Volume 2, Number 2
Arif. Khaki Shadows: Pakistan 1947-1997. Karachi: Oxford University Press
2001. XVIII, 425 pp.
The 9/11 massacres and the war on terror catapulted Pakistan – and its
premier secret service, the Directorate-General of Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI) – from the margins of world politics into its most turbulent epicenter. No
one experienced the shock more brutally than ISI chief Lieutenant-General Mahmud
Ahmed: Preparing on that very Black Tuesday to board a flight home after a
routine and rather friendly Washington, D.C., visit, he was summoned from the
airport for a thorough tongue-lashing and a virtual ultimatum from Secretary of
State Collin Powell on his country’s and his service’s links with the Taliban.
Mahmud would spend the next two months in hasty and futile maneuvers to prevent
the upcoming war, only to be summarily sacked on the first day of the US attack
on Afghanistan. His humiliation symbolized the collapse of the ISI’s
long-running double game of simultaneous co-operation with the Americans and
with their Islamist enemies; and since then it has been constantly under the
international community’s cold, suspicious gaze, most acutely when its
involvement in Kashmiri terrorism provoked India into massive military
sabre-rattling with hints of nuclear brinkmanship. In short: the ISI is no
longer a regional South Asian issue, it is a global one.
A comprehensive history of the ISI has yet to be written; Khalid Muhammad
Arif’s book provides some of the raw material for it, tantalizingly illuminating
glimpses into its modus operandi. It is mainly a memoir of a career in the
Pakistani Army which brought him the highest rank, a full four-star generalship.
As vice chief of Army Staff during the military dictatorship of Zia ul-Haq, who
doubled as president and chief of Army Staff, Arif was the effective day-to-day
commander of the Army and one of the small coterie of officers who ruled
Pakistan from Zia’s coup in 1977 until his own (somewhat forced) retirement in
1987 (Zia himself died in 1988 in an airline crash widely believed to have been
an assassination). A staff officer with no specific intelligence training or
experience, he was nevertheless closely involved in intelligence matters at the
highest level, not least thanks to his close working relationship with Zia’s
powerful and long-serving ISI chief, General Akhtar Abd-ur-Rahman. Arif vividly
describes, for instance, how in 1980 they quickly nipped in the bud an attempted
coup d’etat by a disgraced former major general and Islamist extremist, Tajammal
Hussain Malik: Arif was woken up at night by a major from the Military
Intelligence College in Murree who wished to unburden himself from the story of
the conspiracy, and a series of urgent midnight phone calls to Akhtar ensured
the arrest of the conspirators (in the regiment on presidential guard duty!)
without even disturbing Zia’s sleep.
This, of course, is also revealing of the atmosphere of choking fear during
the Zia years; and here Arif is less than forthright, uncomfortably moving
between subdued criticism of his former master and, more often, transparent
apologetics in the manner of a loyal retainer. He credits Zia and ISI chief
Akhtar with the management of the guerrilla war against the Soviets in
Afghanistan, especially the care taken to prevent direct CIA control of the
Mujahidin commanders: Akhtar ordered all their meetings with CIA representatives
to be held only in the presence of their ISI handlers, and Arif criticizes prime
minister Benazir Bhutto for having weakened this policy later. But Arif keeps
studiously mum on the question of the diversion of large sums from the CIA’s war
fund into private pockets, not least into those of Zia’s and Akhtar’s sons (who
are now, inexplicably, multimillionaires). On another great mystery of Pakistani
history, the disappearance of Zia’s papers originally held by his widow, he
gives such a vague and improbable account of his own role as to rouse the
reader’s suspicion that he is hiding something in order to protect Zia’s
reputation. This notwithstanding the rather undignified way in which Zia
engineered Arif’s retirement in 1987, leaking to the press "from an intelligence
agency" that he had lost confidence in him, and even subjecting him to
surveillance: Arif indignantly describes how a fellow general alerted him to the
capture of an agent monitoring him, inside military headquarters, obviously on
orders of ISI chief Akhtar, but he could not bring himself to anything more than
a sullen refusal to talk to Akhtar ever after. Such was life in Zia’s court.
Arif also provides here the most detailed insider account of an episode
worthy of further intensive study, the Brass Tacks crisis of January 1987. A
massive Indian Army exercise involving 200,000 troops on the India-Pakistan
border led to a short war scare reminiscent of the recent showdown of 2001/
2002. Pakistan suspected Indian "coercive diplomacy" and feared a surprise
attack; Arif claims that ISI provided an accurate, detailed warning based on
excellent information but also tended to a worst-case analysis of Indian
intentions. He describes in detail the Pakistani decision-making process during
the crisis, including being asked point blank by Prime Minister Junejo in one
tense moment on the Cabinet Defence Committee: "Is war imminent?" Arif gives
himself part of the credit for the cool Pakistani response which resolved the
crisis, and this has the ring of truth; but it does not sufficiently take
account of the internal developments in India, especially Indian chief-of-staff
Sundarji’s failure of nerve after the Pakistani counter-deployment. Arif‘s
account should stimulate further research of the Brass Tacks episode; it seems
the huge literature on surprise and intelligence failure could profit from a
case study of a successful warning, if indeed it was one.
Doron Arazi, Birmingham
Eric S. Ensign. Intelligence in the Rum War at Sea 1920-1933.
Washington, D.C.: Joint Military Intelligence College, 2001. 92 pp.
The Prohibition era usually refers to the period from January 1920 until
April 1933 when the National Prohibition Enforcement Act forbade the manufacture
and sale of beverages with an alcoholic content greater than 0.5 percent in the
United States. Although it outlawed the manufacture, sale, and transportation of
alcohol, it made no provisions against buying or drinking it. However, when the
experiment with Prohibition began, no one could have foreseen the magnitude of
illegal liquor importation, leading to government corruption and organized crime
on an unprecedented scale. As America’s thirst for alcohol grew, foreign
distillers quickly responded and took over the role of the American liquor
industry. By the middle of the 1920s it became clear that "Volsteadism" was
presenting law enforcement agencies and government authorities with enormous
problems. Stopping the illegal traffic seemed impossible. Plans to establish a
naval blockade of the coasts and of closing the thousands of miles of borders
along Canada and Mexico were discussed. The U.S. Coast Guard waged an
unrelenting campaign to detect, monitor, apprehend, and support the prosecution
of those who smuggled alcohol on the high seas and navigable waterways of the
United States. The Coast Guard servicemen were regarded as "the last line of
defense" to keep the enemy away from the coast.
Facing the task of defending the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Great
Lake shorelines, the Coast Guard quickly saw its enlargement through vessel
acquisition and recruitment. In addition to this enlargement the Coast Guard and
the Congress looked for other ways to even the score between the Coast Guard and
the rum fleet. When realizing that these initial measures to combat the rum
runners proved ineffective, the Coast Guard turned to intelligence to bridge the
capabilities gap between well-organized smugglers and under-resourced law
enforcement. And in fact, the development of an Intelligence Section marked the
turning point in the Coast Guard´s favor in the Rum War. As a member of the
Armed Forces, the Coast Guard, with domestic police power, found itself in a
unique position to use all-source intelligence. However, the battle for
information superiority was fought by both sides, but an understanding of the
value of intelligence and the all-source approach of tapping the unique
abilities of each intelligence discipline allowed the Coast Guard to support
interdiction operations with well-fused intelligence. The use of the disciplines
of Human Resources Intelligence, Communications Intelligence, Imaginary
Intelligence and Open Source Intelligence as well as intelligence sharing
between the Coast Guard and other federal agencies made possible frequent
This publication is based exclusively on declassified Coast Guard
Intelligence Division sources available to the public at the National Archives,
Washington, DC. The author, Eric S. Ensign, a USCG serviceman, spent his early
career years in Florida, where he was responsible for intelligence support for
U.S. counter-drug efforts. His study, which received the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint History Office´s Award for Excellence in Archival Research, brings to
light the massive, all-source intelligence effort that provided the backbone of
Coast Guard operations in the "Rum War at Sea". It shows how, through a
concentrated interplay of intelligence and operations, the Coast Guard was able
to obtain and maintain dominant battlespace knowledge. In his introducing
chapter the author sets the scene before he describes the Coast Guard´s initial
counter measures. He then turns the reader´s attention to the use of the various
intelligence disciplines, explaining in detail how the intelligence tasks were
carried out. At the conclusion of this study, the reader will understand how the
fusion of intelligence and the Coast Guards enforcement strategy acted as a
force multiplier, allowing the Coast Guard to use its dominant battlefield
knowledge to its advantage in defeating a determined foe.
The lessons learned from the use of intelligence in the Rum War are fully
applicable to today´s war on drugs. The value of intelligence as a force
multiplier like that chronicled by the author can still not be overestimated. In
light of the continuing counter-smuggling operations of the U.S. Coast Guard,
efforts recently reinforced as part of the US effort against terrorism, this
work holds enduring value not only for the historically interested reader but
also for contemporary analysis as well.
Jan G. Heitmann, Hamburg
Reinhard Grimmer, Werner Irmler, Willi Opitz und Wolfgang Schwanitz, eds.
Die Sicherheit. Zur Abwehrarbeit des MfS.. Edition Ost im Verlag Neues
Berlin, Berlin 2002 , 2 vols., pp. 1,248
In April 2002, an edition was published in Berlin/FRG which is remarkable for
the study of intelligence related contemporary history – because of its authors
as well as because of its contents.
The Editors and Authors
„Die Sicherheit" was written by a group of 20 officers who had been in
high and highest positions in the Ministerium fuer Staatssicherheit (MfS,
Ministry of State Security) of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR,
German Democratic Republic). Together, they served a total of 729 years in the
MfS, most of them with an average period of service of 38 years.
It is the first time in history that such a group of intelligence
professionals who had been on active duty until only a little more than a decade
ago has published such a project. Among them are (in alphabetical order and with
their former positions):
Karli Coburger (General, ret.: head main-dept. VIII/observation); Manfred
Dietze (General, ret.: head main-dept. I/military counter-espionage); Siegfried
Haehnel (General, ret.: head district office Berlin); Werner Irmler (General,
ret.: head dept. ZAIG/evaluation and information); Alfred Kleine (General, ret.:
head main-dept. XVIII/economical security); Horst Maennchen (General, ret.: head
main-dept. III/signals intelligence); Guenter Moeller (General, ret.: head
main-dept. KS/personnel division); Gerhard Neiber (General, ret.: Deputy
Secretary of State Security); Willi Opitz (General, ret.: head JHP/MfS-academy);
Siegfried Rataizik (Colonel, ret.: head dept. XIV/imprisonment on remand);
Wolfgang Schmidt (Ltnt.-Col., ret.: head information div. of main-dept.XX/
internal and state security); Wolfgang Schwanitz (General, ret.: Deputy
Secretary of State Security); Dieter Skiba (Colonel, ret.: head dept. IX-11/internal
NS-archive); Wolfgang Stuchly (Ltnt.-Col., ret.: head dept. II-5/counter-espionage
Looking at the variety of organisational units covered by the group of
authors it becomes obvious that the book concentrates on subjects of internal
national security and intelligence. This was what they had intended because
there is a multitude of publications concerning the GDR’s external intelligence
service, the Hauptverwaltung A (HV A, main-administration A, foreign
espionage) already available since many years. Therefore „Die Sicherheit"
deals with counter-intelligence work and national state-security duties for
which the MfS had been responsible since its constitution on February 8, 1950.
Volume 1 begins with the chapter "The End" ("Das Ende"). It reminds of
the political situation of 1989/90. The authors explain the influence the policy
of persistency of the ruling party SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei
Deutschlands, Socialist Unity Party of Germany) had on the MfS during these
decisive months. The SED was unable to deal with the seething situation in her
country. For the MfS the party’s silence, the sudden lack of governance was
paralysing: since four decades the MfS had acted strictly by order of the SED.
Now there were no directions anymore while the political and social order
changed. But without SED-direction there was no MfS-action. This, too, had been
the maxim of the MfS over forty years.
This supremacy of the SED and its security-policy regarding national,
international and military affairs is subject of the second essay. Written by
Grimmer, Irmler, Neiber, and Schwanitz here the socialistic understanding of
state, society and party-interests becomes evident. Though they were rated as
different subjects they were considered to be elements of a homogeneous oneness.
Like in all other nations ruled by communist/ socialist governments, party
interests dominated state-affairs in the GDR, too. Although the authors do not
express such views explicitly reading between the lines it becomes obvious that
the continuous weakness of such a system was that the ruling party only relied
on a multitude but never had any majority.
So such governments constantly have to consolidate and secure their power. E.
g., the constitution of the GDR cemented the dominating position of the SED
within East-Germany’s state, government, and society.
One of the party’s instruments to secure its absolute power was the MfS. This
function of the ministry was destined in its statutes of 1953 and 1969. Both are
reproduced at the end of this chapter. The authors equate these statutes with
regular, legislative laws. But this is unjustified for both statutes had been
classified top secret and before they were published after 1990 they had been
known to a very limited group of officials only. The authors are aware of this
fact but apparently neglect it which curtails their essay’s quality.
The value of this chapter is that the security policy of the SED is explained
as integrated into the contemporary context of German and Cold War history.
Problems of realizing sovereign policy are presented as well as the consequences
resulting from this political situation for the MfS. Acting on behalf and by
order of the leadership of the SED the MfS had to deal with almost everything
the party perceived as potentially hostile or dangerous. To a certain degree
such an employment of a state security authority is justified which the authors
substantiate. But they express clear criticism about the SED for making the
ministry increasingly responsible for handling all kinds of political and social
At the end of this comprehensive essay it has become evident that the MfS had
not been an imperium arcanum within the GDR but was an instrument of the SED
government acting by order of the party. Its actions had not been without legal
positions but were in accordance with GDR jurisdiction.
Chapters 3, 4, and 5 are about duties and methods employed by the MfS.
Grimmer and Irmler explain the variety of hostile activities the MfS had to deal
with. They included all kinds of criminals, foreign intelligence services and
organizations whose activities had been aimed at destabilizing the GDR but also
individuals and groups who tried to establish alterations of the SED-policy.
Here, too, the problem is explained that the SED increasingly used its MfS to
solve social problems. The more political and social problems and difficulties
appeared the more the SED shifted its responsibility to the MfS until the
ministry even had to control the performance of planned economy targets. Clearly
the authors criticize that the MfS was alienated from its actual purposes by the
party (vol. 1, p. 269). In their retrospective view they conclude that "these
were unfit attempts to influence or even control social proceedings" (vol. 1, p.
But although the MfS had to deal with increasingly more duties it is
incorrect to describe East Germany’s state security system as ubiquitously. A
value of this chapter is that Grimmer and Irmler state many facts and figures
against this widespread prejudice. Their arguments will support further serious
Among the methods the MfS had applied to investigate potentially hostile
activities were its so-called Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter (IM, Unofficial
Employees). These IM were what other intelligence services refer to as sources,
informers, assets etc., they were elements of the MfS’ human intelligence.
Comprehensively Anders and Opitz explain the multitude of administrative rules
MfS officers had to apply when recruiting and employing IM. And they describe
the various categories of IM which is not new but interesting to everyone with
interest in this subject and because it is important to know such differences
for a factual dealing with this subject.
No one would deny any intelligence or security authority to employ HumInt
like IM. The decisive question is up to which degree is it legitimate to apply
this instrument. Unfortunately the authors did not touch this subject. On the
other hand it is an advantage of their chapter that they explain the employment
of IM among juveniles to counter falsified information spread in various
publications. And they express their regret that case-officers and leading
cadres of the MfS had been unable to protect their IM since 1990.
The IM-chapter is followed by an essay by Coburger and Rauscher about covert
investigation and observation. Written in a very factual way they explain the
various methods and techniques the main-department VIII and its sub-units had
employed; Coburger had been head of this main-department until 1989.
They inform about the requirements the staff of this unit had to meet and
about the variety of duties. Among them were observations of dead-letter-boxes,
transit-routes through GDR-territory, suspects of counter-espionage
investigations and the Military Liaison Missions of the Western allied forces
which had been stationed in Potsdam. Allied legal positions allowed them to
inspect military activities in GDR territory. VIII-units were constantly on
their track. Main-dept. VIII also carried out secret investigations in the West
but unfortunately the authors refuse to reveal more than that fact itself.
There have been some superficial reports about supposedly ultra-secret
MfS-officers. Coburger and Rauscher explain this special category of officers,
referred to as U-Mitarbeiter (U-employees). They were merely used to
carry out investigations in environments where their affiliation with the MfS
had to be kept secret in any case.
Opitz introduces the chapters 7 to 17. His report imparts a brief survey
about the organisational responsibilities of various main-departments and
departments of the MfS. Some of these units are described in detail in the
following chapters beginning with main-dept. II/ counter-espionage.
Between 1954 and 1982 Moeller had served in the MfS’ counter-espionage before
his transfer to the personnel division. Stuchly, too, had spent most of his
career in counter-espionage. Their comprehensive and factual report reveals many
details of espionage cases targeted against the GDR. They begin with an
informative tour d´horizon of Western intelligence services which were
responsible for most of the espionage activities against East Germany: West
Germany’s BND, Verfassungsschutz, the US intelligence community and the services
of Great Britain and France. Having introduced these adversaries the authors
show methods and techniques used by the MfS to counter their activities (in
co-operation with the Soviet KGB and other partner services).
Having described the organisational history of the units of (main-) dept. II,
Moeller and Stuchly explain some techniques employed by the MfS to investigate
espionage cases. The MfS concentrated on prevention and detecting the lines of
communications of foreign agents. The authors’ description of these MfS’ efforts
and techniques is remarkable e. g., their explanation of detecting secret inks,
secret copy-paper etc. as well as carefully observing physical movements of
suspected agents and couriers.
Though they explain many cases of Western espionage in and against the GDR
and reveal some cases of amazing carelessness of these agencies the authors pay
respect to their former opponents in a certain way. They do not name agents and
case officers of these intelligence services and they also do not reveal too
many details regarding their offices – though there is no doubt that their
profound knowledge would have allowed them to do so.
The units of main-dept. III were the NSA/CSS of the GDR responsible for
signals intelligence as well as communication security. Main-dept. III had been
build up by Horst Maennchen. Therefore, one would expect a lot of his essay –
but one should not. There are only 16 pages of text and this description of the
MfS’ SigInt and ComSec capabilities is not appropriate to the competence of
Maennchen and Schwanitz who wrote this chapter.
Their explanation of SigInt is as general as of techniques to locate agents
using radio communication. But with interest readers will note the authors’
statement that the GDR’s official lines of telecommunication "were open like
gates of a shed" to Western signals intelligence gathering (vol. 1, p. 575). And
they admit that the MfS had been unable to convince those authorities
responsible to improve this situation. The second valuable information of this
chapter are the explanations and illustrations of seismic and magnetic sensors
employed by Western intelligence services to detect movements around military
installations in the GDR.
Internal state security is the final chapter of volume one and of quite
difficult and controverse contents. In accordance with the understanding of the
political supremacy of the SED stated above the range of political activities
considered as potentially dangerous was wide and affected many citizens.
Furthermore even those who considered themselves as loyal to the system could
easily become suspects of illoyality just because they criticized the SED’s
political and social system merely with the intention to improve it.
Besides these political opponents and those who assisted Western efforts to
destabilize the GDR society the XX was responsible for the surveillance of
religious organizations, the areas of culture, science, and education.
There have been many media reports regarding the MfS’ interest in juveniles.
Schmidt spends a lot of attention to this subject and accounts for these
measures in detail. One may not agree with such practices but Schmidt’s
explanations truly deserve to be taken into consideration.
Of course, there have been many Western organizations, groups, and
individuals whose efforts had been aimed at stirring up dissatisfaction among
GDR citizens and to destabilize her political system. Many of these are
comprehensively described as well as the necessity for the MfS to counter such
activities. Some of these persons and groups did not even hesitate to apply
violence as Schmidt states correctly. But sometimes violence had been part of
MfS counter-measures, too. It would have supported the veracity of Schmidt’s
essay if he had not concealed such operations.
With Schmidt again another author states that and how the SED had made use of
its authority for state security to solve social problems, and Schmidt, too,
criticizes this fact. It characterizes the deafness of the SED leadership when
it constantly ignored proposals for solutions by the MfS (vol. 1, p. 655).
The chapter on the units of the organisational line XVIII was written by
Haehnel und Kleine, the later having served as head of this main-dept. since
1974. The XVIII had been responsible for the protection of the people’s economy.
Sabotage and espionage had to be prevented and investigated. The authors
describe many such cases, even more than enough to substantiate the fact that
the GDR’s economy had been a target of foreign espionage agents partially aimed
at causing disturbances and damages.
Factually the authors connect the development of this unit with the
development of the political and economical situation of East Germany. Here, too,
it becomes obvious that and how the MfS had to serve SED interests. And it
becomes evident once again that the ruling party quite often ignored MfS-reports
on economical problems that would have required political solutions instead of
state security service measures. E. g. Haehnel and Kleine state that in the
1980s main-dept. XVIII had prepared "more than 500 information for the
leadership of party and state referring to the real situation of the people’s
economy" (vol. 2, p. 149). But the SED did not react and preferred to continue
her "problem-ignoring propaganda" (vol. 2, p. 151).
It is unfortunate that the chapter does not contain more information as to
dept. 7 of main-dept. XVIII. This unit had been tasked with HumInt operations in
the West thus doing there what other XVIII-units tried to prevent at home. But
here, the authors prefer to remain discreet.
ZKG/BKG were units without equivalent in Western intelligence and security
services. Die Zentrale Koordinierungsgruppe (ZKG, Central Co-ordination
Group) of the ministry and the Bezirkskoordinierungsgruppen (BKG,
District Co-ordination Groups) were established in 1975, not accidentally the
year of the CSCE closing in Helsinki. ZKG/BKG were ordered to co-ordinate all
efforts of the various MfS-units and -branches to repress the constantly
increasing number of applications and legal claims for exit permits as well as
all other legal and illegal attempts to leave the GDR.
Niebling, who had served as ZKG-head since 1983, describes the various
methods used by East German citizens to leave their country – either in
accordance with GDR law or violating it. He quotes an MfS-report stating that
between 1961 and September 1989 there had been 556,541 cases of legal
applications for permanent exit while there were 94,649 "illegal border
crossings" within this period if time (vol. 2, pp. 206, 207). Unfortunately, it
is not said how many attempts of such border crossings had failed and what had
happened to these persons.
Niebling’s essay shows the difference between law and justice. Though he
comprehensively explains the legal basis of various MfS-measures there is no
word as to their legitimacy, there is no attempt to find answers as to why so
many citizens wanted to leave the GDR. All the author states to this is that "it
is incontestable that ... the reasons to deny permanent exit permits were
relatively extensive, the reasons for granting such permits were very strict on
the other hand" (vol. 2, p. 213).
Once more one realizes that the SED used its secret service to solve social
problems in secrecy instead of developing appropriate political solutions.
Niebling clearly states that the SED’s "commanded concealment" and "glossing
over" caused increasing discontent (vol. 2, p. 182). But MfS information to the
Politburo and Central Committee did not result in any changes of this policy. It
is a valuable detail of his essay that Niebling explains how this policy was
expressed in lacks within jurisdiction. According to Niebling the main tasks of
the MfS and the GDR Home Office (it had also been involved here) had not been to
apply restrictive measures but to induce those who wanted to leave to stay and
"to integrate them into the GDR-society again" (vol. 2, p. 217).
The "prevention of terror and other acts of violence. (HA XXII in MfS)" is
the headline of the chapter by Neiber and Plomann. They begin with explaining
definitions of terrorism and its theoretical background. This is quite valuable
especially in times of considerable public attention in and concern about this
phenomenon, and the authors even include the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as well
as the military operations against Afghanistan.
But there is no necessity for that especially because although their essay
consists of 103 pages not much is said about the way the MfS’ main-dept. XXII
worked, which methods were employed nor what the MfS had really known about
certain terrorist groups and their activities. It is also unfortunate that is
seems as if the MfS or at least these authors did not distinguish between acts
of terrorism and sabotage.
Though MfS counter-terrorism had involved operations abroad the reader only
learns that such "operative measures in the Operationsgebiet [area of
operation, MfS-term for the West] were co-ordinated in compliance with the
secrecy" (vol. 2, p. 302). Would you like to be told more about these "operative
measures"? Me, too. Instead of writing comprehensively about West-Germany’s
practise of countering terrorism it would have supported the books concern much
more if the authors had written more about the practise of their MfS.
The same with ‘Carlos’: there are only two and a half pages about this famous
terrorist group which had stayed in East-Berlin for some time. The authors
reveal nothing not already known from other sources such as the books by Wilhelm
Dietl (which they quote) or David Yallop.
Truly interesting on the other hand is the description of MfS-Operation
‘Bus’. As a consequence of the attempt on the discotheque ‘La Belle’ in
West-Berlin in 1986 (the authors say almost nothing about its circumstances or
background) dept. XXII arranged measures to protect busses used by US military
personnel: only in 1987 approx. 36,000 civilian and 37,000 military staff of the
US forces used them to visit East-Berlin. There had been information of planned
terrorist attacks against these busses and the US ambassador had asked the GDR
government to increase protective measures. MfS-dept. XXII was responsible and
its forces escorted these busses from the moment they entered East-Berlin until
they left East-Germany’s capital.
The MfS-equivalent of the KGB’s 3rd main-directorate was the main-dept. I (military
counter-espionage). Since 1971 Dietze had served as deputy to main-dept. chief
Karl Kleinjung before succeeding him in 1981. He and Riebe factually explain the
special organization of this unit which had been arranged parallel to the
structure of the GDR’s armed forces Nationale Volksarmee (NVA, National
People’s Army) and the Grenztruppen (GT, Border Troops).
The first responsibility of main-dept. I was to protect NVA and GT against
foreign espionage as well as hostile and dangerous activities. Though the
authors describe a few cases they hold back some of the units remarkable
failures such as agent Martha. She had been the housekeeper of
KGB-general Pitovrannev and then of general Karl Linke the first chief of the
NVA’s military intelligence department until 1957. Only a year later the I had
not been able to prevent the desertion of Siegfried Dombrowski, a high-ranking
military intelligence officer. And Dietze/ Riebe also don’t mention the
operation against the NVA’s MI-head Gregori in the 1970s/ 1980s though Dietze
had been decisively involved.
The second responsibility of main-dept. I was to conduct reconnaissance
operations in the West. Here, the unit concentrated on military and police
activities on West-German territory. This included duties of the
Grenzaufklärung (Border Reconnaissance) along the GDR’s border to
West-Germany up to 50 km deep into the West (since 1982 reduced to 30 km). The
authors also reveal some details regarding main-dept. I’s dept. Aeussere
Abwehr (External Counter-service). Dept. AA had several special duties and
forces. They were involved in the death of Michael Gartenschlaeger in 1976 when
he had tried to steal a SM-70 mine from the border fence. Furthermore, AA forces
tried to get GDR military officers who had deserted to the West to return.
The MfS had also been tasked with certain criminal investigation duties. This
was the field of main-dept. IX and its dept. IX in the district offices. The
essay by Coburger and Skiba explains this field of MfS-activity. It concentrates
strongly on laws and legal positions. Comprehensively they state the multitude
of laws, directions, orders etc. which had to be applied when conducting such
investigations. Since to most readers this legal framework is relatively unknown
their explanations are rather valuable. But unfortunately the authors leave it
at that and do almost not explain investigative practise. Also, there are no
explanations regarding death penalties and executions (the last had been 1981).
Of much interest is their description of dept. IX/11. This was the MfS’
archive for documents relating to the period of National socialism. Established
in 1967 it consisted of approx. 11 km of written material and had entries to
more than 2 million persons. Skiba was officer of IX/11 and served as its last
head. The essay about this unit and its records describes an interesting and
vulnerable chapter of German history, the different attitudes of the East- and
the West-German state towards NS-history.
The MfS had maintained jails for prisoners on remand under the control of its
dept. XIV. The author of this chapter, Rataizik, had served in dept. XIV since
1951 and as its head from 1963 to 1990. He spent a lot of efforts to put in
order the many irritating and false information circulating about these prisons
for a long time.
Of course, conditions of detention as Rataizik sees it, differ from
experiences and recollections of former prisoners. But factually he describes
the organization of custody and explains why there had been devices such as
X-ray instruments and refutes further rumours. It is right that he criticizes
memorial and other institutions for the pursue of not objective research. And it
is remarkable that Rataizik refers to criminal investigations and judgements of
various courts pronounced since the German reunification.
The last unit described is the Juristische Hochschule Potsdam (JHP).
It was the academy of the MfS headed by Opitz until 1985. It is interesting to
read how integrated the JHP had been within the educational system of the GDR.
Opitz explains the various subjects and curricula thought and applied at the JHP.
Comprehensively he describes the diversity of chairs which thought general
education subjects as well as historical, political, criminal investigation and
legal, and, of course, specific intelligence related subjects likewise.
Beyond his JHP-explanation Opitz informs about the school of the West-German
internal security services. Since not much has been published about this
institution so far his description is a valuable extra.
The final chapter, written by Opitz, too, is a critical essay about the BStU
which is the abbreviation for the Bundesbeauftragte fuer die Unterlagen des
Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik
(Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the
former German Democratic Republic). The government office with this impressive
name is the custodian of the MfS’s estate since 1990/91.
Opitz criticizes the way the BStU handles the release of MfS’ material and
that the authority does not distinguish the different records correctly. He
further refers to the problem that numbers of entries in MfS card-indexes are
presented often as exceptional though they should be related to the number of
entries of other intelligence and security services.
This publication will cause a lot of criticism. Less because of its contents
but because of its authors. Especially in Germany there are still many and
influential people who are convinced that what they like to refer to as "former
perpetrators" should not be allowed to obtain such public attention. In
accordance with the evaluation of the previous perception of similar
publications and public statements these circles will spend a lot of efforts to
discriminate this book.
But "Die Sicherheit" deserves the unbiased attention of all who take a
serious and unprejudiced interest in East Germany’s system and ministry of state
security and intelligence as well as of all those who want to get to know as
many different approaches and views as possible.
The book does not contain a vast quantity of facts unknown so far. It is
rather the comprehensive presentation of views and facts by almost twenty
high-ranking officers with the intention to document. Certainly, there will be
criticism that the authors have documented and recounted only: they did not
achieve to analyse what they have documented so comprehensively. But such
remonstrances are unjustified. Analysing may follow documentation – but this is
not imperative. It is absolutely acceptable to deliver a profound documentation
On no account they wanted to deliver a justification or apology in the
meaning of mea culpa maxima culpa. But the authors do not hesitate to criticize:
they express self-criticism as well as criticism on their former actions, the
lack of appropriate command by the leadership of the SED and especially the BStU.
Their remarks should be taken into consideration further on.
There are some weaknesses which ought to be noted. Many people will find it
difficult to accept the very bureaucratic and impersonal language of almost all
essays. This supports the authors’ intention to deliver factual reports but it
will disturb many who associate the subject with personal interests on the other
The essays appear to have been written individually; there is no systematic
manner perceptible according to that the essays have been written. While some
authors quote a lot of sources used others don’t. It is valuable that a lot of
the material used to support statements is not of GDR origin. Almost all author
used material by West-German, sometimes even US-sources. This way they prevent
arguments to have relied on GDR-literature only.
But the book lacks another systematic manner, too. It seems as if the authors
have not sufficiently studied the current state of historiographical research as
to their subjects. For example, there are explanations regarding the case of
Noel Field. But among the sources quoted the profound results of Bernd-Rainer
Barth or Wilfriede Otto have not been taken into consideration in a recognizable
way at least. And although results of historian Gerhard Keiderling are quoted he
often is stated as "Keiderlin". The same with Siegfried Suckut who is quoted as
"Suckot". Unfortunately such negligences in details run through the volumes
though they clearly were avoidable.
The book is arranged in an ingenious order. It begins with introductions to
the contemporary context followed by explanations of general methods applied by
various units of the MfS. They are described in the following chapters. But the
reader is not informed why certain units have not been included in the book
though one expects their description. Among these units is the main-dept. XIX
for securing all areas of public transport including Deutrans and
Interflug (though former head of XIX, Edgar Braun, is among the authors),
the main-dept. for person-protection (the MfS had a quite esteemed bodyguard
unit), the bureau for legal affairs, dept. 26 for technical surveillance (the
‘bug boys’ of the MfS) and others.
Almost all essays lack explicit statements of the authors’ understanding of
their points of view. They have been in very high positions for a long time so
their world had consisted of instructing and commanding, of general instructions
and orders. This precondition has strongly influenced the points of view of
their essays. The basis of their arguments are such general instructions, laws
etc. – thus the way things should have been according to these formal rules. Of
course, there have been differences between the way it should have been and the
way it really was. The authors should have stated that they are aware of this
The absolute deficit of "Die Sicherheit" is that it does not contain a
profound index. It is a great slovenliness to publish a historical book of more
than twelvehundred pages and then to leave it up to its reader to find again
certain facts, names or places. But this is to the fault of the authors but the
most unfortunate understanding of ‘service’ to the customer of the publishing
It is valuable that all essays are endeavoured to brake with the widespread
point of view to look at the GDR, its armed forces, and especially its ministry
of state security as a singular phenomenon. They explain the necessity to look
at the GDR in the context of history and especially the Cold War. The historical
and political interdependencies, reciprocities and mutualities had an immediate
influence and consequences on the development and policy of the MfS. This
understanding needs to be accepted.
Further, the MfS is one of the best investigated intelligence and security
organizations. But the profound knowledge must not allow the misleading attitude
to estimate the MfS as a singularity. All facts available will remain to be
quite one-sided as long as archives of similar institutions remain closed.
The overall conclusive result of "Die Sicherheit" is that intelligence
and security services are appropriate instruments to detect, observe and
investigate political and social dangers and threats. But they are not
appropriate instruments to solve such problems. This was true until 1990 – it
still is in 2002.
Bodo Wegmann, Berlin
Stephen Harper. Kampf um Enigma. Die Jagd auf U 559. Hamburg: E. S.
Mittler & Sohn, 2001. 144 pp.
This book describes in detail one of the most important captures of cipher
material in World War II. On 1 February 1942, the German U-Boat Command (B.d.U.)
introduced a new cipher machine, "M-4," for it’s communications with the
Atlantic U-Boats, leading to a black-out for the British cryptanalysts at
Bletchley Park after they had successfully decrypted the signals of the
"M-3"-machine in the second half of 1941 until the end of January 1942. All
efforts to break into the new machine, which had one of the rotors split into
two – the new Umkehrwalze B and the Griechenwalze Beta – failed
because the new machine multiplied the time of the "bombes" by factor 26. The
simultaneous change to a new weather code-book led to the loss of the most
On 30 October 1942, the British destroyer Petard forced the German
U-Boat U 559, that it had heavily damaged with depth charges, to the
surface in the eastern Mediterranean. A boarding party entered the submarine and
took off important cipher material, including the new weather code-book. When
Lt. Anthony Fasson and AB Colin Grazier, went to take the cipher machine, the
U-Boat went down and took the two brave men with it. With this material,
Bletchley Park was able to break into the "M-4"-cipher "Triton" and could
provide the Submarine Tracking Room (S.T.R.) with decrypted signals between
B.d.U. and German U-Boats from mid-December 1942 on. This had grave consequences
from early 1943 on and was one of the most important reasons for the change of
the tide in the Battle of the Atlantic in May 1943, influencing the operations
until the end of the war.
Unfortunately, at least the German edition of this book contains several
errors or mistakes. Thus, it is not correct that it had not previously been
known that cipher material from U 559 had been captured. As early as the
3rd Naval History Symposium at the Naval Academy in Annapolis in
October 1977, when the deputy head of the S.T.R. in London, Patrick Beesly, his
American counterpart in OP 20G, Kenneth Knowles, and this reviewer presented
their papers, it was mentioned that U 559 had been captured; in 1981 F.
Harry Hinsley repeated this in the official history; and David Kahn, in
Seizing the Enigma, described the events in detail in 1991.
To mention just some of the errors and mistakes: The numbers provided on pp.
36 and 37 are doubtful. The German Navy had seven cruisers and 21 destroyers on
1 September 1939, while the Royal Navy had no corvettes at the time, they were
not ordered before 25 July 1938 (30) and 31 August 1938 (30), and the first of
these vessels were commissioned as late as summer 1940. The Bismarck (p.
41) was not intercepted with assistance of "Ultra" but by bearings taken from
her long radio signals. During the "Channel Dash" (p. 43) the Scharnhorst
and Gneisenau were not damaged by torpedoes from aircraft and destroyers,
but by mines. The Aconit (p. 47) was a corvette and not a destroyer.
Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku (p.49) was not at Taranto in 1940, but the Japanese
naval attaché. The Germans did not name the machine "M-4" "Triton" (p. 49), this
was the code name for the cipher circuit of the Atlantic U-Boats from 4 October
1941 on. On p. 69 it should have been mentioned that the "Purple" code was the
highest Japanese diplomatic code and that the British were informed about the
American break in early 1941. Telford Taylor served for a longer time as head of
the US-delegation at B.P. but had nothing to do with the development of the
American "High-Speed-Bombs" directly. And (also on p. 69), the plane was an Avro
Anson, not "Hanson." The number of about 400 U-Boats available in March
1943 for convoy operations (p. 71) is grossly misleading. Of the 419 U-Boats in
commission at this date, 61 were old and small boats for training duties, 135
were new boats in tests and training, 32 were front line boats in the Arctic,
the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea. Of the remaining 191 front-line boats in
the Atlantic, 116 were at sea, but 21 were in far distant areas or going there,
and 4 were tankers. Thus, only 91 were taking part or going to or returning from
convoy operations in the North and Central Atlantic. — Unfortunately, this list
of errors and mistakes could be extended.
In case of a new edition, the publisher would be well advised to give the
book to an expert for corrections first! Only then, the very interesting story
of the destroyer Petard, that has participated in many actions and was
the only Allied ship that sank a German (U 559 on 30 October 1942), an
Italian (the Uarsciek on 15 December 1942, when cryptomaterial was
captured also), and a Japanese U-Boat (I-27 on 12 February 1944, after a
long duel), might be told correctly.
Jürgen Rohwer, Weinstadt
Sophie de Lastours. La France gagne la guerre des codes secrets 1914-1918.
Paris: Tallandier 1998. 262 pp.
In the history of cryptography during the First World War publications on the
achievements of British cryptographers dominate, however, as this book reminds
us, France used to have highly qualified cryptographers, too. The author
describes the achievements of the most important French cryptographers during
the First World War, Colonel Cartier, head of the Section du Chiffre of the
Ministry for War, Major Givièrge, Head of the Section du Chiffre of General
Headquarters, and of the best known of them all, Captain George Painvin, whose
achievements include the decryption of the famous German ADFGX/ADFGVX cypher
established in 1917/1918 by German First Lieutenant Fritz Nebel. The book quotes
extensively from the Cartier, Givièrge, and Painvin papers describing their work
in detail. This makes fascinating reading. So does the detailed account of a
1968 meeting, where former opponents Painvin and Nebel discussed past events.
Regrettably, Sophie de Lastours subscribes to the traditional French view
that the solving of a German ADFGVX-telegram by Painvin at the beginning of June
1918 was decisive for the Allied victory in the First World War because it gave
timely warning of a forthcoming German offensive meant to reach Paris and to
inflict a critical defeat on the Allies. However, it has been known for many
years, that the German Gneisenau attack of 11 June was staged to induce
the French High Command to rush in reserves from the area up north, where the
Germans intended to attack later on. To achieve this, its aim had to be grossly
exaggerated. This the German High Command did by spreading rumors that the
attack was heading for Paris and beyond; disinformation proved effective then –
and apparently still does. But the German offensive was not successful because
the French had a sufficient number of reserves at hand to stop the assault and
did not need to bring in additional reinforcements. Moreover, it is usually
overlooked that the basic version of the ADFGVX cypher had been particularly
created for the German spring offensive in 1918, meant to deal the Allies a
devastating blow. It was hoped that the cypher ADFGX would protect German
communications against Allied cryptographers during the assault and this is what
it indeed did. Telegrams in ADFGX appeared for the first time on 5 March, the
German attack started on 21 March. When Painvin presented his first solution of
the code on 5 April, the German offensive had already petered out.
The book gives extensive biographical minutiae of Cartier, Givièrge, Painvin,
and other important French crytographers, Lt.-Colonels Olivari and Thévenin
among them, who in late 1914 proved instrumental in solving the basic German
field cyphers. It shows, too, that they were far from being "a happy band of
brothers": there was fierce antagonism between Cartier and Givièrge. It remains
to be seen whether other researchers will be permitted to use the Cartier,
Givièrge, and Painvin papers. There is reason to believe that French archives
continue to practice their policy of granting access to sensitive documents on a
highly selective basis. A case in point is Givièrge's manuscript "Au Service du
Chiffre". Sophie de Lastours was not permitted to consult the original at the
Bibliotheque Nationale. Therefore she had to use a stenciled copy of a German
translation – it would have been interesting to know who ordered it and who
Hilmar-Detlef Brückner, Munich
V.G. Pavlov. Rukovoditeli Pol’schi glasami razved…ika.
Krisisnye 1973-1984 gody. Terra-Knishnyi Klub
Publishers, Moscow, 1998. 392 pp.
Vitaly Grigoryevitch Pavlov, retired Lieutenant General of the KGB, is a
veteran of Soviet intelligence. In the employ of the secret service since 1938,
he was its resident in Canada from 1942 to 1946 and in Austria from 1966 to
1970. In the time between, he was the first deputy of the chief of foreign
espionage of the KGB from 1961 to 1966. From 1971 to 1973 he headed the training
institute of the KGB. In 1973 Andropov, then the head of the KGB, appointed him
chief of the liaison mission of the KGB in Poland, an he served in this capacity
until 1984, in years that were full of tensions in Poland. During that time he
observed the activities of the the leaderships of party and state in Poland as
well as those of the Catholic clergy and of the representatives of the political
opposition. Pavlov cooperated closely with the Polish Ministers of the Interior
Kowalczyk, Milewski and Kiszak. His book chiefly contains biographical notes and
personal remembrances of the leading personalities in Poland in that period of
Pavlov is generally well informed of the palace intrigues and jealousies
among the Polish political establishment and of the activities of the opposition,
though he claims to have always respected the principle of not employing
undercover means in a friendly country. His informers, chiefly from party
circles and the Ministry of the Interior, are said to have supplied him from
pure ideological motives.
He pays special attention in his memoirs to Wojciech Jaruzelski. He is
regarded as an outstanding Polish statesman, but also as an accomplished actor
and a psychological enigma, as not so particular in telling the truth, e.g. in
his interview by Spiegel in May 1992. Pavlov asserts that contrary to
Jaruzelski´s remarks a Soviet invasion of Poland was not intended at any time.
In a statement conveyed to party chief Kania and prime minister Jaruzelski in
August 1981 Andropov had clearly declined such a measure. According to Pavlov,
the declaration of martial law in Poland in December 1981 was an independent
decision of the Polish leadership !
Pavlov describes Edward Gierek as a complacent politician in poor contact
with the people, and has nothing but scorn for Gierek´s ideas of a „Polish atom
bomb" or of aquiring part of Antarctica for Poland. Pavlov regards Stanislaw
Kania as a weak politician without authority and vision. He has a surprisingly
positive opinion of Tadeusz Grabski.
Pavlov is reticent about his own share in the development of events in
Poland. For instance, he confirmed after the IXth Party Congress of the Polish
Workers´ Party in July 1981 the worst fears of KGB chief Andropov when he
announced that Kania had lost all support of the party and the people and that
the collapse of the socialist system in Poland was imminent. Pavlov strongly
pleaded for a change in Polish leadership, though in in his book he ascribes to
himself only the role of a neutral observer in a friendly country.
Pavlov comments critically on the information relayed by the Soviet diplomats
in Poland. As his information about a brewing crisis in Poland were in a
diametrical contrast to the opinions given by the Soviet ambassador S.A
Pilatovitch, Pavlov was about to be recalled in disgrace. The outbreak of the
crisis in 1976 „saved" him, and now Pilatovitch was recalled. With his reports
Pavlov had won the unqualified confidence of Andropov, with whom he afterwards
was in contact by phone almost every day. As a reward for his intelligence
services Pavlov was made a Lieutenant General of the KGB out of turn. He accords
an exaggerated importance for the outbreak and the course of the crisis in
Poland to the case of the Polish spy Kuklinski, a colonel in the General Staff
who worked for CIA.
Pavlov`s memoir bear the stamp of the former secret service man. His book is
a contribution to the picture of the events of the years from 1973 to 1984 as
they were received and evaluated in the circles of the Soviet leadership and
Jürgen Schmidt, Oranienburg
Igor´ K. Peretruchin. Agenturnaia kli…ka
– Trianon. Vospominaniia kontrrazved…ika
[Agent Cover Name Trianon – Memoirs of a Counter-Espionage Officer]. Moscow:
In the former Soviet Union the movie "TASS is authorized to announce…" was
very popular. Based on a bestseller by author Julian Semionov the film tells the
story of a successful counter-espionage operation executed by the KGB. It is the
story of a Soviet diplomat in a fictitious African country who is uncovered as
an American agent; subsequently a trap is set for his American liaison officer.
The actual circumstances of this not at all fictitious incident were kept secret
for more than two decades. Neither the CIA nor the foreign minister of the
Soviet Union, the member of the political bureau Andrei Gromyko, cared to be
exposed as fools to the public.
The retired KGB colonel Peretruchin – formerly the deputy chief of the
internal security service of the Soviet foreign ministry and official in charge
of the "Trianon" case – has now published his memoirs of the incident. His
reminiscences simultaneously can be read as a "chronique scandaleuse" of the
Soviet foreign ministry and its diplomats during the Breshnev era.
"Trianon" was the Soviet diplomat Alexander D. Ogorodnik, who was the second
embassy secretary in Columbia when in 1974 he was recruited by the American
secret service. Later transferred to the planning section of the Soviet foreign
ministry, the information he supplied was highly valued by Henry Kissinger.
Peretruchin gives a detailed description of Ogorodnik’s uncovering, which
reached a climax in 1977 when his liaison officer Martha Petterson was arrested.
She once upon a time had been vice consul in Moscow. Her arrest was a painful
CIA failure. Still, Ms. Petterson up to today is not remembered very fondly by
Soviet counter-espionage personnel, for thanks to her karate skills on the
occasion of her arrest she had inflicted severe injuries upon a female Soviet
counter-espionage officer. Ogorodnik himself during his arrest succeeded in
committing suicide by swallowing a poison capsule that had been supplied by the
CIA. Already a year before he had made use of such a capsule to rid himself of a
former girl-friend who he thought was threatening him.
Peretruchin’s account is corroborated by documents. It gives evidence of a
"hot episode" in the "cold war" between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Jürgen Schmidt, Oranienburg
transl.by Anja Becker
John Prados. Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American
Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval
Institute Press, 2001, xxvi, 832 pp.
This is a voluminous study on the influence of US intelligence on naval
warfare – „Combined Fleet" is the name for Japan’s united operating forces –
during the Pacific War John Prados originally published in 1995 with Random
House in New York and soon winning an award (Arthur Goodzeit Book Award). Though
much of the contents is still of great value it is regrettable that the author
has not updated his results. So many studies published since then on this
subject and related fields are ignored, such as those by David Alvarez,
Christopher Andrew, Frank Cain, Ralph Erskine, Bruce Lee, Douglas J. MacEachin,
Frederick Parker, Frank Rowlett, and Bradley F. Smith – to name but a few.
Furthermore, although Prados examines the interchange of intelligence and
warfare covering all major engagements of the Pacific War, his book is more a
conventional battle history than a study on intelligence as the title suggests.
Under „intelligence" he does not understand only signal intelligence, although
this get much space in his study, but also espionage, information obtained from
prisoners, material recovered from ship wrecks, the translation and evaluation
of captured documents, the training of language officers, the use of
coast-watchers and aerial photography. He can prove that an enormous amount of
intelligence material fell into American hands as the US troops advanced: for
example after taking Makin in November 1943 and even more so on Saipan in July
1944. Intelligence gave the Allies a valuable and sometimes decisive look into
the plans of their enemy.
Unfortunately, the author has not used any Japanese language sources and thus
can present from the Japanese side only what has been translated during and
after the war, what prisoners of war revealed during the war and Japanese
officers mentioned in interrogations and interviews after the war, often under
American pressure. In particular the 102 volume study War History Series
(Senshi Sôsho) of the Japanese armed forces (Bôeichô Bôeikenshûjo Senshishitsu)
presenting many original documents which have never been translated into
English, published 1966-1979, should have been used. Also memoirs of retired
military men would have been very useful. Prados’ explanation is next to
The language problem turned out to be a blessing in disguise. For example,
I knew there was a collection of captured Japanese materials in the hands of
the U.S. Navy. I had always intended sampling this material, but when
beginning this book I supposed I would rely more upon the recently
declassified record of the codebreakers, released by the Nation security
agency. Of course the latter proved highly useful, as the reader will see, but
the captured records included exactly the kind of materials I had hoped to get
from Japanese-language sources" (p. xxiii).
How could he know the contents of documents he could not read and thus did
not read, and how could he know how much he das missed?
From a number of possible examples, it might suffice to mention one instance
where Prados has been misled by the intelligence material in American hands: He
claims that in spring of 1945, when Germany was about to be defeated, the
Japanese, naturally, made some efforts to keep viable their attaché networks.
Therefore, Captain Ogi was appointed naval attaché in Stockholm on the
instigation of the top representative of the Japanese navy in Berlin (p. 435).
Prados did not recognize the reason for that intended mission: Ogi had got the
order to sound out the possibilities to conclude a peace through the good
services of the Swedish monarch. Since he was refused a visa his mission did not
materialize. It was the officer most actively seeking such a mediated peace who
became the army attaché in Stockholm, Major General Onodera, who however failed
because of the change of cabinet in Tokyo in April 1945 and since he lacked the
support of the navy.
Furthermore, Prado’s knowledge on Japanese successes in the field of signal
intelligence is very limited, despite his dealing with Japanese intelligence (particularly
in Chapter 4). In this field, reminiscences of individuals involved and some
documents have been available in Japan for some years, and after the first
publication of Prados’ book much more was discovered on that story in the
archives of the Japanese Foreign Ministry as well as in the National Archives of
the US. The Americans had seized documents during the occupation of Japan,
documents that reveal that in the months before Pearl Harbor the Japanese read
the US radio traffic as well as that of Britain, Canada, and China. These
documents were declassified in Washington only recently, and its contents has
been confirmed by Japanese historians who made investigations in the diplomatic
archives in Tokyo (The New York Times, 5 December 2001; Asahi Shimbun,
6 December 2001).
On the other side, Prados’ study is highly readable and the presentation of
many details is still worth reading, including the characterization of the
leading Japanese navy officers, although sometimes it seems the author goes into
too much details. Additionally, many events of the Pacific War (such as the
Japanese efforts to build an atomic bomb) are treated extensively with no direct
link to intelligence. Nevertheless, it must be appreciated that Prados provides
a good account as far as this is possible on the base of new English language
material. The contribution of prewar American naval officers in Japan to
intelligence successes has never been dealt with so thoroughly. Their efforts,
as the author demonstrates, did not, however, prevent many Americans until the
attack on Pearl Harbor from underestimating Japanese soldiers because of racism.
He sheds new light on US signal intelligence successes on the Philippines
centered on Luzon island and the evacuation of the staff from there. Thus, the
reader is able to understand the repercussions the loss of the islands for the
United States in 1942. Prados also examines the activities of Station Hypo in
Pearl Harbor including the removal of the top man, Commander Joseph Rochefort,
as a result of internal navy policy, which still is difficult to understand. He
can demonstrate the effectiveness of naval intelligence, not only at Midway and
Guadalcanal, but also in many other cases, such as preventing the Japanese
landing at Port Moresby on New Guinea, and he presents new details on
intelligence successes which enabled the US to shoot down the plane of Admiral
Yamamoto, the military genius of the Imperial Navy.
Prados shows that in the US information obtained was distributed to the field
commanders after thorough analysis, while in Japan cooperation between army,
navy, and the civil sector was almost non-existent. In his opinion, the Japanese
military as modern samurai were seeking the battle straight away instead putting
together a puzzle patiently by using intelligence sources. Therefore, in
contrast to the Allies, they devoted less resources to cryptography. One of the
results was the stress on attacking the enemy directly with fighter planes and
bombers, which resulted in negligence to develop specialized reconnaissance
planes in the navy air forces during the early stages of the war. Although the
author demonstrates the weaknesses and failures of Japanese intelligence, he has
to admit that the Japanese very cleverly misguided the enemy by, for example,
broadcasting fake messages to fool the Americans into believing that their
carriers were in home waters while they actually were on their way to Pearl
Prados comes to the conclusion that „the difficulty in explaining the Pacific
War lies not in describing how Allied forces did so well, but in detailing how
Japan fared so poorly" (p. 727). One point in his arguments is, as already
mentioned, the neglect of intelligence. Besides that, in his opinion the
Imperial Japanese Navy was too inflexible, particularly after the change of the
initiative during 1942, and he maintains that the aim to fight a decisive battle
(thereby staking everything on one card) was the main reason. The author
frequently talks about the „decisive battle doctrine" and although he is correct
in that the dream of a decisive battle – like that one fought against the
Russian fleet near Tsushima (Korea Strait) in 1905 – lasted throughout the
Pacific War, he ignores that the Japanese had an alternative in case the Allies
would not go into the trap: establishing an unbreakable line of defense that
would frustrate the enemy and sap his will to continue the war. Of course, it is
correct that the Allied victory was made more certain and more rapid by
intelligence activities but the sheer superiority of the US in the field of raw
material resources and industry does not get the attention it deserves, though
Prados himself estimates that by the autumn of the year 1943 the Japanese defeat
became inevitable because of American material superiority. This however means
that intelligence rather limited one’s own losses and hastened the end of the
war than being a decisive factor in the war.
Of course, the author also delineates the with shortcomings on the side of
the Allies, of which the surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines
are just two of many examples, although they were certainly the most disastrous
ones.The US, however, learned the lessons fast and Japanese ciphers usually were
broken within days after introduction. It becomes clear from Prados’ book that
the US navy knew much more about the Japanese intentions and the whereabout of
the enemy’s fleet than was admitted during and after the war. For many decades
the public and the historians were misled in order to conceal intelligence
sources. For examples, many successes – including those of the subs against the
Japanese merchant marine – were ascribed to the use of radar and the intuition
of the respective commanders when they actually were based on signal
intelligence. In the meantime the missing key is presented and the puzzle of
explaining the Pacific War is solved.
In spite of all improvement on the Allied side, however, it is questionable
if the lessons from the initial stages of the war were really learned completely.
For example, in Leyte Bay the US fleet and its landing troops escaped disaster
in October 1944 only by sheer luck because they were without sufficient
information on the whereabouts of the Japanese fleet. It was their luck that the
Japanese fleet was without sufficient intelligence as well: fearing Admiral
Halsey’s fleet was just around the corner, Japanese fleet commander Kurita broke
up the battle against an inferior enemy and retreated when actually the bulk of
the American fleet was far away heading north, lured away by the remaining
Japanese carriers. Prado’s conclusion that the Americans had completely learned
their lesson and that the efforts in the field of intelligence during the
Pacific War were the forerunner of US modern global spy work is somewhat
questionable, since the West has been taken by surprise again and again,
particularly by the terror attacks of 11 September 2001 which many commentators
named a „second Pearl Harbor" not only because of the loss of human lives and
material damage but also because of the failure of intelligence.
Prados’ list of unpublished documents he used, many of them long-neglected or
declassified only recently, can be valuable also for further research, but
unfortunately the author limits his endnotes to direct quotations.
Gerhard Krebs, Berlin
Onodera Yuriko. An den Gestaden der Ostsee – Onodera Makato als
japanischer Heeresattaché in Riga und Stockholm (1936-1938, 1940-1945).
Herausgegeben von Gerhard Krebs. Tokio 1999 (OAG-Taschenbuch Nr. 73) 274 pp.
Major General Onodera Makato (1897-1987) was a member of the Japanese
military intelligence serving in the Baltic region and in northern Europe before
and during the Second World War. Fluent in German and Russian he diligently and
unobtrusively gathered information and reported to the Japanese General Staff on
the military and political situation in Europe. Until now, little was known
about him apart from brief references in Walter Schellenberg´s „Memoiren" and
Ladislas Farago´s „Game of the Foxes". Now his wife Onodera Yuriko has published
her memoirs in the series of publications of the „Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens". Primarily intended as a memorial to her late
husband, this small book is also an interesting source for the recent history to
the Baltic region. Besides, it allows insights into operations, methods and
encoding procedures of the Japanese military intelligence service.
In 1936 Onodera, then a Major, began his service as military attache in
Latvia. Soon his wife followed him to Riga, in order to relieve him the tedious
coding work, as it was usual with Japanese military attaches.(p. 50-51) The
Onoderas were very careful with their code books. If the left their residence
for longer time, Mrs. Onodera carried them in her kimono to prevent their being
stolen. Also during their later service in Sweden the reports of the military
attache were encoded by Mrs. Onodera by hand in a time-consuming procedure. The
coding machine they had was never used (p. 133-134 and 146), and thus the Allied
decoding services gained no access to Onodera´s communications with Japan.
Onodera´s most important task in Latvia was the gathering of information
about the Soviet Union. For this purpose he organized an exchange of
intelligence with the head of the Latvian military intelligence service, Colonel
Kickurs, and with the head of the Russian Department in the Latvian General
Staff, Colonel Peterson. A rich source was the cooperation with the Estonian
military attache, Colonel Saarsen. Onodera established friendly relations with
the Polish military attache, Major Felix Brzeskwinski. From 1937 he also served
as military attache in Lithuania and Estonia. The Estonian military intelligence
service under Colonel Maasing proved to be surprisingly well informed about the
Soviet Union and supplied information even about its Asian part for a lump sum
of $5,000 a year. Onodera incognito (!) visited the parade on the First of May
1936 in Moscow.(p. 56-57) Having fulfilled several secret missions in China from
1938 to 1940, Colonel Onodera was appointed military attache in Sweden in
October 1940. He held this position until the end of the war. Traveling through
the Soviet Union he arrived at Stockholm at the end of January 1941. Onodera´s
most important sources of information in Stockholm were Estonian emigrants,
Colonel Maasing among them, Colonel Adlercreutz, the head of the Swedish
military intelligence, and Colonel Gyllendalfeld, the Swedish military attache
in Moscow. He gathered a wealth of information about Germany from the former
Estonian military attache in Germany, Jakobsen. With little success Onodera
tried early in 1941 to convince the Japanese General Staff that Germany was not
going to invade England but would turn against the Soviet Union.
A Polish acquaintance of Onodera with the code name „Ivanov" alias Myhal
Rybikowski had studied economy at Warsaw University before the war and
habilitated. Like some other Poles he had acquired (to the great annoyance of
the the German security services) a passport issued by the Japanese puppet state
Manchukuo. He operated in Sweden as an intelligence officer for the Polish
government in exile and had built up networks of agents. Onodera offered him
protection from the persecution by Major Wagner, the head of the German „Abwehr"
in Sweden, and was rewarded with information about Germany, the Soviet Union and
English military activities in the Far East. For instance „Ivanov" tells Onodera
the results of the Japanese air-bombing of Calcutta. Only in January 1944 was „Ivanov"
expelled from Sweden due to increasing pressure from Germany. Rybikowski later
fought as Brigadier on the Italian front, and after the war he settled in
Onodera achieved a great success when he bought a coding machine of the Type
„Cryptotechnik" of the Swedish firm Kjellberg. With ist help the Japanese
decoding service could partially break American codes in September 1944. After
the end of the war the Americans used this as a pretext to imprison Onodera for
a long time for alleged „war crimes". In reality they wanted to find out how the
Japanese could break their code.(pp. 174-75)
Another partner in a profitable exchange of information was the Hungarian
military attache, Vagy, who in 1943 warned Onodera of the Allied breaking of the
Japanese diplomatic code. Onodera immediately reported this to Japan, but met
with disbelief. When Finland dropped out of the war in 1944, the head of the
Finnish intelligence service, Colonel Paasonen, entrusted Onodera with the
archives of the Finnish decoding service which was specialized on Soviet codes.
After the capitulation of Japan, however, Onodera for security reasons had to
destroy this rich collection together with the Japanese codes. Mrs. Onodera and
editor Gerhard Krebs deserve great credit for publishing these readable and
Jürgen Schmidt, Oranienburg