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Japan in WW2

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Japan dominates
For 6 months after Pearl Harbour, Japan reigned supreme in the Pacific and in South Asia. Japanese troops rolled back the British, Australians and Americans. The loss of Singapore in February 1942 meant that Britain’s key naval base in the Far East was in Japanese hands.

Battle of Midway – June 1942
Japanese victories come to an end…the Americans began island hopping. The strategy was to avoid strongly defended enemy islands and isolate them from support. The re-conquest of the Philippines in 1944 cut off Japan from valuable oil.

Island Hopping / Leap Frogging Strategy
• American strategy – avoid strongly defended enemy islands so that they were isolated from supports and reinforcements
• Re-conquest of the Philippines by General MacArthur, commander of the US troops in the pacific, cut off Japan from its oil supplies = loss of 60 million barrels of oil a year.

Japanese resistance
Japanese resistance was fanatical – warrior code of bushido.
• Iwo Jima → tiny island defended by 22,000 Japanese troops, only 212 were taken prisoner
• At Okinawa, the Americans faced 70,000 troops in well prepared positions with support from kamikaze (suicide) aircraft
• Kamikazes would fly their airplanes loaded with explosives into American targets
• By the end, Americans had killed almost all the 70,000 troops at a cost of 100,000 civilians and 68,000 dead or wounded Americans.

• Results of Okinawa and Two Jima: These two battles made the Americans realize that an invasion of Japan would result in high civilian and military casualties.

Manhattan Project created the Atomic Bomb
• Costing over $2 billion in 1945 dollars
• Involving more than 175,000 workers
• All research and experiments were conducted in almost total secrecy
• The Manhattan Project ushered in a new era in human history known was Atomic Age
• Led to an arms race that, according to many scientists, produced enough nuclear weapons to destroy human civilization and end most forms of life on Earth.

The Americans Drop the Bomb VJ Day
• Despite Japan being totally isolated and having little or no air force/navy, the Japanese high command showed little interest in surrendering and preferred to have a showdown on mainland Japan.
• Japan refused President Truman’s demand for unconditional surrender
• The Americans in response dropped two atomic bombs, August 6 on Hiroshima (90,000 dead) and on August 9 on Nagasaki (35,000 dead)
• Formal Surrender of the Japanese = September 2, 1945
• Truman agreed to allow Emperor Hirohito to stay on the throne

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