“Pacific” by Anthony Hardy III
On September 27, 1940, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy, thus entering the military alliance known as the ‘Axis’. Seeking to curb Japanese aggression and force a withdrawal of Japanese forces from Manchuria and China, the United States imposed economic sanctions on Japan. Faced with severe shortages of oil and other natural resources and driven by the ambition to displace the United States as the dominant Pacific power, Japan decided to attack the United States and British forces in Asia and seize the resources of Southeast Asia. On the day of December 7, 1941 the Japanese infantry made an astonishing surprise attack on the United States Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack severely damaged the American fleet and prevented serious American interference with Japanese military operations well for a short amount of time that is anyways. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan achieved a long series of military successes. In December 1941, Guam and Wake Island fell to the Japanese, followed in the first half of 1942 by the Philippines. Thailand remained officially neutral. Only in mid1942 were Australian and New Zealander forces in New Guinea and British forces, in India, were able to halt the Japanese advance.
The turning point in the Pacific war came with the American naval victory in the Battle of Midway in June 1942. The Japanese fleet sustained heavy losses and was turned back. In August 1942, American forces attacked the Japanese in the Solomon Islands, forcing a costly withdrawal of Japanese forces from the island of Guadalcanal in February 1943. Allied forces slowly gained naval and air supremacy in the Pacific, and moved methodically from island to island, conquering them and often sustaining significant casualties. The Japanese, however, successfully defended their positions on the Chinese mainland until 1945.Late in 1944, American forces freed the Philippines ...
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