Pacific War

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A slide presentation for History 12 students in B.C. Canada.

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Pacific War

  1. 1. J. Marshall, 2007
  2. 2. 1. Why would Japan attack the USA?
  3. 3. a) Low opinion of USA • Drunks • Lazy • Lack fighting spirit
  4. 4. b. Influential military command • The public thought the politicians were weak. • The military had brought Japan glory.
  5. 5. c. Japan was expanding in the Far East • USA exerting economic pressure (ie Manchuria). • Oil stoppage. • Roosevelt’s demand for Japan to leave mainland Asia (fall, 1941). • Had to limit U.S. reach in the Pacific - oil and rubber in Borneo and Malaya.
  6. 6. d. USA unprepared for war BUT… • Pearl carriers out to sea? • Pearl oil moved underground? • Pearl radar - B17s inbound? • Washington coder crackers - time zone snafu in warning? • SHIPS/PLANES REPLACABLE - CARRIERS ARE NOT!
  7. 7. But… Admiral Yamamoto warned of waking the SLEEPING GIANT.
  8. 8. 2. Why was Japan initially so successful?
  9. 9. a) USA/UK unprepared • Japan had lots of recent war experience Mukden, 1931
  10. 10. b) No soldiers fought like the Japanese Bushido code • Ferocity • Live off land • Strict obedience For example…
  11. 11. • Atrocities
  12. 12. • Kamikazi
  13. 13. • The Bushido code also linked surrender to dishonour.
  14. 14. c) Initially local populations welcomed the Japanese “liberators.” • From whom were they liberating Asians? Asia for the Asians
  15. 15. d) The British were stressed and the U.S. forces were mostly in N.America = TIME FOR JAPAN
  16. 16. 3. Why did Japan ultimately lose?
  17. 17. a) American public support
  18. 18. This
  19. 19. Declassified memo (dated May 3, 1942) to FDR re: Doolittle Raid
  20. 20. b) Massive economic/military power of USA • Once mobilized that is! • Factories were safe across the Pacific. • Images of Pearl + propaganda galvanized the nation behind the President. • Now the economic might could go far beyond Lend-Lease…
  21. 21. c) Japan had only 10% of U.S. economy • Japan had few resources (oil/iron). • Difficult to replace capital ships. • After Leyte Gulf the Imperial Navy ceased to exist!
  22. 22. c) cont. Japan needed food • Japan had only 3% of U.S. agricultural capacity. • Had trouble feeding its people. • Thus: since raw materials rare, factories not the prime targets (they are dying by themselves - TARGET CITIES. • For every 40 factory bombs, 100 land on cities.
  23. 23. d) U.S. subs sank 55% of Japanese shipping
  24. 24. e) Island Hopping • Attack main islands and isolate minor ones - “left to wither on the vine.” • Thus limit U.S. casualties (remember Bushido code). • On the Asian mainland the British and Commonwealth fought…
  25. 25. The famed Chindits - early special forces often behind enemy lines. Part of the Forgotten Army
  26. 26. f) In addition to… • U.S. leadership
  27. 27. U.S. victories: Success Breeds Success • Iwo Jima
  28. 28. and, U.S. might..
  29. 29. The planners still feared an assault on the “home islands”
  30. 30. g) Intelligence warned of 1 million + casualties • This would be unacceptable to the U.S. public. • The Manhatten Project was the answer. • Why would the U.S. use the bomb against Japan but rely on traditional munitions for Germany?
  31. 31. Hiroshima, August 6 Nagasaki, August 9
  32. 32. 4. The Surrender
  33. 33. Ultimately: • Historians agree it really was a foregone conclusion - the USA was just too strong economically with too much military potential. • It is a testament to the ferocity and commitment of the Japanese fighters that the war took as long as it did. • Easier geography also would have sped the inevitable conclusion.
  34. 34. end

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