Pacific Theater Timeline

  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    This was the surprise attack by the Japanese on the Pearl Harbor US Navy base in Oahu, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The US was unhappy with how Japan was treating China. American officials responded to the aggression of the Japanese with battery of economic sanctions and trade embargoes. The attack destroyed 18 ships 300 airplanes. 2,500 men killed and 1,000 wounded. FDR called for war, and on December 8, Congress approved of war on Japan. "Awakes the Sleeping Giant" "A date which will live in infamy."
  • Battle of Java Sea

    Battle of Java Sea
    The Japanese was rapidly advancing south through the Dutch Fought in the East Indies, the Allies attempted to mount a defense of Java in an effort to hold the Malay barrier. Overseen by Dutch Vice Admiral Conrad Helfrich, ABDA forces were badly outnumbered and in poor condition for the approaching fight. To take the island, the Japanese formed two major invasion fleets. In this battle, the Japanese caused much damage to the Allied navies; they conquered many key positions in the S. Pacific also.
  • Loss of Philippines and Bataan Death March

    Loss of Philippines and Bataan Death March
    After the U.S. surrendered on the Bataan Peninsula on April 9,1942, the 75,000 Filipino and American troops were forced to make a 65 mile trek to prison camps. They were forced to march in intense heat and were beaten by Japanese guards. Thousands died. The march took each group roughly five days to finish. General Douglas MacArthur recaptured the Bataan Peninsula, and Manila was liberated later. Japanese Lt. General Homma Masaharu was tried and killed for being responsible for the march.
  • Doolittle Raid

    Doolittle Raid
    Once the surprise of Pearl Harbor subsided, the Americans focused on retaliation. Lt. Colonel James H. Doolittle came up with an idea to launch B-25 bombers would be transported by aircraft carrier over Japan at striking distance, and launched to attack a number of cities. Thirteen bombers targeted Tokyo, the others targeted Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe. After dropping their bombs loads on the assigned targets(four bombs per plane), they flew until they ran out of fuel. 15 crews landed in Japanese
  • Doolittle Raid (continued)

    Doolittle Raid (continued)
    occupied China territory, where they were met by friendly village people, and one crew landed in the Soviet Union and were immediately interned, and eight airmen were captured by the Japanese and were executed.
  • Battle of Coral Sea

    Battle of Coral Sea
    Known as the first air-sea battle in history. The Japanese were seeking control of the Coral Sea with an invasion of Port Morseby in southeast New Guinea, but their plans were intercepted by Allied forces.When the Japanese landed in the area, they came under attack from the aircraft carrier planes of the American task force commanded by Rear Admiral Frank J. Fletcher. Although both sides suffered damages to their carriers, the battle left the Japanese without enough planes to cover the ground
  • Battle of Coral Sea (continued)

    Battle of Coral Sea (continued)
    attack of Port Moresby, resulting in a strategic Allied victory. The results had an important impact upon the Battle of Midway a month later, reducing Japanese forces available at that key battle.
  • Battle of Midway

    Battle of Midway
    Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States defeated Japan in one of the most decisive naval battles of World War II. Thanks in part to major advances in code breaking, the United States was able to preempt and counter Japan’s planned ambush of its few remaining aircraft carriers, inflicting permanent damage on the Japanese Navy. An important turning point in the Pacific campaign, the victory allowed the United States and its allies to move into an offensive position.
  • Battle of Midway (continued)

    Battle of Midway (continued)
    Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, Japanese fleet commander, chose to invade a target relatively close to Pearl Harbor to draw out the American fleet.
  • Guadalcanal

    Guadalcanal
    The first major offensive and a decisive victory for the Allies in the Pacific theater. With Japanese troops stationed in this section of the Solomon Islands, U.S. marines launched a surprise attack and took control of an air base under construction.The Japanese suffered a far greater toll of casualties, forcing their withdrawal from Guadalcanal by February 1943. the ensuing six-month Guadalcanal campaign proved to be the turning point of the Pacific war.Strategically, possession of a
  • Guadalcanal (continued)

    Guadalcanal (continued)
    Guadalcanal air base was important to control of the sea lines of communication between the United States and Australia. By the end of the battle on February 9, 1943, the Japanese had lost two-thirds of the 31,400 army troops committed to the island, whereas the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Army had lost less than 2,000 soldiers of about 60,000 deployed. Japan after Guadalcanal no longer had a realistic hope of withstanding the counteroffensive of an increasingly powerful United States.
  • Island Hopping Strategy

    Island Hopping Strategy
    "Island Hopping” is the phrase given to the strategy employed by the United States to gain military bases and secure the many small islands. The attack was lead by General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of the Allied forces in the South west Pacific. Ultimately, the island hopping campaign was successful. It allowed the US to gain control over sufficient islands in the Pacific to get close enough to Japan to launch a mainland invasion. Fearing a drawn out war with many more
  • Island Hopping Strategy (continued)

    Island Hopping Strategy (continued)
    casualties, the US made plans to end the war quickly and force Japan’s surrender. They achieved this with the World’s first Atomic bombs. The island hopping strategy was very costly. The US soldiers were not used to the guerilla style of fighting, and the Japanese had the advantage of controlling many of the islands. Further, many US soldiers succumbed to illnesses such as Malaria, dysentery and skin fungus.
  • Battle of Leyte Gulf

    Battle of Leyte Gulf
    This World War II clash followed the Allied landing at the Philippine island of Leyte in October 1944. The Japanese sought to converge three naval forces on Leyte Gulf, and successfully diverted the U.S. Third Fleet with a decoy.The aerial and naval battle conducted as Allied forces invaded the Philippines began with Leyte Island on Oct. 20. Expecting an invasion, the Japanese fleet command ordered its forces to sea at the very first sign of Allied landings.
  • Battle of Iwo Jima

    Battle of Iwo Jima
    The American amphibious invasion of Iwo Jima during World War II stemmed from the need for a base near the Japanese coast. Following elaborate preparatory air and naval bombardment, three U.S. marine divisions landed on the island in February 1945. Iwo Jima was defended by roughly 23,000 Japanese army and navy troops, who fought from an elaborate network of caves, dugouts, tunnels and underground installations. Despite the difficulty of the conditions, the marines wiped out the defending forces
  • Battle of Iwo Jima (continued)

    Battle of Iwo Jima (continued)
    after a month of fighting, and the battle earned a place in American lore with the publication of a photograph showing the U.S. flag being raised in victory.Photographer Joe Rosenthal provided the U.S. Marine Corps with one of its most enduring images with his picture of Americans raising the flag over Mount Suribachi at the southwest corner of Iwo, an image replicated on postage stamps as well as on the memorial statue at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Battle of Okinawa

    Battle of Okinawa
    The capture of Okinawa was part of a three-point plan the Americans had for winning the war in the Far East. Okinawa was to prove a bloody battle even by the standards of the war in the Far East but it was to be one of the major battles of World War Two. The Americans estimated that there were about 65,000 Japanese troops on the island – with the bulk in the southern sector of the island. In fact, there were over 130,000 Japanese troops on the island.
  • Battle of Okinawa (continued)

    Battle of Okinawa (continued)
    The Americans land commander was Lieutenant-General Simon Bolivar Buckner. He had 180,000 men under his command. The bay selected for the American landing was Hagushi Bay on the western side of the island. As with Iwo Jima, the landings were preceded by a period of intense bombardment but America’s forces were also open to attack from Japanese fighters flying out of Taiwan or Japan itself.
  • Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima

    Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima
    The United States becomes the first and only nation to use atomic weaponry during wartime when it drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb was droppded by Bockscar. Though the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan marked the end of World War II, many historians argue that it also ignited the Cold War. Einstein helped build the bomb. A blast equivalent to the power of 15,000 tons of TNT reduced four square miles of the city to ruins and immediately killed 80,000 people.
  • Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki

    Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki
    Nagasaki was a shipbuilding center, the very industry intended for destruction. The bomb was dropped at 11:02 a.m., 1,650 feet above the city. The explosion unleashed the equivalent force of 22,000 tons of TNT. The hills that surrounded the city did a better job of containing the destructive force, but the number killed is estimated between 60,000 and 80,000 .“continuing the war can only result in the annihilation of the Japanese people…” The Emperor of Japan gave permission for surrender.
  • VJ Day!!

    VJ Day!!
    "Victory Over Japan Day" Truman announced over the radio in America that Japan surrendered. The signing of the official instrument of surrender was not to occur until September 2nd, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri, in Tokyo Bay. There, representatives of nine Allied nations were present to accept the Japanese surrender.