Firebombing Tokyo

On March 9, 1945, with the code name “Operation Meetinghouse,” 334 B-29 bombers under the command of Colonel Curtis LeMay, took off from USAAF bases in the Mariana Islands. Shortly after midnight on March 10, the B-29s flew over densely-populated areas of Tokyo at the...

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Manila Recaptured

The month-long  Battle of Manila (February-March 1945), pitted American and Philippine forces against Imperial   Japanese occupiers in the most brutal urban fighting of the Pacific War. In addition to massive loss of civilian and military...

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They Were Expendable

Starring: Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed While the 1945 cinema in Nazi Germany re-lived historical victories and the Imperial Japanese turned toward animation to inspire their citizens, American films touted valor and victory. Nominated for two Oscars, They...

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Momotaro the Sea God Soldier

This scene from Momotaro the Sea God Soldier (桃太郎 海の神兵), the first Japanese feature-length animated film, was directed by Mitsuyo Seo. Commissioned by the Japanese Naval Ministry, the film, released in 1945 by the Shochiku Moving Picture Laboratory, was a sequel to...

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Yalta Conference

  In February 1945, the "Big Three" President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin met at Yalta in the Crimea to: demand the unconditional surrender of Germany discuss the security and self-determination of liberated...

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Cabanatuan Raid

In January 1945, 511 emaciated Allied soldiers (mostly survivors from the fall of Bataan and Corregidor) and a few civilians were held at a Japanese prison camp, near Cabanatuan on the Philippine island of Luzon. After 33 months of brutal captivity, the majority of...

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Battle of Luzon

  From January-August 1945 the Allies fought a land battle against Japanese forces on the island of Luzon. Although the Allies had  control of all strategically and economically important locations of the island by March, pockets of Japanese...

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Firebombing Japan

Colonel Curtis Emerson LeMay  designed and implemented an effective, but highly controversial incendiary bombing campaign against Japanese civilians in the final stages of the Pacific War. In December 1944, LeMay was transferred from China to...

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Philippine Invasion

In December 1944, U.S. Army troops, supported by the Navy and Air Force, made an amphibious landing on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. With the aid of local guerrillas, U.S. forces easily defeated the relatively small detachment of Imperial Japanese Army...

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Race Riot Guam

  Montford Point Marines In July 1944, the U.S. Army and Marines recaptured Guam from the Japanese at a cost of 1,783 Americans killed and ~6000  men wounded. ~18,000 Japanese died. After the battle, the Allies developed five airfields on Guam to attack targets...

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“I have returned”

On 20 October, 1944, during the battle of Leyte Gulf, the U.S. Sixth Army landed on the Leyte Island in the Philippines.  Shortly after the landing, General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore with his famous declaration “People of the Philippines, I have...

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Japanese Balloon Bombs

  From November 1944 to April 1945, Japan launched over 9,000 hydrogen balloons carrying antipersonnel and firebombs into the jet stream from the island of Honshu. Although many found their way to diverse regions of Western North America, only one caused...

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Bombing Japan from Marianas

At a cost of ~3000 American and 24,000 Japanese lives, the Northern Marianas island of Saipan was taken in July 1944. With the subsequent seizure of Guam and Tinian in August, the U.S. now had ideal locations (~1500 miles from Japan) to...

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The German War

Using German archival records and letters and diaries of both civilians and soldiers during WWII, The German War - A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945  by Nicholas Stargardt is a fascinating book that illustrates the strong civilian support for Germany's armed forces right...

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Rikugun (Army)

Army (陸軍 Rikugun, a powerful, multi-generational epic about military legacy and parental love during wartime, was directed in 1944 by Keisuke Kinoshita. The film starred Chishū Ryū and Kinuyo Tanaka. The film's silent, final scene was controversial at the time and...

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Battle of Leyte Gulf

The Battle of Leyte Gulf (October 23–26, 1944) proved to be the most decisive naval engagement in the Pacific War. Japanese defeat resulted in severe losses of its remaining surface vessels and virtually ended its ability to move...

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Battle of Peleliu

Designed to capture an airstrip on a tiny coral island, the Battle of Peleliu was fought from September to November 1944 by  the First Marine Division, and the U.S. Army's 81st Infantry Division. Although American military planners anticipated a...

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Tojo Resigns

Hideki Tojo , known as kamisori (the razor) for his sharp, decisive and impatient qualities, rose rapidly through the Imperial Japan's military hierarchy. As War Minister in 1940, he promoted the righteous cause of casting off imperialist colonialization of East...

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Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips

Unfortunately, this cartoon, released in April 1944, can no longer be found online in its entirety. Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips, portrayed classical Western racist stereotypes of the Japanese - short, buck-toothed people wearing thick eyeglasses and talking jibberish. At...

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Great Marianas Turkey Shoot

The Battle of the Philippine Sea was the last large scale carrier battle the Imperial Japanese Navy was able to conduct. In the air, the sheer number of Japanese compared to U.S. losses inspired the American nickname for the battle - the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot....

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Banzai Saipan

In June 1944, U.S. Marines landed on Saipan, the island in the Marianas nearest to the Japanese homeland. The Allied goal was to build an air base for new long-range B-29 bombers that could attack the Japanese home islands. Japanese resistance...

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Guam

First Battle of Guam - Guam, a U.S. possession in the Mariana islands since the Spanish-American war of 1898, was captured by Imperial Japan in their initial Pacific offensive of December 1941. This first Battle of Guam resulted in 550 Allied and...

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Pearl Harbor

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor elicited surprise, shock and horror that led Americans into the war with a burning desire for vengeance. Some historians have suggested that Imperial Japan, failing to anticipate the intensity of this emotion, assumed that the USA...

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New Guinea

My late father-in-law Jim Evans fought with the 163rd Infantry Regiment in this campaign. Discussions with him and his comrade Jim Jackson inspired the chapter on the battle of Biak Island in my book Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War....

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