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War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897-1945 Paperback – March 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1591145004 ISBN-10: 1591145007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 509 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591145007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591145004
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Prior to World War II, the United States's war plans were code-named by color. Japan was Orange and the United States was Blue. Miller (a retired business executive) spent over 15 years researching the plan that was used to defeat Japan. He states that the plan "was . . . history's most successful war plan . . . . The prewar plans of other great powers proved, by and large, to be costly failures." Miller also gives insights into the impact of the officers who hammered out War Plan Orange: the "realists" and "adventurists," or the "cautionaries" and "thrusters." This is an important book for anyone wishing to understand the methods of American war planning, and it is the only book on War Plan Orange. Miller's writing style and lucid explanations make the book suitable for most readers, even though it is clearly for scholars and specialists in the field. Recommended for most academic libraries and for public libraries where there is a strong interest in World War II in the Pacific.
- Dennis L. Noble, Washington State Lib., Clallam Bay Corrections Ctr.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"'A masterly study of the evolution of 'history's most successful war plan' - The New York Times Book Review 'A magnificent book' - General Colin L. Powell"

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 28 customer reviews
Well researched and extremely well written.
Steve Callaghan
The book was a worthwhile read for someone interested in the grand strategy of The Great Pacific War.
Charlie Watanbe
War Plan Orange is one of the best books on background to WW II in the Pacific Theater of war.
Alan Dale Daniel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By David M. Dougherty VINE VOICE on July 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Author Miller has justly received many honors for this book which present the US planning for response to any Japanese aggression against the United States during the period between World War I and World War II. Miller also wrote another book, "Bankrupting The Enemy" about the US economic actions concerning Japan leading up to the war that is equally high quality and required reading for World War II historians.

Outside of the plans themselves representing various schools of thought among Naval strategists, thrusters, defensivists, cautionaries, etc., the political situations in the United States with respect to limitations on military capabilities are covered thoroughly. Often the planning foundered on the reality of inadequate resources, rendering official strategy rather feckless in hindsight. Politicials were simply not up to the task of providing military preparedness, and it was not until Roosevelt was able to obtain a major naval expansion through Congress in 1937 that sufficient force would be available for a strategy for victory starting as early as 1943.

Although the author makes the case that the Rainbow-5, the last pre-war Plan Orange, was followed in the main to victory, the most disturbing element was the sacrifice of the Philippines inherent in the planning but not communicated to MacArthur or the officers or men in the Philippines. Troops were sent to the Philippines to sacrifice themselves, unbeknownst to them. Plans to relieve the Philippines were simply not realistic given the resources of the Navy, even if there had been no losses at Pearl Harbor. This is clear from Miller's book, and an indictment of the American arm-chair admirals, generals and politicians involved.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Author Edward Stanley Miller has expertly distilled the political and military conditions of each era of war planning for the Pacific Theater. Using a plethora of original references to illustrate contemporary reasons for each era of stratagy, Mr. Miller has done a yeoman's job. The text is logical (a difficult task to identify all of the ebbs and flows of the various planning bodies of the time)and informative. The supporting tables, charts and maps are helpful but could have been expanded. Additional maps of Midway, Corregidor and various other key locations would have enhanced the text. Considering the main thrust of this scholarly work however , any lack of illustrative aids is not a major handicap. This book serves as a benchmark for U.S. military and geopolitical stratagy in the greater Pacific area for the first half of the twentieth century.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm G. Wright on August 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
War Plan Orange dispels many of the myths surrounding a supposed plan for an Armageddon type clash between the Navies of the USA and Japan before WW2 actually broke out.
The Author is a little confusing at first. He has a tendency to leap from this year to that, then back to here and over to there, with a side reference to some other period. There were sections of the first few chapters where I was not sure if I was in the right time continuum. However he eventually settles down about half way through, after which things proceed in a far more orderly cronological order.
That is not to say valuable information in the first half, is not able to be gleaned from this excellent work. It can be. You just might need to keep reminding yourself which year he is currently addressing.
Over all the author tells a story of contingency planning. All nations engage in it just in case something happens. It also enables naval planners to determine the sort of ships required in the event of a future naval conflict.
While the contingencies are often battered about by different lines of thought from a whole range of naval people as the years progress, one thing is clear. The US Navy worked out what their likely requirements were if Government sent them to war. This came in the form of permanent bases, advanced base equipment, ships and stores. But these issues then also required a means by which to deploy those things and where.
The author has done some incredible research and unearthed volumes of reports that must have been gathering dust for decades.
In doing so he shows how a navy goes about planning for what might be required of it. Even when peace reigns, these things have to be allowed for, but the longer it reigns, the more people get to effect the plan.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Too often these days both fictional and "factual" scholarly and media representations of military personnel falls into two categories: buffoons or renegades. Edward S. Miller explodes the myth that the interwar military planners were a bunch of buffoons and the actual combatants who won the war against Japan a bunch of brilliant innovators. War Plan Orange reveals the careful, thoughtful debate and study that went into Pacific War Planning for 48 years. In the final analysis, about the only mistake the interwar planners actually made was to underestimate time and resources required (something that happens with every campaign). As to basic strategy, their work was sound. The campaigners of WW2--some of whom helped with interwar planning--did nothing innovative, they simply executed a good plan proven through much wargaming and study.
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