The Asian-Pacific
Theater
The Bataan Death March continues with Americans improvising
litters to carry comrades who have collapsed along the road from
a total lack of food and water. Over 5,000 Americans died on the
march which began April 10 and lasted six days for some and up
to twelve days for others.
U.S. troops surrender to the Japanese at Corregidor in
the Philippine Islands, May 6, 1942. A total of 11,500
Americans and Filipinos became POWs, including the
commander, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright. POWs from
Corregidor and Bataan were among the worst treated.
May 6, 1942.
Although it was against Japanese regulations and
could have meant death, these American POWs
celebrate the 4th of July, 1942, in the Japanese
prison camp of Casisange in the Philippines.
Overall, an estimated 40 percent of U.S. Army and
Air Force POWs died while in Japanese captivity,
compared to 1.2 percent in German and Italian
custody.
Landing operations on Rendova Island in the Solomon Islands.
Attacking at dawn in a heavy rainstorm, the first Americans ashore
huddle behind tree trunks and any other cover they can find. June
30, 1943.
Two enlisted men of the U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier LISCOME
BAY, torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Gilbert
Islands, are buried at sea from the deck of a transport ship.
November 1943.
A Japanese torpedo bomber blown out of the sky after a
direct hit by 5 inch shell from the U.S. Aircraft Carrier
YORKTOWN which it attempted to attack, off Kwajalein.
December 4, 1943.
As the invasion of the Solomon Islands gets under way, U.S.
troops go over the side of a transport ship to enter landing
barges at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville. November
1943.
American Army troops of the 163rd Infantry Regiment storm
the beach during the invasion of Wakde Island, New
Guinea. May 17, 1944.
Using a canvas tarpaulin for a church and packing cases
for an altar, a Catholic Navy chaplain holds mass for
Marines at Saipan in memory of those who lost their lives
during the initial landings. June 1944.
The USS PENNSYLVANIA along with a second battleship
and three cruisers move into Lingayen Gulf preceding the
landing on Luzon in the Philippines. January 1945.
Across Iwo Jima's black sands, Marines of the 4th Division
shell cleverly concealed Japanese inland positions on the
tiny volcanic island. February 1945.
40mm guns of the USS HORNET fire at Japanese suicide
dive bombers, the Kamikazes, as the carrier's own planes
were raiding Tokyo, February 16, 1945. By the end of the
war, Japan will have sent an estimated 2,257 Kamikazes.
USS BUNKER HILL hit by two Kamikazes in 30 seconds
off Kyushu, resulting in 372 dead and 264 wounded. May
11, 1945.
Marines unload a Japanese POW from a submarine which
just returned from patrol. May, 1945. By the end of the war
the U.S. held about 20,000 Japanese POWs.
A member of the Marine 1st Division draws a bead on a
Japanese sniper with his tommy-gun as his companion
ducks for cover while his division works to take Wana
Ridge before the town of Shuri, Okinawa. The ferocious
hand to hand fighting on Okinawa resulted in 12,281
Americans and 110,000 Japanese killed by June 21,
1945.
Japanese POWs at Guam, with bowed heads, after
hearing Emperor Hirohito announce Japan's
unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945. This came
after Nagasaki was the victim of the second atomic bomb
from a B-29 flown by Major Charles W. Sweeney, August
9, 1945. The Japanese estimated 25,680 were killed and
44 percent of the city was destroyed.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur signs as Supreme Allied Commander
during formal surrender ceremonies on the USS MISSOURI in
Tokyo Bay. September 2, 1945.
Allied POWs at Aomori camp near Yokohama cheer
their U.S. Navy liberators, waving flags of the United
States, Great Britain and Holland. August 29, 1945.
World
War II
History
In World War II, for the first time, the United States had to fight a war on two fronts.
Though the central strategic principle governing allocation of resources to the two
fronts provided for concentrating first on the defeat of the European Axis, on the
American side this principle was liberally interpreted, permitting conduct of an
offensive war against Japan as well as against Germany in the years 1943-45. The
U.S. Fleet, expanding after its initial setback at Pearl Harbor much as the Army had,
provided the main sinews for an offensive strategy in the Pacific, although the Army
devoted at least one-third of its resources to the Pacific war, even at the height of
war in Europe. In sum, the United States proved capable, once its resources were
fully mobilized, of successfully waging offensives on two fronts simultaneously—a
development the Japanese had not anticipated when they launched their attack on
Pearl Harbor.

In December 1941 Japan attacked U.S. bases at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines.
The U.S. declared war on Japan, and the war became truly global when the other
Axis Powers declared war on the U.S. Japan quickly invaded and occupied most of
Southeast Asia, Burma, the Netherlands East Indies, and many Pacific islands. After
the crucial U.S. naval victory at the Battle of Midway (1942), U.S. forces began to
advance up the chains of islands toward Japan.

In the Pacific an Allied invasion of the Philippines (1944) was followed by the
successful Battle of Leyte Gulf and the costly Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa
(1945). Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945,
and Japan's formal surrender on September 2 ended the war.
Allied POWs with hands tied behind their backs
pause during the Bataan Death March. About
76,000 prisoners including 12,000 Americans were
forced on the 60 mile march under a blazing sun
without food or water toward a new POW camp in
the Philippines. April 1942.
With only 450 feet of 'runway,' one of sixteen Army B-25
Mitchell bombers takes off from the deck of the USS HORNET
on its way to take part in the Doolittle Raid, the first U.S.
bombing raid on Japan. The all volunteer strike force, trained
and led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle, flew 800 miles then
bombed Tokyo and 3 other cities without opposition.
Map of the Japanese Empire at its height in 1942.
A 165th Infantry assault wave attacks Butaritari,
Yellow Beach Two, finding it slow going in the coral
bottom waters while Japanese machine gun fire
from the right flank makes it even more difficult.
Makin Atoll, Gilbert Islands. November 20, 1943.
Marines assault a heavily reinforced Japanese pillbox on Tarawa
in the Gilbert Islands by climbing to the top and shooting down
inside. November 21, 1943.
Crewmen lift Kenneth Bratton out of the turret of a Navy
torpedo plane on the USS SARATOGA after an air raid
on Rabaul. November 1943.
In an underground surgery room behind the front lines
on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, an American
Army doctor operates on a U.S. soldier wounded by a
Japanese sniper. December 13, 1943.
Smashed by Japanese mortar and shellfire and trapped
by Iwo Jima's soft black sands, amtracs and other
vehicles lay wrecked on the beach. February 1945.
Pilots aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier receive last
minute instructions before taking off to attack industrial
and military installations in Tokyo. February 17, 1945.
Col. Paul W. Tibbets, pilot of the B-29 Superfortress ENOLA
GAY, waves from the cockpit just before taking off from
Tinian Island to drop the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima. The
9,000 lb. bomb was dropped from 31,600 feet and
detonated at 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945, about 1,900 feet
above the center of Hiroshima. A blinding light, tremendous
explosion and dark gray cloud enveloped the city, followed
by a rising mushroom shaped cloud. The Japanese
estimated 72,000 were killed and 70,000 out of 76,000
buildings in the city were destroyed.