Pacific Soldiers

Island Hopping WW2

Soldiers? Be More Pacific.

In the middle of World War 2, the United States entered after a Japanese attack. This opened the Pacific war theatre to the warring nations. However this seemed to mostly pertain to the United States and Japan. This was problematic for both sides because of the constant change of islands and war on the ocean. From finding each other on an island or in the middle of the ocean, to bombing each other furiously, WWII was certainly a war fueled by hate. This is especially true in the Pacific theatre.


Sunday, Dec. 7th 1941 at 12pm

Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, HI, United States


Closer Look At The American Soldiers

On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. This infuriated the American people so much that everyone was signing up to go to war. Most of the men in America signed up to fight in the war immediately because of the anger and frustration they had for the Japanese. The time surrounding WWII was one of great patriotism. Even those not eligible to fight in the Pacific theatre found ways to help out the troops overseas.

The hate for the Japanese was intense. Everyone was signing up, and the nationalism was at a record high. As seen in the above propaganda poster, words like "avenge" are used to describe the harsh emotions embedded in American soldiers and culture at the time.

Fighting in the jungles of the Pacific islands proved to be very difficult for the American soldiers. The harsh weather conditions and difficult navigation was troublesome for the soldiers. As for navigation, it was difficult to move very far when necessary as captivated in the Guadalcanal Journal when the author writes: "The jungle is thick as hell. The Fifth Regiment landed first and marched to the airport. We went straight through and then cut over to block the escape of the Japs. It took three days to go six miles. Japs took off, left surplus the first day, which was done away with." (Donahue). Donahue, a soldier in the war, so elegantly put that "the jungle is thick as hell". He wasn't wrong, however. The jungle was very hard to navigate for these soldiers and the weather in the jungle was not what they were used to (as seen when he later wrote: "It is extremely hot." (Donahue). When you are lost, hot, and frustrated, you can only imagine what these soldiers were feeling while trudging along the Pacific jungle (with heavy equipment, might I add).

The psychological state of the soldiers was compromised during WWII. The things these men had to do and put up with were so intense. One soldier even had to put his own squad out of misery when he wrote: "I've killed or demolished two of my men because they wore of' no value to the unit. One of' them was seriously wounded, the ether suffering from a punctured lung." (Iwo Jima Diary). How could someone not be emotionally damaged after killing their friends because your squad couldn't move on with them.

Besides jungle navigation and resentment for each, the soldiers were mostly bombing each other at sea. The American Navy was not a force to be reckoned with, even after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The naval battles were intense, as well as the constant bombing. As seen in the below pictures (USS Lexington and Yorktown), a great amount of the battles consisted of a navy and bombs. The other portion of of WWII consisted of soldiers racing up the shores of Pacific as seen below in US Marines.

Closer Look At the Japanese soldiers

When the United States aggresively banned Japan from buying essential materials such as steel, oil, and aviation fluid; the Japanese had no other choice than to attack the American soldiers.

The Japanese drive to win this war against the US was dangerous for us. They would even die for their cause (as seen through their suicide bombings). They were always in high spirits, even when their supplies were low and their outcome not so great. This is evident when a soldier writes: "We are still in high spirits and there is little food left and we are determined to make it last until the 8th. We would like to stick it out until the end a little more and let our forces know the courage of the commander and subordinates. As our last hope we are waiting for the power of god. . . . The place where a soldier dies is very important." ("We're Still Alive Today"). Even in the picture below, Japanese War Prisoners, the soldiers haven't even given up or gone crazy because they are so embedded in their cause.

When things were looking down, the Japanese developed the Kamikaze. The kamikaze was viewed as the savior for them because it scored them so many victories. During its prime years, it became a part of the culture. If you were a Japanese family and your son was a kamikaze pilot, your family felt so high and honored because this was how they were viewed to be. Look at the picture below titled Kamikaze Pilot. Notice how so many people are there to honor him as he flies away. The kamikaze became part of Japanese culture during WWII.

One of the challenges that the Japanese faced was US bombing. The soldiers were often bombed without warning, and the destruction was tremendous (See Pacific Theatre Bombing below).

The Japanese had a drive to win WWII, and it was reflected in their soldiers.

Continuity and Change over time


  • The constant bombings and destruction of both sides.
  • Continuation of the use of naval and air forces in the pacific theatre.
  • The Japanese drive to do anything to kill us, holy crap.


  • The technology. The development of the kamikaze and the manhattan project.
  • The dynamic in the home country. The roles of everyone left behind

Similarities and Differences


  • The US and Japan tried to use persuasive tactics to convince natives to join their cause when fighting on the pacific islands.

"To demonstrate the great power of the Imperial Army to Islanders, we performed shooting practice on the beach near Syowa-machi. We had lunch at primary school, and found villagers are eager to learn Japanese and make painful efforts. SwimTraining again. In the evening, staff of the amusement show dined together at Ohmiya-hall. Being mellow, slightly drunk and unsteady, the twilight driving was nice. Watch out your handling!" (My Guadalcanal).

  • Both armies had tremendous amounts of hate for each other.

See propaganda poster and constant bombings.


  • Japan had a better air force than the US. However, the US had a better Navy.

See USS Lexington, Yorktown, and also the Japanese had the Kamikaze.

cause and effect

The way the war started was a domino effect of misunderstandings and vicious strikes (the type, however, depended on what side you were on). The chain of events that started the pacific theatre seemed to look a lot like this:

Embargo towards Japan --> Bombing of Pearl Harbor --> US and Japan go to war

The hate towards Japan set off another chain of events such as:

Bombing of Pearl Harbor --> American Men sign up for war --> Women rise to fill in the positions that the men left


I tried to write each closer look with a sympathy bias towards the side I was writing about.

Standard C:

  • clear, in-depth knowledge of concepts and events that define the area of study
  • Detailed and explicit analysis of how concepts and/or events directly or indirectly lead to other concepts and/or events (cause / effect)
  • successful synthesis of primary source information that supports the argument for cause/effect
  • Detailed and explicit analysis of how concepts, events, and/or processes change across and/or transcend time or regions(continuity/change)
  • successful synthesis of primary source information that supports the argument for continuity/change
  • clear, concise summation of impact of events and/or concepts discussed
  • successful communication of argument in a manner that is clear and easily identifiable

Standard D:

  • Clear, in-depth understanding of the events and/or concepts being discussed
  • the ability to identify and analyze similarities among events, concepts, etc…
  • the use of appropriate primary source information to support discussed similarities
  • the ability to identify and analyze the differences among events, concepts, etc…
  • the use of appropriate primary source information to support discussed differences
  • the formation of clear, concise conclusions regarding the area(s) of study
  • logical and appropriate organization based on the assigned task

About the Author

Terrance New

IB DP Junior