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World War II in the Pacific. Lsn 18: Pacific and Beginnings of the Cold War. The Pacific Theater. Principles of War. Objective Offensive Mass Economy of force Maneuver Unity of command Security Surprise Simplicity. Pacific Theater and Selected Principles of War. Maneuver

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world war ii in the pacific

World War II in the Pacific

Lsn 18: Pacific and Beginnings of the Cold War

principles of war
Principles of War
  • Objective
  • Offensive
  • Mass
  • Economy of force
  • Maneuver
  • Unity of command
  • Security
  • Surprise
  • Simplicity
pacific theater and selected principles of war
Pacific Theater and Selected Principles of War
  • Maneuver
    • Sea power gave the US the ability to go where it wanted
  • Security
    • Magic intelligence intercepts gave the US an advantage

USS Enterprise aircraft carrier

pacific theater and selected principles of war5
Pacific Theater and Selected Principles of War
  • Economy of Force
    • “Germany First” strategy made Pacific a secondary theater
  • Objective
    • MacArthur strongly influenced by desire to return to the Philippines
  • Unity of Command
    • Interservice rivalry led to twin drives, one from the south Pacific and one across the central Pacific
imperial japan
Imperial Japan
  • Japan saw the US and others as a threat to its influence in Asia and in 1940 the Japanese began developing plans to destroy the US Navy in Hawaii
  • On Dec 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor

In May 1940, the main part of the US fleet was transferred to Pearl Harbor from the west coast

pearl harbor
Pearl Harbor
  • Dec 7, 1941
    • “a date which will live in infamy”
  • Americans taken completely by surprise
  • The first attack wave targeted airfields and battleships
  • The second wave targeted other ships and shipyard facilities
tactical damage
Tactical Damage
  • Eight battleships were damaged, with five sunk
  • Three light cruisers, three destroyers, three smaller vessels, and 188 aircraft were destroyed
  • 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians killed
  • 1,178 wounded
    • 1,104 men aboard the battleship USS Arizona were killed after a 1,760-pound air bomb penetrated into the forward magazine causing catastrophic explosions.
broader results
Broader Results
  • In spite of the tactical success, the attack on Pearl Harbor was an operational and strategic failure for the Japanese
    • The attack failed to destroy the American aircraft carriers, fleet repair facilities, or fuel reserves
    • The “sneak attack” galvanized American support for entry into the war
fall of the philippines
Fall of the Philippines
  • Shortly after Pearl Harbor the Japanese made initial landings on Luzon, then made their main landings on Dec 22
  • On Dec 24, MacArthur ordered his forces to withdraw to the Bataan Peninsula
  • By Apr Bataan surrendered
  • By early May Corregidor surrendered

Douglas MacArthur in his headquarters tunnel at Corregidorin March 1942

bataan death march
Bataan Death March
  • President Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to relinquish command to Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright and MacArthur escaped to Australia
  • 25,000 Americans and Filipinos died on the Bataan Death March to captivity
centrifugal advance
Centrifugal Advance
  • Japanese attacked Malaya, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Wake, Guam….
  • Instead of halting, establishing a defense, and pressuring the US to sue for peace (the prewar plan), the Japanese decided to extend their control over the Pacific planning operations in New Guinea near Port Moresby and against Midway (1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu)
  • US achieved a moral victory with Doolittle’s Raid on the Japanese home islands on April 18, 1942
    • Minimal damage but humiliated Japanese high command and led them to advance the date for their attack on Midway
coral sea may 4 8 1942
Coral Sea (May 4-8, 1942)
  • US had been able to intercept Japanese radio traffic in an operation called “Magic”
  • Magic intercepts allowed Admiral Nimitz to position two carriers off the eastern tip of New Guinea
  • Both sides suffered heavy losses but the Japanese were forced to call off their amphibious attack on Port Moresby
  • Battle waged exclusively via air strikes
    • Opposing surface ships never made direct contact

Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief Pacific and Pacific Ocean Areas

midway june 3 6 1942
Midway (June 3-6, 1942)
  • Japanese planned a diversionary attack on the Aleutian Islands while the main force attacked Midway to destroy the American fleet
  • Thanks to Magic intercepts, US didn’t fall for the Alaska feint and reinforced Midway
  • Americans destroyed four Japanese carriers and most of their flight crews
  • Japanese advance was checked and initiative in the Pacific begins to turn to the Americans
twin drives
Twin Drives
  • Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest King favored a drive across the central Pacific moving toward Japan over the coral atolls scattered across the Pacific
    • Take advantage of ability to leap across vast distances
  • MacArthur favored an advance across the South Pacific via New Guinea and the Philippines
    • Meet obligations to Filipinos
    • Maintain pressure against the retreating Japanese
    • Protect against a renewed threat against Australia

Admiral Ernest King

  • King’s planned drive would move first against the Gilbert Islands and then toward the Philippines
  • MacArthur would likewise advance toward the Philippines
    • Joint Chiefs gave no clear priority to either drive
    • “Mutual supporting” or “mutually competing?”

Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief Pacific and Pacific Ocean Areas andWilliam Halsey, Commander, South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force

operation cartwheel
Operation Cartwheel
  • MacArthur requested five additional divisions and 1,800 aircraft to capture Rabaul
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded there were not enough resources to capture Rabaul in 1943 so they accepted MacArthur’s proposal for a two-pronged drive to isolate it
operation cartwheel22
Operation Cartwheel
  • MacArthur would be in overall command
  • Halsey would advance up the Solomons as far as Bougainville
  • MacArthur would move along the coast of New Guinea before attacking the western end of New Britain
operation cartwheel23
Operation Cartwheel
  • Became the model for Pacific commanders throughout the rest of the war
    • don’t move island to island; advance by great bounds using air superiority
    • bypass major strongpoints and leave them reduced to strategic and tactical impotence
    • hit Japanese weak spots; avoid frontal assaults; use deception and surprise
    • seize existing airfields and ports and use these newly acquired bases to support the next leap forward
retaking the philippines
Retaking the Philippines
  • The invasion of the Philippines brought MacArthur and Nimitz’s twin drives together
  • On Oct 20, 1944, MacArthur attacked Leyte
battle of leyte gulf
Battle of Leyte Gulf
  • The American and Japanese surface fleets made contact the night of October 24-25 in the San Bernardino Strait
  • Two Japanese task forces entered the strait, Halsey did the classic naval maneuver of crossing the “T” and sank all but one enemy destroyer
battle of leyte gulf26
Battle of Leyte Gulf
  • However, Halsey was surprised shortly after dawn when Japanese heavy cruisers and battleships passed unopposed through the San Bernardino Straits and threatened the invasion fleet
  • American aircraft turned back the already weakened Japanese
  • Still the Japanese did not give up, delivering their first wave of kamikaze attacks

Escort carrier St. Lo sunk by kamikaze attack

battle of leyte gulf27
Battle of Leyte Gulf
  • The Battle of Leyte Gulf secured the beachheads of the U.S. Sixth Army attack on Leyte and destroyed Japanese naval power
  • By the end of December 1944, the Allies controlled Leyte and MacArthur was in position to attack Luzon, the heart of the Philippines

Walter Krueger, commander of Sixth Army

final campaigns
Final Campaigns
  • From Feb 19 to Mar 11, 1945 the Marines captured Iwo Jima
  • From Apr to June Americans captured Okinawa
    • Total American battle casualties were 49,151, of which 12,520 were killed or missing and 36,631 wounded
    • Approximately 110,000 Japanese were killed and 7,400 more were taken prisoners
    • Okinawa showed how costly an invasion of the Japanese home islands would be

Raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima

plan to invade japan
Plan to Invade Japan
  • US planned to invade Japan with eleven Army and Marine divisions (650,000 troops)
  • Casualty estimates for the operation were as high as 1,400,000
  • Truman decided to use the atomic bomb to avoid such losses

Operation Cornet, the plan to take Tokyo

the atomic bomb
The Atomic Bomb
  • In the early 1940s, America had started an atomic weapons development program code named the “Manhattan Project”
  • A successful test was conducted at Alamogordo in New Mexico in July 1945

J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves at the Trinity Site soon after the test

hiroshima and nagasaki
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • Hiroshima Aug 6, 1945
    • 90,000 killed
  • On Aug 8, the USSR declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria the next day
  • Nagasaki Aug 9, 1945
    • 35,000 killed
  • Okinawa had been much more costly than Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Captain Paul Tibbets piloted the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima


Japan surrenders Sept 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri

beyond world war ii
Beyond World War II
  • Growth of Total War
  • Holocaust
  • Post-war impact of the atomic bomb
  • Expanded roles of women
  • Cold War
growth of total war
Growth of Total War
  • Total war describes a war in which nations use all of their resources to destroy another nation’s ability to engage in war.
    • Conscription
    • Military-industrial complex to include women workers
    • Unconditional surrender
    • Civilian targets to include the Holocaust
    • Rationing, price controls, and other impacts on the homefront
    • More destructive weapons to include the atomic bomb
  • Jews were the primary targets of Hitler’s racially motivated genocidal policies, but Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, communists, and others suffered as well
  • Sometime during 1941, the Nazi leadership committed to “the final solution” of “the Jewish problem”
    • At the Wansee Conference on Jan 20, 1942, experts gathered to discuss and coordinate the implementation of the plan to kill all the Jews living in Europe
  • Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps
    • The largest was Auschwitz where at least a million Jews died
  • The process was organized and technologically sophisticated
    • Gassing was the preferred method of killing, but electrocution, phenol injections, flamethrowers, hand grenades, and machine guns were also used
  • Victims were subjected to industrial work, starvation, medical experimentation, and extermination
  • Large crematories were used to hide the evidence
  • Approximately 5.7 million Jews perished in the Holocaust
  • Helps generate support for the creation of Israel as a Jewish state

Auschwitz crematory

post war impact of atomic bomb
Post-war Impact of Atomic Bomb
  • Changed the very nature of war
    • Presented the possibility of annihilation of humankind
  • US came to place great strategic reliance on atomic bomb
    • War plans emphasized sudden atomic attack against USSR to allow time for conventional mobilization

15 megaton thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll in 1954

post war impact of atomic bomb46
Post-war Impact of Atomic Bomb
  • US held an atomic monopoly until 1949
    • Huge US-USSR arms race followed
    • Eventually led to Mutually Assured Destruction (1967)
  • Massive retaliation strategy (1954) meant US was prepared to respond to Soviet aggression with a massive nuclear strike
post war impact of atomic bomb47
Post-war Impact of Atomic Bomb
  • Nuclear weapons prove to not be a reasonable option in limited wars
  • We’ll see this in Lesson 19-20 (Korea) and Lesson 21-22 (Vietnam)

The US considered, but did not use, atomic bombs in support of the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954

expanded roles for women
Expanded Roles for Women
  • The emergencies of war greatly expanded the roles of women
  • Some served in the military
  • Others replaced men on factory assembly lines
  • Women whose husbands went overseas acted as heads of households
expanded roles for women49
Expanded Roles for Women
  • From 1940 to 1944 over 6 million women joined the workforce filling jobs that had been exclusively male
  • After the war, women were expected to return home and resume their traditional roles as wives and mothers

Woman's Day, Oct 1950.

The picture asks, "What more needs to be said about a woman's day?"

marriage of convenience
Marriage of Convenience
  • “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”
    • Winston Churchill
american and russian soldiers meet at the elbe river apr 25 1945
American and Russian Soldiers Meet at the Elbe River Apr 25, 1945
  • But, with the common enemy gone, the marriage of convenience quickly dissolved.
  • Europe divides; Cold War begins
  • Early Cold War and Korean War through Inchon