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Posted: 10/21/2013 2:55:22 PM EST
Yes, I have another likely off the wall question about WWII again, but I like taping into the immense knowledge base here, so here it goes. Today I was looking at my Smithsonian atlas of WWII and was just thinking about how Germany/Italy were really a half world away from Japan during the war. Also, seeing as the allies controlled the seas, at least in the West, and there was no way of flying across Russia back then, how did they communicate with each other? Did they rely on civilians or something of the sort, or people acting like ordinary people to relay information? Spy types? Even then, I can't imagine one could board a ship in Tokyo and set sale for Germany, just going past UK and US war ships. Can anyone explain this to me? Or did they just not communicate after the war started? That I doubt. Today in the information age its easy to think people were always able to contact anyone, anywhere in the world, but I'm trying to understand how it worked back then? What about in WWI?
Link Posted: 10/21/2013 3:01:30 PM EST
2 tin cans and some string
Link Posted: 10/21/2013 3:06:33 PM EST
Long string.
Link Posted: 10/22/2013 2:53:51 AM EST
Prior to the invasion of Russia, the Germans flew across Russia to communicate with the Japanese using the FW200. After the invasion, they communicated through U-boats and may have also used neutral countries to carry their messages.
Link Posted: 10/22/2013 2:57:14 AM EST
I am sure that they made good use of this thing called "radio", too. Operating in the medium to high frequency bands,
worldwide communications are possible with a pretty modest radio and antenna installation.

Of course transmissions would often be coded.

With a large variety of frequencies and times to choose from, it would be pretty easy to get messages through that
weren't even detected in time to be recorded and analyzed.
Link Posted: 10/22/2013 3:02:24 AM EST
Thanks. I didn't know radios back then could reach that far. Never thought of U-boats either although that does seem likely.
Link Posted: 10/22/2013 3:14:58 AM EST
radio, courier and landline I'd assume - depending on when and what's broken

a link


"here, take this machine - this is how it works, we'll talk using it"

Link Posted: 10/22/2013 8:18:20 PM EST
The Japanese Ambassador to Germany used radio (in the PURPLE code system) to deliver reports to Toyko.

The Allies could read this code, and thought the Ambassador was their best intelligence source.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroshi_%C5%8Cshima

Oshima's close relationship with Hitler and Ribbentrop gave him unparalleled access for a foreigner to German war plans and national policy, comparable to that of Winston Churchill with the American war leadership. In turn, Hitler admired the militaristic Japanese and made Oshima a personal confidante.

Oshima made visits to the Eastern Front and the Atlantic Wall, and he met periodically with Hitler and other Nazi leaders. Being a meticulous military officer in training, he wrote detailed reports of the information provided to him by the Nazis — and promptly reported by radio to Tokyo in the Purple diplomatic cipher. Unknown to the Japanese, the PURPLE code was broken by American codebreakers in 1940; thus Oshima's reports were being read almost simultaneously by those who had access to Magic intelligence. Often, they were able to read them before the Japanese did, as transmission problems between Germany and Japan often held up the cables for hours.
View Quote


Another example was in November 1943, when Oshima was taken on a four-day tour of the Atlantic Wall fortifications on the coast of France. Upon his return to Berlin, he wrote a detailed 20-page report of his visit, giving an account of the location of every German division, as well as its manpower and weaponry. He described tank ditches in detail, armament of turrets located close to the shore, and available mobile forces. This provided valuable intelligence to the planners of the D-Day assault. Connected to this was that the Allies knew that Operation Fortitude was working because just one week before D-Day, Hitler confided to Oshima that while the Allies might make diversionary feints in Norway, Brittany and Normandy, they will actually open up "an all-out second front in the area of the Straits of Dover". Thus Oshima dutifully reported that the bulk of German forces would not be waiting in Normandy, but mistakenly, at the Pas-de-Calais area.

His dispatches also proved to be valuable to those who were involved in the bombing campaign in Europe, as Oshima provided details on the effect of Allied bombing raids on specific German targets, giving valuable and relatively unbiased bomb damage assessments to the Allies.
View Quote

Link Posted: 10/23/2013 2:42:05 AM EST
Thanks a lot everyone; this is proving very insightful.
Link Posted: 11/17/2013 2:47:16 PM EST
Radio? War material was sent via U-boats. One U-boat, U-234 was taking uranium and two Japanese officers to Japan when it was announced that Germany surrendered. The Germans told the Japanese that they have a "time out" and must surrender. They allowed the Japanese to commit seppuku. U-234 allowed herself and her cargo to be captured. It was then unloaded by the USN. BTW, I think plans and parts for a Me-262 was aboard her too. Otto Geise's Shooting The War tells the story. He was an officer aboard U-234.
Link Posted: 12/15/2013 6:11:51 AM EST
Yeah, I read that about U-234 also. Was it the intention that the Me-262 be taken to Japan where production could continue?
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