Lecture #28 world war II the war in the pacific (1941 – 1945) The Attack on Pearl Harbor



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LECTURE #28

WORLD WAR II - THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC

(1941 – 1945)
The Attack on Pearl Harbor:

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.



  • They did not destroy the American submarines that were there.




  • They did not get the American Aircraft carriers because they were out to sea at the time of the attack.


Japanese Expansion:

In the first 6 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese conquered:



  • Hong Kong, French Indochina, Malaysia, Burma, Thailand, & much a China.




  • Furthermore, the Japanese had taken control of the Dutch East Indies, Guam, Wake Island, the Aleutian chain, which were part of Alaska.


Fighting in the Philippines:

In the Philippines, 80,000 American and Filipino troops battled the Japanese for control.


At the time of the Japanese invasion in December of 1941, General Douglas MacArthur was in command of the Allied forces in the Philippine islands.
The Japanese were getting the upper hand in the Philippines, and American and Filipino forces found themselves with their backs to the wall on Bataan.
President Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to leave for a new assignment. On March 11, 1942, MacArthur left the Philippines, and vowed “I shall return.”
Doolittle’s Raid:

Spring, 1942 – Lt. Col. James Doolittle leads a16 bomber attack on Tokyo and other Japanese cities.


Doolittle and his men proved that the capital of Japan could be hit. This successful raid lifted the spirits of the Americans and it had the opposite effect on the Japanese.
The Battle of the Coral Sea:

In May 1942, American and Australian troops launch an air attack against the Japanese. A 5 day battle ensued. The Allied objective was to beat the Japanese in the air, which would hopefully stop Japan’s drive to take Australia.


Allied planes take off from aircraft carriers.
Not a shot was fired by any surface ship.
This was the first time since Pearl Harbor that a Japanese attack had been stopped and turned back.
The Battle of Midway:

A strategic island northwest of Hawaii.


Allies were successful in stopping the Japanese.
The Americans had broken the Japanese codes and knew that Midway was their next target.
Admiral Chester Nimitz was in command of the U.S. Naval forces in the Pacific. He moved to defend Midway. On June 3, 1942, his scout planes found the Japanese fleet.
The Americans sent torpedo planes and dive bombers to attack the Japanese warships.
The Japanese were caught with their planes still on the decks of their carriers.
By the end of the battle, the Japanese had lost 4 aircraft carriers, 1 cruiser, and 250 planes.
Midway was the turning point for the war in the Pacific.
With each island, the Allies were getting closer and closer to Japan.
The Allies were winning territory back from the Japanese, one island at a time by the technique of “island hopping.”
Guadalcanal:

Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands – August 1942, 19,000 Allied troops storm Guadalcanal.


Fight was so fierce that by the time the Japanese abandoned it, 6 months later, it received the nickname of the “Island of Death.”
Allied troops called it simply, “Hell.”
The Japanese abandoned Guadalcanal six months later.
Guadalcanal marked Japan’s 1st defeat on land.
The Philippines – Again:

October 1944, two years after General MacArthur left the Philippines, he returned by landing on Leyte Island. This time, he was backed up with 178,000 Allied troops and 738 ships. Upon his arrival, MacArthur announced, “People of the Philippines: I have returned.”


An air battle ensued, in which 424 kamikazie gave up their own lives. They were responsible for the sinking of 16 Allied ships and damaging another 80.
The Baattle of Leyte Gulf turned into a 3 day battle, during which, the Japanese lost 4 aircraft carriers, 3 battleships, 13 cruisers and close to 500 planes. From this point on, the Japanese navy was an ineffective force for the remainder of the war.

Kamikaze – Suicide Plane
Iwo Jima:

February 19, 1945 On a “sulfer island,” 70,000 U.S. marines attacked the Japanese that were intrenched at Iwo Jima. 4 days later, the Marines were raising the flag at Mount Suribachi, the island’s highest point. Four weeks later the island was 100% secured.


Iwo Jima was strategic because it could be used as a base for heavy bombers that could be deployed on bombing missions to Japan. Japan had 20,700 troops entrenched on the island many within a labyrinth of caves and tunnels. Only 200 Japanese survived this battle.
Okinawa:

April – June 1945, U.S. marines invade Okinawa.


7,600 Americans lost their lives in this fight, but the Japanese lost 110,000 lives, including 2 generals who chose the ritualistic suicide of Hari Kari after the shame of their defeat and subsequent surrender.
The taking of Iwo Jima and Okinawa opened the way for a possible invasion of Japan.
Japan still had a formidable army. To avoid a huge loss of life, that was estimated to be in the millions, President Truman chose to use the atomic bomb.
The Manhattan Project:

Led by Leslie Groves, with research directed by J. Robert Oppenheimer.


At its peak, 600,000 Americans were involved in the project. Few, however knew the purpose of the project.
The atomic bomb is considered the best kept secret of World War II, even Truman was unaware of it until he became president.
Truman had to decide whether the use of this weapon could bring an end to the war.
On July 25, 1945, President Truman ordered the military to make final plans for dropping 2 atomic bombs on Japanese targets.
Hiroshima & Nagasaki:

August 6, 1945, B-29 bomber, Enola Gay released an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, an important military center.


The bomb’s code name was “Little Boy.”
Surprisingly, Japan did not surrender. As the result, the United States dropped a second bomb, 3 days later on Nagasaki.
The bomb’s code name was “Fat Man.”
Emperor Hirohito was horrified by the destruction of these two bombs.
Japan Surrenders:

On September 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony took place on the U.S. battleship, Missouri, in Tokyo Bay.


As Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific, General MacArthur was the overseer of this ceremony.
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