Allied Command Boundaries
Japanese Command Boundaries
Territory Controlled by Allies (1942)
Territory Controlled by Japanese (1942)
From December 7, 1941, until June 1942, the Japanese
successfully attacked the Pacific Fleet's base at
took Wake Island and Guam,
invaded and conquered the
Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaya, and seized the British base
of Singapore. They conquered Burma, thereby cutting off China
from all overland routes to the western allies, and
seized the Netherlands' East Indies and British Borneo, thereby
securing a much needed source of oil.
Japanese advance came to a halt with the American victories at
Battle of the Coral Sea
(May 1942) and
Battle of Midway (June
The second phase was one of a relative stalemate. From June 1942
until late 1943, neither side could muster the land,
sea, or air required to take the offensive and seized the
initiative from the other.
Battle of Guadalcanal is a
good example of this stalemate.
The third phase, from mid 1943 to September 1945, can be
characterized as the period of Allied offensives. Two drives
were under American control: General MacArthur's Southwest
Pacific campaign and Admiral Nimitz's Central Pacific campaign.
MacArthur's drive was a series of army amphibious operations up
the Solomon Island chain and along the northern coast of
New Guinea, with the Philippine Islands as the ultimate
objective. Nimitz's strategy was designed to move directly
and draw the Imperial Navy into a decisive fleet engagement as
happened at the Battles of the
Philippine Sea (June 1944)
and Leyte Gulf (October
1944.) MacArthur's and Nimitz's campaigns merged into one for
the invasion of the Philippines.
Afterwards the Central Pacific campaign continued with the
invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
During the later stages of the war, the army Air Force,
operating from the Mariana Islands and flying the B-29
had begun to fire bomb the cities of Japan. These raids
culminated with the dropping of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima on
August 6, 1945, and Nagasaki three days later. Japan surrendered
to the Allies on September 2, 1945.