Battles of World War II

Melissa Arbaoui

Pacific front

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The Bataan Death March

In April 1942, the US troops lost the battle against Japan on the Philippines Islands. The Japanese troops made the US prisoners and filipino walk a 65 miles long march from Mariveles to San Fernando. The men walked for six days under the heat, they were starved, beaten and killed by the Japanese and by the sixth day, thousands of them had perished. On the original 75,000 prisoners, aproximatley 20,000 died during the March.
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It was the General Douglas MacArthur who was in charge of the defense of the Philippines Island. For about a year he fought against Japan but flew away for Australia in March 1942, a month before the Bataan Death March. MacArthur came back in the Philippines in 1945 and freed the Island. He stayed in Japan for six more years after the war to command the occupation forces.

The "Two-Pronged attack" strategy, Island hopping

A strategy by General Douglas MacArthur and Chester Nimitz. Started in August 1942 when they bombarded Guadalcanal. Their goal was to prevent the japanese occupation of the Pacific. They attacked on two front, MacArthur took the northwest way by New Guinea to the Philippines, taking islands one by one and Nimitz went to the central pacific. Both of them were "island hopping" taking the islands one by one to cut out the Japanese.

Battle of Midway

Six months after Pearl Harbor, the US engaged in an important battle, the Battle of Midway. Japan wanted to attack the last of the american fleet that survived Pearl Harbor. The Admiral Nimitz was the one conducting the attack. The US army caught the Japanese fleet on June 6, unprepared. They sank the japanese fleet and made their way to Tokyo, reassured that the way was clear and safe since the japanese just lost their avant-guard in the Pacific.
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Iwo Jima

In February 1945, 110,000 US soldiers attacked the Iwo Jima island. 20,000 Japaneses defended the island for a month before finally surrender on March 26th 1945. The fights were fierce, the Japanese had a network of tunnels and cave across the island. When the US troops finally won the battle after more than a month of fight, they proudly erected their flag on the island, inspiring the picture below.
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Okinawa

The bloodiest and last major battle of the Pacific front before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 82 days were necessary for the US soldiers to take Okinawa from Japan. The Japanese were leading "kamikaze" attack, putting their last resources into this battles. The battle involved 287,000 American soldiers and 130,000 Japanese. After the US won this battle, they had control over the whole Pacific.
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The Flying Tigers

The Flying Tigers were a group of pilot chose along the finest pilots in America. They were volunteers and the band was formed not long after Pearl Harbor. Their mission was to protect China against Japan and later they were used against the japanese aircraft only. All the pilots were talented and demonstrated fine techniques and attitude all along their carriers. Their Commander and founder was Claire Chennault.
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European/African front

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Strategy : Closing in on Hitler from three fronts

The invasion of Normandy (D-Day)

A huge attack on June 6th 1944, with over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes and 150,000 men involved. This day was planned for a long time and the goal of the commanders was to land in Europe by France and then make a way to Berlin to stop Hitler. The US army suffer of a 10,000 casualties including more than 4,000 death. The invasion of Normandy was a part of the "closing in on Hitler from three fronts" strategy.
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Dweight D. Eisenhower

Before being elected as the 34th President of the US, Eisenhower was in charge of the american invasion by Africa and then across the sea to Sicily, up through Italy to Berlin, another part of the three front strategy. He was the supreme Allied Commander of the armies in Europe during World War II.
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George Patton

He was the general in charge to take the US army from Sicily to Berlin. He was a World War I veteran and the most skilled general of his time. He used daring assaults and strategies to take over Sicily. He died in Berlin in 1945, months after the end of the war.
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Omar N. Bradley

The "Soldier General", because of the care he showed to his men, was first supposed to assist Eisenhower in Tunisia and Sicily but ended up commanding his own troops on the recommendations of George Patton. He was the brain behind the most successful operations and commanded more troops than anyone else before him.
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George Marshall

One of the most decorated military leader in US history. He was responsible for the expansion of the army. He became secretary of state for Truman after the war and won a Nobel Price in 1953. Though he never commanded a division, he was the most respected military man in US History after George Washington. He left a profound print almost everywhere he went.
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The Navajo Code Talkers

The US army searched to find a code for the enemy not to understand their battle strategies. A young man, son of a missionary in Navajo reserved find the way to use a code fully composed of Navajo terms. The authority and soldiers were skeptical at first but when the code helped the army took Iwo Jima, the doubts died. This code was very effective and never cracked by the enemy. It was finally revealed in 1968.
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The Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black pilot to serve in the US army. Though they were discriminated, the 996 pilots and their entourage are credited with 15,500 fight and more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses.
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Battle of the Bulge

One of the last german action in 1944. Hitler mobilised almost 250,000 men and split them in two fronts to block the Allies force encomming. The General George Patton is responsible for the neutralisation of the German attack.
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The Fall of Berlin

On April 16th 1945, Stalin's Soviets attacked Berlin with all they had left. The Allies troops agreed to let the Soviets a "free hand". On April 24th Berlin fell while Hitler married his mistress in bunker and then committed suicide when his dream of a Third Reich died.
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