World War II In The Pacific: An Encyclopedia
In September 1940, Japan decided to cut China's only land line to the outside world by seizing French Indochina, which was controlled at the time by Vichy France. Japanese forces broke their agreement with the Vichy administration and fighting broke out, ending in a Japanese victory. On 27 September Japan signed a military alliance with Germany and Italy, becoming one of the three main Axis Powers. In practice, there was little coordination between Japan and Germany until 1944, by which time the US was deciphering their secret diplomatic correspondence.
World War II in the Pacific: An Encyclopedia
In the early hours of 7 December (Hawaiian time), Japan launched a major surprise carrier-based air strike on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu without explicit warning, which crippled the US Pacific Fleet, left eight American battleships out of action, destroyed 188 American aircraft, and caused the deaths of 2,403 Americans. The Japanese had gambled that the United States, when faced with such a sudden and massive blow and loss of life, would agree to a negotiated settlement and allow Japan free rein in Asia. This gamble did not pay off. American losses were less serious than initially thought: the three American aircraft carriers, which would prove to be more important than battleships, were at sea, and vital naval infrastructure (fuel oil tanks, shipyard facilities, and a power station), submarine base, and signals intelligence units were unscathed, and the fact the bombing happened while the US was not officially at war anywhere in the world[g] caused a wave of outrage across the United States. Japan's fallback strategy, relying on a war of attrition to make the US come to terms, was beyond the IJN's capabilities.
The effects of the American air and naval attacks, atomic bombings, and the Soviet entry were profound. On 10 August the "sacred decision" was made by Japanese Cabinet to accept the Potsdam terms on one condition: the "prerogative of His Majesty as a Sovereign Ruler". At noon on 15 August, after the American government's intentionally ambiguous reply, stating that the "authority" of the emperor "shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers", the Emperor broadcast to the nation and to the world at large the rescript of surrender, ending the Second World War.
The global conflict which was labeled World War II emerged from the Great Depression, an upheaval which destabilized governments, economies, and entire nations around the world. In Germany, for instance, the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party occurred at least partly because Hitler claimed to be able to transform a weakened Germany into a self-sufficient military and economic power which could control its own destiny in European and world affairs, even as liberal powers like the United States and Great Britain were buffeted by the depression.
World War II started in 1939. By the time it ended in 1945, the war involved nearly every part of the world. The two sides that fought the war were called the Axis powers and the Allies. Germany, Italy, and Japan were the major Axis powers. The major Allies were the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom (Great Britain), and France. China also aided the Allies.
Casualties are the brutal reality of warfare. The number of deaths resulting from the Second World War remains uncertain, but was around 70 million persons. Of these, around 22 million were military deaths while the remainder were civilians killed during military operations, through famine, or in crimes against humanity. This represents about 3% of the total world population at the time. Casualties in the Pacific War numbered around 36 million or 50% of the total casualties of the Second World War.
Illness. Illness accounted for the overwhelming majority of Allied casualties during the Pacific War. Malaria was the main culprit, but dengue, scrub typhus, and other tropical diseases, together with FUO ("Fever of Undetermined Origin", which sometimes was a symptom of combat fatigue), took their toll as well. American hospitalizations for illness worldwide numbered around 15 million.
The majority of those who starved during the Pacific War were civilians. These included somewhere between 1.5 million and 3 million Indians in the Bengal famine of 1943, which was a consequence of the loss of rice imports from Japanese-occupied Burma, the worldwide shortage of shipping, and incompetence on the part of the British-led administration. Millions more died in China (including at least two million in Honan province alone) and in southeast Asia from shortages brought about by the rapacious demands of the Japanese occupation.
Accidents. In the U.S. Army worldwide, accidents accounted for about 2 million hospitalizations. Air operations were especially hazardous. Some 13,000 American airmen were killed accidentally, while the Royal Air Force lost 787 officers and 4540 other ranks to accidents.
By May 4, 1868, crews had laid rails all the way to Laramie, but not before building across the formidable Sherman Summit, also known as Sherman Hill. At an elevation of 8,200 feet, the rail line over the Laramie Range became the highest railroad in the world at the time. Just west of the summit, a gorge created by the miniscule Dale Creek required the largest bridge built by the Union Pacific west of the Missouri River. The timber for the Dale Creek trestle came from the forests of the upper Midwest. In total, the bridge measured 125 feet high and 1,400 feet long.
World War II (WWII or WW2) was a global war that involved fighting in most of the world. Most countries fought from 1939 to 1945, but some started fighting in 1937. Most of the world's countries, including all of the great powers, fought as part of two military alliances: the Allies and the Axis Powers. It involved more countries, cost more money, involved more people, and killed more people than any other war in history. Between 50 to 85 million people died, most of whom were civilians. The war included massacres, a genocide called the Holocaust, strategic bombing, starvation, disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons against civilians in history.
After the end of the German Empire, the democratic Weimar Republic was set up. There were disagreements among Germans that involved many political ideologies, ranging from nationalism to communism. The fascist movement in Germany rose because of the Great Depression. Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party, became the German chancellor in 1933. After the Reichstag fire, Hitler created a totalitarian state in which there was only one party by law. Hitler wanted to change the world order and quickly rebuilt the army, navy, and air force, especially after Saarland voted to return to Germany in 1935. In March 1936, Hitler sent the army to Rhineland. The Spanish Civil War began in July 1936. The war ended in 1939 with the Nationalist victory because of support from Italy and Germany.
Germany then signed an agreement to work together with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union forced the Baltic countries to allow it to keep Soviet soldiers in their countries. Finland did not accept the Soviet call, and so it was attacked in November 1939. With peace, the world war broke out. France and Britain thought that the Soviet Union might enter the war for Germany and the Soviets were expelled from the League of Nations.
The United Nations was formed on October 24, 1945 to keep peace between countries in the world. However, the relationship between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union had worsened during the war and, soon after it, each power quickly built up their power over the controlled area. In Western Europe and West Germany, it was the United States, while in East Germany and Eastern Europe, it was the Soviet Union, which turned many countries into communist states. The Cold War led to the formation of the American-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.
The war brought new methods for future wars. The air forces improved greatly in fields such as air transport, strategic bombing to use bombs to destroy industry and morale, radar, and weapons for destroying aircraft. Jet aircraft were developed and were used worldwide in air forces.
Challenging strategic environment at a historical inflection pointThe international community is facing changes defining an era. The free and open international order based on the rule of law is at stake, and we are witnessing changes in power balances and intensifying geopolitical competition. The world is at a historical inflection point in the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War II.
Russia's aggression against Ukraine has shattered peace and shaken the foundation of the rules-based international order. It has gravely altered the security environment in the Euro-Atlantic and beyond. The balance of power is also rapidly shifting in the Indo-Pacific, and we share the view that unilateral change of the status quo by force or coercion is not acceptable anywhere in the world.
For background information, definitions, and basic facts, consult the following encyclopedias, dictionaries, and sourcebooks listed on this page. All print materials are located in the Reference Collection on the ground floor of Morgan Library. Reference items are for use only in the library. History materials can be found in the C - F sections of the collection. Ask a librarian for help, if needed.
The Second World War was documented on a huge scale by thousands of photographers and artists who created millions of pictures. American military photographers representing all of the armed services covered the battlefronts around the world. Every activity of the war was depicted--training, combat, support services, and much more. On the home front, the many federal war agencies produced and collected pictures, posters, and cartoons on such subjects as war production, rationing, and civilian relocation. 041b061a72