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It always seemed interesting to me how a nation can write its own history, endure all the changes that time brought along and how eventually be able to set its hallmark on each life aspect and evolution. Whether we talk about scientific discoveries or successful progress in different domains, it always comes down to people. Because human nature is capable to step out of its boundaries and create something that will provide her with the freedom to judge how it is best to live. So in my final thesis I have decided to choose the American history, and find out how it met its most tremendous evolutions and became todays Land of All Possibilities. But most of all I wanted to emphasize how a nation implementing so strong its isolationism policy, succeeded eventually to change the course of the two most horrendous periods of the 20th century: the Two World Wars. More precisely, my thesis deals with the political and military involvement of the United States in these wars. Because Im a student at the Faculty of Letters, many would be surprised about my choice to prepare my final paper about these aspects that seem more proper to be debated by a student in the field of history. But encouraged by the course of American Culture and Civilization we took in the second year, I have decided to choose a subject that would combine my love for history and the aspects of American civilization. It was not easy to write about the United States, it was not easy to understand the aspects under which the American democracy and people are displayed, but it is simple enough to acknowledge that the bases of the United States were laid on the true American spirit. Because it was formed by the colonists of different ethnic backgrounds, because those men and women had different political, social, religious and economic beliefs, in order for the United States to become a nation, they decided to recognize and accept the idea of cultural pluralism. But this ideal, that from a multitude of cultures one could create a unity, has not always been accomplished. Instead of being tolerant, the Americans proved sometimes to be hostile to those with a different skin color, other religion or who came from other cultural background. This paper summarizes in three chapters the most important stages in the American history and it concentrates on the effective contribution that the United States brought in the world wars. I began by talking about its early discovering and how little by little the 13 colonies gained their independence, thus, setting the premises for democracy. The second chapter deals with the Americans strong belief that it is best if they do not interfere in other nations politics or conflicts, a belief that was put to doubt when it was time to decide whether to 1

enter the World War I or not. It is unquestionable that if the United States hesitated longer in participating in the war, the faith of the world would have been much worse. Although it entered late in the war, the few months the U.S. army fought were decisive for the course of the event. From a military and political point of view, World War I assigned the United States as one of the leaders in the community of nations. With an army that was experiencing for the first time the horrors of a war and with a visionary leader like Woodrow Wilson, the United States proved that it can fight as well as any other European country and gain a well known respect for that. But all the sacrificed lives for the well being of mankind were not enough; yet the decisions and agreements that the world powers made at the end of the war brought even more resentment. Along with World War I, United States entered a new phase in its evolution, becoming more aware of the fact that the stability of the world was to be dictated from then on by the economic spheres. In the third chapter, the trigger of World War II increased the stake for the U.S., as it was more difficult for it to face the rising power of the European countries, and yet respect its neutrality. After the Pearl Harbor attack, it became clear for the Americans that neutrality can no longer be kept and they entered the war not only with the desire to get even but also to eradicate the ideological concept of fascism that threatened to take over. The course of the war took a drastic turn once the Americans decided to create and use the most deadly weapon ever: the atomic bomb. The fact that they spent billions of dollars without knowing for sure if the weapon would even work in order to shorten the effects of the war it is a matter that today, more than ever, questions whether it was necessary to use it or not. Since then, the Unites States have been a changing country, a nation on the move and in a constant evolution, where democracy represents a path for a nation in search of a common ground.


The Beginnings of the New World

1.1. Discovery of America and Forming the 13 Colonies

North America as we see it today represents a contrast of cultures, civilizations, beliefs and religions. From the early stages of its discovery until today, North America has created a path towards what is now called:the land of all possibilities. Although at first it was an isolated continent and the population did not have contact with other civilizations for a long time, when the white man came to America to colonize it, he came with centuries of European know-how behind him (Galateanu-Farnoaga, 2006, p.18), and managed to develop and use the land effectively. Many believe that it was Christopher Columbus the first to have discovered America, but they are mistaken, because it was a Norse trader called Bjarni Herjulfsson, but who did not land there. Along time, North America became the settlement of many European colonists, who came mostly from Britain and France. The French spread widely, but were not able to keep their possessions. So these possessions were taken over by the British. They formed British colonies, and by the end of 18 century, there were 13 colonies along the Atlantic Coast. Later on, they formed the American states. The colonies are: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. During the 18th century, the farmers and workers from the colonies work their way to establish a society and a distinctive culture. They produced their own food, furniture, agricultural need, and they lived in isolated areas and had little contact with the British government. Alongside white settlers, there were the black people, who were brought from Africa to serve as servants. They were considered to be inferior to white people and they were treated likewise. In time, laws have been passed, that made blacks servants for life and slavery became a natural matter.

1.2. Breaking from the English Monarchy

During most of the colonial period, Britain did not pay the American colonies too much interest, and the colonists had the opportunity and freedom to govern themselves as they wanted and even disobey some British laws. But after the Seven Years war with France, Britains economy was strongly affected, so the obvious way to reestablish the economy was by raising taxes in both Britain and in the colonies. The colonists were obviously against such measure and also protested against the new trade regulations. It all began in 1773, with what is known as: The Boston Tea Party, when a band of local people disguised as Native Americans, boarded on 3 British ships that transported tea and dumped the tea 3

into the water. They began to realize that their rights were not respected and they protested against the taxation, on the grounds that they were not represented in the British Parliament. Theyre slogan was: No taxation without Representation. The British government reacted immediately, by imposing an increased control of British troops in the colonies. In 1774, the colonies decided that it was time to put an end to all the British control and that is why, 12 of the 13 colonies sent representatives to a meeting, which took place in Philadelphia, the First Continental Congress. The spirit for independence grew and in the Second Continental Congress, Richard H. Lee from Virginia, stated in his famous resolution that: these united colonies are, and ought to be free and independent states. The Congress at a certain point began to assume the role of a national government and in June 1775, the Congress established the Continental Army and a continental currency. Gradually, the colonies cut the ties with Britain and the American ports were opened to commerce with other nations. The Congress has chosen a Committee, whose role was to write a Declaration of Independence. The Committee of 5 was formed of: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston. The actual writing of the declaration was made by Jefferson and the other changes by Adams and Franklin. It took 18 days to write it. In the end, the Declaration was intended to be an expression of the American mind, as Jefferson stated, and it was eventually adopted on July the 4th 1776. The Declaration offered a clear view for the Americans to realize that they were fighting for independence and equal right for all men.

1.3. The Independence War and the Constitution

The Americans were lead in the war by George Washington. Because they were outnumbered by the British army, Washington agreed upon short surprise attacks. One important battle was the one at Saratoga, in October 17th 1777, won by the Americans. Soon after, in the help of the colonies came France and Spain. The help of France turned the balance in favor of the colonies, due to the fact that the French were blocking the harbor so that the British could not get supplies. With few resources and outnumbered, the British troops, leaded by General Charles Cornwallis, surrendered on October 19th 1781. At last, the United States of America became an independent nation. In 1787, the representatives of the states met in Philadelphia, in order to draft the Constitution of the United States, and to decide upon the government form. The representatives decided that George Washington should be the leader of the nation, but he refused to be crowned king and decided that the 4

nation needed a president, a leader who presides over the government for a limited period of time. By June 1788, the Constitution of the Unites States had been accepted by 9 states, and became official. Not all states accepted the Constitution due to the fact that it did not include protection for the citizens against wrong use of power by government. This problem was solved, by adopting 10 amendments known as The Bill of Rights. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press and the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have developed and amplified the democratic essence of the American society, the ideas of a young country about how a nation should live, what government form should be adopted and which are the governments and citizens responsibilities in order to guarantee freedom.

1.4. The Civil War

After the War for Independence, the so-called equal rights and freedoms for all people did not come along with it. At first, only white male property owners could vote, the black slaves, largely in South remained unfree, women could not vote and had little legal rights. The problem of slavery became the major cause of the Civil war, because the North states did not agree with the situation of the blacks in the South. They were exploited, and had no rights at all. The Souths economy was based on agriculture, and depended on slaves for labor. The North states wanted to make slavery illegal, but the South did not accept that others interfere in their laws and dictate how to treat people. From this point forward, the Southern states broke from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America, or shorter, the Confederacy. Their president was Jefferson Davis, the former secretary of war. The war between North and South erupted, and the Confederate army led by Robert E. Lee, managed to hold the Union army from taking the South for 4 years, during which 620.000 Americans died fighting each other. The turning point of the war was in 1863 with the battle of Gettysburg, which the Union army won, and after which, President Lincoln declared slavery illegal. On April 9, 1865, the South surrendered and the North began to impose a series of strict and severe peace terms. The period after the war was called Reconstruction, during which the blacks claimed their rights and the south economy was at its lowest level. The blacks better conditions did not last long and the whites had taken over the southern states again, repressing the blacks even harder than before. The blacks persecution lasted until the 1960s when the Civil Rights Movement activity took place, under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. 5

The end of the Civil War was the beginning of a period of American prosperity, which led to the first big growth of the national government. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Unites States went through a series of economical and social changes, that historians called industrialization. It was a flourishing period, during which the investors had taken the opportunity to make money. The businesses with oil, steel and railroads grew at a phenomenal pace, and the agricultural sector, due to the richness of the land, turned the United States in the worlds greatest food producer. The various industry branches that a long time achieved prosperity needed of course workers. Many of these workers were among the millions of immigrants that came to America between 1880 and 1910. They gathered in areas where jobs were available, mostly in urban regions that were well served by the railroad. After the flourishing years of industrialization, there came a turning point in the American and worlds history that changed the lives of people and the map of the world. That is World War I.

II. United States at War

2.1. The Premises of the War

World War I, or The Great War, represents the first major political and military event of the twentieth century. Although it was fought on several continents, most of the battles took place in Europe. 6

The war devastated most of Europe, and at the end of it, life was never going to be the same again. The war could have been prevented, and so the lives and resources of the country. But most of the world leaders thought the war was inevitable, and they encouraged men to go and fight for their freedom and make the world a better and safer place. But while Europe was under siege, the Unites States, separated from Europe by an ocean, was not that keen to enter the war and kept its neutrality until 1917. But what triggered the start of this world disaster? The great powers of Europe built up huge armies and formed two alliances; one alliance included Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, and was called the Triple Alliance, and the other The Triple Entente, consisted of France, Russia and Great Britain. Each country was fighting a war of its own, demanding recognition as world power, especially Great Britain and Germany, which were in a constant race for the control of the seas. The tensions between the countries grew, also because France, fearing the German military arsenal, hoped that Britain will fight against Germany, if the latter attacked neutral Belgium, Frances neighbor. Still these factors did not really engage the war. The crisis began in June 1914, in Bosnia, a region in the Balkans, ruled by Austria-Hungary, where Serbian patriots killed the Austrian-Hungarian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo. Immediately, Germany, ally of Austria-Hungary, promised to help it, in order to punish Serbia. The countries sent ultimatums to each other and began to mobilize for war. On August 28th, AustriaHungary declared war against Serbia, and Russia, ally of Serbia, also entered the war, fighting against Germany. One event triggered the other, and France, which was bound by the treaty signed with Russia, found itself at war against Germany. Great Britain tried to remain neutral, but when Germany invaded neutral Poland, in order to reach Paris by the shortest way, Britain declared war, being obliged to defend Belgium by the terms of the Treaty of London, from 1839. Italy declared itself neutral. The invasion of Belgium and the attack on France caught the Allies by surprise. The German plan was to overwhelm France then turn its force on Russia. There were two main battle fronts. The Western Front was the one where German and French troops were engaged in a war where neither side could take down the enemy. On the Eastern Front, Russian troops could not face the well prepared German army, and were massacred. At sea, Great Britain was trying to block the German offensive, by cutting off the ships with food and supply for Germany. In order to force its victory, Germany proclaimed unrestricted submarine warfare against every ship, violating the traditional international law. The ships of neutral countries that were suspected carrying supplies for the enemies were attacked and sunk by the German submarines. Germany was fully aware 7

that this step might cause a break and a possible war with the United States, whose ships were also targeted.

2.2. US-Neutrality and Diplomacy

In the period previous to World War I, the US president, Woodrow Wilson, was continuing the reforms and laws that his predecessors initiated, and believed that the presidents duty was to look out for the general interests of the whole country. When World War I burst in Europe, Wilson turned his attention to the international events. He decided that the United States should remain neutral and not get involved in a war that wasnt theirs. But the war began for the American corporations long before it did for the people. American companies were producing military supplies for the British and the allies. The more intense the battles, the more armament and supplies the Allies ordered from American companies, and the more money they borrowed from American banks. In other words, the United States became the creditor of the Allies and its prosperity depended on the results of the war. In the meantime, Wilson talked more and more about neutrality, he was a thinker and a dreamer. He dreamed of world peace and worked hard on keeping the United States out of the European conflict. His ideals were shared by the so-called non-interventionists. From its early years, United States adopted a policy of isolationism, that is, not to interfere in the affairs of other nations. During the American exports of munitions and supplies, US congressmen opposed frenetically against these actions. One of them was Texas Congressman James H. Davis, who accused governmental and industrial moguls of forming cabals to force upon the country a stupendous program of military preparedness, hoping to put in the White House a dictator to execute it. Other Congressmen called "a conspiracy to force our country into a war with Germany". Along with the Congressmen were many American activists, who protested against a war that wasnt theirs and against the American Government which instigated American workers to go to war for the sake of their country. Although overall, the Unites States was a prosperous country, many of its people were facing poverty, unemployment and labor exploitation. American activists believed that the government, by sending the people to war, was not defending the United States, but the interests of the major corporations, the investors and also the American capital, due to the fact that the Unites States economy depended on the result of the war. Many believed that this sacrifice would have been understandable, if people would die for a country that assured them a decent living and respected them. But it was not the case here. The American workers would go fight and die for other peoples country, 8

other peoples sentiments, other peoples liberties and other peoples happiness (Zinn, Arnove, 2009, p. 287). It was only in 1915, when a German submarine sank the British ocean liner Lusitania, which carried more than 1200 of passengers, 128 of them being Americans, which raised among the Americans the awareness of the war. For a while, it seemed that president Wilson would not change his position regarding the war. He firmly continued to sustain Americas neutrality. He even decided to run for a second term as president, which he won, in 1916, with the sloganHe kept us out of war! His reelection reflected the wish of most Americans to stay out of what they still believed it was Europes war. Wilson tried to avoid war by diplomatic means, sending a peaceful message to Germany, in which he offered his help in order to reach an agreement that could lead to the end of the war and create a League of Nations. But when Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare against all ships, President Wilson protested against this action, and cut off the diplomatic relations with Germany. This was the final step in declaring war. Another reason which led the United States into war was the conspiracy between Germany and Mexico, which the British informed President Wilson about. In a telegram from Zimmermann to his minister in Mexico, he asked the aid of Mexico, in case the United States entered the war against Germany. Also the news about the Bolshevik revolution that broke in Russia and the abdication of the Tsar has precipitated Wilsons decision of involving US in the war. These represent the most important causes that lead Unites States to war, but most people believed that it was inevitable for US to maintain its neutrality, due to the huge Pro-British propagandas and the fact that the American economy would have suffered badly if US did not take part in the action. It is believed that Winston Churchill, at that time, the British Minister of Munitions, had a big influence in dragging US in the war, for hope of maintaining British victory.

2.3. War Declaration and Propaganda

Only 90 days after the beginning of his second term, on April 2 nd 1917 President Wilson delivered a speech before the Congress and asked to declare war against Germany. At the end of his speech, people would cheer and ovate him, but Wilsons response to that was:My message today was a message of death for our young men. How strange it seems they would cheer that". It represents one of the greatest

ironies of the history, that President Wilson, who won the re-elections by promoting a peaceful attitude and message, was the one that eventually decided to lead American in the war. A major role in the decisions which got American in the war was played by the strong propagandas and the public opinion about the significance and the liability of the democracy as a spirit of governing. Most of America was divided due to the pros and cons of getting involved in the war, the American immigrants being of European origins. There were 8 million German-Americans living in United States, many understanding and taking the side of Germany, but most Americans had no connections with the European conflict and were not interested in promoting the war. Pacifists like Randolph Bourne, believed that in times like that, the State succeeds in convincing its people that their loyalty towards the country and their patriotism are the utmost human values which will bring unity and peace. People foolishly believe that the State ideals cannot be accomplished in other way than by war. They have the perspective of the whole, which every person identifies herself with, the activities of the society are centered on creating a military defense or military offensive, and above all these the State becomes what in peace times does not even bother to be, that is a determinant of peoples opinions, actions and attitudes. Many pacifists would have agreed with Bertrand Russell that "the greatest difficulty was the purely psychological one of resisting mass suggestion, of which the force becomes terrific when the whole nation is in a state of violent collective excitement." Facing the lack of interest and unity from the people when the country entered the war, President Wilson created the Committee of Public Information, in order to keep the American citizen informed about the evolution of the war and also to promote the American goals outside the country. But with all the propaganda and the promotion of nationalism and fighting for peace, the Americans were not responding so well. Only 73.000 men out of 10 million had volunteered for the army. Unites States had almost no army at all, but after the Selective Service Act was formed, more than 4 million men had been recruited. African American citizens saw an opportunity to win the respect of their white neighbors; they viewed the conflict as an opportunity to prove their loyalty, patriotism, and worthiness for equal treatment in the United States. The country was faced with an unprecedented situation, on one hand it had to create and equip an army to send it across the Atlantic and on the other hand, to send war supplies to the Allies. Meanwhile, President Wilson set the American war aims, so that the world could know that It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war...but the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts, -- for democracy, for the right 10

of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments...for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free. While food and other goods were shipped across the Atlantic and the American men prepared for the war, Wilson also prepared a powerful weapon, his Fourteen Points plan for peace. In his opinion, that was the only plan that could put an end to the war and reorganize the postwar world. The plan as adopted by Wilson is: I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view. II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants. III. The removal, as far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance. IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety. V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined. VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy. VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and


determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired. VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all. IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality. X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development. XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into. XII. The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees. XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant. XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike. While from a political point of view the US was trying to consolidate the peace, the army was preparing to take part in the operations in Europe, a Europe that was far from hoping a time of peace. But the help that America could offer in 1917 was mostly a promise. The War Department decided to collect the 16th, 18th, 26th and 28th Infantry Regiments and form them into the 1st Division, which was going to be sent to France. Not until the spring of 1918 were the American troops ready to go overseas in 12

great number. It was called The American Expeditionary Force, the first US army to fight across the Atlantic and on the 4th of July a battalion of the 16th Infantry led by General Pershing, the commander of the American troops overseas, marched through Paris. Their battle cry was: Lafayette, we are here! It brought new life to the mostly exhausted French. After that, the 1st Division went into intensive training at Gondrecourt, beginning not with trench warfare but with elementary training. Only after a few months, some of them were ready to be attached to a French division to experience the war lines. Against an enemy like Germany, trained rigorously and with years of Western Front experience, it was not enough to induct men and equip them. All soldiers agreed that the American army would have to complete a systematic and thorough training program before participating in the battles. The slow arrival of the Americans in France, due to the lack of ships as well as training and supply problems, and their slow additional preparation once they arrived there, increased the hopes of Germans that they could win the war with an offensive. The American Expeditionary Force somehow gave United States the possibility to assert itself as a world power. Now, United States was able to prove that in war it was as good as every other world army and this period would mark several high points in the American Century. The battles in which the US army was involved were: Battle of Seicheprey, Battle of Cantigy, Battle of Belleau Wood, Battle of Chateau-Thierry, the offensive of St. Mihiel and the offensive of Meuse-Argonne.

2.4. Significant Battles

The American Expeditionary Force fought one of its earliest World War I engagements at the tiny hamlet of Seicheprey, France on April 20th, 1918. It was a surprise battle, at least as far as the Americans were concerned. They werent expecting a fight when the Germans attacked from the north in the morning. In front of the Germans was the US 26th Infantry Division, which along with the 1st, 2nd and 42nd Infantry Divisions, was one of the first four American divisions to reach France. American manpower was building up quickly and the Germans were no longer as strong as at the beginning of the war, but they were still powerful and they were still over numbering the Americans in men and arms on the Western Front. As far as the Germans were concerned, the attack on Seicheprey was simply a raid in order to intimidate the Americans and show how weak and inexperienced they were compared to German


troops. It would be good not only for morale among the German troops, but good for morale back home and it would have an adverse affect on American troops and the American home front. Seicheprey was located 26 kilometers by road north of Toul and between St. Mihiel 23 kilometers by road to its west and Pont-a-Mousson 22 kilometers by road to its right. The area immediately surrounding Seicheprey was wide open farmland other than to the immediate northeast which was home to a thick forest called Foret de Mort Homme (Dead Mans Forest) that ran as far as the eye could see and well beyond that. To the northwest, just a few thousand feet ahead of Seicheprey, the lines bulged menacingly southeast toward the village. And it was probably from there that the attack was launched. At the vanguard of the German assault were Storm troopers. The Storm troopers were very small infiltration units equipped with specialized tools such as flamethrowers. They were trained to get into tricky spots, cause dramatic damage and then get out of the way for normal infantry troops to operate. In all, 3200 Germans were on the attack. The 26ths nickname was the Yankee Division, owing it to its formation in Boston and its component units being mostly from New England. There were two brigades and four regiments, the 101st, 102nd, 103rd and 104th. Until that moment, the Americans were not by far prepared for battle. In fact, that was the whole point of having them in the St. Mihiel area: it was known as the quiet section of the Western Front. And a primary reason that the Americans had been positioned there was that they could slowly accommodate themselves to warfare. It is worth mentioning that there was another extremely significant reason. John J. Pershing believed that it would be a perfect place to launch an attack on Germany once the Americans were sufficient in number. But that was just a plan and in any case, such an attack was not going to happen until 1919. The Germans moved south, where they fought with the 102 nd Regiment largely constituted of brave young men from Connecticut. As the Storm troopers were advancing in and around Seicheprey, the Americans fell back in, suffering many casualties. The fighting became heavier, from the 102 nd Infantry Regiment, practically everyone getting involved in the battle, including the cooks and the marching band. Eventually the Americans counter-attacked and were able to regain Seicheprey. The toll of the operation: among the Americans more than 100 were taken prisoners and over 650 who were either dead or wounded. In exchange, the Americans were able to count 100 dead Germans lying around them. But at least the Americans could be proud that they didnt lose ground. As a result, the battle was declared a victory by the American press. But the village was left in ruins with not a single building or tree left intact. Around 80 Americans of the 102nd Infantry were buried in the village after the battle.


The American Expeditionary Force fought its first World War I offensive at the tiny hamlet of Cantigny, France, a canton of Montdidier, located six kilometers to its east. In the spring of 1918, the population of Cantigny was of approximately 100 people. They ran a small number of businesses like a caf and a grocery store and bakery. But it was mostly an agricultural village as were so many of the small villages in France at that time. When the Germans invaded through Belgium into France in August, 1918, Cantigny fell on the last day of the month, August 31st, left behind by the French Sixth Army as the rest of the French Army and the British Expeditionary Force retreated from the overwhelming German military forces. The Germans were too busy chasing their adversaries. They moved forward leaving Cantigny behind and went south toward the Marne and toward Paris. And so within a few weeks, there were no Germans left in Cantigny and the village found itself back in the hands of the Allies. Over the next few months there was the trace to the north and east of Cantigny. There would be movement in some points across the Western Front, but in general Cantigny remained safe about 20 kilometers from the front lines from September, 1914 to February, 1917 when the Germans withdrew 35 miles, most notably away from the area right in front of Cantigny. By withdrawing, the Germans were able to shorten their own lines and make better use of their manpower. But their tactics consisted in destroying villages, poisoning wells, tearing up roads, and cutting down forests, leaving behind a brutalized land. But then on March 21, 1918, the Germans unleashed Operation Michael and stroke forward again. They destroyed much of the opposition in their way and soon arrived at Cantigny. The Germans liked being there. Cantigny sat on a plateau a few hundred meters above the land around it giving the Germans a straight view of the Allied lines. The Americans was slowly gathering strength as ships transported army and air service units from American ports to British and French ones. From the start both the British and the French did not claim nor wanted the fresh Americans to be used as replacements for their own units. John J. Pershing promised that he would only use the American Expeditionary Force as a unified army under his command. Now with the Germans threatening Paris once again, he changed his mind. The new US 1st Infantry Division, whose nickname was the "Big Red 1" in honor of the unit's shoulder patches, was inserted into the lines of the French First Army right in front of Cantigny. The 1st Infantry Division might have been largely untrained, but it was a big, solid American Expeditionary Force division with a total of about 27,000 men including troops, officers and support staff. There were two brigades, the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades. The 1st had the 16th and 18th Regiments as well as the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion. The 2nd Infantry Brigade had the 26th and 28th 15

Regiments and the 3rd Machine Gun Battalion. The other divisional units were the 1st Machine Gun Battalion, 1st Engineers, 2nd Field Signal Battalion and the 1st Field Artillery Brigade made up of the 5th, 6th and 7th Field Artillery units. The 5th had 155mm guns and the 6th and 7th had 75mm guns. The French had also placed artillery battalions and batteries from nine regiments at the disposal of the 1st Infantry Division. They were highly equipped, with 75mm guns, 155mm guns, and 220mm guns and even 280mm giants. Rounding the French artillery were four batteries of trench mortars ranging from 58mm to 240mm. On May 28th, at 4:45 am, the artillery units started firing their 75mm guns at Cantigny for adjustment. At 5:45 am, the artillery unleashed a full bombardment blasting the German defenders in the village and lighting up the village making it visible for miles. The 28th Infantry Regiment, assigned to lead this mission, moved forward at 6:45 am, and was accompanied by the French 5th Tank Battalion which was made up of 12 French Schneider tanks, slow 14 ton six man leviathans with the reputation of getting stuck while attempting to cross trenches. Several broke down though this was to be expected from any tank at that time. But they moved forward and provided cover and fire with their machine guns and solitary 75mm cannons, accomplishing their mission of stopping and removing the deadly German machine gun posts. By 7:20 am the attack was over and the Americans had taken Cantigny. What was absolutely surprising is that all of the goals were achieved on time and with few losses. The Americans suffered less than 100 casualties, but captured 350 German prisoners. The Germans counter-attacked, bombing up the village with their own artillery. Cantigny was ruined, but the Americans reinforced their position with fresh troops, the 28th Regiment being attached to it. However, by that time the American casualties have rose to a thousand men. German casualties remained unknown. The Americans made their first offensive in Europe and won. Compared to all the circumstances of World War I, Cantigny was a small battle, but it showed the Germans, the French, the British and even themselves that American Expeditionary Force could fight and win. The Battle of Chateau-Thierry and the Battle of Belleau Wood are two related actions, firstly at Chateau-Thierry from 3-4 June and then at Belleau Wood from 6-26 June. In the Battle of Belleau Wood, U.S. forces recaptured the wood on the Metz-Paris road taken at the end of May by German Seventh Army forces arriving at the Marne River, and occupied by four divisions as part of the German Aisne offensive. Chateau-Thierry represented a major obstacle towards Paris, some 50 miles southwest. Defended by U.S. Second and Third Divisions dispatched at the orders of the French by AEF Commander-in-Chief Jack Pershing, the Americans launched a counter-attack on 3-4 June with the 16

assistance of the French Tenth Colonial Division, and together they succeeded in pushing the Germans back across the Marne to Jaulgonne. Encouraged by success first at Cantigny at the end of May and now at Chateau-Thierry, General Bundy's Second Division forces were confronting two days later with the difficult exercise of capturing Belleau Wood. Second Division's Marine Corps, under James Harbord, were assigned with the capturing of the wood. A consequence of the open nature on the advance on the wood, were the casualties on the first day, 6 June, the highest in Marine Corps history. Strongly defended by the Germans, the wood was first taken by the Marines and Third Infantry Brigade, then recaptured by the Germans, and again taken by the U.S. forces six times before finally banishing the Germans. Also captured were the nearby villages of Vaux and Bouresche. The battle lasted from 6-26 June and at the end of it U.S. forces suffered 9,777 casualties, of which 1,811 were dead. The number of German casualties is not known, although 1,600 troops were taken prisoner. But eventually, the combined Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood action brought to an end the last major German offensive of the war. Before the war, Chateau-Thierry had been a beautiful town home of 15,000 people in the Marne River. Now it was only a ravaged city with caved walls, blown off roofs, and bridges dropped in the Marne. On August 30, 1918, Pershing was given responsibility for the St. Mihiel sector; the same day, Foch and Pershing discussed plans for how to use the AEF next in St. Mihiel. Foch, Commander in Chief of the Allied forces wanted to split up the American army. Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Force, wanted to keep the US Army intact, able to operate and throw its entire arsenal around. They arrived to a compromise by committing the Americans to the Meuse-Argonne offensive which was to start on September 26th, just two weeks after St. Mihiel was to start. For the Americans, it was time to start planning offensives. That attack was launched on September 12, 1918. On Thursday, September 12, 1918 thirteen American divisions of the US I, IV, V Corps and eight largely French colonial divisions of the French II Colonial Corps launched a wellprepared attack. The American divisions included the 26th division from the V Corps and the 1st, 42nd, 89th, 2nd, 5th and 90th fighting from the right, representing the IV and I Corps. In the middle were the French. They numbered 264,000 American and French troops against 75,000 German and the only two divisions of Austro-Hungarian troops on the Western Front. The attack started with a four hour bombardment by 2,971 pieces of artillery destroying the four year long silence of the "quiet" sector with a tremendous noise. The timing of the successful St. Mihiel offensive was excellent: the Germans had been planning a withdrawal which made the advancement 17

more easy and fast. Within 30 hours, the Allies had taken 13,250 prisoners and 460 enemy artillery pieces in exchange for 8,000 casualties. It was a tremendous success that was good for American morale as well as credibility with the other Allies. On September 26, 1918 a series of offensives of the 92 British, Belgian, French and American divisions submitted urgently forward the entire Western Front. Near the center of the offensive, 15 American and 22 French divisions attacked front Rheims all the way to the Meuse River near Verdun. The offensive would eventually get the name Meuse-Argonne, in honor of the river on the right and the great forest on the left of the territory where the fight had taken place. The Meuse, known as the Maas to the Dutch and the Germans, had defined much of the front lines and for a very logical reason: it was a perfectly natural barrier. For the Americans, the MeuseArgonne was their third great offensive though it was actually part of a general attack across much of the Western Front involving the other Allies. At the center just to the left of the Meuse River and Verdun was the American First Army pointing north at the German Fifth Army. The First Army consisted of I, V and III Corps running from west to east. The American divisions moving forward on the first day were, from west to east, the 77th, 28th, 35th, 91st, 37th, 79th, 4th, 80th and 33nd divisions. The rest of the American divisions were positioned behind them in reserve. On either side of the Americans were the French Fourth Army and the French XVII Corps. The following day, September 27th, the British Third Army with 15 divisions and the British First Army with 12 divisions attacked around Arras in northern France. On the 28th, the British Second Army with 10 divisions, the Belgian Army with 12 divisions and the French Sixth Army with six divisions attacked north of Arras to the Belgian coast. For the troops it was like being in a slaughterhouse. Of the 29 American divisions that saw combat by the end of the war, all 29 were in combat in mid-October, and they were possessing almost one quarter of the Western Front, which was just a little more than the British, but less than the French. In all, approximately 1.2 million American soldiers fought in the MeuseArgonne offensive. The Germans were falling back, and their numbers were starting to diminish with acceleration. But they were hardly beaten, and even in retreat were able to cause heavy casualties among the Americans. The Americans in their confidence made some of the same mistakes the other nations made previously during the war such as charging at machine gun posts. Such tactics did not work for the others, and it was no surprise that they did not work for the Americans either. In spite of such errors, the Americans and their Allies were making excellent progress across the Western Front, and it was the first time since the First Battle of the Marne that the Germans were retreating across such a broad front. 18

2.5. Armistice and Peace Treaty

John J. Pershing wanted to keep fighting all the way to Berlin in order to force Germany to an ultimate surrender. On the other hand there were the ideals of President Wilson, who wanted to treat Germany with gloves for the sake of reconciliation and putting an end to the acts of revenge. But there were also the British and French realists who have been fighting the war for four years and wanted to end all the brutalities and stop any further loss of lives and return to ordinary life. Of all the above circumstances, the realists won. So in November 1918 German and French delegates met in a forest near the city of Compiegne, in the French territory. It took three days of negotiations and on 11 November a formal Armistice was signed. But there was still the need for an actual peace treaty. In this war, Unites States learned how to mobilize its best strength into a fighting force. The war acknowledged US as a leader in the community of nations, a role that was never challenged. Through Woodrow Wilson, America was also given the moral leadership of the world, due to Wilsons promise that this would be a war to end all wars. He sailed to France for the peace conference at Versailles, where the main responsibility of establishing the terms of peace was determined by the Council of Four: Wilson, President of US, the French president Clemenceau, the British Prime Minister Lloyd George and the Italian Prime Minister Orlando. Wilsons dream was the establishment of a League of Nations that could represent a guarantee of peace and also to promote his famous Fourteen Point which in his vision represented a code of morality and ethics on which a democratic society should build its foreign politics. The idealism of Woodrow Wilson was soon shadowed by the harsh practical spirit of his European partners. After months of discussion and controversy, as the world was waiting anxiously by, the Versailles Treaty was finally completed and signed by Germany in June 1919. Following the treaty, four great empires dismembered: the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Instead of healing old wounds, the Treaty of Versailles only succeeded in creating a new discontent. Wilson finally convinced the European leaders to build the League of Nations and then returned to United States to ask the Senates approval. Wilson explained the role of the League in this way: My conception of the League of Nations is just this, that it shall operate as the organized moral force of men throughout the world and that whenever and wherever wrong and aggression are planned or contemplated, this searching light of conscience will be turned upon them and men everywhere will ask, What are the purposes that you hold in your heart against the fortunes of the world? Just a little exposure will settle most questions. If the Central Powers 19

had dared to discuss the purpose of this war for a single fortnight, it never would have happened. But the United States was returning to its usual policy of isolationism and wasnt yet prepared to assume the role of world leadership that the war has trusted it with. So the Senate turned down Wilsons proposal of forming the League. Overall, the US intervention in the war in 1917 was more than a rational policy decision; it also represented a culmination of historical experience and a revelation of basic faith. In the post war world both their hard headed materialism and their open handed faith were to have important consequences for the rest of the mankind. (Adams, 1967, p. 32)

III. World War II

3.1. Dictatorship and the Outbreak of the War

After World War I ended the political and economical situation in Europe, Asia and Africa changed completely by the defeat of the Central Powers and the victory of Entente, which led to the forming of new states due to the collapse of Austria-Hungary and Russian Empire. In the interwar period, the democratic system of political organization went through a series of high crisis, illustrated by the rebirth of old forms of authoritarianism and totalitarianism. In Italy, the fascism movement led by Benito Mussolini abolished democracy by repressing political forces and supporting class conflict or liberalism. It represented the promise of making Italy a world power. Fascism became popular among people disappointed by the democratic government and who felt the need of a change. Also in Germany, the Nazi Party conducted by Adolf Hitler began to establish a 20

same regime, being encouraged by the economic depression that the world was going through. The economic boom from 1922-1928 gave humanity reasons to be optimistic and trustful. Social stability and prosperity seemed to be installing for a long time. The shock produced by the economic crisis in 1929 was the stronger. Gradually, the crisis included all the economic domains, and although it was considered finished in 1933, its repercussions would be felt until the Second World War. In the United States, the republicans were leading and president Hoover refused to take measures against the crisis, believing that it will be solved through economic mechanisms. After the elections form 1932, when the democrats came to governing, United States became a model of binding the politics with the economics. The democratic president, Franklin Roosevelt, developed a coherent plan, the New Deal, which proposed the increase of the states role in economy and the development of an American democracy. The New Deal brought new hope and optimism to Americans and imposed the recovery of the economy. Around the Second World War, Roosevelt demanded the increase of expenditures for weapons and led a politics deliberated by budget deficit, ensuring the US a social equilibrium and an efficient mechanism of state intervention in case of imbalance. The origins of the Second World War must be searched in the system created at Versailles in 1919-1920. The treaties imposed Germany and other defeated countries certain restrictions, but they didnt provide the means for constraining the countries to respect these restrictions. Forming the new fascist regimes in Europe, especially the Nazi, was one of the major causes that triggered the Second World War. Hitler, now chancellor, promised to the German people that he will break the hand-cuffs of Versailles. He violated the treaties by secretly remilitarizing Germany in the mid 1930s and signed military alliances with Italy and Japan. In their turn, the Russians, unsatisfied that they lost their state as world power, were eager to regain the territories lost in 1918, and to do so, they secretly signed the Nonaggression Pact with Germany in 1939. With the pact Stalin bought time to build up his strength to the prejudice of Britain and France, and Hitler gained a free hand to deal with Poland. All these operations should have worried the other European powers a lot more. It was presumably that Germany would want to regain the title world power, and France and Great Britain should have opposed. But there were many contradictions and tensions between the winners, and the result was, especially from Great Britain, a conciliatory attitude towards Germany. There were also contradictions between the Great Powers on one side, and the smaller states, on the other side. Some of these smaller countries had been victims of the French-British conciliationism of the First World War. All of these exposed the weakness of the League of Nations as a force to maintain peace. The United States, concerned with events in Europe and Asia, passed the Neutrality Act in August. 21

As Poland refused to give up a territory claimed by Germany, that is East Prussia, gave Hitler he reason to declare war. On September 1st, the German army invaded Poland, and that was the beginning of Hitlers strategic plans of a blitz Krieg, which had to ensure him immediate victories, obtained by using the aviation, armored and motorized units. A few days later, the Soviet Union and Germany signed a friendship pact through which they shared Poland. France and Britain, which offered Poland guarantees, immediately declared war to Germany on September 3rd, 1939. But afterwards, they ensured Poland with a financial help only and the occupation of the Maginon line. The subsequent period of the invasion, was known as the Phony War. Nothing happened to indicate that World War II would differ significantly in style or tempo from World War I. It was the period of lost chances, because Germany didnt have to fight on two fronts and had the time to clear Poland. That lasted until 1940, when Italy declared war on both France and the United Kingdom, and when twelve days later, France surrendered; Great Britain was facing alone a war that became unequal. All this time, the neutral United States took measures to help the Western Allies, and offered Great Britain financial, naval and moral help. The Congress adopted the Cash and Carry law, which brought improvements in the payment system and stated that war materials and food should be delivered to the nations whose defense represented a vital importance for the protection of American interests. The quick defeat of France and the imminent collapse of Britain accelerated defense preparations. President Roosevelt ordered the transfer of large stocks of World War I munitions to France and Britain in the spring of 1940 and in September, he agreed to the transfer of fifty over-age destroyers to Britain in exchange for bases in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Still, a large number of American people continued to oppose any involvement in the war. President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched a preparedness campaign. The power of the Army Air Corps increased; Army and Navy leaders designed a new series of war plans to deal with the international situation. The focus of military policy changed from continental to hemisphere defense. The isolationists considered that Roosevelts premature policy will lead to the premature entrance of the United States in the war and believed that the country would gain a lot more if they kept neutrality in that time. Meanwhile, at the beginning of 1941, Germany controlled most of Europe, although the war with Great Britain had not ended. The new German order sustained by the Nazi propaganda, underlined the obligation and honor of some countries to work and sacrifice for the great German nation, which belonged to a superior race. The Non Aggression Treaty signed with the Soviet Union represented only a maneuver to gain the necessary time for occupying the Western Europe. On June 22nd 1941, Germany 22

along with the Axis Powers attacked Soviet Union in the Operation Barbarossa, and in a couple of month a vast Soviet territory was occupied. Now Great Britain was not facing alone anymore the Axis Powers and immediately UK and Soviet Union formed an alliance against Germany. Shortly after, President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter, a document that represented a meaningful declaration by the American leader that was still officially non belligerent. German successes in Europe encouraged Japan to increase pressure on European governments in south-east Asia. Japan planned to rapidly seize European colonies in Asia to create a large defensive perimeter stretching into the Central Pacific and also, considered at the British and U.S. positions in the Far East. To prevent American intervention while securing the perimeter, Japan planned to neutralize the United States Pacific Fleet from the beginning. On December 7, 1941, while German armies were freezing before Moscow, Japan suddenly pushed the United States into the war by attacking the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Four days later Hitler declared war on the United States. President Roosevelt called on Congress for immediate and massive extension of the armed forces.

3.2. Pearl Harbor attack and the US entering the war

It's not surprising that a country founded by fugitives from European oppressions would refuse to interfere in Europes problems and affairs. This was true after World War One, when that kind of interfering cost 57,400 American lives and was seen as an awful mistake. By 1939, many American organizations discussed over America's role in the new European conflict. The majority of them didnt want America to assume a role at all. Roosevelt seemed to agree, telling parents in the 1940 election that "Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." But shortly after, Roosevelt created the Cash and Carry law, providing Britain and eventually the Soviet Union with desperately needed munitions and supplies. And he found other ways to support his future allies and deceive isolationist legislation. The Unites States, which possessed a powerful fleet, interfered more and more in the Asian problems, becoming a dangerous rival. After occupying Manchuria, Japans plans of strengthening its domination in the Far East became clear. In order to do so, she had to eliminate the Allies from Asia, fact which was possible due to Frances surrender and the problems Great Britain was facing. In 1941 President Roosevelt placed fifty B17 bombers in the Philippines, standing between the Japanese and Dutch East Indian oil fields they 23

needed desperately in order to prevent the American oil embargo. Roosevelt also placed the U.S. Fleet in the Pacific. On December 2nd, 1941, Hawaii received a message from Washington that began, "This is a war warning." By deciphering the Japanese code, the U.S. knew Japan was planning a Pacific attack, but not when nor where. No one thought it would be Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor before the attack

War came to America at 7:55 a.m. in the morning of December 7th, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The base on Oahu Island was the home of the United States Pacific Fleet and about 50,000 American troops. At Pearl Harbor was the largest concentration of U.S. forces in the Pacific. A fleet of six Japanese aircraft carriers and escort ships placed itself at 230 miles of Oahu and launched in the first stage 183 fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes. Their mission was to cause as much damage on the fleet as they could and especially destroy the eight U.S. battleships and two U.S. carriers. They also had to destroy the aircraft on the ground. The first wave of Japanese bombers destroyed plenty of American arsenal. About 200 American ships and smaller craft were anchored in the harbor, and hundreds of warplanes were parked on the airfields. A second wave of 170 Japanese aircraft followed and found the harbor surrounded by black smoke and antiaircraft fire. During this wave, the Japanese lost 19 aircraft from the American fighters that managed to get into the air. The entire attack lasted about two hours. But it was enough to kill 2400 Americans and injure another 1200. 21 ships anchored were sunk or badly damaged, including eight battleships. Almost 200 American planes were destroyed, and another 150 damaged. On a short term, the Japanese accomplished their objective. They removed the United States Pacific Fleet out of their way, but for how long, it was not certain. Besides Pearl Harbor, the Philippines and other American installations 24

were attacked the same day. The Japanese believed that by destroying the American fleet, they would dominate the Pacific, but Japanese mistakes contributed to their eventual defeat. The American aircraft carriers were not damaged because they were off delivering planes to Midway and Wake Islands; they also failed to destroy Hawaiian shore facilities, including oil storage deposits that would be vital to the American war effort. Perhaps the biggest mistake was to attack in the first place. Yamamoto, the admiral of Japanese fleet admitted himself that: "I fear we will awaken a sleeping giant." Twelve hours later after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan succeeded to catch another US base by surprise: the aircraft in the Philippines under the command of General Douglas McArthur was attacked just as they were preparing to attack the Japanese ships.

Battleship USS Arizona sunk

Burning ships in Pearl Harbor dry docks

On December 8th, America was feeling more vengeful than ever. Roosevelt, for whom the previous day was a date which will live in infamy, declared war on Japan, and Japan only, but on December 11, Hitler made a badly mistake by declaring war on the United States, although his agreement with the Japanese didn't require him to do that. That made it easier for Roosevelt to keep his secret promise to Winston Churchill that when the Americans entered the war, they would first defeat Germany. Japans intervention and the entrance of the Unites States in the war had transformed the conflict in a war truly global. The war also had an ideological nature, because two different concepts were facing: one 25

represented by the European fascism and Japanese militarism, according to which the world was divided into superior races that were to dominate, and other races and people that were destined to be ruled, and the other one antifascist, based on the principle of equality of all people and the right to freedom. Military leaders in Washington worked very hard to create headquarters that would conduct a war effort in training the inexperienced ground and air units into viable fighting forces. In early 1942 the Chiefs of Staff regrouped as a committee of the nation's military leaders to advise the President and to conduct the strategies with the British. In March the War Department General Staff was reorganized and the Army divided into three major commands: the Air Forces, Ground Forces, and Service Forces. Thirty-seven Army divisions were in some state of training, but only one was fully trained, equipped, and could have been sent by January 1942. It was estimated that victory would require an army of almost 9 million men, organized into 215 combat divisions, estimates that proved to be exact regarding the total manpower but too ambitious for the 90 divisions that were eventually established.

3.3. Pacific War Theater

On April 18, 1942, sixteen B25 bombers, with 80 volunteers commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle, took off from the aircraft carrier Hornet. Their mission was to drop the first bombs on Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama. All bombs reached their target successfully, while Japanese did not respond. Then, low on fuel, fifteen of the planes crashed or were abandoned in China. The Japanese would eventually execute 250,000 Chinese for helping the American escape. Two of the raiders came down in enemy territory and three crewmen were executed. But 71 men eventually came home. This episode was done in order to raise the moral of American public, after the defeats suffered. The damage caused by the operation was minor, but the Japanese confidence in their security zone was shaken and the Emperors safety was threatened directly. Admiral Yamamoto, wanted immediate revenge so he developed plans for a major naval battle that he believed it would assure Japanese victory in the war. After much debate, he chose to attack Midway Island, 1000 miles from Honolulu. It represented the greatest Air Craft carrier battle in history. Like at Pearl Harbor Japan was relying on a surprising attack, not knowing that the Japanese code had been broken. "AF" was code for the target name, but Americans did not know which possible target was AF. By issuing a false report about a Midway fresh water deficit, Admiral Nimitz, the commander of the bases there, knew Yamamoto's intentions, and began gathering his forces. To begin with, Midway, like Pearl Harbor, demonstrates the role of intelligence. 26

By ingenious methods and persistence, U.S. Navy intelligence deciphered a Japanese code that indicated movements of the Japanese fleets. This allowed U.S. naval officers to send out the U.S. fleet, which was significantly smaller than the Japanese one, to destroy the Japanese and prevent the conquest of the island. Once the American and Japanese fleets met each other and the battle began, Midway became a human story, one emphasizing qualities such as honor, moral choice, and in which, the chance played an important role. The U.S. attack on the Japanese fleet began with a courageous but sacrificial assault by American torpedo aircraft. Despite the personal heroism of their pilots, this assault failed to cause any damage to the Japanese ships. However, the U.S. torpedo effort did succeed in drawing down to a low altitude the Japanese fighters which were protecting those ships. It was at this point that chance played its decisive role. As a result of a set of two or three coincidences, U.S. dive bombers arrived in the scene at the exact moment when the Japanese carriers were most vulnerable. In the dive-bomber assault, three Japanese carriers, the most part of the force, were sunk, offering the Americans an amazing victory. U.S. forces didn't confront another major Japanese fleet until the end of 1944. But by then, as a result of the battle of attrition, the Japanese had been effectively defeated. In July 1942, the combatants in the Pacific were in a deadlock. The Japanese advance had been slowed at Midway, but they held a temporary numerical and tactical advantage. Nimitz knew that he could not support an advance for at least another year. Likewise, Yamamoto did not want to advance on Australia or Hawaii because he did not have the necessary bases he wasnt able to obtain in the Coral Sea and Midway operations. That month the Imperial Japanese Navy began construction on a small airstrip in the former British Solomons, now the Japanese-possessed Solomons. Guadalcanal was a 90-mile long island in the South. It was in close proximity to Tulagi, a much smaller island with a seaplane base. Photographic reconnaissance located the area, and a decision was made to occupy the base. With the airfield in Japanese hands, this didnt seem as a mission of long term occupancy. The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, sometimes referred to as the Third and Fourth Battles of Savo Island, the Battle of the Solomons, The Battle of Friday the 13th, took place between November 12 and November 15, 1942, and was the decisive engagement in a series of naval battles between Allied, primarily United States, and Imperial Japanese forces during the long months of Guadalcanal campaign in the Solomon Islands during World War II. The action consisted of combined air and sea battles during four days, most near Guadalcanal and all related to a Japanese effort to reestablish land forces on the island. The battle is especially important due to the deaths of the United States Navy's only two admirals that were killed in action during a surface 27

battle in the war. Allied forces, mostly from the U.S., had landed on Guadalcanal on August 7th, 1942 and took possession of an airfield, later named Henderson Field that was under construction by the Japanese military. Several attempts of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, using reinforcements sent to Guadalcanal by ship, to regain the airfield were useless. In early November 1942, the Japanese organized a transport with 7,000 infantry troops and their equipment to Guadalcanal to attempt once again to retake the airfield. Several Japanese warship forces were sent on a mission to bombard Henderson Field with the goal of destroying Allied aircraft which represented a threat. Learning of the Japanese reinforcement effort, U.S. forces launched aircraft and warship attacks. The six-month Guadalcanal campaign began on August 7, 1942, when Allied forces, mostly U.S., landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and the Florida Islands in the Solomon Islands, at that time a colonial possession of the United Kingdom. The purpose of the landings was to discourage the Japanese to use the islands as bases to threaten the supply lines between U.S. and Australia, and also to implement here a campaign in order to neutralize the major Japanese military base at Rabaul and help the Allied New Guinea campaign. The Japanese had occupied Tulagi in May 1942 and began constructing an airfield on Guadalcanal in June 1942. By the night of August 8th, the 11,000 Allied troops secured Tulagi, the nearby small islands, and a Japanese airfield under construction at Lunga Point on Guadalcanal (later renamed Henderson Field). Allied aircraft operating out of Henderson were called the "Cactus Air Force" (CAF) after the code name for Guadalcanal. To protect the airfield, the US Marines implemented a perimeter defense around Lunga Point. In the next two months the US troops were reinforced with more than 20,000 men. In response, the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters assigned the Imperial Japanese Army's 17th Army, a corps-sized command based at Rabaul and under the command of Lieutenant-General Harukichi Hyakutake, with the mission of retaking Guadalcanal. Units of the 17th Army began to arrive on Guadalcanal on August 19th to drive away the Allied forces from the island. Because the CAF aircraft based at Henderson Field represented a threat, the Japanese were not able to use large transport ships to deliver troops and supplies to the island. The first Japanese attempt to recapture Henderson Field failed when a force of 917 men was defeated on August 21 in the Battle of the Tenaru. The next attempt took place from September 12 to September 14th, and ended in the defeat of the 6,000 men under the command of Major General Kiyotake


Kawaguchi at the Battle of Edson's Ridge. On October 14th, a nighttime bombardment of Henderson Field allowed the approach of a Japanese transport convoy. The consequences of this fact were visible: the heavily damaged runways of the airfield, the destruction of half of the CAF aircraft and the loss of the available aviation fuel. Considering the overall damage, the people on the Henderson Field managed to restore the runways and replace the fuel. The next Japanese attempt to retake the island with the newly arrived troops took place from October 20 to October 26 and was defeated with many losses in the Battle for Henderson Field. At the same time, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet, defeated U.S. naval forces in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, driving them away from the area. Because of the constant threat of Japanese aircraft and warships, it was difficult for Allied forces to resupply their forces on Guadalcanal that were often attacked by Japanese land and sea forces. In November 1942, Allied intelligence found out that the Japanese were preparing again an attempt to retake Henderson Field. On November 11, the U.S. sent to Guadalcanal the Task Force 67, a major reinforcement and resupply convoy, divided into two groups and commanded by Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner. The supply ships were protected by two task groups, commanded by Rear Admirals Daniel J. Callaghan and Norman Scott, and aircraft from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. The transport ships were attacked many times on November 11 and November 12 near Guadalcanal by Japanese aircraft based at Buin, Bougainville, in the Solomons, but most of them were not loaded and suffered little damage. Twelve Japanese aircraft were shot down by anti-aircraft fire from the U.S. ships or by fighter aircraft flying from Henderson Field. On November 13th, U.S. reconnaissance aircraft observed the approach of the Japanese ships and gave a warning to the Allied command. So warned, Turner had ordered all combat ships to protect the troops on the shore from the expected Japanese naval attack and troop landing, and ordered the supply ships at Guadalcanal to leave by early evening on November 12th. Callaghan was placed in overall command. Callaghan prepared his force to counterattack the Japanese that night. His force consisted of two heavy cruisers (San Francisco and Portland), three light cruisers (Helena, Juneau, and Atlanta), and eight destroyers: Cushing, Laffey, Sterett, O'Bannon, Aaron Ward, Barton, Monssen, and Fletcher. Admiral Callaghan commanded from San Francisco. On November 13th, the ships of the Japanese force prepared to bombard Henderson Field and several U.S. ships detected them on radar, but had trouble in communicating the information to Callaghan.


A few minutes later, the two forces met but both Callaghan and Japanese Admiral Hiroaki Abe, hesitated to order the ships to attack one another. Apparently, Abe was surprised by the proximity of the U.S. ships and he was not decided whether to continue forward or not. He eventually decided to proceed forward. On the other side, Admiral Callaghan confused by the incomplete information he received, he gave several confusing orders for the ship movements. The U.S. ship formation began to fall apart, delaying Callaghan's order to start fire, because he first tried to realign the locations of the ships. As the ships from the two sides interfered, they fought each other in a completely confused and chaotic way, being very close to one another. Among the U.S. ships bombarded was San Francisco, which war severely damaged, killing Admiral Callaghan and most of the bridge staff. The ship however, managed to get away from the confrontation without sinking. After almost 40 minutes of heavy fighting, the two sides ceased fire after Admiral Abe and Captain Gilbert Hoover, the captain of Helena and senior surviving U.S. officer at that point, ordered their forces to stop fighting. Admiral Abe had at the end of this battle, one battleship (Kirishima), one light cruiser (Nagara), and four destroyers (Asagumo, Teruzuki, Yukikaze, and Harusame) with slightly damaged and four destroyers (Inazuma, Ikazuchi, Murasame, and Samidare) with little damage. The U.S. had only one light cruiser (Helena) and one destroyer (Fletcher) that were still capable to resist. This balance gave Japanese advantage and a clear way to bombard Henderson Field and finish with the United States naval forces. But in the end Admiral Abe decided to abandon the mission and leave the area. At this crucial moment, the fact that much of the bombardment ammunition had been used in the battle and that Abes injuries and the loss of his staff, may have been the causes of Japanese retreat. Because of the confused nature of the battle, the U.S. believed that they had sunk seven Japanese ships. This, plus the Japanese retreat, made the U.S. to believe at that time that they had won a significant victory. It was only after the war that the U.S. found out that they suffered a tactical defeat. Nonetheless, most historians agree that Abe's decision to retreat turned this tactical defeat into a strategic victory for the U.S. On Henderson Field attack aircraft remained ready to discourage the slow Japanese transports to approach to Guadalcanal with their cargoes. Plus, the Japanese lost the opportunity to eliminate the U.S. naval forces. Shortly after, Admiral Yamamoto ordered Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo, commanding the Second Fleet at Truk, to form a new bombardment unit and attack Henderson Field on the night of November 1415. This second attempt failed as well, because the U.S. naval forces managed to prevent 30

most of the Japanese troops and supplies from launching another offensive. Because of the continuing threat from Allied aircraft based at Henderson Field, and the U.S. aircraft carriers, the Japanese had to continue to rely on warship deliveries from Tokyo. However, these supplies and replacements were not enough to support Japanese troops on the island, and on December 12, the Japanese Navy proposed that Guadalcanal should be abandoned. Despite initial opposition from Japanese Army leaders, who still hoped that Guadalcanal could eventually be regained from the Allies, Japan's Imperial General Headquarters, with approval from the Emperor, on December 31st, 1942, agreed to the evacuation of all Japanese forces from the island. After the successful strategic victory of Guadalcanal which put an end to Japans expansion in the Pacific, the United States had to struggle to win two of the most deadly battles of the American history: the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. When many Americans thought that the war was nearly over, the 7000 U.S. fatalities at Iowa Jima and 12500 at Okinawa came as a shock and represented an example of how costly the Pacific war was, when U.S. forces finally undertook the invasion of the home islands of Japan. The Battle of Iwo Jima took place in February 1945. The capture of Iwo Jima was part of a plan the Americans had for winning the war in the Far East. By 1944, America and her allies had the influence over the Pacific War. By attacking Iwo Jima, United States wanted to finally destroy Japans merchant fleet. Despite its small size, Iwo Jima was considered to be of a great tactical importance. There were two airfields on the island controlled by Japan which could be used by Japanese fighter planes to attack American bombers on their flights to Japan. If they were controlled by the Americans, the airfields could be used as emergency landing bases for damaged airplanes in the bombing raids. Knowing that the island was of such importance, the Japanese were determined to keep control of it. There were about 22000 soldiers commanded by Lieutenant-General Kuribayashi. These men had the time to build strong defensive positions through the entire the island but especially in the north. Kuribayashi knew that his options to launch attacks were very few because of the small size of the island. In fact, his options were limited just to defend fearlessly the zone. In the region, the Americans were led by Admiral Chester Nimitz. Most part of the amphibious attack was done by the Marines. The Japanese positions on the island were strengthened with vast bunkers, hidden artillery, and 18 km of underground tunnels. The Americans were covered by extensive naval and air support, capable of putting an enormous amount of firepower onto the Japanese positions ( The first day of the landings was February 19th, 1945. The Marines suffered heavy casualties, because the American bombings had not been effective, due to Japanese hiding in special built tunnels. 31

The Marines soon found that armed fire was ineffective against the enemy. Instead they discovered that grenades and flamethrowers were extremely efficient in eradicating enemy forces. By the end of the first day the Americans had split the island in two, in spite of taking more than 2400 casualties. On Day 2, the Marines attacked Mount Suribachi. Here they found fanatical Japanese defense and Suribachi was taken on February 23rd after three days of fighting. Iwo Jima proved to be a difficult and bloody target to gain, usually the Americans advancing only with several hundred meters per day. By March 11th, the Japanese were trapped in the area around Kitano Point, the north extremity of the island. By March 16th, the island was declared safe and all resistance stopped by March 26. The small island had taken America over one month to conquer. The Marines lost 6891 men killed and 18070 wounded. Out of the 22000 Japanese soldiers on the island, only 212 were taken prisoners. The rest were believed to be dead. The battle showed the Americans how far the Japanese would go to defend their country. The Battle of Okinawa started in April 1945. Okinawa proved to be a bloody battle one of the major of World War Two. Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyus islands at the southern side of Japan. Okinawa is about 60 miles long and between 2 and 18 miles wide. The strategic point of the island had not been underestimated: there were four airfields there that Americans needed to control. Americans also faced the problem that they had not been able to get much intelligence information about Okinawa. They estimated that there were about 65.000 Japanese troops on the island, with the majority in the southern side of the island. In fact, there were over 130.000 Japanese troops on the island and more than 450,000 civilians among them. The Japanese troops on the island were commanded by Lieutenant- General Ushijima who had been ordered to keep the island from enemys reach at all costs. Ushijima decided on his tactics: he concentrated his forces in the southern sector of the island and placed his men in secure fortifications. If the Americans wanted to take these fortifications, they would have to attack the Japanese in a series of frontal assaults. The Japanese also put their faith in the kamikazes which they believed would cause such serious casualties on the Americans in Okinawa that they would retreat. The attack on Okinawa was scheduled for April 1st 1945, the American army being commanded by Lieutenant-General Simon Bolivar Buckner. He had 180,000 men under his command. The kamikaze attacks on American navy, which were located near Okinawa, caused a lot of damage especially to Americas carrier fleet, but that didnt stop the invasion of the island for which US gathered 300 warships and 1,139 other ships. The first landing of Marines did take place on April 1st. They met little opposition


and by the end of the day 60.000 American soldiers landed on the island. By April, all Japanese resistance in the north of the island had been eliminated. The real battle for Okinawa was in the south of the island. On April 4 the XIV Corps (US 7th, 27th, 77th and 96th infantry divisions) arrived at the Machinato line. Here, the advance of the Americans in the south of Okinawa has been stopped. After the Machinato line was finally passed on April 24, they then had to confront the Shuri Line which further slowed the American advance. Together with the success of the kamikazes that had sunk 21 American warships and badly damaged 66 other warships, American forces experienced heavy losses. On May 3rd, Ushijima ordered a counter-attack which failed. By May 21, Ushijima ordered his men to retreat from the Shuri Line. However, the Japanese still resisted on their positions. It was only in June that it became obvious that the Japanese had lost the fight over Okinawa. On July 2nd, Okinawa was declared secure by the Americans. The attack on Okinawa resulted in many victims on both sides. The Americans lost 7,373 men killed and 32,056 wounded on land. At sea, the Americans lost 5.000 killed and 4.600 wounded. The Japanese lost 107.000 killed and 7.400 men taken prisoner. The Americans also lost 36 ships, 368 ships were also damaged, and 763 aircraft were destroyed. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have caused Japan to surrender just weeks after the end of the fighting at Okinawa.

3.4. The European and Atlantic War Theater

Although the Navy was the preponderant military service in the Pacific theater, the Army clearly played that role in the European theater. There, the role of the Navy was mostly a supporting one, providing transport and gunfire for the Armys successive invasions, along with protecting supply convoys in their dangerous journey across the Atlantic. Because Great Britain was desperately depending on supplies of resources and armaments across the Atlantic, supplies permanently threatened by the fleet of German U-boats, the Royal Navy began heavily convoy-protection operations in 1940. By using carriers and submarines, Germany was constantly attacking British ships, causing great losses to the British Navy due to which Great Britain was on the verge of losing the war at sea in 1941. At this point, President Roosevelt made the decision that the U.S. Navy was to accompany the Royal Navy in its anti-submarine activity, especially in the Western Atlantic. United States offered Great Britain financial and naval help. Though still nonbelligerent at that point, the U.S. assumed a more active role in the battle of the Atlantic and by adopting the Lend-Lease Act, U.S. sent 50 destroyers to Great Britain that would eventually secured the British naval convoys. 33

From that moment, a largely secret U.S. naval war against Germany emerged, a war that was fought for several months before the official one began. This naval war was secret because Roosevelt knew that he did not yet have enough support of the American public in order to engage in an official war. But he also knew that German U-boats would certainly respond with counter-attacks upon the U.S. destroyers which were engaged in anti-submarine operations in support of British ships, and indeed this soon became true. Germanys admiral Karl Dnitz ordered his U-boats to avoid attacking American vessels because he had no intention to provoke the United States into joining the war but on September 4th, 1941, U-652 fired on the destroyer USS Greer. This caused President Roosevelt to authorize direct defense of convoys and brought the United States significantly closer to joining the battle. On October 16th, the U.S. destroyer Reuben James was sunk with the loss of 115 people. In September and October 1941, Germany U-boats attacked U.S. destroyers on three separate occasions, and Roosevelt then publicly denounced these attacks as unprovoked German assaults on innocent U.S. ships. After the German declaration of war on the U.S. on December 11th, 1941, the U-boats launched a heavy and effective assault on U.S. ships, not only in the Atlantic itself but also on the sea routes from the Eastern seaside of the U.S. and in the Gulf of Mexico. In order to balance the forces and fight against the Axis, the Allies have constituted the Atlantic Chart in August 1941, which was based on the engagement of acting until the enemy was totally defeated and on the recognition of every nations right to choose its own form of government. The Atlantic Chart set the bases of the Declaration of the United Nations, signed on January 1st, 1942, by 26 states who took the commitment of collaborating and not signing separate peace with the enemy. On January 13th, 1942, Germany launched the operation Drumbeat, a campaign against the Allied ships in the American waters, when 35 ships were sunk near the United States coast before the month ended. U.S. Navy air patrols began hunting for submarines, especially on the East Coast, on March 1 st. Nevertheless, Germany was committed to enlarge operations in American waters. During the first six months of 1942, German U-boats sunk so may U.S. and allied merchant ships that for some time it seemed that only with their U-boats, the Germans were able to eliminate the United States out of the war. Despite the deadly efficiency of the U-boat campaign, Allied ships managed to land successfully U.S. and British troops in Northwest Africa, and the Allies also made possible for the convoys sail to the Soviet Union. Determined to regain control and to ensure an uninterrupted course of supplies and materiel, the United States inaugurated a crash program of ship building, launching Liberty Ships that were specially designed to be built quickly. Not only the ships were launched at an amazing rate, the rhythm of recruiting sailors for the United States Merchant Marine was amazing. 34

The Allies also became increasingly aggressive in defeating attacks against convoys. With the U.S. finally arranging convoys, ship losses in favor of the U-boats quickly dropped, and Dnitz realized his boats were better used somewhere else. On July 19th, 1942, he ordered the last U-boats to withdraw from the United States Atlantic coast, and by the end of July 1942 he shifted his attention back to the North Atlantic. Slowly the Americans gained knowledge and sharpened their skills in anti-submarine warfare. The turning point of the battle of the Atlantic came in May 1943. By this time there were about 200 operational U-boats but, with US production reaching its top, even this incredible force could not sink enough U.S. ships to prevent supplies from getting through. Victory for the Allies in the industrial battle was simultaneous with the amazing success against the U-boats. Due to the new tactics, intelligence, weapons and aircraft on both April and May of 1943 the Germans lost 45 U-boats. More than the loss of the vessels, U-boat crews were hard to train and replace, and the effect on Germans morale was devastating. Disappointed of the results of his surface fleet, Adolf Hitler began 1943 by ordering the effective seize of his surface navy and greatly increased production of U-boats. Allied losses continued to increase, but, by April, it was becoming clear that these losses were beginning to balance even as U-boat losses increased. This was thanks mostly to the new and improved escort tactics. Indeed, in May, Admiral Dnitz generally stopped the attacks on North Atlantic convoys because U-boat losses had reached unacceptable precedents. During 1944 and through the opening months of 1945, the Battle of the Atlantic continued with far less intensity. The Battle of the Atlantic was won by the Allies in two months. What had changed the course of the battle was a sudden development of technologies, combined with an increase in Allied resources. Victory in the Battle of the Atlantic facilitated the way for the invasion of mainland Europe in 1944 and the decisive Allied victory. While the navy was encountering difficult times on the Atlantic theater, in Europe, Germany was obtaining victories against a tired Russian army. That is why Russia had been pressing the Allies to start a new front against the Germans in the western sector of the war in Europe, to reduce the pressure of German forces on the Soviet troops. Though American military commanders were confident about a successful landing in France, in 1942, the British did not feel strong enough to attack Germany through France, instead an attack on the French North Africa was proposed, an attack which would clear the Axis Powers from North Africa, improve naval control of the Mediterranean Sea and prepare for an invasion of Southern Europe in 1943. The American President Franklin D. Roosevelt believed the African operation would exclude an invasion of Europe in 1943 but agreed to support British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In North 35

Africa, Italy had occupied Libya and attacked the British in Egypt, but has been rejected. Convinced that the territory had a major strategically importance, Germany sent an expeditionary corps conducted by General Rommel, to help the Italian army. In 1942, Rommel launched an attack but was defeated at El Alamein by the British leaded by General Montgomery. This represented the first victory which allowed Great Britain to maintain the control of North Africa and permitted the landing of British-American troops on November 8th, 1942. The operation in North Africa was going to be called Operation Torch and was to be the first Anglo-American land, sea, and air offensive of World War II. The operation had significant strategic and political implications. From geographical point of view, Operation Torch was stretching from southern Morocco to Tunisia and Algeria, territories which at that moment were under the Vichy French government. The initial phase of the operation required simultaneously take control over the ports from southern Morocco to the middle of Algeria, a tactic which needed the coordination of both American and British land, air and sea forces. As Allied preparation for Torch began, the planners had to consider a possible French resistance. After France surrendered in June 1940, her colonies had the option to either join the Allies under General Charles de Gaulle and free France or remain loyal to the pro-Axis regime at Vichy. Unfortunately, military governments in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia were all in favor of collaboration with the Axis. The French were capable of serious resistance. Rather than fight against the French, the military leaders preferred to gain the cooperation of the French army. General Eisenhower was given command of Operation Torch and he set up his headquarters in Gibraltar. The key to the success of the operation was a successful amphibious landing. Three landing locations were chosen Casablanca, Oran and Algiers. After the accomplishment of these operations the troops were to advance eastwards into Tunisia. For this mission a considerable number of soldiers were dispatched. Western Naval Task Force was divided into Northern, Center, and Southern Attack Groups which corresponded to the landing locations. The Western Task Force, meant for Casablanca, consisted of American units, with Major General George Patton in command and Rear Admiral Henry K. Hewitt conducting the naval operations. This Western Task Force consisted of the U.S. 2nd Armored Division, the U.S. 3rd and 9th Infantry Divisions in all 35000 troops. They were transported directly from the United States to ensure logistic support for the North African campaign. The Center Task Force, meant for Oran, included the US 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, US 1st Infantry Division, and the US 1st Armored Division, a total of 18500 troops. They sailed from Britain and were commanded by Major-General Lloyd Fredendall, the 36

naval forces being commanded by Commodore Thomas Troubridge. The Eastern Task force, meant for Algiers, was commanded by Lieutenant-General Kenneth Anderson and consisted of two brigades from British 78th and the US 34th Infantry Divisions and two British Commando units, No.1 and No. 6 Commandos; in all a total of 20000 troops. During the period of the amphibious landings the force was to be commanded by U.S. Major-General Charles W. Ryder, commander of 34th Division, because it was believed that a U.S. conducted invasion would be more acceptable to the French defenders than one leaded by the British. The naval forces were commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir Harold Burrough. The biggest question was whether the French would oppose or not. The landings started before daybreak on November 8th in three locations in Morocco: Safi, Fedala, and Mehdiya-Port Lyautey. Certain French military that were aware of the Allied plan tried to take control in Morocco. Some unfortunate series of troubles and errors led to the arrest of pro-Allied leaders. The result was that the French, led primarily by the navy, chose to resist the Allies. So began four days of fighting between American and Vichy forces. The resistance put up by the French was more an inconvenience rather than a major military problem. The key target for Patton was the capture of Casablanca. At Safi, the landings were mostly successful, but the French resistance caused the landings of the American troops to occur behind schedule. Eventually, Safi surrendered in the afternoon of November 8th and the mission in the south was accomplished. French resistance in the north was more determined then at Safi. Initially, the assault went well. Army forces landed north and south of the Wadi Sebou River and advanced on Port Lyautey and the close airfield.The casualties on both sides increased as the allies hit the French resistance during the advancing toward the city and airfield. By the morning of November 10th French opposition began to collapse. Naval gunfire and bombing prevented the approach of more French troops, isolating this way the battlefield and allowing the Americans to take the airfield. Finally, Navy dive bombers attacked, and shortly after the French surrendered. By the afternoon of November 10th the area around Port Lyautey was securely in American hands. The main American objective in Morocco was the great port of Casablanca. Unfortunately a direct assault on the city was impossible so they decided to attack the small port city of Fedala. As at Safi and Port Lyautey, the French in the Fedala area chose to resist the Allies. Coastal defense guns fired on U.S. ships near the Fedala beaches, followed instantly by replies from the American fleet. Several U.S. vessels were hit by fire from shore guns and ships. But the French were the most affected by this episode. By early afternoon two French destroyers had been sunk, others were so severely damaged that they sinked later. After securing of the Fedala area, the Americans prepared to advance south toward Casablanca. Fortunately,


negotiations between the Americans and the French resulted in the cease of fire in Morocco on the morning of November 11th. As it was planned, the North African operation continued with the invasion of Algiers by the Eastern Task Force, led by Lieutenant General Kenneth Anderson that consisted of the US 34th Infantry Division, two brigades of the British 78th Infantry Division, and two British Commando units. Operations against the port of Algiers represented the most difficult mission for the Allied forces. The French not only possessed numerous ground forces in the area, but they also possessed 52 fighter aircraft and 39 bombers. In the hours before the landings, a group of 400 French resistance under the command of Henri d'Astier de la Vigerie and Jos Aboulker planned a coup dtat in the city of Algiers. The American consul in Algiers, Robert Murphy, also tried to convince General Alphonse Juin, the senior French Army officer in North Africa to take the side of the Allies. Because he was not willing to switch sides, the Allied landings began, but didnt meet any opposition. One French commander welcomed openly the Allies. The only fighting took place in the port of Algiers itself, where two British destroyers attempted to land some of the U.S. Rangers directly on the dock, in order to prevent the French to destroy the port facilities, but Allied forces quickly surrounded the city and Juin surrendered at 6:00 PM on November 8th. At Oran, the Center Task Force was split between three beaches, two in the west of Oran and one in the east. Departing from Great Britain, the Center Task Force was led by Major General Lloyd Fredendall and Commodore Thomas Troubridge. They were charged with the landing of 18500 men of the US 1st Infantry Division and the US 1st Armored Division on two beaches west of Oran and one to the east. They met difficulties due to the unexpected shallowness of the water and insufficient reconnaissance of the territory. The efforts to land troops directly in the harbor failed because of heavy French fire. The French batteries and the invasion fleet exchanged fire throughout November 8th and November 9th, the French troops defending Oran and the surrounding area stubbornly. Due to heavy fire from the British battleships the French surrendered on November 9th. General Frendendalls efforts were supported by the United State's first airborne operation of the war. Flying from Great Britain, the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion was tasked with the mission to capture the airfields at Tafraoui and La Senia. Due to navigational and resistance issues, the most part of the aircraft was forced to land in the desert. Despite these issues, both airfields were captured. While the Allies fought to overcome French defenses, Hitler and his advisers made one of the most disastrous strategic decisions of World War II: they ordered the seizure of Tunisia. After the successful operations in Morocco and Algeria, the Allied forces were now moving on to the invasion of 38

Tunisia. Here, unlike the situation in Morocco and Algeria, the Vichy French garrison and governor cooperated with the German occupational force, a group of hardly armed paratroopers that arrived on November 9th, 1942. At first sight, the fact that the Germans were able to take over and then reinforce Tunisia appeared to be as a major failure for Allied army. But in the broader sense it was nothing but a mistake. The six months of fighting in North Africa's Tunisian desert served as an additional warning for the unpreparedness of U.S. troops. The fact that they were defeated by General Rommel in February 1943, underlined the general and particular weaknesses of U.S. troops and leaders. But one of the marks of U.S. military effectiveness through the entire World War II, in contrast to that of their British allies, was the way in which troops and commanders adapted to the actual conditions of combat. That defeat, represented the start for the American generals to begin the process of developing ground forces that could resist and defeat the Axis on the fields of France. The initial German successes during the winter of 1942-1943 by resisting against the pressure of AngloAmerican, forces turned into catastrophe by spring. Allied air and naval forces first cut off the German sea lines of communication between Sicily and North Africa. By April 1943, the Axis was only able to move supplies and reinforcements across the Mediterranean by air alone. The end came in early May with the surrender of the remaining German and Italian forces in North Africa. In the case of the Italians, the defeat in Tunisia destroyed the last efficient military forces with which to defend Sicily and the homeland against Allied landings in the next operation. The fall of Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime followed almost instantly upon the verge of that successful campaign. The objective of the North African operation was accomplished, but with no minor costs. The Allied lost around 480 soldiers with another 720 wounded. French losses totaled around 1346, killed and 1997 wounded. However, Operation Torch did make possible the opening of the Allies' Mediterranean sea lines of communication, which released approximately 5 to 6 million tons of shipping which could be used anywhere in the world. One of the major unexpected benefits from Torch Operation was the fact that military operations in the Mediterranean from November 1942 to the fall of 1943 allowed the British and Americans to establish an efficient combined, joint high command. It offered staff officers and senior military leaders the opportunity to work together in developing common practices, and even a common language for military operations. Franklin Roosevelt's decision to send U.S. troops to seize the French North Africa proved to be one of the most important of the war. It reflected the actual realities of the strategic situation in 1942. 39

And the unexpected deployment of massive German forces to Tunisia offered the U.S. Army an excellent opportunity to learn how to fight a great opponent far from its homeland and eventually causing a major defeat on the Axis. The success of the Torch landings in French North Africa had encouraged Franklin D. Roosevelt and Churchill to plan for a naval assault in Europe. After the German army was defeated at Stalingrad, the war was having many opponents in Italy. The economical and military situation was critical and the events in North Africa demonstrated Germanys incapacity to protect the Italian interests in that area. The successful invasions of North Africa, gave the Allies hopes of controlling the faith of the war and they were decided to launch another operation, in order to meet Stalins demand to turn Germanys attention from the European East Front. In a conference at Casablanca, in January 1943, the British were in favor of an invasion of Sicily or Sardinia, considering that it would force Germany to spread its forces and might knock Italy out of the war. At first, the Americans opposed the plan considering it as irrelevant but were eventually convinced to agree to a Sicilian invasion on the grounds that it would be a great deal of saving to Allied shipping, that would result from the opening of the Mediterranean routes by the removal of Axis air and naval forces from the island. Right after the conference, Operation Husky, the name given for the invasion, was conceived. July 10th was set to be the date for the invasion. A mixture of the battle-tried men of Eighth Army under Montgomery, the richness of US war material and troops of the Seventh Army under Patton, were considered enough to overwhelm the islands army and bring the war to mainland Italy. Amphibious and landing ships were the resource that characterized the Allied military strategy in 1943-1944, and it took six months to assemble enough for the main objective of HUSKY, an operation involving 150000 men and 3000 ships. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was chosen as supreme Allied commander for Husky, with British General Sir Harold Alexander commanding the land troops, consisting of the U.S. Seventh Army, led by Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., and the British Eighth Army commanded by General Sir Bernard Montgomery. On the night of July 9 th to 10th 1943, one of the largest combined operations of World War II, the invasion of Sicily, was launched. The Allied fleet of 2590 vessels was the largest fleet ever assembled for an invasion. The army group consisted of the U.S. 7th Army and the British 8th Army, a total of 180000 soldiers that would set foot on the island. Both the British in the east and the Americans in the west overcame German and Italian counterattacks, and then made quick progress off the beaches and along the coastlines. The US 7th army seized several regions on July 14th while several other were captured by Montgomery's Eighth Army. Encouraged by the success, in a disputed decision on July 13th, Gen. 40

Alexander assigned a larger territory to Montgomery, pressing Patton to the west and allowing the Eighth Army to avoid German resistance by going through Central Sicily, and monopolizing the primary approaches to Messina. Patton was furious, but turned his attention to a more ambitious goal: Palermo, Sicily's capital. Patton succeeded in capturing Palermo and was determined to arrive to Messina first. Messina was protected by the heavy fortified Etna Line, sustained by mountainous terrain. Italian units were disintegrating and the German high command decided to withdraw from Sicily with most of its force as much intact as possible, changing the nature of their defense to a fighting to withdrawal. On the morning of August 17th, parts of the 3d Infantry Division's 7th Infantry Regiment entered Messina; just hours after the last Axis troops shipped out for Italy and also before the British got there. Patton won the race. Sicily was the first opportunity in World War II for a complete U.S. field army, the 200000 man of the U.S. Seventh Army, to fight as a unit. The U.S. ability to cope along with the British in combined air, sea and land operations was put to the test and mostly succeeded, although with many difficult situations. The fall of Palermo on 22 July damaged the Italian morale very much, giving the opportunity for those in Italy who opposed Mussolini's decision to continue the war, to wish for an armistice. The fall of Sicily in August 1943 affected the Italians so badly that they decided to stage a coup dtat. Italian leader Benito Mussolini was banished from power, and the new government under Marshal Pietro Badoglio accepted a short time military armistice with the Allied powers on September 3rd. Mussolini was later rescued by a German commando and was installed by Hitler as leader of a puppet-state in the North of Italy.

3.5. The Normandy Landings and Germanys surrender

The problem of the Allied landings in Europe and the opening of a second war front had been discussed for a long time and with the occasion of different international meetings. It was demanded urgently by Stalin, around the battle of Stalingrad. Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of north-west Europe in June 1944, represented the solution for the second front in Europe. The planning for Operation Overlord began in the spring of 1943, and at the beginning it focused on where was best to infiltrate in the system of German coastal defenses. After an evaluation of the alternatives it was decided that an initial assault force of 150000 men would land on the beaches of Normandy, in northern France. Although here the English Channel was wider than at the Pas de Calais, Normandy was chosen because its beaches were closer to English ports, and had the useful French port of Cherbourg nearby. 41

General Eisenhower was named the supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. British General Sir Bernard Montgomery was put in charge of land operations, while lieutenant generals Omar N Bradley, commanding US First Army, and Sir Miles Dempsey, commanding British Second Army, took in charge the actual assault troops. By mid-1944, early mobilization of manpower and resources in America was beginning to pay results. Millions of American men had been trained, equipped, and jointed into fighting and service units. American industrial production had reached its wartime culminant pace in late 1943. While there were still alarming shortages in different branches, the production problems were largely solved. May 1944 had been chosen at the conference in Washington in May 1943 as the time for the invasion. Due to difficulties in assembling landing craft forced the operation had to be postponement until June, but June 5th was settled as the ultimate date by Eisenhower. June 1944 was a major turning point of World War II, particularly in Europe. By the beginning of June 1944, the United States and Great Britain had assembled in the British Isles the largest number of men and the greatest amount of landing conditions. Due to unfavorable weather forecasts, General Eisenhower decided to attack on June 6 th, 1944. In the morning of June 6th one British and two American airborne divisions, which represented the vanguard, were dropped behind the beaches and their landings represented an encouraging success. The American 82nd and 101st airborne divisions, dropping into an intended flooded zone at the base of the Cotentin Peninsula, suffered many casualties by drowning but nonetheless they secured their objective. The British 6th Airborne Division managed to accomplish its objectives in the eastern part more easily, and its special task force also captured key bridges over the Caen Canal and Orne River. When the marine units began to land about 6:30 am on June 6th, the British and Canadians on Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches overcame minimum opposition. So did the Americans at Utah. The U.S. 1st Division at Omaha Beach, however, confronted the best of the German coast divisions, the 352nd, and was managed very hard by machine gunners while the troops were approaching slowly ashore. During the morning, the landing at Omaha threatened to fail. Only dedicated local leadership eventually got the troops to the land, although with the cost of more than 2000 victims. On June 7th the beach consisted of three separate sectors: that of the British and Canadians, between Caen and Bayeux; that of the U.S. V Corps, between Port-en-Bessin and SaintPierre-du-Mont; and that of the U.S. VII Corps, west of the Vire River behind Utah Beach. Meanwhile, the German high command began to respond. A fierce German resistance and counterattacks, particularly around Caen in the British-Canadian sector, made the Allied attempts to break out to be in vain. 42

In fact, the Germans were depressed, because their stubborn defense was using up men and equipment that could not be replaced. Moreover, the Americans were now able to take advantage from the deployment of most of the enemys army against the British and break into the base of the Cotentin Peninsula and advance on Cherbourg. The German defense of Normandy had taken a worse turn after that. Although a large British offensive west of Cae failed, on July 18th and 19th, the U.S. First Army conducted a harsh battle of attrition around Saint-L in the second and third weeks of July. Its success would eventually lay the grounds for the long waited breakout. By July 25th, with most of the German tanks withdrawn westward by the British Goodwood offensive, the Americans faced a front almost armorless. Reinforcement gave Americans a clear superiority in tank and infantry divisions, while the Allied Expeditionary Force had the bombardment power to devastate the Germans in their way. By 1944 the Germans, after two years of withdrawals in Russia, were expert at organizing retreats. They showed their experience in crossing the Seine River. Though all bridges had been destroyed by Allied air attack, they improvised pontoons and leaded skillful actions to hold off the Anglo-American advance between August 19th and 31st. As the Germans were planning the retreat back across northern France, with dangerously speed into Belgium, Resistance forces in Paris rose against what remained of the German garrison there on August 19th. Fighting broke out, and, as the news of the struggle reached the public in America and Great Britain, Eisenhower changed his decision to avoid the capital. The recently arrived Free French 2nd Armored Division was ordered to set the city free. Its vanguards arrived on August 24th. Next morning the German city commander, Dietrich von Choltitz, surrendered. On August 26th, General Charles de Gaulle, head of the Free French, made a triumphal parade from the Champs-lyses to Notre-Dame Cathedral, where the victory was celebrated. Despite suffering massive failures, Hitler's forces were not yet defeated. While the end of the war in Europe may have been thought at the end of summer 1944, there were many more miles to travel and plenty more battles to fight before Allied troops finally set foot in the German homeland. Liberation had come at a high cost: more than 200000 dead, wounded, and missing from the Allied armies, more than 300000 from the German ones. French civilian losses numbered more than 12000. Still, the Normandy campaign had been an overwhelming success. By early September 1944 all but a small part of France had been released. The U.S., British, and Canadian forces had occupied Belgium and part of the Netherlands and had reached the German frontier. They however, didnt have the strength to launch a culminating offensive.


The Battle of the Bulge was the largest battle the U.S. Army ever fought, and the largest it ever came close to lose, a battle so fierce and fought in such horrible conditions. It was the last major Nazi offensive against the Allies in World War Two. The attack is strictly known as the Ardennes Offensive but because the initial attack by the Germans created a bulge in the Allied front line, it become more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge. The battle was a last attempt by Hitler to split the Allies in two in their way towards Germany and destroy their conditions to supply themselves. Hitler's master stroke was to attack when Allied command thought that the enemy is fighting a defensive campaign and cannot arrange major offensive operations. On December 16th, 1944, secretly advanced German panzer divisions broke through the weak Allied lines along a 70 mile front in Belgium's Ardennes forest. Hitler believed that he could force the western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis favor. He also believed that such elements as bad weather, bad terrain, and the Christmas holiday would help him catch the Allies by surprise. In other words, he anticipated it to be a decisive battle he believed he could win. After all, the Allies were much more inferior to the Germans as their military strength was concerned. At the battle's beginning, the U.S. Army was equipped with 80000 men, 400 tanks, and 400 guns, while the Germans had 200000 men, 600 tanks, and 1900 guns. The German army managed to push American forces back nearly to the Meuse River and surrounded the town of Bastogne in Belgium. That same day, by airdrop and Allied were sent and airplanes began their attack on German tanks. Lt. General George Patton's Third Army rescued the defenders of Bastogne. Allied leaders, including General Omar Bradley and General Dwight D. Eisenhower, were surprised by the force of the German attack. The Nazis were helped by bad weather, which kept Allied planes on the ground and forced troops to fight in temperatures sub-zero. On December 23rd, American forces began their first counterattack on the southern flank of the Bulge. On January 1st, 1945, the Germans launched two new operations in an attempt to continue the offensive and create second fronts in Holland and northern France. While the Allies recovered quickly from their losses, the operation left the German air force weaker than ever. After 20 days of fighting, American forces fell back, having suffered more than 11000 casualties, but causing 23000. On January 7th, 1945, Hitler agreed with his staff to retreat most of his forces from the Ardennes, ending in this way all offensive operations. On January 8 th, German troops withdrew totally from the battle. Their losses were critical. The last German reserve was gone, the air force had been destroyed, and the German army in the west was being pushed back. Most importantly, the Eastern Front was now ready to be taken by the Soviets. With most of its air power and men lost, Germany had few forces left to defend. 110000 Germans were killed, wounded or captured; many of 44

them teenagers and old men Hitler had used to reinforce his troops. On the other side 80000 Americans were killed, wounded or captured, a statistic unequaled in American history. The Germans made a systematic withdrawal between January 8 th and 16th, having used more of their resources than they could afford on this last desperate attempt to regain the initiative in the West. In February, the Soviets invaded Silesia and Pomerania, while Western Allied forces entered Western Germany and closed to the Rhine River, encircling a large number of German troops. In early April, the Western Allies finally advanced in Italy and knock out Western Germany, while Soviet forces bombarded Berlin in late April. The two forces linked up on Elbe River on April 25th. On April 30, 1945, the German government was captured, signaling the defeat of the Third Reich. Several changes in leadership occurred during this period. On April 12 th, U.S. President Roosevelt died and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Benito Mussolini was killed by Italian partisans on April 28th. Two days later, Hitler committed suicide, and was succeeded by Grand Admiral Karl Dnitz. The war in Europe had ended, but in the Pacific, the war was still fought atrociously, and Japan would soon be confronted with a situation that shocked and marked the world forever.

3.6. The Atomic Bomb and the end of the War

After Germanys surrender, the Allied leaders met on July 11th at a conference in Potsdam, Germany. Here, they have discussed and confirmed the agreements they agreed with Germany and they issued the Potsdam Declaration where they highlighted the terms of surrender for Japan. It was presented as an ultimatum and if Japan would not surrender, the Allies would attack Japan and ultimately the Japanese armed forces would be completely destroyed and their homeland devastated. But what the Allies omitted intentionally from the ultimatum was the part with the atomic bomb. The most important technique and scientific results of the Second World War were definitely the application of nuclear energy and the construction of the first atomic bomb. This terrible steel required 6 years of research in order to be ready for use. The first uranium nucleus fission was created in Berlin by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman but the Danish physicist Niels Bohr was the one that presented the fission at the Physics Congress from Washington, in 1939. Most European scientists, moved to U.S. in order to begin working at the top secret Manhattan Project, named so because the first team began working in Manhattan. They were urged by Einstein which warned them about the possibility of creating a nuclear weapon. The German physicists had the theory of the creating it, and if they managed to built it first, it 45

wouldnt matter the size of the Allied armed forces, because they would be destroyed by the nuclear fire. A secret base was built in New Mexico and by 1944 the scientist Robert Oppenheimer was developing an atomic weapon that supposedly would knock Germany out of the war. But as the spring of 1945 ended, and the bomb moved from theory to reality, the scientists began to question whether it was necessary to develop a weapon. When the bomb was ready for testing in July 1945, a group of scientists, led by Leo Silzard, questioned if dropping the bomb was needed at all. After the bomb experimented had succeeded, the results were reported to President Truman, who decided at the Potsdam Conference to drop the weapon against Japan, stating that: We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. Within two weeks, the 504th Composite Group was ready to fly from Tinian to Japan and deliver the terrible weapon. The target chosen for the first nuclear bombing mission was Hiroshima, a city of some industrial and military significance. The B-29, "Enola Gay," piloted by the squadron commander, Col. Paul Tibbets, flew to Japan and dropped the bomb on August 6th, 1945. The bomb was nicknamed Little Boy. 7000080000 people, of Hiroshima were killed immediately, and another 70000 injured. Over 90% of the doctors and 93% of the nurses in Hiroshima were killed or injured, most of them being in the downtown area which received the greatest damage. Although the U.S. had previously dropped leaflets warning civilians of air raids on 35 Japanese cities, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the population of Hiroshima was given no notice of the atomic bomb. Due to radiation, people would be dying for decades from cancer and birth defects. The Japanese government still did not react to the Potsdam Declaration, mainly because the damaged communication networks prevented the Japanese to completely understand what happened at Hiroshima. So the Americans advanced another bombing attack, this time at Nagasaki. The city of Nagasaki had been one of the largest sea ports in southern Japan and was of great wartime importance because of its wideranging industrial activity, including the production of ships, military equipment, and other war materials. On the morning of August 9, 1945, the U.S. B-29 Super fortress Bockscar, flown by the crew of 393rd Squadron commander Major Charles W. Sweeney, carried the nuclear bomb code-named "Fat Man" and dropped it on Nagasaki. This time the bomb was dropped slightly off target, which minimized the effects, the blast stopped by hills near Nagasaki. Casualty estimates for immediate deaths range from 40000 to 75000. Total deaths by the end of 1945 may have reached 80000, but again the aftereffects caused by radiation continued to kill for decades. As the Allied terms seemed to leave intact the principle


of the preservation of the Throne, Hirohito recorded on August 14th his capitulation announcement which was broadcast to the Japanese nation the next day.

Nagasaki-before and after the explosion

Hiroshima explosion

Nuclear explosion over Nagasaki

Thus, the Second World War ended. During the year after the bombing, approximately 40,000 U.S. troops occupied Hiroshima, while Nagasaki was occupied by 27,000 troops. Since then, the world has debated not only the targets, but whether the bombs had to be dropped at all. The Allies spent two billion dollars developing the bomb, not sure it would work. But it worked, better than expected, because decades later, people would still suffer and die from radiations. The controversy over the use of the bomb will most certainly continue. The main issue that has contradicted the intellectuals for nearly four decades is whether the use of the bomb was necessary to obtain victory in the war in the Pacific that could satisfy the United States.

3.7. Peace Treaties and U.S. Postwar Period

Even since the end of 1943, but especially in 1944, the three big Allies, have debated the problem of organizing the post war world. One of the most important but especially most controversial meetings took place at Yalta, in Crimea, in February 1945. Here the leaders discussed how the German territory would be governed and adopted a Declaration regarding Free Europe, which promised Germanys former allies and the countries that were under occupation, support for building representative governments.


The decisions taken by the Allies, regarding the organization of post war Europe represented only a temporarily compromise, given that Japan was not yet defeated at that time and the Russian army was controlling the Eastern Europe. As mentioned before, the Great Powers organized another conference after Germany surrendered. At Potsdam, the leaders decided to sign treaties with former allies of Germany: Bulgaria, Italy, Finland, Romania and Hungary, before signing the treaties with Germany and Japan. It was declared the intention of promoting democracy, demilitarization, and eliminating the Nazi doctrine in Germany. The final and most important meeting was the Peace Conference, held in Paris on July 26th, 1946. The treaties signed at the conference gathered political clauses that referred to eliminating the fascist regimes and creating a democratic framework. A peace treaty with Germany was never signed. Only in 1951 Germany restored peace relations with United States and in 1955 with the Soviet Union. As for Japan, in 1951 U.S. organized a peace conference where Great Britain and U.S. that recognized Japans independence and sovereignty. Japan bounded to give up hostilities and force threatening. The end of World War II marked the end of an international system centered on the European Great Powers. At the end of World War II Germany, Italy and most of France rest in ruins while Great Britain was bankrupt. Now there were only two great powers left: the United States which at the end of the war had an intact economy, an intact army and a monopoly on the manufacture and use of nuclear weapons, the other great power that was standing was the Soviet Union, which had a large and intact army and was in control of almost half of the European continent. World War II accelerated the rhythm of change, obviously in weapons, but also in transportation, communications, electronics, medicine, and in other ways. Many Americans feared that the end of World War II and the following drop in military spending could bring back the hard times of the Great Depression. But instead, the consumers demand speed up exceptionally strong economic growth in the postwar period. The automobile industry successfully returned to producing cars, and new industries such as aviation and electronics grew tremendously. The American work force also changed significantly. During the 1950s, the number of workers offering services grew until it equaled and then surpassed the number of those who produced goods. And by 1956, a majority of U.S. workers held white-collar rather than blue-collar jobs. Though it had spent billions of dollars fighting the war, U.S. bared little damage. In fact the war had reinforced the United States ability to produce goods, and the United States found the ruined economies of Europe and the rest of the world markets hungry for U.S. products. The United States created a plan to help rebuild the economies of Europe called the Marshall Plan, named after the U.S. secretary of state George Marshall. It 48

provided aid to European countries in exchange for a commitment to capitalism. The United States helped Europe recover, and in turn European countries became the biggest consumers, or users, of U.S. goods. So United States and the Soviet Union dominated the postwar world, but each one indented to establish its world supremacy. That represented the main cause for which the Cold War between these two powers would emerge. There were also important ideological differences: the soviets wanted to extend the communism, while Unites States were loyal to the democratic values. Added to this, are the mistrust and the dissatisfaction regarding the cooperation of the two states at the end of Second World War. The Soviets were reproaching the Americans they kept the atomic bomb a secret, while the U.S. didnt forget the Soviet Unions attitude regarding Japan and its hesitations in declaring them war. Although it was called the Cold war, it did not lack military conflicts. The two great powers engaged in the conflicts in Asia and Middle East, ideologically, economically and even military, but without confronting directly. In 1989 the division of European countries ended and along with it the Cold War. Since then, Unites states continues to assume the role of worlds greatest power, a role that doesnt spare her however of the new conflicts and problems of the modern era. In 2003, the United States alongside the United Kingdom and smaller contingents from Australia and Poland leaded the invasion of Iraq, which lasted from March 20th to May 1st, 2003. These were 248,000 United States troops, 45,000 British troops, 2000 Australian, and 194 Poland troops. The invasion marked the beginning of the current Iraq War. In preparation for the invasion, 100,000 US troops were assembled in Kuwait by February 18th. The United States supplied the vast majority of the invading forces, but also received support from Kurdish troops in Iraqi Kurdistan. According to President of the United States at that time, George W. Bush and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, and the reasons for the invasion were "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end the President Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people." According to Blair, what triggered the conflict was Iraq's refusal to profit a final opportunity to disarm itself of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that U.S. and British officials accused it as an intolerable threat to world peace. Although some old guns produced prior to 1991 were found after the end of the war, US government spokespeople confirmed that those were not the weapons for which the US decided to declare war. But some people have stated that the war was fought in order to take oil from Iraq. In 2005, the Central Intelligence Agency released a report sustaining that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. 49

In America, 64% of US citizens approved the military action against Iraq, whereas 63% wanted President Bush to find a diplomatic solution rather than declare war, and 62% believed the threat of terrorism directed towards US would increase due to the war. Some of the traditional US allies opposed firmly the invasion of Iraq, including the governments of France, Germany, New Zealand, and Canada. Their leaders concluded that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that invading the country was not justified. On February 15th, 2003, a month before the invasion, there were worldwide protests against the Iraq war and between January 3rd and April 12th, 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3000 protests against the Iraq war. The invasion was preceded by an air attack on the Iraqi Presidential Palace on March 19th, 2003. The following day the international forces launched a raid into Basra Province from their massing headquarters near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border. While the commandos launched an amphibious assault from the Persian Gulf to secure Basra and the surrounding oil fields, the main invasion army moved in the south of Iraq, occupying the region and engaging in the Battle of Nasiriyah on March 23rd. Massive air bombing across the country and against Iraqi command and control, produced chaos among the defending army and prevented an efficient resistance. On March 26th the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade was dropped near the northern city of Kirkuk where they combined forces with Kurdish rebels and fought several operations against the Iraqi army to secure the northern part of the country. The main body of the international forces army continued their foray into the heart of Iraq and met with little opposition. Most of the Iraqi armies were quickly defeated and Baghdad, the capital of Iraq was occupied on April 9th. Other operations occurred against some of the Iraqi army including the capture and occupation of Kirkuk on April 10th, and the attack and capture of Tikrit on April 15th. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the central leadership went into hiding as the international forces completed the occupation of the country. On May 1st the end of major combat operations was declared, ending the invasion period and beginning the military occupation period. In 2001 a terrorist attack against the United States would trigger what now is seen as the ultimate war against terrorism and against a an ideology of sacrificing innocent lives for the progress of the world. The September 11 attacks were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist organization, upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings.(


The War in Afghanistan is an ongoing coalition conflict which began on October 7th, 2001, as the US military's Operation Enduring Freedom was launched, together with the British military, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US. The UK has since 2002 led its own military operation, Operation Herrick, as part of the same war in Afghanistan. The first phase of the war was the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when the United States launched Operation Enduring Freedom, to remove the hidings of Al-Qaeda and its use of the Afghan territory as a base for their terrorist operations. In that first phase, U.S. and coalition forces, working with the Afghan opposition forces of the Northern Alliance, quickly banished the Taliban regime. During the following Afghan administration, the character of the war changed to an effort whose purpose was to put an end to the insurgency, in which the insurgents preferred not to confront directly with the International Security Assistance Force troops, but decided to blend with the local population and mainly use improvised explosive devices and suicide bombings. ( %282001%E2%80%93present%29) The main purpose of the invasion was to find Osama bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda members so they would be prosecuted, to destroy the whole organization of Al-Qaeda, and to remove the Taliban regime which supported Al-Qaeda. The second operation phase was the establishment of the International Security Assistance Force by the United Nations Security Council at the end of December 2001, in order to secure Kabul and the surrounding areas. NATO ensured its control in 2003. By July 23rd, 2009, the International Security Assistance Force had around 64500 troops from 42 countries. The NATO commitment and involvement is particularly important to the United States because it gives international legitimacy to the war. The United States has approximately 29950 troops in the Assistance Force. The US and UK launched the aerial bombing, to support the ground forces supplied primarily by the Afghan Northern Alliance. In 2002, American, British and Canadian infantry were added, along with special forces from several allied nations, including Australia. Later, NATO troops were also added. The initial attack removed the Taliban from power, but Taliban forces have regained some strength. Since 2006, Afghanistans social and governmental stability has been shaken by the increased Taliban insurgent activity, the high levels of illegal drug production, and a fragile government with limited control outside Kabul. By the end of 2008, the Taliban had sharpened its remaining ties with al-Qaeda. According to U.S. military intelligence officials, there are perhaps fewer than 100 members of Al-Qaeda remaining in Afghanistan. The Taliban can support itself for a long time, according to the top U.S. intelligence officer in Afghanistan. On December 1st, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he would 51

encourage U.S. military involvement by deploying an additional 30000 soldiers through a period of six months. He also proposed that the troop begin withdrawing 18 months from that date. On January 26, 2010, at the International Conference on Afghanistan in London, which brought together about 70 countries and organizations, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told world leaders that he intended to reach out to the top Taliban leaders within a few weeks with a peace initiative. There is no single official figure for the overall number of civilians killed by the war since 2001, but estimates for specific years or periods have been published by a number of organizations. Very few people in Afghanistan have been unaffected by the armed conflict there. Those with direct personal experience represent 60% of the population, and many others complained of having suffered a range of serious difficulties. In total, almost everyone, 96%, has been affected in some way, either personally or due to the larger consequences of the conflict.

The aim of this paper was to emphasize not only the evolution of the United States but also, and most important, the contribution that this nation brought to the two World Wars. From a political and military point of view, United States played an important role, one that entitled this country as one of the leaders among the community of nations. The information presented in the paper only summarizes the most important military campaigns it participated in and the political decisions that the country took during and after the wars. I believe that a peoples history is as important as their language and I found out 52

significant information about their democracy and their concept of freedom, economy and politics. And eventually, it all comes down to peoples power to influence the course of the events. In 1778, the French statesman Anne Robert Jacques Turgot wrote about the United States: They are the hope of the world. They may become a model to it. They may prove by fact that men can be free and yet tranquil; and that it is in their power to rescue themselves from the chains in which tyrants and knaves of all descriptions have presumed to bind them under the pretence of the public good. They may exhibit an example of political liberty, of religious liberty, of commercial liberty, and of industry. The Asylum they open to the oppressed of all nations should console the earth. The case, with which the injured may escape from oppressive governments, will compel Princes to become just and cautious; and the rest of the world will gradually open their eyes upon the empty illusions with which they have been hitherto cheated by politicians. But for this purpose America must preserve herself from these illusions; and take care to avoid being what your ministerial writers are frequently saying She will be an image of our Europe a mass of divided powers contending for territory and commerce, and continually cementing the slavery of the people with their own blood. (Letter to Richard Price (22 March 1778) regarding Price's pamphlet, Observations on Civil Liberty and the Justice and Policy of the War with America, 1776) If Turgot had lived today, he would have been amazed both of the successes and the failures of the American people. But all these successes and failures are the true essence of the American spirit and democracy.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Adams., D.K , America in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 1967. Bureau of International Information Programs U.S. Department of State, Outline of U.S. History, 2005. Buchanan, A. Russel, The Unites States and World war II: Military and Diplomatic Documents, Harper & Row Publishers, 1964. Cashman, Sean Denis, America in the Age of Titans: The Progressive Era and World War I New York University Press, 1988. Gleanu-Frnoag, Georgiana, Americans Past and Present, Editura Paralela 45, 2006. Johnson, Loch K., America as a World Power: Foreign Policy in a Con Framework, McGraw Hill, 1991. 53

MacDonald, Charles B. The Mighty Endeavor: American Armed Forces in the European Theater in World War II, Oxford University Press, 1969. Reynolds., Francis J, The Story of the Great War, P.F. Collier &Son, 1920. Shannon, David A. , 20th Century America, Rand McNally & Co, 1974. Young, Peter, Decisive Battles of the Second World War, Arthur Barker Ltd, 1967. Zinn, Howard and Anthony Arnove, Voices of a Peoples History of the Unites States, Seven Stories Press, 2009. WEBSITES