Honan, William H.


1st.ed., 1990. Xiv + 337 pp., 29 photo-plates & 5 maps. D.j., 24 x 15cm. FINE. The first full biography of an extraordinary man, Hector C. Bywater, a leading British naval authority between the wars who devised the basic strategy used by Japan to wage war in the Pacific in the early 1940s. It was hitherto believed that the surprise attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbour had been conceived by Yamamoto, but the author demonstrates that it was Bywater's plan, adopted by the Japanese. During the 1920s Bywater engaged in a long-running debate with Roosevelt over the possibility of a Pacific War given the vast area involved. Bywater solved the strategic problem using model ships on a pond just outside London, and in 1925 published his war plan which he hoped would deter Japan. He predicted there would be victories in the early stages for the aggressors, but that the US would ultimately crush Japan. His prediction was about ten years out but in other respects the war followed the lines of Bywater's books with uncanny accuracy. The author tells of Bywater's life and involvement in naval affairs from the first testing of high-speed armoured warships at the Battle of the Yalu River in 1894, Bywater's work as a British Secret Agent inside Germany during the First World War, and his lonely death in 1940.

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