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Mr. Officer

“Societies run by civilians proved vastly better able to organize themselves to fight the Second World War than those dominated by military men, of which Japan offered the most notable example. It is hard to overstate the extent to which Anglo-American wartime achievements were made possible by the talents of amateurs in uniform, fulfilling almost every responsible function save that of higher military command. Intelligence, for instance, was dominated by academics, many of startling brilliance. [Britain’s] intelligence chief in north-west Europe was an Oxford don masquerading in a brigadier’s uniform. In Japan, by contrast, authority and influence remained almost exclusively in the hands of career officers, who were reluctant to grant scope to outsiders even in such fields as scientific research. The Japanese army and navy never mobilised clever civilians in the fashion of the Western Allies. Intelligence was poor, because the Japanese mind-set militated against energetic inquiry, frank analysis and expression.” – Max Hastings, Retribution

Published inEconomicsMax HastingsPolitics & LawThe Second World War

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