The Military Role of the USA during the Second World War By: Ann-Cathrin, Max, Alaina, Arwa, Pallavi, & Hashir
The War in the Pacific Pacific Theater During World War II, countries needed places to fight. One of the places where the United States fought was the Pacific Theater, the waters This is where the fighting took and islands of the Pacific place. Ocean (Benson). This is where battles with the Japanese happened. The USA wanted to take away Japanâ€™s colonies one at a time (Benson). These battles were usually very hard for the United States, because they needed to fight with less weapons and men, and as a result lots of soldiers died (Benson). However, the United States was able to defeat the Japanese aggressors and gain control of the islands (Benson). This put them in a position to attack Japanâ€™s mainland (Benson).
The War in the Pacific The War in the Pacific The War at Sea The War at Sea The War in Europe The War in Europe The Air War
The Air War
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The War in the Pacific Battle of Midway There were many battles in the Pacific War, but one of the most important was the Battle of Midway (Benson). It was a naval battle that took place in June 1942, six months after Japanâ€™s attack on Pearl Harbor (Kutler). It resulted in an American victory over the Imperial Japanese Navy (Kutler). Japan wanted to win the war in the Pacific and they thought another victory over the USA would help them do this (Benson). However, America was able to find out the planned date and time of the attack and emerge victorious (Kutler).
Hiroshima & Nagasaki The Pacific War came to an end on August 6, 1945 when the USA dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima and on August 9, when they dropped another bomb on Nagasaki (Mitcham). Almost 200,000 civilians died as a result of the attacks (Mitcham). Around this time, the Soviet Union also declared war on Japan (Benson). Things had gotten so bleak for the Japanese that on August 14, they agreed to When the bomb dropped on surrender (Benson). Nagasaki
The scene at Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the US naval fleet at Pearl Harbor (Benson). This is what pushed the USA into entering World War II.
The War at Sea Leading to War Many Americans didn't want to go to war; they were tired from the last one. However many things happened that lead America to join the war. At first Roosevelt changed the parts of the Atlantic sea that the USA would protect. This threatened Germany's navy (Pennington 140). In September 1941 America claimed that one of its ships, the Greer, which was only carrying mail and passengers, was attacked. This made Roosevelt order the navy to sink any U-boat in sight. Attacks like this continued through October until early December, Until a Japanese fleet sailed to Hawaii and attacked USAâ€™s Pacific navy base. Japan wanted to take control of the western pacific (Pennington 142).They wrecked 19 ships, 150 planes, and killed 2400 us soldiers (Pennington 142). The surprise attack changed any thoughts on staying neutral. The entire nation was unified and unforgiving as they prepared for the war ahead.
The Battleship Arizona sinking in Pearl Harbor.
FDR addressing the nation after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The War at Sea
Fun Fact! Germany had orders not to sink passenger vessels without warning, but a commander disregarded this order and sunk the Athenia anyway (“Early U-Boat Successes”).
A large part of the War at Sea during World War II was the German U-boat, or submarine. U-boats are vessels that can sail above water like ships and below water. At the beginning of World War II, there were International Rules that said a military vessel could not attack a passenger vessel without warning (“Early U-Boat Successes”). They were supposed to give those on the passenger vessel time to escape before sinking it (“Early U-Boat Successes”). Britain did not believe that Germany would follow these rules (“Early U-Boat Successes”). The British belief was then confirmed when a German U-boat sunk the Athenia and Britain started arming its ships with guns (“Early U-Boat Successes”). Since the passenger vessels A German U-Boat were no longer unarmed, Germany was now allowed to fire without warning (“Early U-Boat Successes”).
The War in Europe Refusing to let Hitlerâ€™s In 1933, Hitler actions go unnoticed, joined a group Soviet leader, Joseph called the Weimar Stalin, created and signed Republic (Danzer a non-aggression pact with 536). His powerful Germany (Danzer position in the club 539). However, Hitler is what caused him completely ignore their to quickly rise to agreement and carried on other political with his plans to capture power (Danzer Poland (Danzer 539). 536). The main drive behind He later took over Hitlerâ€™s success was Denmark, Norway, the the thought of Netherlands, Belgium, German Invasion of Poland1938-1941 retaliation Luxemburg and France against the (Danzer 540). Controlling France enabled nations who punished Germany after Germany to launch a surprise attack on Britain WWI (Danzer 536). Soon after Hitler off of the french coast (Danzer 540). But this became the leader of Germany, he attack was unsuccessful because the British was able to carry out his plan (Danzer were able to defend themselves and hold of 536). He started invading other the German army (Danzer 541). countries and claimed that his actions were necessary because Germans were being mistreated in these countries (Danzer 537). The first country invaded by the Germans was Czechoslovakia, which caused an uproar in many of the surrounding nations (Danzer 537). German troops marching toward Poland 5
The War in Europe Once the United States entered WWII, Roosevelt and Churchill decided to meet in order to develop a long term military strategy (Wright 69). During this meeting, both decide that Hitler posed the biggest threat in the war and needed to be dealt with first (Wright 69). The United States had downsized their army in the previous years and many were worried because they were not prepared for any large scale land attacks (Wright 69). However, Roosevelt offered immediate assistance in the naval and air war that was currently taking place (Wright 69). Rooseveltâ€™s main motive was to improve US- Soviet relations and make Hitlerâ€™s goal of world domination harder (Wright 69).
U.S. Troops at Omaha Beach
The Air War From 1941-1945, the United States was at war with Japan because Japan attacked the United States Pacific Fleet headquarters located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Wright 56).
The destruction of Pearl Harbor, taken by a Japanese pilot
But how would the United States fight the war? Japan was over 3000 miles away and the US Navy was severely limited at Pearl Harbor. How would the United States win the war? It was simple. They would use planes. And so the air war began.
The Air War During World War II, the United States had to create a strategy in order to get close to Japan. The plan that they chose to carry out was called island hopping. Island hopping was simply battling and taking islands one by one to get nearer to the opponent (Wright 60). One of the The B-29 Super Fortress Bomber was islands that the US captured was the plane that dropped the atomic called Saipan. This island, bombs on both Hiroshima and captured in 1944, was very Nagasaki. important because it gave the United States an airbase close enough to bomb Japan, an option that would be used to end the war (Wright 61). And so, the United States took advantage of it. On March 1945, the United States bombed Tokyo, killing over 80,000 people (Wright 61). Japan was at a loss, but still they did not give up. President Truman ordered the dropping of the atomic bombs on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki during August 6 and 9 of 1945 (Danzer 584). Finally, the war was over when the emperor, who could no longer take the pain of his people, signed the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945 (Wright 64). Hiroshima after the Atomic Bomb 8
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