Battle for the Pacific: Internal History

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Battle of Midway:

The Battle of Midway was fought on Midway Island and the area surrounding the Island, from the 4th to the 7th June 1942. The Battle of Midway was fought by the Japanese as their commander Admiral Isoroku Yamamotoan wanted to draw the US Pacific Fleet into a battle where he could overwhelm and destroy it, unfortunately for him the Americans managed to break the Japanese code so they knew exactly where the Japanese were and where they were going to attack next. During the battle the Japanese lost 4 carriers, 1 cruiser, 248 aircraft and 3,057 men were killed. While the Americans only lost 1 carrier, 1 destroyer, 150 aircraft and 307 men were killed. The Battle was fought in awful conditions, for many men the Battle of midway was their first taste of war, survivors from the battle have said that what ‘the battle told us was that war is not fun, war is not wonderful’. The Battle of Midway encouraged many Americans to try their hardest to make sure the war in the Pacific was as short as possible. The Battle of Midway is seen by many people as the turning point in the Pacific war, this is seen as the turning point as it was the Japanese’s first loss in the war, the Japanese couldn’t replace their losses after the battle and it began the Japanese retreat. Although some other historians believe that Midway was not the main turning point in the Pacific war as the Japanese was still able to attack after the battle. The Battle of Midway made the Japanese desperate; they were on the retreat and began losing momentum and the resources they needed to win a long drawn out war fought on many different countries throughout the Pacific.

Significance to New Zealand:

The war in the Pacific was the closest that war had ever got to New Zealand. Japanese submarines were seen in New Zealand harbours and Japanese planes were spotted flying over Auckland, everyone in New Zealand began to prepare for the forecasted Japanese invasion ‘for the first time in our country’s history we are directly threatened by enemy attack.’ New Zealanders had to come together in something called a home front, which is where women and men that weren’t able to fight in the war did the jobs of the men that were fighting. The home front increased when Japan entered the war as more men were needed to defend New Zealand and more men were needed to fight in Europe as the devastation increased. This gave many women the opportunity to do jobs that they had always wanted to do, to have some freedom and to help defend/protect New Zealand however they could. The Pacific war was fought by many American men, these men took breaks from fighting in the front line in New Zealand. Many of these men pursued New Zealand women, taking back an estimated 1,500 New Zealand woman to America as war brides. This meant many communities lost both women and men from the next generation, reducing the number of children produced and the New Zealand overall population. The Pacific war was not fought by many New Zealanders (compared to the amount of men that fought in Europe and Africa), although thousands did fight but not on the same scale, the men fought mainly in Singapore, the seas around Japan and the Solomon Islands. This was significant to New Zealanders as it meant that New Zealand was vulnerable to Japanese invasion and relying on other countries to defend her like America.

Background from America's perspective

Prior to the war America and Japan signed a treaty in 1854. The treaty in which Japan agreed to help shipwrecked American sailors, to establish two ports for American trade and coal, and to allow a US consulate (small government) to be established in Japan, this treaty was ended right before World War two started in 1939. In 1939 when America started preparing for the Pacific war, the war started to become real for American citizens. America began freezing Japanese assets in 1939 (although they didn’t freeze imports of oil into Japan until the war...
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