The War Against Japan: Pictorial Record - United States Army

The War Against Japan: Pictorial Record

By United States Army

  • Release Date: 2023-03-23
  • Genre: Asia


Before 7 December 1941, while war was actively being waged in Europe and the Far East, the United States, still a neutral, was expanding its manufacturing facilities to meet the demands for additional war materials, both for the growing U.S. forces and those of the Allies. On 7 December the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor in an attempt to so cripple U.S. naval power that future Japanese conquest and occupation in the Pacific would meet with little or no opposition. This attack dealt a serious blow to Navy and Army Air Forces units stationed in the Hawaiian Islands. On the same day two Japanese destroyers attacked the island of Midway, but were beaten off by the defending troops. On 8 December Wake was assaulted. The attacks on Wake were continued for two weeks and the small U.S. garrison was forced to surrender on 23 December. Another weak garrison on the island of Guam, unable to resist the enemy attacks, fell on 10 December. Early on the morning of 8 December the U.S. forces in the Philippines were notified that a state of war existed and a full war alert was ordered. On the same day the first Japanese aerial attack on the Philippines took place. This was followed by others and on 10 December enemy landings were made on Luzon. Expecting an early victory, the Japanese sent a large force, but it was not until 6 May 1942 that the Japanese were able to conquer the American and Filipino defenders who fought a delaying action down the Bataan Peninsula and made a final stand on the island of Corregidor. All military resistance ended in the rest of the Philippine Islands by 17 May except for small bands of guerrillas who continued to fight the enemy until 1945 when the U.S. forces landed in the Philippines. In March 1942 the commander of the United States Army Forces in the Far East was ordered to move to Australia by the President of the United States. Troops from the United States began arriving in Australia in December 1941 for the build-up in preparation for the defense of Allied bases and the recapture of enemy-held islands and bases in the Pacific.
While some Japanese forces were carrying out the attacks in the Pacific, others were overrunning Malaya, North Borneo, and Thailand. After eighteen days of fighting Hong Kong was captured on 25 December 1941. Thailand, unable to resist the Japanese, agreed to co-operate with them. Early in 1942 the Japanese took Borneo and by 15 February the British garrison in Malaya capitulated. In the Netherlands East Indies the U.S. Navy inflicted damage on an enemy convoy in the Battle of Makassar Strait, the first important surface action of the war for the U.S. Navy. On 9 March 1942 formal surrender by the Dutch ended all resistance in the Netherlands East Indies. By these conquests in Asia and the Pacific, the Japanese gained valuable territory rich in natural resources and were ready to expand in other directions.
During the first six months of 1942 the U.S. Navy fought the Japanese Navy in the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway, and raided the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. Army Air Forces medium bombers took off from a carrier at sea and bombed Tokyo in April 1942 in a surprise attack. As part of the Midway operations in June, planes of the Japanese Navy bombed U.S. installations in Alaska and enemy troops landed in the Aleutian Islands on Attu and Kiska.