Pacific Theatre 1941-1945
Pearl Harbor: Dec. 7 1941 • Launched early in the morning on a Sunday • Consisted of 6 Japanese aircraft carriers, with a total of 361 aircraft • The US lost 2 Battleships, 1 Minelayer, & 2 Destroyers and 188 aircraft • 2,388 were killed, and 1,178 were wounded • 29 Japanese aircraft were destroyed, and 69 Japanese were killed or wounded
Pearl Harbour • The surprise attack had a number of objectives • Japan was suffering from trade embargoes from the US, the Dutch and French • In 1940, the US halted shipping natural resources and aviation equipment to Japan • After further expansion into Indochina in the summer of 1941, the US stopped exporting oil
Battle of Bataan • As the attack on Pearl Harbour began, Japan also attacked a US Naval base in the Philippines: Bataan Island • The surprise attacked was very effective: the air defences were obliterated leaving only grounds troops to defend the base • After months of intense fighting, the US General Edward King surrendered the weary US and Fillipino troops to Japanese General Nagano
Bataan March • After surrendering on April 9 1942, 15,000 US and 60,000 Filipino troops were moved to prison camps • Most prisoners were forced to march in excess of 25 miles with very little sleep, food or water • Due to the harsh conditions, it is estimated that between 6,000 and 11,000 prisoners dies before reaching their POW camps
General Yamamoto • Isoroku Yamamoto became head of the Japanese naval prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. • He had argued for “a fatal blow” on the U.S. Pacific Fleet to produce a negotiated peace. • However, as U.S. aircraft carriers survived the surprise attack, Yamamoto planned to draw U.S. naval forces into the Battle at Midway and destroy them there.
Battle of Midway . . . . Okinawa Midway Iwo Jima Wake Islands Pearl Harbor
Battle of Wake Island • A strategic communication outpost for the US Navy and Marines • The Japanese began their assault on Dec. 8 1941 (same day as attack on Pearl Harbour) • The small group of US Marines and Navy personnell repelled the Japanese attack for 15 days
Battle of Midway • June 4 1942 – June 7 1942 • The Japanese fleet attacked the Midway Islands, and the US Pacific Fleet counterattacked • 127 Japanese ships vs. only 30 US ships • Even against those odds, 4 Japanese carriers were destroyed, yet only 1 US carrier http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ0rxaEHZEo
Battle of Midway • Midway proved to be a great boost to of morale for the USA • By severely damaging the Japanese Navy, the USA flexed its industrial muscle and rebuilt much faster than the Japanese • Midway also served as a training ground for subsequent attacks by the USA
Why Iwo Jima? • Strategically the island was crucial to continue B-29 raids on mainland Japan. • The island contained 3 airstrips that the Japanese had been using for their Kamikaze attacks. • The airfields would provide a base for escort fighters for bombers flying to Japan. • The island provided an emergency landing strip half way from the Marianas islands to Japan
Political Considerations • America is tiring of the war, but strongly supporting the effort with men and industrial backup. • Iwo Jima serves as another stepping stone en route to Japan. • Japan’s will to fight/resist is turning, but many loyal troops will fight to the death.
Strategic Location • Both Japan and the US valued the sulfurous island. • Iwo was Japanese home soil, only 650 miles from Tokyo. It was administered by the Tokyo metropolitan government. • No foreign army in Japan’s 5000 year history had landed on Japanese soil.
U.S. Strategy • Strategic timetable demanded that the island be secured in the early months of 1945. • Continuous air and naval bombardment began 74 days before the scheduled invasion to prepare the way. • Previous island assaults had taught the Americans the hard lesson that the Japanese would fight to the last man to defend their positions.
FORCE STRUCTURE • 1. American -Assault and supporting forces > 80,000 -800 naval vessels -220,000 sailors • 2. Japanese -22,000 army and naval
The Battle for Iwo Jima Airfield #3 Airfield #2 Airfield #1 Mount Suribachi 4th Mar Div 3rd Mar Div 5th Mar Div
The Battle for Iwo Jima Airfield #3 Airfield #2 Airfield #1 Mount Suribachi 4th 5th 3rd
The Beach Assault • D-day: 19 Feb 45 • Naval assault fires commenced at 0640. • Landing craft would take 30 minutes to race to shore. • Ship-to-shore movement was no ferrying operation; it was a power-laden deployment.
Final Analysis • The seizing of Iwo Jima enabled the direct attack on Japan. • Ironically, the number of airmen lives saved by having airfields on Iwo Jima nearly matched the number of Marine casualties • First time in history that the Marines suffered greater casualties than the island defenders. • Fears of what lies ahead dominated/haunted the thoughts of all.
Manhattan Project • Although work on a “new” weapon had begun as early as the 1920’s, the Manhattan Project refers to the time period of 1941-1945 • The program was initialled centred in Manhattan, with laboratories all over the USA • Los Alamos and Oak Ridge were the 2 main research facilities • The first nuclear test took place on July 16 1945
Hiroshima & Nagasaki • August 6 1945 – The world’s first atomic bomb attack strikes the Japanese city of Hiroshima • An estimated 90,000 died instantly, with up to 200,000 perishing by 1950 due to health problems • Immediately the US reiterated demands for the Japanese to surrender
Hiroshima & Nagasaki • August 9 1945 – For the 2nd, and most recent time in History, nuclear weapon was used on Nagasaki after the B-29 bomber’s main target was obscured with cloud cover • The bomb fell off target, and the terrain around the city shielded part of the city • An estimated 40,000 died instantly, and as many as 120,000 by 1950
End of Pacific War • On August 15, 1945, Japan surrenders • On September 2, 1945, General MacArthur and a Japanese delegation sign the official Instrument of Surrender onboard the USS Missouri • Afterwards, MacArthur goes to Tokyo to oversee postwar development • This is known as the Occupation in Japanese history