bigpigeon.us webpage WW II - Japan, updated by RAC 7 Feb 2020.
Many subpages are incomplete.
Many subpages are incomplete.
Links to all of Big Pigeon's WW II - Japan subpages:
- Japan Ascendant (to Dec '41)
- Naval War With Japan - summarizes naval operations and ship losses in the War with Japan
- Japan Lashes Out (Dec '41 - May '42)
- Pearl Harbor 1941
- Guam and Wake Island (Dec '41)
- Malaya and Singapore Lost (Dec '41 - Feb '42)
- The Dutch Indies Lost (Dec '41 - Mar '42)
- The Philippines Lost (Dec '41 - May '42)
- Japan Overreaches (May - Sep '42)
- The South & Southwest Pacific (1942 - 1944)
- The Solomon Islands
- The Solomons Sea War
- New Guinea
- The Bismarck and Admiralty Islands
- The North & Central Pacific (1943 - Nov '44)
- The North Pacific - Alaska
- Tarawa & the Marshall Islands
- The Mariana Islands
- Towards the Philippines
- The Pacific Communications Zone
- The Philippines Liberated (Oct '44 - Aug '45)
- The Leyte Campaign
- The Battle of Leyte Gulf
- The Luzon Campaign
- The Southern Philippines Campaign
- Beyond the Philippines
- Iwo Jima & Okinawa (1945)
- Iwo Jima (Feb - Mar '45)
- Okinawa (Apr - Jun '45)
- The China - Burma - India Theater (1941 - 1945)
WW II - Japan overview
The WW II - Japan webarea summarizes World War II in east and southeast Asia and in the Pacific Ocean area. The War with Japan began in December 1941 with multiple Japanese aerial attacks on United States and British military facilities, the most deadly being at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
Japan was at war long before the attacks of December 1941. Japan had invaded China in 1937, initiating the Second Sino-Japanese War, which from December 1941 to August 1945 continued in what became known as the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater, and was a major part of the War with Japan.
The majority of deaths in the War with Japan occurred in the CBI Theater among Chinese civilians and troops. Since most United States involvement in the War with Japan was in the Pacific Theater, I give the CBI Theater short shrift.
By late 1941, Japan was a nation that over the past 70 years had already expanded from the home islands shown on the above map to a sizeable empire. Japan hoped to expand further into China and into the resource-rich colonies of southeast Asia, but was constrained by opposition from the United States and England.
Despairing of a negotiated solution to its perceived grievances, Japan launched suprise attacks on December 7/8 against the United States and the British Empire in the Pacific area and in east and southeast Asia. For the next five months, the Japanese military was wildly successful.
During the following three years, the Allies, and especially the United States, gradually forced the Japanese back to their home islands and the portions of China held by Japan.
The War with Japan ended in August 1945 with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japanese cities and the entry of Russia into the War with Japan.
The Southwest Pacific (McArthur) and the South, Central and North Pacific (Nimitz)
In WW II, the US Army and the US Navy had not yet been combined into what is now the Department of Defense. Accordingly, for much of WW II, the Pacific Ocean was divided into two areas.
Until 1947, the Air Force was part of the Army. The Marine Corps was part of the Navy.
The Southwest Pacific Area commander, General Douglas MacArthur, set up his initial headquarters in Australia. MacArthur's jurisdiction extended to the Philippine Islands, which had been lost in May 1942, and which MacArthur was determined to recapture. Southwest Pacific ground combat began on the island of New Guinea.
The Pacific Ocean Areas were commanded by Admiral Chester Nimitz from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii Territory, and was divided into three theaters:
Except for Pearl Harbor, Midway, and the Aleutian Islands, most Pacific Theater combat before February 1945 took place in areas shown on the accompanying map, thousands of miles west and south of Pearl Harbor.
Contained within this map are the areas shown in the previous two maps.
For scale, note the superimposed outline of the continental United States. The red line shows the movement of General MacArthur's headquarters from Brisbane, Australia back to Manila, Philippines.
The final three United States campaigns in the WW II Pacific Theater were also the most costly in lives lost:
Sources for the WW II - Japan webpage
- The webpage header photo, Imperial Japanese Navy Battleship Hiei, is courtesy of clickorlando.com. The Hiei was the first Japanese battleship sunk in WW II, on 14 Nov 1942 following the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.
- The Japanese Home Islands map is courtesy of nationalgeographic.org.
- The Pacific Areas map courtesy of https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Papua/index.html.
- The Central Pacific Battle Sites map is excerpted from the Scene of Battle map found in the Marines in the Central Solomons volume of the United States Marine Corps Operations in WW II.
- The Iwo Jima and Okinawa map is courtesy of https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-IwoJima/index.html.
- The timeline at http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/pacificwar/timeline.htm is informative.
WW II - Japan - They served and survived
At the end of each webpage outlining a battle or campaign, I list the dead with Pottawattamie County, Iowa connections. Here I list some with a family or neighborhood connection who served in the War with Japan and survived.
- Lloyd Joyce of Garden City, Kansas, my son-in-law's father, served with the 112th Cavalry Regiment. His unit first saw combat during the December 1943 landing at Aware on the south coast of New Britain. Lloyd's unit later fought in northern New Guinea and on Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines. Lloyd suffered a serious shrapnel wound on Leyte but after hospitalization returned to his unit on Luzon.