|"Reluctant Allies:German-Japanese Naval Relations in World War II" Review|
|U.S.Naval Institute Press|
Reviewed by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Seamon, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (Retired)
Hans Joachim-Krug, Yoichi Hirama. Berthold J. Sander-Nagashima, and Axel Niestle. (Annapolis,MD: Naval Institute Press, 2002) 365 pp. Photos.Appendices. Notes. Gloss. Bib. Index. $38.95.
The Battle of Midway surely was the turning point of World War 11 in the Pacific. Afterward, the Imperial Japanese Navy steadily lost the ability to wage aggressive war. What few, if any, histories point out is that the capture of the British cargo ship Nankin by the German raider Thor a couple of weeks earlier might well have led to a change of orders for the Japanese fleet. Had the Thor's skipper not delayed sending to Tokyo “most secret" intelligence summaries collected from the Nankin, the Japanese naval staff would have learned the Allies had broken their code and probably knew their plans. The story of the Thor and Nankin is only one of many fascinating anecdotes that brighten this scholarly, densely detailed history of German-Japanese naval cooperation and conflict.
The four authors were prodigious researchers. Nearly one-third of their book's pages are devoted to appendices and notes. Information they have gathered will be of inestimable value to future historians. They can study the often-contentious relationship between the Japanese Army and Navy that severely hampered their war effort. They can see how Adolf Hitler's bigoted fear of an oriental "Yellow Peril" added unnecessary difficulties to the efforts of the Germans and Japanese to learn from each other's engineering techniques and naval armament. They can, in sum, take a rare look at the war from the losers' side.