A Change Of Tides In America's Greatest War

2240 words - 9 pages

"Midway thrust the warlords back on their heels, caused their ambitious plans..........to be canceled, and forced on them an unexpected, unwelcome, defensive role". -Samuel Elliot Morison, the United States Navy's official historian of World War II, on the Battle of Midway in June 1942. The danger of Japanese power in the Pacific lingered over the heads of the Americans and endangered the safety of their homeland in the years from 1903 to 1942. That power lasted until the Japanese made the mistake of attacking the island of Midway in the second great carrier battle of the war. At 4:30 in the morning on June 4, 1942, the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at Midway in an attempt to destroy their aircraft carriers that escaped Pearl Harbor. During this battle many damages were sustained, especially for Japan. After the Americans emerged victorious, the whole course of the war was changed. The Battle of Midway was the major turning point in the Pacific War during World War II because it stopped Japanese advancement into the Pacific Ocean and put Japan's navy on the defensive.

Before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the U.S. declaring war on the Japanese, Japan had naval control throughout most of the Pacific Ocean, along with other aspects of war. Back in 1904 and 1905, Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese war (Torres 43). As a result of this win, Russia evacuated Manchuria, giving Japan control of the area. It also led to Korea being annexed to Japan in 1910. Then, in 1937, Japan waged a full-scale war on China and ended up taking control of most of the Eastern part of the country. These actions, among others, led to many more acquisitions of different territories and islands in the Pacific Ocean. Their incredible naval superiority of the time allowed them to be able to choose exactly when and where to attack. This reign of power would remain unwavered up until they decided to wade further out into the waters of the Pacific.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japan made the command for Pearl Harbor to be bombed, thus awakening the sleeping giant, the United States of America. The U.S. suffered significant losses at Pearl Harbor. A total of 2,403 Americans were killed and around 1,200 were left wounded. Along with soldier casualties, four battleships, three destroyers, and several other ships were sunk. Unfortunately, there were no aircraft carriers in the port that morning, which would later come back to bite the Japanese (Torres 8). Little did the Japanese know that by their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, they united the American people in a way that could never have been done domestically (Antill). This newly found patriotism produced a declaration of war against Japan on December 8, 1941, just one day after the bombing.

With this declaration of war, a series of attacks were implemented towards the hated Japanese. One of the first attacks on Japan commenced April 18, 1942, when the U.S. military...

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