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Military Experience

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The Military Experience

World War II started in September 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland. Britain and France declared war but were slow to take action. In 1940 Hitler attacked Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. All of these countries were defeated very fast. Later in 1940, Germany launched the Battle of Britain which was an attack mainly from the air. The British air force was able to defend the country and Germany was not successful. In 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union but the country was too large and the Germans could not overcome the brutal winters. Germany was forced to retreat. Also in 1941 the War in the Pacific was launched. It was started with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Japanese seizure of Chinese Manchuria ("History On The", 2013). In 1942, America fought with Japan in a series of naval battles the ended with the Battle of Midway. The Japanese were defeated tremendously. In June of 1944, British and American troops started the D-Day Invasion of occupied France through Normandy. The Germans were forced to retreat. Throughout 1944 and 1945 there were battles in the Pacific that included Leyte, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Tokyo was targeted with bombing campaigns and then in August, the United States dropped the A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrendered a few days later ending the war.

There were a few major causes of World War II. First of all, the Treaty of Versailles was being ignored by the Germans. He was defying the treaty by occupying the Rhineland and building up arms in Germany but no efforts were made to stop him. The League of Nations was ineffective and failed to keep the peace. Hitler was appeased and many politicians thought that there had been unreasonable demands on Germany after World War I. The problem was that appeasement did not satisfy Germany. Hitler was an expansionist and would not be satisfied until he had tried to take over Europe.

War in the Pacific

The war in the Pacific is sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War which began in December 1941 with the Japanese invasion of Thailand and the attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. supplied 80% of the imported iron and oil to the Japanese. This severely affected their invasion of China and angered the Japanese. Japan started the Pacific War with the objective of taking over the Pacific islands along with China, but the U.S. was interfering. This would be the reasoning behind the Pearl Harbor attack. The American objective about entering the war was written in a memorandum for the secretary of the war on June 9, 1945. "With reference to your suggestion that we change the Combined Chiefs statement of our objective in the war against Japan from "unconditional surrender" to "complete defeat and permanent destruction of the war making power of Japan," (Clancey, n.d.). So it seems that the only conclusion for the United States was to completely destroy the Japanese.

One of the main turning points for the Asia-Pacific War in May 1942 was the Battle of Coral Sea. The Allied forces were able to break the Japanese code and discovered that there would be an attack on the island of New Guinea, specifically Port Moresby. If the Japanese were successful at defeating Port Moresby, then they would control the ocean around Australia. To stop this from occurring, the Allies engaged in the Battle of Coral Sea. The battle was solely fought by fighter planes without any engagement between ships. Although the Allies suffered major losses, the Japanese lost two ships and were defeated. Japan's losses could not be recuperated before the next great battle that occurred the following month. The Battle of Midway was another defeat for Japan and a crucial victory for the United States.

"The battle of Iwo Jima in February 1945 was one of the bloodiest battles fought by the Americans in the Pacific War" ("The Navy Department Library", n.d.). Also known as Operation Detachment, this was another turning point for the Allies in the Pacific



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