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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

History: World War One and World War Two: World War Two in Asia

Guide for Library Research on World War One and World War Two

Battle of Midway

Battle of Midway

US Navy Fighter Planes Attack Japanese Fleet at Midway 1942

Fought in June 1942, the Battle of Midway was the first major defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy by American forces.

Battle of Guadalcanal

Battle of Guadalcanal

U.S. Troops from the 160th Infantry Regiment on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands 1942

The Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands was the first major offensive by the Allies against the Japanese.  Fought between August 1942 and February 1943, the victory by Allied forces marked the end of Japanese expansion and the beginning of their shift to defensive operations.

Island Hopping

Island Hopping

US Marines on Tarawa December 1943

The objective of the US military in the Pacific theatre was to capture or in some cases recaptrue naval and air bases one by one, slowly drawing closer to Japan to eventually allow for a possible invasion. Bases that could not be taken would be cut off and bypassed. Most of the battles in the Pacific, including Tarawa, Saipan, Guam, the Philippine Sea, and Peleliu were part of this strategy of "Island Hopping".

Battle of Leyte Gulf

Battle of Leyte Gulf

General Douglas Macarthur at Leyte in the Philippines 1944

The Battle of Leyte was fought in October 1944 with the goal of depriving Japan of oil supplies. The Japanese suffered heavy losses and was deprived of fuel for the rest of the Pacific war. Leyte was the largest naval battle of World War Two.

Liberation of Manila

Liberation of Manila

Liberation of the Santo Tomas Concentration Camp Philippines 1945

The Liberation of Mania was part of the Philippine campaign and the scene of the worst urban fighting of the Pacific war. The month long battle ran from February to March 1945 and marked the end of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.

Kamikaze

Kamikaze

Kamikaze about to hit USS Essex November 25 1944

Kamikaze is a japanese word that means "Divine wind". Historically it refered to typhoons that prevented a Chinese invasion of Japan in the 13th century, divine intervention that saved the Japanese homeland. The Kamikaze bombers were Japanese pilots who conducted suicide attacks against American naval ships near the end of the Pacific war.

Soviets Invade Manchuria

Soviets Invade Manchuria

The Soviets Invade Manchuria August 1945

At the Tehran Conference in 1943 and again at Yalta in 1944, the Soviets agreed to enter the Pacific theatre of the war within three months of the conclusion of hostilities in Europe. On August 9 1945 the Soviets began their far east offensive with the invasion of Manchuria and Korea. The war would end before they could make an attempt at invading Japan.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

Attack on Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona Pearl Harbor December 7 1941

On December 7th 1941 the Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack against the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack shocked most Americans and the next day President Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan.

Declaration of War

President Franklin Roosevelt asks Congress to declare war on Japan
December 8 1941

The Fall of Singapore

The Fall of Singapore

A Ship Hit by Japanese Bombs in Singapore 1942

Singapore was a major British military base in Southeast Asia. The Japanese invaded and conquered it in February 1942. It was the largest surrender of British military personnel in history and was considered by Winston Churchill to be a disaster.

Bataan Death March

Bataan Death March

Prisoners on the Bataan Death March 1942

The Bataan Death March was the brutal and abusive transfer of American and Filipino war prisoners to Camp O'Donnell by 60 mile march after their defeat at the Battle of Bataan in 1942. The Japanese severally abused and killed prisoners in actions that were later judged to be war crimes.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Atomic Bomb over Hiroshima August 6 1945

On August 6 1945 and then on August 8 1945 President Harry Truman ordered the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is the only time in history so far that an atomic bomb has been used in warfare and was done to bring the war to a swift conclusion including to avoid massive casualties that would happen if the United States had to directly invade the Japanese Home Islands. Japan surrendered on August 15 and signed its official surrender on September 2nd 1945.

The End of World War Two

The End of World War Two

Japanese Surrender on the Battleship Missouri September 2 1945

The Japanese agreed to surrender on August 15th 1945 after atomic bombs had been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union had begun its offensive in Manchuria. The Emperor Hirohito gave a radio address across Japan announcing the surrender. The occupation of Japan began officially on August 28 1945 and the official surrender ceremony was held on September 2 1945 aboard the battleship Missouri. This was celebrated at V-J (Victory in Japan) day.

Japan Surrenders

Surrender documents signed by defeated Japanese forces
aboard the USS Missouri
September 2 1945

Tokyo Military Tribunals

Tokyo Military Tribunals

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo 1947

On May 3, 1946, the Allies began the trial of 28 Japanese civilian and military leaders for war crimes. Seven were hanged and others were sentenced to prison terms.

Greater East Asia CoProsperity Sphere

Greater East Asia CoProsperity Sphere

Manchukuo Poster 1935

The Japanese empire attempted to sell the populations they conquered the idea of "The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", suggesting that what they were trying to create was a united Asia under Japanese influence rather than the reality of Japanese colonial control.

Unit 731

Unit 731

Bioweapon Facility of Unit 731 in Harbin China

Unit 731 was the research unit of the Japanese army that dealt with biological and chemical weapons. The Unit was guilt of war crimes by preforming experimentation on humans. Members of Unit 731 were granted immunity from prosecution after the war by the Anglo-American powers in exchange for access to their research.

Japanese-American Internment

Japanese-American Internment

Japanese Expulsion and Internment Order 1942

In 1942 President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 which allowed for the removal of anyone of Japanese heritage from the western coast of the United States. Most were interned in camps in the interior of the United States. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the removal in 1944 in the Korematsu v. United States case (323 U.S. 214 1944)

The Battle of Coral Sea

The Battle of Coral Sea

USS Lexington Explodes at the Battle of the Coral Sea 1942

In May 1942 the Battle of the Coral Sea was fought between Japan and joint American and Australian forces. The Japanese sunk the most ships in this battle but the damage inflicted by the Allies kept these forces from fighting at the Battle of Midway and created the conditions that would prevent Japan from invading Australia.

The Battle of Iwo Jima

The Battle of Iwo Jima

US Marines Raise the Flag over Iwa Jima 1945

The Battle of Iwa Jima in early 1945 was one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific war. The majority of the Japanese on the island fought to the death rather than surrender. The marines officially secured the island on March 26 1945.

The Battle of Okinawa

The Battle of Okinawa

US Invasion of Okinawa 1945

The Battle of Okinawa was the largest amphibious assault of the Pacific war. The battle lasted from April to June 1945 and the intention was to capture Okinawa and use it as an air base to support the direct invasion of Japan.