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While Allied Forces understandably pursued a “Europe-first” policy in the Second World War, the Japanese threat in the Far East grew with every passing month. Popular history credits the Americans with breaking Japanese codes and saving perhaps two years of conflict. This is not Michael Smith’s view.

The Emperor’s Codes uses recently released British archive records to fill in the details of British and Australian involvement in the Far East. In fact, Smith goes further and controversially concludes that internal bickering in the US military, compounded by a less than open exchange of information with the British, ‘must have cost many lives, the majority of them American’. In addition, he observes that the Allies knew a Japanese “unconditional surrender”, dependent on Emperor Hirohito remaining on the throne, was on the cards before the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, throwing into considerable doubt the need for such demonstratively horrific tactics.

The best collection of military, espionage, and adventure stories ever told.

The Dialogue Espionage Classics series began in 2010 with the purpose of bringing back classic out-of-print spying and espionage tales. From WWI and WWII to the Cold War, D-Day to the SOE, Bletchley Park to the Comet Line this fascinating spy history series brings you the best stories that should never be forgotten.


Smith provides plenty of technical information, including three appendices, to satisfy even the most ardent lover of cryptography. But less numerate readers are far from short-changed. Some of the book's most fascinating reading lies in the personal testimonies of the many veterans that Smith has interviewed, 'Anything', confesses one, 'was better than learning to march and salute.'

David Stafford, Literary Review

As [Smith] makes plain... [he] scathingly undermines the conventional heroic narrative the American military was so quick to proclaim. It's a damning conclusion, but an enthralling read

Professor David Vincentt

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  • Paperback, 368 pages
  • ISBN: 9781906447120
  • 29 July 2010
  • £9.99

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  • ISBN: 9781849546249
  • 29 June 2010
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