Note: This unfortunately is a very “thin” chapter. It really should have been three chapters – The end of the Pacific war, the war against the Japanese islands and the Atomic Bombing and surrender. See the further reading below for more information about the end of the Pacific War. Very unfortunately issues surrounding the air war against Japanese cities and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not explored in any meaningful depth.
Response / Thought Quotes
- “Armchair strategists can look at the last stages of a campaign and say there’s nothing left but mopping up, but if you’re holding the mop it’s different. The last Jap in the last bunker on the last day can be as fatal to you personally as the biggest battle at the height of the campaign, and you don’t look or think much beyond him – wherever he is.”
- “As the seconds ticked slowly toward 09.00, our artillery and ships’ guns increased their rate of fire. The rain poured down, and the Japanese took up the challenge from our artillery. They started throwing more shells our way . . . The shells whistled, whined and rumbled overhead, ours bursting out in front of the ridge and the enemy’s exploding in our area and to the rear. The noise increased all along the line. Rain fell in torrents, and the soil became muddy and slippery wherever we hurried around the gun pit to break out and stack our ammo. I looked at my watch. It was 0900. I gulped and prayed for my buddies.”
- “because our German scientists were better than their German scientists”
- “We were of a generation to whom Coventry and the London Blitz and Clydebank and Liverpool and Plymouth were more than just names; our country had been hammered mercilessly from the sky, and so had Germany; we had seen the pictures of Belsen and of the frozen horror of the Russian Front; part of our higher education had been dedicated to techniques of killing and destruction; we were not going to lose sleep because the Japanese homeland had taken its turn. If anything, at the time, remembering the kind of war it had been, and the kind of people we, personally, had been up against, we probably felt that justice had been done. But it was of small importance when weighed against the glorious fact that the war was over at last.”
- Describe the progress of Americans in the Pacific and the recession of the Japanese in the last 18 months of the war
- Compare and Contrast: Arguments for a “Germany First” policy and arguments for a “Pacific First” policy
- Explain and Expand: The strategic tensions between the United States Army and Navy over the direction of the war
- What was the American goal for the Pacific while the fight against Germany was ongoing?
- How did the war in the Pacific change the nature of future naval warfare
- What role did air power play in the war for the Pacific? The war for Japan?
- In what ways were American soldiers drawn into the barbarization of warfare?
- In what ways did American soldiers resist the barbarization of warfare?
- Who was William Slim and what role did he play in the liberation of Burma?
- What was the strategic value of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in American plans?
- Why did Japan “fight on”? Why did the Japanese people “fight on”?
- Describe the Tokyo firebombing, the goal of the action and what it achieved
- Compare and Contrast: The battle of Iwo Jima and the battle of Okinawa
- Describe the events of August 1945 in the Pacific