Today’s Objective • As an introduction to WWII in the Pacific, students will use classroom reference materials to learn the basic geography of that theater of war. • Students will learn how geography was an influence in this theater of war.
The Pacific Theater • Over sixty years ago, a generation of young Americans left their homes to fight in a world war. • The war took place on two different fronts, or theaters: Europe and the Pacific. • Consider this: When the Japanese attacked the U.S. fleet on December 7, 1941, most Americans had never heard of Pearl Harbor and did not even know where it was. • Now our troops were traveling to far off places to fight in the war.
A different type of war…. • Soldiers confronted environments and cultures that they had never heard of. • Their war involved vast distances, isolations, and harsh unfamiliar surroundings that placed special burdens on them. • They served in remote and far flung places. • Many struggled and died in places their families had never heard of. • They waged a bloody war against a determined enemy.
After Pearl Harbor….. • The Japanese continued to move East and South. • The day after Pearl Harbor, they attacked the Americans in the Philippines. • They conquered new territory while we recovered. (Hong Kong, Singapore and the Malayan peninsula) • By May of 1942, they reached the Coral Sea, but we were waiting. It was a setback for the Japanese
Battle of Midway • Americans were using Midway Island for refueling for planes. • The Japanese sent a large fleet there. • If they take the island, the flights will stop. • The U.S. navy sinks four aircraft carriers, scoring a clear victory and turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. • The Japanese begin losing ground
Battle of Guadalcanal • To defeat Japan, American forces start a long campaign of island hopping. Taking back islands that Japan had conquered. • August 7, 1942, the 1st Marine Division lands on Guadalcanal. They fought for 3 ½ years. • Large and small battles were needed to get the U.S. closer to strike Japan.
Battle of Iwo Jima • Feb. 1945, 35,000 Marines land in one day on this tiny island. • 36 days of combat; 7,000 Americans lost, 22,000 Japanese lost. • Bombardment of Japanese factories and military bases can begin. • Japan lost almost of all of its territory.
Battle of Okinawa • April of 1945, more than 180,000 Americans landed on this island. • They face a Japanese army half their size • The Japanese fight to the end, losing over 110,000 soldiers. • Americans bombing raids damaged the island of Japan. They are unwilling to surrender and fight to the end. • Unfortunately, they only surrender when atomic weapons are used against a city.