 (Spring 1999): Entire issue.

David Kahn, "Foreword: A Historian's Perspective," vii-viii.

1. David Alvarez, "Axis Sigint Collaboration: A Limited Partnership," 1-17.

"Axis Sigint collaboration was modest in scope and results.... [T]he Axis worked together on only a few problems..., [and] they achieved nothing like the Allied success against the Enigma and Purple machines.... The Axis enterprise was fragmented, exhibited little system and less coordination." In addition, the Germans were condescending toward their partners, and suspicious of their security.

2. Colin Burke, "Automating American Cryptanalysis 1930-45: Marvelous Machines, a Bit Too Late," 18-39.

"America's versions of the devices used to attack ... encryption machines were technological compromises rushed to completion." And they tended to arrive too late to meet the needs of the moment, because America brought its technological skills and resources to bear on the problem too late.

3. Frank Cain, "Signals Intelligence in Australia during the Pacific War," 40-61.

Australian Sigint people worked alongside their American counterparts in the Central Bureau after MacArthur and his people arrived from the Philippines in 1942. Personnel at the Bureau were "roughly 50 per cent American, 25 per cent Australian Army and 25 per cent Australian Air Force."

4. Edward J. Drea and Joseph E. Richard, "New Evidence on Breaking the Japanese Army Codes," 62-83.

Using documents released by NSA in 1996, the authors conclude that "Japanese cryptologists, content with the system they administered, complacent about the impenetrability of their codes, contemptuous of their enemies, fell into a classic pattern of believing their system was foolproof."

5. John Ferris, "The 'Usual Source': Signals Intelligence and Planning for the Eighth Army 'Crusader' Offensive, 1941," 84-118.

The author seeks to "demonstrate that intelligence," especially signals intelligence, "was fundamental" to the "strategy of [Eighth] Army authorities in Cairo during ... their planning for 'Crusader.'" What was "really gained from intelligence was the ability to intervene before the enemy struck Tobruk, and the knowledge that the enemy could not fight a prolonged battle of attrition. These were significant gains."

6. Lee L. Gladwin, "Curious Collaborators: The Struggle for Anglo-American Cryptanalytic Co-operation, 1940-43," 119-145.

Gladwin covers the developing Anglo-American relationship from the earliest contacts through the British and United States Agreement (BRUSA) of 1943.

7. R.A. Ratcliff, "Searching for Security: The German Investigations into Enigma's Security," 146-167.

Rather than address the possibility that their cipher machine could be broken, the Germans tended to focus on "human betrayal," that is, a high-level spy, and Allied technical superiority in areas other than cryptanalytic work.

8. Bradley F. Smith, "New Intelligence Releases: A British Side to the Story," 168-175.

The author reviews the volume and diversity of intelligence-related materials released to the Public Record Office in recent years. He notes that British materials are spread across a larger number of record groups than the U.S. releases to the National Archives, because "Britain's most sensitive intelligence activities in World War II ... were spread much more widely across departments than has heretofore been recognized."

9. Martin Thomas, "Signals Intelligence and Vichy France, 1940-44: Intelligence in Defeat," 176-200.

French Sigint continued as a Vichy activity after the armistice agreements with the Axis powers in June 1940 until the unoccupied zone was overrun in November 1942. Codebreaking activities were diverse with attention paid to threats against both metropolitan and overseas France.

10. Maochun Yu, "Chinese Codebreakers, 1927-45," 201-213.

The author surveys KMT Sigint efforts, including the early work of T.V. Soong's nephew, Y.C. Wen (Wen Yuqing); Tai Li's radio intelligence activities against the Japanese; Yardley's advanced training of Chinese cryptanalysts; the activities of SACO; and efforts toward international cooperation in Sigint with the British and Americans. He concludes that interservice rivalries among the Nationalist forces and "fundamental distrust and suspicion" between the British and the Chinese "obviated the strategic value of China's codebreaking skills to the Allied war effort."

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