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Edward S. Miller collection of research material relating to War Plan Orange

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSC-296

Scope and Contents

The collection contains research materials accumulated by Edward S. Miller while writing War Plan Orange, the definitive work on the US Navy's war planning activities against Japan that was published in 1991 by the Naval Institute Press. Orange was the code name for Japan in US war plans. The bulk of the collection consists of copies of documents, articles, and notes taken by Mr. Miller during a twenty-year period of study involving investigations into the various the versions of War Plan Orange, the functioning of the Navy's war planning branches and divisions, and the senior naval officers involved in the process of developing the Navy's war plans. In addition to specific materials on War Plan Orange and war planning in general, the collection includes a biographical file containing information on the US Navy's war planners, a geographical file containing information on various islands in the Pacific, and a subject file containing information on such topics as aviation and logistics.

The collection also includes Mr. Miller's personal papers relating to the pre and post-publication of War Plan Orange including reviews and commentaries on prepublication manuscripts and a copy of the book itself.


  • 1870 - 2009
  • Majority of material found within 1906 - 1945


Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to all researchers, unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in the public domain, unless otherwise noted.

Biographical Note

Edward S. Miller was born in New York City on November 14, 1930. He grew up in Great Neck, Long Island, and attended Syracuse University graduating Phi Beta Kappa with honors and attended the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. Mr. Miller embarked on a career in mining finance where he developed a keen interest corporate planning. During his business career, Mr. Miller served as the chief financial officer of AMAX Inc., a Fortune 500 company. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as Vice President for Finance of the United States Synthetic Fuels Corporation, a position he held from 1982-1984. After retiring from the business world in 1985, Mr. Miller devoted much of his free time to researching, studying, and writing about the United States Navy's war planning process spanning the years beginning at the start of the 20th Century through the United States entry in to World War II.

Mr. Miller's efforts culminated in the publication in 1991 of the book War Plan Orange: The US. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897-1945, the seminal work on the subject, published by the United States Naval Institute and in Japanese by Shinchosa Ltd. of Tokyo. The book won five distinguished history awards including the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize, best book, 1992; Society for Military History, best book on a US subject, 1993; United States Naval Institute author of the year, 1992; North American Society for Oceanic History, best naval book, 1993; and the New York Military Affairs Symposium, best book. The papers he amassed during the process of creating this work forms the basis of this collection.


22 boxes

Language of Materials



Research materials on the US Navy's Navy's pre-World War II plans for war with Japan accumulated by Edward Miller for his award winning book War Plan Orange: The US. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897-1945 published by the Naval Institute Press in 1991 accompanied by his personal papers related to the book's publication.


The collection is organized into eleven series:

Series I: War Plan Orange Research File containing copies of primary source documents relating to War Plan Orange and hand written notes taken by Mr. Miller during the course of his research. The folders are arranged chronologically by years, subdivided by subject matter where appropriate. Copies of documents and the notes are arranged in separate folders. Of note is the Check List of US War Plans, 1905-1941," which can be found in the first folder of the series. This document provides a reference list of all US war plans.

Series II: Subject File containing information on various aspects of naval warfare, military aviation, and war planning in general; arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series III: Geographical File containing information collected by Mr. Miller on approximately two dozen islands and atolls in the Pacific; arranged alphabetically by name and subdivided by content where appropriate.

Series IV: Biographical File containing notes on personalities related to war planning and/or topics covered in War Plan Orange, arranged alphabetically, along with various lists, tables, directories and additional information on persons assigned to the General Board of the Navy, the Joint Army-Navy Board and its Joint Planing Committee, the Naval War College, and the Naval War Plans Division also known as OP-12. The file also includes materials copied from the Charles M. "Savvy" Cooke, Jr. Papers.

Series V.: Bibliographic Notes the bulk of which consists of an extensive list of primary source documents consulted by Mr. Miller the majority of which can be found in his collection, arranged chronologically.

Series VI.: Reference Material composed of a selected group of articles, dissertations,books, drafts, microfilm, and notes of interviews conducted by Mr. Miller. Arranged by media: articles, other works, interviews, and microfilm.

Series VII: War Plan Orange Publication Materials relating to the pre and post-publication of War Plan Orange including proposals, critiques, a draft manuscript, correspondence, book reviews, awards, etc., arranged by subject.

Series VIII: Maps and Photographs used to illustrate War Plan Orange, arranged by category.

Series IX: Draft Manuscript for War Plan Orange dated March 1990.

Series X: Digital Files consisting of one compact disk containing the final draft versions of War Plan Orange and one War Pan Orange data disk containing approximately 1,300 pages of digitized notes taken by Mr. Miller during the course of his research. This data was originally placed on 5-1/4-inch floppy disks using 1980s era word processing software. The files were converted to pdf format and placed on compact disk media. Most of the data contained therein consists of notes taken on War Plan Orange arranged chronologically. Each note file is accompanied by two supporting files, a "bibliographic" file containing reference citations for the notes taken in the file and a "tag" file that is used for cross reference purposes. Because the original software limited entries to 2,000 characters, notes from longer documents are divided into paragraphs. The first line of each paragraph of notes, enclosed in angle brackets ( > ), corresponds to an entry in the tags list briefly describing the information. The final line of each paragraph of notes, enclosed in double square brackets ([[]]),is a short designation of the source document which corresponds to the full source entries in the bibliographical file. Most entries in the three interrelated files are in chronological orders. The series also contains a number of stand alone (no tags or bibliography) electronic subject files as well as a number of stand alone reference files. A guide to the arrangement and use of the data files a list of abbreviations is provided in the folder containing the disk.

Series XI: Digital File Printouts consisting of hard copy paper printouts of the electronic files. This series is broken into three subseries for ease of access: chronological, subject, and reference. The former are arranged in chronological order, the other two are arranged alphabetically by subject. A guide to the arrangement and use of these files is provided in the first folder.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Thomas Wildenberg in October 2009.

Edward S. Miller collection of research material relating to War Plan Orange
Thomas Wildenberg
2009 Oct
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Naval Historical Collection Repository

US Naval War College
686 Cushing Rd
Newport RI 02841 US