The Battle of Midway



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The Battle of Midway

The year was 1942 and the world was at war with each other for a second time. By now, The United States of America had been thrust into the fighting following the Japanese attack on Hawaiian military base, Pearl Harbor. Before this point, Japan had captured territory all throughout the Pacific as well as territory across Asia. They had planned to capture the island of Midway located in the Pacific next in the hopes of using it as an advance base.1 At this time, the Japanese people held naval superiority over the Americans and even possessed the ability to easily decide when and where to attack. But the Japanese had another goal in mind, and it was to bait the Americans into a naval battle.2 Led by Admirals Isoroku Yamamoto and Chūichi Nagumo, they were overconfident and firmly believed the Americans would be outnumbered and destroyed. 3The Japanese may have outnumbered them, but it wasn’t enough to help them win The Battle of Midway.


Yes, the Japanese did have the advantage of the amount of ships and aircraft carriers they could bring to Midway. But unlike the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Americans were prepared to fight. They had broken the secret code that the Japanese used to transmit

messages. This allowed them to know exactly when and where the Japanese planned to attack, which would prove to be very effective. With this secret information, American Admiral Chester Nimitz was then able to plan an effective defense. The battle that ensued was not pretty for the Japanese.


The beginning of the battle was mostly comprised of air attacks. An American pilot hit Japanese oil tanker Akebono Maru with a torpedo, which would be the U.S.’s only successful air launched torpedo attack in the whole battle. Japan made several unsuccessful attempts to attack the U.S. from the air. However, they did not have sufficient aircraft to attack where they had wanted and also had to deal with challenging weather conditions, which both greatly affected Japan’s chances.4 After a series of attacks and counterattacks, the result was favorable for The United States. The Americans came out victorious in the Battle of Midway after destroying four Japanese carriers and only losing one of their own.
So, what impact did the outcome of the Battle of Midway have? Well, Japan’s navy had suffered a horrendous and detrimental blow as a result of their loss. It is clear that they learned their lesson after losing so badly, because they soon after improved their air attack strategies as well as bettered the structure of their carriers. This battle combined with other battles, such as the Coral Sea Battle, changed the course of the war. It lessened Japan’s ability to take on such harrowing tasks in the war.

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The Battle of Midway commemoration in Washington, D.C. describes how the course of the war was changed when the Americans defeated the Japanese.

Also, this battle caused the allied and the axis powers to have equal chances during the remainder of World War II. Prior to the fighting, Japan’s military power far surpassed any other nation’s and made it extremely difficult for another country to win against them. But after they lost the battle, their military power deteriorated dramatically. This allowed other countries,

most importantly The United States, to have improved chances when fighting against Japan. This is one of the most important effects of The Battle of Midway and impacted the rest of the war in a big way. The conclusion of this battle also allowed The United States to regain control of the Pacific from the Japanese and take back all the islands Japan had previous control over. The Battle of Midway was a triumphant victory for The United States during World War II.


1 "Battle of Midway: 4-7 June 1942." Battle of Midway: 4-7 June 1942. N.p., 07 May 2009. Web. 14 May 2013 <http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq81-1.htm>.

2 "Battle of Midway" Naval History & Heritage Command, n.d. Web. 14 May 2013 <http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/midway/midway.htm>

3 Holt. "Chapter 14: World War II." Holt World History: Human Legacy, Modern Era. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 451. Print

4 "Battle of Midway." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 14 May 2013 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Midway>



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