THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC STARTED ON DECEMBER 7, 1941 WHEN JAPANESE AIRCRAFT AND TROOPS ATTACKED THE U.S. POSSESSIONS OF HAWAII, THE PHILIPPINES, GUAM, AND WAKE ISLAND, AND THE BRITISH COLONIES OF MALAYA AND HONG KONG. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
WHY JAPAN STARTED THE WAR 1) MILITARISM – SINCE DEFEATING RUSSIA IN 1904, JAPAN HAD BEEN BECOMING A MAJOR NAVAL POWER IN THE PACIFIC. THEY WANTED TO BE THE BIGGEST. 2) FRICTION BETWEEN THE U.S. AND JAPAN – JAPAN VIEWED U.S. TERRITORIES IN THE PACIFIC AS A ROADBLOCK TO EXPANSION JAPAN RESENTED THE U.S. IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1924 – WHICH BARRED JAPANESE IMMIGRATION TO AMERICA. THE U.S. WAS ALSO HIGHLY CRITICAL OF THE JAPANESE INVASIONS OF CHINA IN 1931 AND 1937. THE U.S. SENT FOOD AND MILITARY SUPPLIES TO CHINA. IN 1940, THE U.S. ALONG WITH BRITAIN AND HOLLAND, INSTITUTED A TRADE EMBARGO WITH JAPAN, REFUSING TO SHIP ANY PRODUCTS TO JAPAN. 3) LACK OF NATURAL RESOURCES – JAPAN HAD TO IMPORT 88 PERCENT OF THEIR OIL, MOST OF THEIR IRON ORE FOR STEEL, AND ALL OF THEIR RUBBER. WITHOUT THESE RESOURCES, THEIR MILITARY WOULD GRIND TO A HALT. THE JAPANESE FELT THAT IF THEY COULD NOT GAIN TRADE CONCESSIONS FROM THE AMERICANS, BRITISH, AND DUTCH, THAN THEY WOULD BE FORCED TO GO TO WAR TO TAKE THE OIL RICH DUTCH EAST INDIES AND THE RUBBER PLANTATIONS OF BRITISH MALAYA. TO DO SO, THEY WOULD HAVE TO ALSO DESTROY THE AMERICAN AIR FORCES STATIONED IN THE PHILIPPINES AND HAWAII. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
THE JAPANESE SECRETLY SET NOVEMBER 29, AS THEIR TRADE NEGOTIATION DEADLINE WITH THE UNITED STATES. WHEN THE U.S. REFUSED TO COOPERATE, THE JAPANESE DECIDED TO ATTACK. THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WAS WELL AWARE OF JAPAN’S NOVEMBER 29 TH DEADLINE, BECAUSE THE U.S. HAD BROKEN THE SECRET JAPANESE DIPLOMATIC CODES, USING A SECRET U.S. DECIPHERING PROGRAM CODENAMED MAGIC. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR EARLY ON THE MORNING OF DEC. 7, 1941, JAPANESE AIRCRAFT LAUNCHED FROM AIRCRAFT CARRIERS ABOUT 220 MILES NORTH OF THE ISLAND OF OAHU, ATTACKED THE U.S. PACIFIC FLEET AT THE NAVAL BASE AT PEARL HARBOR. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC THE SURPRISE ATTACK WAS A COMPLETE SUCCESS FOR THE JAPANESE. MORE THAN 2,400 AMERICANS WERE KILLED, AND MUCH OF THE U.S. PACIFIC FLEET WAS EITHER SUNK OR DAMAGED. THE AMERICANS ONLY MANAGED TO SHOOT DOWN 29 JAPANESE PLANES.
ON DECEMBER 8, CONGRESS DECLARED WAR ON JAPAN. PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT DECLARED DEC. 7 AS “A DAY THAT WOULD LIVE IN INFAMY.” WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
ON DECEMBER 11, 1941, GERMANY AND ITALY BOTH DECLARED WAR ON THE UNITED STATES, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TRIPARTITE PACT THAT GERMANY, ITALY, AND JAPAN HAD SIGNED IN 1940, VOWING MILITARY AND POLITICAL ASSISTANCE TO EACH OTHER. NOW THE UNITED STATES WAS AT WAR WITH ALL THREE AXIS POWERS. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AND HIS MILITARY ADVISORS DECIDE TO CONCENTRATE THE BULK OF THE U.S. MILITARY ON DEFEATING GERMANY FIRST, BUT OUT OF NECESSITY, MOST OF THE U.S. NAVY MUST BE USED TO DEFEAT JAPAN. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC THE ALLIED LEADERS: CHURCHILL, ROOSEVELT, AND STALIN.
American General Douglas MacArthur does not expect the Japanese to attack the American Commonwealth of the Philippines until 1942. He is wrong! The Japanese land troops in the Philippines on December 8. By May 5 th, the U.S. Army in the Philippines has surrendered. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
Much of the American disaster in The Philippines can be blamed on the poor decisions made by the American General Douglas MacArthur. There were enough reasons for President Roosevelt to dismiss him, but his troops ability to hold out for three months was portrayed as a heroic effort by the mainstream American press. MacArthur’s staff made him out to be a great hero, and the American people eagerly accepted him as a flamboyant, larger than life figure. As his men starved, MacArthur was well fed and only visited the front one time, which led many of the soldiers he commanded to dislike him. Roosevelt ordered him to abandon him men and save himself. MacArthur flew to Australia to escape capture by the Japanese.
Bataan Death March After the American surrender in the Philippines, the Japanese take more than 75,000 prisoners. The Japanese marched them 55 miles without food or water. The Japanese bayoneted or beheaded anyone who was too weak or hurt to complete the march. They Japanese killed over 7,000 prisoners. This Japanese brutality was the bushido code in action. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC “[A] soldier, starved and sick with malaria, stumbled and fell on the road that leads out of the Bataan Peninsula to Camp O'Donnel 90 kilometers away. Before he could get up, five Japanese tanks rolled over the stricken man. As the last tank rolled away all that was left was a dark stained muddy blot on a dirt road. Emaciated men, their gaunt faces filled with horror, were forced by beatings to walk over that dark muddy spot. Thus began the Death March out of Bataan. A man, crazed with thirst and intense heat, broke ranks to drink from a stream without permission. He was thrown into a cesspool. He raised his arm, as a call for help. A Japanese officer stepped up and severed the helpless man's arm with one cut of his sword.” cnac.org
WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC Japan quickly overwhelms the Dutch in the East Indies, the British in Hong Kong, Malaya, and Singapore. In the first six months of the war, the Japanese seem unstoppable.
The British defeat in Singapore and the surrender of 85,000 commonwealth troops on February 15, 1942, was a mortal blow for the British in Southeast Asia. Never again would the people of Southeast Asia hold westerners in prestige. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC The Japanese committed atrocities all over Asia, like the beheading of this Australian soldier.
By May 1942, the Japanese had driven the British out of Burma as well. The Japanese were now at the peak of their power, but the tables were about to turn. Their days of victories would soon be over. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
THE DOOLITTLE RAID On April 18, the Americans carried out a daring raid on Tokyo. 16 American B25 Mitchell bombers took off from the aircraft carrier Hornet, and bombed Tokyo. The raid, named after its commanding officer, Col. Jimmy Doolittle, did little damage to Tokyo, but it caused considerable damage to the psyches of the Japanese, who thought their country was too far away and too powerful to be bombed by the Americans. The raid was hugely popular in America and gave Americans a much needed boost in morale.
The Tide Turns Against Japan May 7 - The Battle of the Coral Sea. The first naval battle in history where the two opposing forces never saw each other. All the fighting was done by carrier based aircraft. The battle was roughly a draw, but the Japanese decided to abandon their immediate plans to set up bases in New Guinea for the invasion of Australia. It was a shift in momentum the Allies needed. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
Battle of Midway June 4-June 7, 1942 The most important battle in the Pacific. The Japanese attempt to draw out and destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet by attacking Midway Island. The Americans destroy all four of the Japanese heavy aircraft carriers and shoot down 253 planes. The Japanese navy never recovered from these losses or regained the offensive initiative again. For the rest of the war in the Pacific, the Americans would have the upper hand. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
Battle of Guadalcanal August 7, 1942 American forces land on the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The Japanese army was building an airstrip there and the Americans seized the airstrip for their own use. The Japanese fought for six months in horrible swamp and jungle conditions to retake the airstrip. The Japanese resorted to suicidal “banzai” charges in the fiercest fighting of the Pacific campaign. By February, the remaining Japanese survivors left the island. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC American troops arriving on Guadalcanal in August 1942.
AMERICAN HATRED OF THE JAPANESE The savagery of the fighting in the Pacific fueled American hatred of the Japanese, which had been growing since the attack on Pearl Harbor. Most Americans saw the Japanese as savage, bloodthirsty, and cruel. American cartoons frequently portrayed Japanese as insects, rats, snakes, and monkeys or apes. U.S. soldiers and Marines generally quit taking prisoners and shot wounded or surrendering Japanese. Some kept Japanese body parts, like teeth, for souvenirs. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
Why did Americans hate the Japanese so much? The “sneak attack” on Pearl Harbor American racism toward Asians Japanese atrocities like the Bataan Death March, the rape of thousands of women in Asia, and the torturing and execution of prisoners Japanese cultural conformity Americans resented Japanese feelings of racial purity and the superiority of Japanese culture. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC Part of the hatred against Japan was racism, but the Japanese were even more racist.
May 11, 1943 – American troops take back the parts of Alaska taken by the Japanese in 1941. Most of the Japanese soldiers are killed or commit suicide rather than be taken prisoner. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
Throughout 1943 Americans and Australians fought for every inch of ground in New Guinea, and the islands of the Southwest Pacific. This part of the war was known as, “island hopping.” The Japanese dug in, hid in caves, and fortified every island they were on. They usually fought to the death, and normally had to be killed with flame throwers, hand grenades, and TNT. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
Over 730,000 Australians joined the army during World War II. Australian soldiers fought in North Africa, Greece, Crete, the Mid-East, Malaya, and Singapore, but it was in New Guinea and the Southwest Pacific fighting along with the Americans that their reputation for bravery and toughness under the worst conditions of jungle fighting became legendary. Here Australians wearing their signature bush hats use Bren guns against the Japanese. The soldier at the far left carries a Short Magazine Lee Enfield.
November 20, 1943 – U.S. Marines land on the tiny Tarawa atoll in the Gilbert Islands. Some of the deadliest fighting of the war took place on Tarawa over the next three days. In 72 hours, almost everyone of the 5,000 Japanese on Tarawa had been killed or seriously wounded. Only 17 Japanese surrendered. Approximately 12,000 U.S. Marines landed on Tarawa, and over 3,000 of them were casualties. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC The photos and news of the heavy American death toll on Tarawa, was considered too disturbing to be shown. Much of it was censored from the American people.
Battle of Leyte Gulf By October 1944, American troops had begun reoccupying the Philippines. The Battle of Leyte Gulf was a Japanese naval attack to try to destroy the U.S. fleet supporting the troop landings in The Philippines. It was the largest naval battle ever fought. The Battle of Leyte Gulf was the death blow for the Japanese Navy. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC The Japanese Navy lost their remaining Aircraft carriers, three battleships, ten cruisers, Nine destroyers, and 500 planes. It was the end Japanese Navy operations in World War II.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf was the beginning of the Japanese suicide attacks known as kamikaze. The kamikaze pilots deliberately crashed their planes in to allied ships. The Japanese believed these attacks were the only way they could do serious damage to Allied ships. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
Battle of Iwo Jima February 19, 1945 American Marines land on the volcanic island of Iwo Jima. The island is only 660 miles from Tokyo and has airplane landing strips the Japanese are using. The American goal is to seize the landing strips for themselves. The Japanese fought to the death in suicide attacks until March 23, 1945 WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
The Struggle for Okinawa Okinawa is an island only 350 miles from the Japanese homeland. 180,000 American troops began coming ashore on the island on April 1, 1945. There were 120,000 Japanese defending Okinawa. The fighting lasted until June. Again the Japanese hid out in caves and most fought to the death. 12,000 Americans were killed and 36,000 wounded. Almost all 120,000 Japanese were killed. The high number of U.S. casualties would have a major impact on the decision to use the atomic bombs on Japan. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC American Marine firing a Thompson submachine gun on Okinawa.
THE ATOMIC BOMB AUGUST 6, 1945 – A U.S. B-29 bomber named the Enola Gay, dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Of the approximately 340,000 people living in Hiroshima, about 100,000 die instantly. Many more would die from radiation and fire. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC The crew of the Enola Gay Bomb away! 20 megatons of atomic power known as Little Boy, gets some payback for Pearl Harbor
Even after President Truman warned the Japanese that unless they surrendered, more Japanese cities would face the same fate as Hiroshima, the Japanese government coldly refused to surrender. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC
Fat Man August 9, the U.S. drops the second atomic bomb, Called Fat Man, on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The center of the city is immediately vaporized and 35,000 Japanese die instantly. Still the Japanese government was undecided on surrender! Finally on August 14, 1945 the Japanese government agreed to end the war, but many Japanese committed suicide rather than surrender.
The war did not officially end until Japan signed the surrender papers on September 2, 1945. WORLD WAR II THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC Japanese surrender delegation on board the Battleship Missouri. General Umezu signing in front of Allied Officers. Mamoru Shigemitsu Minister of Foreign Affairs and General Umezu representing the Japanese military.