On 19 June, a series of Japanese carrier air strikes were shattered by strong American defenses. [45] However, it is more widely accepted[e][46] that the Pacific War itself began on 7/8 December 1941, when the Japanese invaded Thailand and attacked the British colonies of Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong as well as the United States military and naval bases in Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam, and the Philippines. These numbers do not include the Royal Netherlands Navy. Australia was ill-prepared for an attack, lacking armaments, modern fighter aircraft, heavy bombers, and aircraft carriers. 3 September: Britain, France, New Zealand and Australia declare war on Germany [50] Japan's Shinto Emperor relinquished much of his authority and his divine status through the Shinto Directive in order to pave the way for extensive cultural and political reforms.[51]. [238] These four alone sank 420,467 gross tons of Allied shipping.              Sakhalin, the Aleutian, and Kuril Islands: 8,200, 3,200, (11,400) The British and Indian Fourteenth Army was formed to face the Japanese in Burma. The Japanese, on the other hand, lost about 100,000 of 110,000 men. [163] For the Americans, the Marianas operation would provide the following benefits: the interruption of the Japanese air pipeline to the south; the development of advanced naval bases for submarine and surface operations; the establishment of airfields to base B-29s from which to bomb the Japanese Home Islands; the choice among several possible objectives for the next phase of operations, which would keep the Japanese uncertain of American intentions. [205] In response, the Chinese National Military Council dispatched the 4th Front Army and the 10th and 27th Army Groups with He Yingqin as commander-in-chief. The Japanese originally perceived the American landings as nothing more than a reconnaissance in force.[125]. On New Guinea, the Japanese on the Kokoda Track were within sight of the lights of Port Moresby but were ordered to retreat to the northeastern coast. [61], The war entered a new phase with the unprecedented defeat of the Japanese at the Battle of Suixian–Zaoyang, 1st Battle of Changsha, Battle of Kunlun Pass and Battle of Zaoyi. MacArthur moved his headquarters to Melbourne in March 1942 and American troops began massing in Australia. The hidden guns and defenses survived the constant bombardment virtually unscathed. Over 100,000 Okinawan citizens perished, and there were over 72,000 American fatalities, 107,000 Japanese fatalities, and 7400 taken prisoner. [132] During the seven-week Battle of Changde, the Chinese forced Japan to fight a costly campaign of attrition. By early 1945, Japanese oil supplies were so limited that its fleet was virtually stranded. [113] Although they managed to sink a carrier, the battle was a disaster for the Japanese. 1943 January 29: Battle of Rennell Island. As the advance on Manila continued from the north and the south, the Bataan Peninsula was rapidly secured. From mid-June 1944, Iwo Jima came under American air and naval bombardment, this continued until the days leading up to the invasion.[188]. Frederic Lewis / Getty Images American Marines approach a group of Japanese-occupied buildings, reduced to rubble during the Battle of Tarawa, a Pacific atoll … [263], A widely publicized example of institutionalized sexual slavery are "comfort women", a euphemism for the 200,000 women, mostly from Korea and China, who served in the Imperial Japanese Army's camps during World War II. Battles of Khalkhin Gol 11 May 1939 – 16 Sep 1939. 1. This was done in contrast to the British stance towards Thailand, who had faced them in combat as they invaded British territory, and the United States had to block British efforts to impose a punitive peace. [138] In reality, only 42 American submarines were sunk in the Pacific due to hostile action, with 10 others lost in accidents or as the result of friendly fire. Later in the afternoon, aircraft from the two remaining American carriers found and destroyed Hiryū. [264] In 1993, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yōhei Kōno said that women were coerced into brothels run by Japan's wartime military. American forces for the operation totaled 183,000 troops in seven divisions (four US Army and three Marine) under the Tenth Army. Concurrently, Japanese forces invaded southern and eastern Thailand and were resisted for several hours, before the Thai government signed an armistice and entered an alliance with Japan. [190] The Japanese losses totaled well over 20,000 men killed, with only 1,083 prisoners were taken. After entering the Sibuyan Sea on 24 October, Center Force was assaulted by American carrier aircraft throughout the whole day, forcing another heavy cruiser to retire. From that point on, the Japanese were on the defensive. The spring 1945 battle of Iwo Jimathen proved to be one of the Pacific Theater's most deadly, when after five bloody weeks when 27,000 American soldiers were left dead or wounded. It also provoked the Japanese to mount major offensives themselves the following year. 25 (1): 53. (12,031 killed and 24,425 wounded in the 1945. Subsequent attacks and invasions followed during December 1941 and early 1942 leading to the occupation of American, British, Dutch and Australian territories and air raids on the Australian mainland. During February, the Fourteenth Army secured bridgeheads across the Irrawaddy on a broad front. All forces for the Marianas operation were to be commanded by Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. [159] In 1943–44, Allied forces in the Solomons began driving relentlessly to Rabaul, eventually encircling and neutralizing the stronghold. To the south, the Imperial Japanese Army had seized the British colony of Penang on 19 December, encountering little resistance. Because the attack happened without a declaration of war or explicit warning, it was judged by the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime. [154] During this time, about 250,000 newly American-trained Chinese troops under Joseph Stilwell and Chinese expeditionary force were forcibly locked in the Burmese theater by the terms of the Lend-Lease Agreement. On 26 July 1945, the President of the United States Harry S. Truman, the Chairman of the Nationalist Government of China Chiang Kai-shek and the Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Churchill issued the Potsdam Declaration, which outlined the terms of surrender for the Empire of Japan as agreed upon at the Potsdam Conference. Radar-guided naval gunfire then finished off the second battleship, with only a single Japanese destroyer surviving. Smaller-caliber artillery, antiaircraft guns, and mortars were also well hidden and located where only a direct hit could destroy them. [161] The four Japanese air strikes involved 373 carrier aircraft, of which 130 returned to the carriers. The Japanese had skillfully utilized terrain to inflict maximum casualties. After fanatic Japanese resistance, the Marines captured Aslito airfield in the south on 18 June. The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and Oceania. [192] The capture of Okinawa would provide airbases for B-29 bombers to intensify aerial bombardment of Japan and for direct land-based air support of the invasion of Kyushu. [161] The Japanese then developed a new plan, known as A-GO. Over 17 million Chinese civilian deaths (1937–45); 2,133,915 Japanese military deaths 1937–45. The leader of Thailand, Plaek Phibunsongkhram, became greatly enthusiastic about the alliance after decisive Japanese victories in the Malayan campaign and in 1942 sent the Phayap Army to assist the invasion of Burma, where former Thai territory that had been annexed by Britain were reoccupied (Occupied Malayan regions were similarly reintegrated into Thailand in 1943). [209] Many military historians believe that the Okinawa campaign led directly to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as a means of avoiding the planned ground invasion of the Japanese mainland. [97] Two days later, further raids led to the destruction of the Cavite Naval Yard, south of Manila. Fleet battles involving heavier ships and even daytime carrier battles resulted in a stretch of water near Guadalcanal becoming known as "Ironbottom Sound" from the multitude of ships sunk on both sides. Meanwhile, in the Central Pacific the Americans initiated a major offensive, beginning in November 1943 with landings in the Gilbert Islands. [194] The British Pacific Fleet operated as a separate unit from the American task forces in the Okinawa operation. Leyte Gulf. [citation needed]. The major Allied participants were China, the United States and the British Empire. A total of 11 miles (18 km)s of tunnels were constructed.              Formosa (Taiwan): 28,500, 10,600, (39,100) More than 140,000–240,000 people died as a direct result of these two bombings. In early 1942, the governments of smaller powers began to push for an inter-governmental Asia-Pacific war council, based in Washington, DC.              Philippines: 377,500, 121,100, (498,600) After the second day of the battle, losses totaled three carriers and 445 aircrew with more than 433 carrier aircraft and around 200 land-based aircraft. [187] The Japanese also went to great lengths to construct large underground chambers, some as much as five stories deep to serve as storage and hospital areas with thick walls and ceilings made of reinforced concrete. The invasion of Peleliu in the Palau Islands on 15 September, was notable for a drastic change in Japanese defensive tactics, resulting in the highest casualty rate amongst US forces in an amphibious operation during the Pacific War. The casualties break down as 1.5 million killed in battle, 750,000 missing in action, 1.5 million deaths due to disease and 3 million wounded. [242][243][244][245] Mongolian casualties were 753. If the United States or Britain attacked first, the plans further stipulated the military were to hold their positions and wait for orders from GHQ. [77] 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. Japanese industrial production plunged as nearly half of the built-up areas of 67 cities were destroyed by B-29 firebombing raids. Only 1,700 Japanese soldiers surrendered and were taken prisoner.[183]. [120] After quick deliberation, he opted for a delayed but better-prepared attack on the American task force after recovering his Midway strike and properly arming aircraft. After an intense seven day bombardment the main landings on Okinawa took place on 1 April, on the Hagushi beaches near the central part of the island's west coast. Through strategic and tactical surprise, the Japanese would knock out Midway's air strength and soften it for a landing by 5,000 troops. Within hours of the Pearl Harbor attack, in retribution against Japan, Roosevelt promulgated a new doctrine: unrestricted submarine warfare against Japan. The Borneo campaign of 1945 was the last major campaign in the South West Pacific Area. But the Japanese, worried that there might be more U.S. carriers in the area, canceled the Operation MO the goal of which was to capture Port Moresby (New Guinea) and Tulagi (the Solomon Islands). The US Sixth Army continued its advance from the east, while the Japanese rushed reinforcements to the Ormoc Bay area on the western side of the island. But it was not until 26 March that the island was finally secured. Public Domain. The US Navy proposed to force a Japanese surrender through a total naval blockade and air raids. [161], In February 1944, the US Navy's fast carrier task force, during Operation Hailstone, attacked the major naval base of Truk.