World War II: The Pacific Theater
Japan The Pacific Ocean Canada China USA SE Asia Australia
The Pacific War • Dates: July 7, 1937 - August 14, 1945 • Began with the Second Sino-Japanese war, between China and Japan • Concluded with Japan’s surrender to the Allied powers
Prelude to War • Japan seeks to establish “The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” • “a bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of Western powers” • Invasions of Manchuria and Korea follow • Three political forces in Japan: • Emperor Hirohito • Civilian Government • Military branches • The army informs the civilian gov’t of the Manchuria campaign two months after it begins.
C A B D “ABCD Encirclement” 1937
Dec 8/7 1941 1941
Fleet Admiral Yamamoto “The US fleet is a dagger pointed at our throat and must be destroyed.” “I can run wild for six months,after that, I have no expectation of success.” - Yamamoto, during discussions on the planned Pearl Harbour Attack Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
Attack on Pearl Harbour Dec 7, 1941. “A day that will live in infamy”
Japanese Aircraft Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” Fighter Nakajima B5N torpedo bomber Aichi D3A dive bomber
Aftermath "Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.” - Winston Churchill
Bataan Death March April 1942 • 12,000 Americans walked 60 miles to a POW camp • No food or water • 5,000 died
Battle of Coral Sea • May 7, 1942 • Strategic Allied victory—halted the Japanese advance on Australia First naval battle carried out entirely by aircraft. The enemy ships never even came into contact with each other
The Battle Of Midway June 4-7 1942 6 months after Pearl Harbour Yamamoto seeks to capture Midway atoll and thus confront and destroy the US Navy’s carrier forces.
Midway Order of Battle Japanese forces: 4 carriers 7 battleships ~150 support ships 248 carrier aircraft 16 floatplanes US forces: 3 carriers ~50 support ships 233 carrier aircraft 127 land-based aircraft
The Battle of Midway • The first major carrier vs. carrier engagement • Decided by cryptanalysis, tactics, radar, pilot skill, weather, and luck.
The Battle of Midway • Scouts from the US fleet find the Japanese Fleet first • A delayed scout means the Japanese fleet receives a warning of US carriers only minutes before the first US planes attack • After losing many planes in ineffective strikes, US dive bombers manage to set three Japanese carriers on fire. • A Japanese counterstrike does heavy damage to one US carrier • Japanese battleships never see combat
The Battle of Midway Japanese forces: 4 carriers, 4 lost 7 battleships, 0 lost ~150 support ships, 1 cruiser lost 264 aircraft, 228 lost 3058 dead US forces: 3 carriers, 1 lost ~50 support ships, 1 destroyer lost 360 aircraft, 98 lost 307 dead
Strategic Bombing B-29 Superfortress bombers
Island-Hopping Warfare American and Australian troops land in Borneo
Guadalcanal—8/42-2/43 • Who: US vs. Japan • Where: Island near Australia— one of Solomon Islands • What: One of the most vicious campaigns • Japanese put up a fierce resistance • US has superior air and naval power • Results: • First time US land troops defeat Japanese • Americans are able to secure the island
Island-Hopping Warfare American Troops assaulting Iwo Jima
The Final Year • The US retakes the Philippines in a long and costly campaign. • Borneo, Iwo Jima and the Okinawa fall, with heavy losses on both sides. • The military leadership of Japan refuses to give up, in spite of the loss of the bulk of their forces. • An edict is issued, ordering civilians on the main Japanese islands to construct bamboo spears and meet the invaders on the beaches. • US Bombers produce a firestorm in Tokyo, killing 100,000 people in two days. • The US, Britain and China issue the Potsdam Declaration, demanding Japan’s surrender.
Iwo Jima • February-March 1945 • Island off the coast of Japan—Japanese soil • Longest sustained aerial offensive of the war • More marines sent than in any other battle • 100,000 men fighting on an island the 1/3 the size of Manhattan • Japanese fought from below ground—Allies rarely saw a soldier • The battle was won inch-by-inch Volcanic island deeply entrenched
Iwo Jima • Results: US win • Provides a link in the chain of bomber bases • By the war’s end, 2,400 B-29 bombers and 27,000 crewmen made emergency landings. • “4 marines raising US flag”
Okinawa • Casualties • US—12,500 killed; 36,000 wounded • Japan—93,000 troops killed; 94,000 civilians killed (many killed themselves) • Kamikazes—suicide pilots • Crashed planes loaded with explosives • Sank 30 US vessels
Hiroshima - 90,000 to 100,000 persons were killed immediately - 145,000 persons perish from the bombing by the end of 1945. Nagasaki Leveled Area: 6.7 million square metersDamaged Houses: 18,409CasualtiesKilled------73,884Injured-----74,909Total------148,793(Large numbers of people died in the following years from the effects of radioactive poisoning.) Little Boy Fat Man
Nuclear Strikes Aug 6, 1945. Uranium bomb “Little Boy” dropped on Hiroshima, killing 140,000 Aug 9, 1945. Plutonium bomb “Fat Man” dropped on Nagasaki, killing 74,000
Japan Surrenders Representatives of Japan’s Foreign Ministry, Army and Navy appear to sign the surrender aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay
The Cost • 2,000,000 Japanese Soldiers dead • 300,000 Allied Soldiers dead • 600,000 - 1,000,000 Japanese civilians dead • 11,000 American civilians dead • 60,000 Korean civilians dead • Mass devastation of Japanese infrastructure • Indigenous people of north and western Pacific islands devastated by disease, cultural contamination, collateral damage, and atrocities. • The list continues…