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The War in the Pacific

 Japan& Pearl Harbor


 Total War In The Pacific
 The Strengthening Alliance
 Southeast Asia
 Island Hopping
 Mounting Casualties
Japan & Pearl Harbor
● 1937 Japan goes to war with China ● October Hirohito gives general
approval for Pearl Harbor attack
● July 1939 Roosevelt announces that
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation ● November 8 Hirohito approves
will not be renewed formal battle plan for attack in
December
● July 2, 1940 U.S. Congress passes
Export Control Act ● November 26 Japanese attack fleet
sets sail from Japan
● August Japan declares greater East
Asia co-prosperity sphere ● December 7 Japan launches surprise
attack on Pearl Harbor
● September 27 Japan signs Tripartite
Pact with Germany and Italy ● December 8 United States and
Britain declare war on Japan
● January 1941 Yamamoto prepares
plan for attack on Pearl Harbor ● December 11 Germany declares war
on United States
● July Japanese troops occupy
Indochina
Japan & Pearl Harbor
 Tensions in the Pacific
 Japan seeks autarky over east Asia – “Greater
East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”
 Seizure of Manchuria in 1931
 War with China begins 1937
 Courting good relations with Germany
 Counting on Germany to tie-up Soviets in the
west, making it possible for Japan to seize
eastern Siberia
 German-Soviet non-aggression pact
scandalizes Japan; puts plans on seizing
Soviet territory on hold
Japan & Pearl Harbor
 Japan and the United States
 US tariffs during Depression lead to reduced Japanese
exports to US, heights effects of depression in Japan;
anti-American sentiments
 Japan feels compelled to invade China
(honor/economic)
 1939 FDR does not renew 1911 U.S.-Japan Treaty of
Commerce and Navigation
 US Congress passes Export Control Act, 2 July 1940
(these two actions effectively eliminate Japan’s main
source for oil & scrap metal)
 Japan’s leaders humiliated by these actions; believe US
has no right to pass judgment on them or interfere in
their affairs
 Japan signs Tripartite Pact with German & Italy 27
September 1940 – in effect, making the three nations
allies
Japan & Pearl Harbor
 The US prepares for war
 US officially neutral for first two years of WWII
('39-'41)
 US provides material support to UK & USSR (after
Germany violates the non-aggression pact and
attacks USSR)
 Lend-Lease Act, March 1941, empowers FDR to give
Allies aid in exchange for whatever compensation
or benefit FDR deems acceptable(!)
 By mid-’41, war with Germany & Japan seems likely
 US intel services have direct access to coded
Japanese message traffic, so US well aware that
Japan was planning something against US – but did
not know precisely what.
 RADM Richmond K. Turner, Director of War Plans in
DC, urged US forces in PAC be placed on higher
state of alert; esp. concerned about Pearl Harbor
Japan & Pearl Harbor
 Indochina
 French-administered colony in SE Asia (now Vietnam,
Laos & Cambodia
 Since fall of France to Germany, Vichy French gov’t
(controlled by Germany) unable to protect Indochina
 Japan enters 20 July 41 and quickly occupy entire area
 Japan justifies action by saying it would deny resources
to the Chinese resistance
 Japan negotiating peace with US & others, but has war
plans vs. US, UK & Netherlands (powers in region –
Philippines, Singapore/Malaya/Burma, Dutch East
Indies
 US & UK clearly see this threat; freeze all Japanese
bank accounts
Japan & Pearl Harbor
Japan & Pearl Harbor
 The Japanese attack plan
 Japanese Navy planning operation vs. Pearl Harbor
since Jan ’41
 Japanese Navy advises that it has 2 yr supply of oil
(with no additional supplies in sight); if war with US
to start, best to do it soon
 Emperor approves attack plan, Oct ‘41; attack fleet sails
25-26 Nov 41
 Heated discussions in Japanese cabinet & in military,
but all debated ends 1 Dec 41; Emperor orders plans
to proceed
 Additional plans vs UK forces at Singapore planned as
well
 Goal: once and for all end possibility of US/UK
interference with Japanese plans for east Asia
Japan & Pearl Harbor
Japan & Pear Harbor

 Pearl Harbor
 Japanese attack force 200 miles N of Oahu,
beyond line of sight of any US forces
 US radar on north shore picks up signature
of massive Japanese air assault, but
mistaken for B-17s due in from US west
coast
Imperial Japanese Naval Air
Forces Planes preparing
attack
Japanese carrier Kaga in heavy
seas on way to attack Pearl
Harbor
Battleship Row, 7 Dec
1941
USS West Virginia being hit by
torpedo (from attack plane)
Battleship Row after the
attack
USS Utah took a torpedo
early on in the attack
USS Oklahoma
Japan & Pearl Harbor
 Pearl Harbor
 US losses –
▪ 2402 dead
▪ 5 battleships destroyed completely
▪ 3 battleships out of commission
▪ 11 other warships sunk or seriously damaged
▪ 180 aircraft destroyed on the ground
▪ The Good News: NONE OF THE CARRIERS
WERE AT PEARL / LARGE FUEL RESERVES
UNTOUCHED
 Japan also attacks Guam, Philippines, Wake Island, Midway
Island (all US) & Malaya & Hong Kong (UK)
FDR signing the
congressional declaration of
war, 8 Dec 1941
Japan & Pearl Harbor
 American Reaction
 Enters popular culture “Pearl
Harbor Day”
 Most Americans unaware of hostility
of Japanese vs. American actions
over previous years; therefore, the
attack blindsided most Americans
and let to sense of outrage
 Questions soon raised in Congress to
lay blame about failures in
intelligence & preparedness
 By evening of 6 Dec 41, US
administration certain that Japan
was planning a major action vs.
US, but unsure as to
when/where
Total War In The Pacific
● February 15, 1942 Japan captures
Singapore
● March 9 Japan captures Java
● April 9 Japan captures the Philippines
● April 18 Doolittle Raid on Tokyo
● May 4–8 Battle of the Coral Sea
● June 3–6 Battle of Midway
Total War in the Pacific

 The Japanese Onslaught


 15 Feb 42, Japanese forces take Singapore
 9 Mar 42, after a series of extended sea
battles, the Dutch colony of Java
surrenders
 9 Apr 42, U.S. territory of the Philippines
falls to Japan.
 Island colonies, territories, and nations in
Southeast Asia continued to fall
 Threatening Burma and even India.
Total War In The Pacific
Total War in the Pacific

 The Doolittle Raid


Total War In The Pacific

 The Battle of the Coral Sea


 Early May ‘42, Japanese invasion fleets
ordered to take Talagi in the Solomons &
Port Moresby in New Guinea – last Allied
base & outpost between Japanese &
Australia
 Intercepted radio transmissions give
Americans in area advanced notice
 American task force engages the Japanese
Total War In The Pacific
Total War In The Pacific

 Japan’s New Plan


 After Doolittle Raid & Battle of the Coral
Sea, Japanese planners determined to
end threat from US carriers
 ADM Yamamoto plans massive assault on
Midway & Aleutian Islands
 Japanese plans intercepted & US sends
entire PAC fleet to Midway
Total War In The Pacific

 The Battle of Midway


Total War In The Pacific

 Japan on the defensive


 Losses in first six months of 1942 finds
Japan overextended and quickly at a
disadvantage
 US mainland and Australia no longer at risk
of attack
 Japan struggles the rest of the war to
retain territory taken in 1941 & early
1942
The Strengthening Alliance

 Casablanca Conference
 12-13 Jan 43, FDR, Churchill meet at
Casablanca
 Decide on accepting only unconditional
surrender from Germany
 Discussed situation in Pacific
 Agreed on invasion of Sicily
 Agreed to hold off Allied invasion of Europe
across English Channel until summer,
1944
 Agree to intensify bombing operations vs
The Strengthening Alliance

 The Tehran Conference


 28 Nov – 1 Dec 43 in Tehran, Iran
 FDR, Churchill, Stalin
 Discuss Allied invasion of Europe –
Operation Overlord; Stalin wants western
front engaged ASAP; Churchill & FDR
want Germany’s defenses softened up
 Stalin commits USSR to enter war vs Japan
once Germany is defeated
Southeast Asia
 Events
 March 8, 1942 Japan takes Rangoon, Burma
 July Japan occupies Guadalcanal
 August 7 Allies launch offensive on Guadalcanal
 November Allies launch offensive in New Guinea
 February 9, 1943 Battle of Guadalcanal ends
 August 4, 1944 Allied forces take Myitkyina, Burma
 October 20 Battle of Leyte begins
 December 31 Battle of Leyte ends
 February 19, 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima begins
 February 23 U.S. Marines reach Mt. Suribachi
 March 26 Iwo Jima declared secure
 April 1 Battle of Okinawa begins
 May 3 Allies liberate Rangoon
 June 21 Battle of Okinawa ends
Southeast Asia
● March 8, 1942 Japan takes Rangoon, Burma
● July Japan occupies Guadalcanal
● August 7 Allies launch offensive on Guadalcanal
● November Allies launch offensive in New Guinea
● February 9, 1943 Battle of Guadalcanal ends
● August 4, 1944 Allied forces take Myitkyina,
Burma
● May 3, 1945 Allies liberate Rangoon
Southeast Asia
 Guadalcanal
Southeast Asia

 New Guinea
 US & Australian forces on 16 Nov 42
launch offensive to retake New
Guinea
 Majority of Japanese forces driven off
by Jan ‘43, some remain until well
into ‘44
Southeast Asia
 Burma
 UK takes responsibility for this front from India
 Rangoon falls to Japan 8 Mar 42; UK forces
retreat to India; minor offensives cross
border until mid-43
 Allies reorganize in ‘43 – UK & Chinese forces
advance on Chinese border; UK & US spec
ops go behind lines into Burma
 Assam-Burma-China Airbridge over the
“Hump” to China
 Burma Road secured and reopened in Jan 45
 Rangoon liberated 3 May 45
Island Hopping
● October 20, 1944 Battle of Leyte begins
● December 31 Battle of Leyte ends
● February 19, 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima begins
● February 23 U.S. Marines reach Mt. Suribachi
● March 26 Iwo Jima declared secure
● April 1 Battle of Okinawa begins
● June 21 Battle of Okinawa ends
Island Hopping

Fierce fighting in '44 & '45 to regain islands taken by
Japanese in '41 & '42

Many are US, UK & Allied territories

Philippines, Solomons, Ryuku Islands

Battle of the Philippine Sea, 19-20 June 44 – most
Japanese naval air power lost

Battle of Leyete – Japanese lost 49k/3.5k US

Each battle more intense & costly; rethink strategy
Iwo Jima

Early warning station for
Japanese for US flights to
bomb home islands

Fierce fighting, massive
loss of life

Almost all Japanese
defenders (20k)

US - 7k
Okinawa

Last large-scale battle in the Pacific and the most
intense of the island invasions

Large civilian populace; 100+k Japanese defenders

Kamikaze attacks on US vessels

1 Apr – 21 Jun 45

100k Japanese military deaths; 80-100k civilian dead;
19k US dead
Mounting Casualties
●Increasing casualty rates as US forces
move close to Japan
●Almost every battle since Guadalcanal,

Japanese refuse to surrender; huge death


tolls
●Speculation of huge US casualty rate if

invasion of Japanese home islands were


to take place; rethinking of strategy
●Greater emphasis on bombing of

population centers to bring capitulation