World War 2: War in the Pacific
World War 2: War in the Pacific In 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “United in this determination and with unshakable faith in the cause for which we fight, we will, with God’s help, go forward to our greatest victory.” (world-war-2.
info) From the beginning of the war in September 1939, to the end of the war in August 1945, sixty million civilians and soldiers were killed worldwide. Out of the sixty million that were killed, only about 33% of the deaths were soldiers. World War 2 was by far the most lethal and destructive war in history, and everyone should know what happened during this horrific war. Attack on Pearl Harbor At 6:00 on the morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese military launched a wave of 181 warplanes headed for the U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
Within a couple of hours, Pearl Harbor was under attack. The Japanese air raid caught the base by complete surprise. Many U.S. ships were completely destroyed and many others were severely damaged. But, little did the U.
S. know, Japan had launched a second wave consisting of 170 warplanes about 30 minutes after the first wave. The second wave did a lot of damage to the U.S. ships, just like the first wave did. By the end of the attack, around 10:00 AM, the Japanese had sunk or damaged 21 ships and killed 2,300 soldiers, sailors, and civilians.
The next day, Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan saying that December 7th would be “a date which will live in infamy.” (world-war-2.info) The United States joined the Allied nations, including Great Britain, France, China, and the Soviet Union, against the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor united Americans and the nation and its people prepared for war. Conflict in the Pacific After many Japanese victories in the Pacific, including the capturing of the Philippines, American morale was very low. But, in April 1942, American bombers launched from an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, bombed Tokyo, the capital of Japan.
This raid had little military importance, but it lifted American spirits. Also, in May of 1942, American warships defeated a Japanese fleet in the Battle of the Coral Sea, and an even greater American victory followed the next month in June at the Battle of Midway. The U.S. Navy destroyed four Japanese aircraft carriers and hundreds of warplanes.
Island Hopping After many crucial victories in the Pacific, the U.S. was ready to go on the offensive. The Americans used a strategy called island hopping. The U.
S. captured many key islands and used these as bases so it was easier to move to other islands, moving closer and closer to Japan. After American forces captured the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, both very near to Japan, intense fighting with Japan followed resulting in thousands of American deaths and many more injuries. American bombers raided Tokyo and other major cities in Japan. In response, Japan released suicide pilots known as kamikazes.
The kamikazes crashed planes loaded with explosives into American ships. Although Japan was faced with almost certain defeat, they did not stop fighting. Without Japan surrendering, the United States were forced to use a powerful new weapon. Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki The building of the bomb began in 1942, when President Roosevelt created a top-secret operation called the Manhattan Project. Scientists at the University of Chicago built the world’s first nuclear reactor, a machine that split apart atoms and released energy.
Later, a different group of scientists built an actual atomic bomb at a secret lab in New Mexico. In July 1945, the first atomic bomb was tested in the New Mexico desert. Then in 1945, President Truman, who had taken over as president when President Roosevelt died, ordered to use the bomb. Finally, on August 6th, an American bomber dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan. After a few days, on August 9th, a second bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. President Harry Truman said, “The atom bomb was no great decision.
..it was merely another powerful weapon in the arsenal of righteousness.” (world-war-2.info) Around 140,000 would die as a direct result from the two bombs and around 60,000 would die later from burns and radiation sickness. Faced with the destruction of the two bombs, the Japanese emperor said, “the unendurable must be endured,” (Appleby 832) and ordered his government to surrender.
After the War August 15, 1945, was named V-J Day meaning “victory over Japan.” Americans were joyful that the war had finally ended. The formal surrender was signed by Japan on September 2nd and World War 2 was finally over. In the years that followed the war, the Allies put Nazi and Japanese leaders on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany and Tokyo, Japan.
Conclusion In conclusion, more than 55 million people died during WW2 and more than half were civilians that died from bombing, disease, torture, starvation, and murder. About 322,000 were American deaths but the total is very light compared to other nations. The fortunate ones who survived the war were faced with the difficult task to rebuild their lives and their countries. “The world must know what happened, and never forget.” – General Eisenhower (world-war-2.info)