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Sudden War in the Pacific The Japanese Empire emerges from isolation # becomes a major military power # defeats the Russian Empire and attacks China and # prepares for imperial conquest
Japan Strikes Japanese Admiral Yamamoto launches war with # a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 # then the Philippines and elsewhere, but # America is unready # and US General MacArthur is sent to Australia to plan retaliation
An Arc of Conquest Japan wins astounding victories in the Pacific and South East Asia in 1942 with # ignominious defeats for Americans, British, Dutch and Australians, and # the ‘Greater South-East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere’ is established but # it is a war that Japan cannot win
The Fall of the Philippines American planning errors and tactical failures lead to # courageous but futile defence in 1942 and # surrender and # the Bataan March to captivity
The Tiger of Malaya Japan’s General Yamashita executes a brilliant plan to invade Malaya in 1941 and # British General Percival, despite his numerical superiority, is inadequate for his task, leading to # the surrender of Singapore in 1942, the worst defeat in British military history and # the failure of Britain’s ‘Singapore Strategy’ for defence of the Empire
Pearl Harbour, Corregidor and Singapore in Retrospect With the hindsight of six decades # an examination of the causes and consequences of these Allied disasters can be illuminating
Australia Under Attack The nation is unprepared for Japan’s advances with # its major forces on the other side of the world and # an infantry division captured in Singapore and after # a surprise attack on Darwin in 1942 # Australia looks to America for support
Decisive Battles of 1942 Crucial to the Allies’ eventual success are # the Battle of the Coral Sea # the Battle of Midway, and # the Guadalcanal Campaign
Striking Back in Papua The Battle of Milne Bay in 1942 is Japan’s first defeat on land, leading to # the gruelling Kokoda Track Campaign and # despite flawed Allied command in the South West Pacific Area # costly victories are won at Buna and Gona
Special Operations Australian commandos perform legendary feats of arms against Japanese invaders in Timor (the locale of modern peace-keeping and nation-building operations) and # Z Special commandos mount daring raids on Japanese-held Singapore and # the Coastwatchers in the South Pacific are praised by US Admiral Nimitz: "The Coastwatchers saved Guadalcanal, and Guadalcanal saved the Pacific"
MacArthur, New Guinea and the Counter-Offensives General MacArthur re-assesses his strategy and now # by-passes some Japanese strongholds and # by 1944 secures New Guinea for his return to the Philippines
Vaulting the Central Pacific US Admiral Nimitz in 1943 commences a long and difficult approach across the vast Pacific Ocean by ‘island-hopping’ and # by-passing Japanese outposts and # recaptures vital island chains to secure air bases for an assault on Japan
Defeat into Victory British and Commonwealth forces are defeated in Burma in 1942 and # withdraw into India but # assisted by US General Stillwell’s forces in China # launch a masterly counter-offensive under British General Slim that takes them to Rangoon and victory in 1945
“I Have Returned” MacArthur assaults the Philippines in 1944 and prepares for # the final thrust to the Japanese mainland and # the largest, and costliest, amphibious invasion in history
The Final Battles The Allied conquests of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in early 1945 are the fiercest battles of the Pacific War and # they secure crucial stepping-stones for # Operation Olympic, the invasion of the Japanese homeland island of Kyushu scheduled for November 1945 but # averted by atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The Atomic Bombs and Victory Japan is obviously facing defeat by mid-1945 but # plans for Operation Olympic forecast massive casualties, and # US President Truman faces agonising choices as # Japan prepares a fanatical defence and Russia enters the Pacific War, so # the nuclear devastation of two Japanese cities is ordered and # the rights or wrongs of this are argued for decades
Commanders of the Pacific War Douglas Macarthur, William Slim, Chester Nimitz, Yamamoto Isoruku, Yamashita Tomoyuku, Arthur Percival, Jonathan Wainwright and # other, lesser-known, leaders
ALSO: Capture of German Colonies in the Pacific, 1914 # Japanese Submarines in the Pacific War # POWs in the Pacific War

The Team

Colonel Gerry McCormack BA
Gerry McCormack
Major General Mike O’Brien CSC, BSc (Mil), MDefAdmin
Mike O'Brien
Air Vice Marshal Alan Titheridge AO, BSc, MDefStud
Alan Titheridge
Associate Professor Harvey Broadbent BA (Hons), DipEd
Harvey Broadbent
Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie AO
Chris Ritchie
Colonel (Professor) David Horner DipMilStud, MA (Hons), PhD
David Horner
Bill Crews
Chris Mullane ONZM, MBE
Chris Mullane
Air Commodore Mark Lax OAM, CSM BSc, MA(hons), PhD
Mark Lax
Major General Paul Stevens, AO, BA
Paul Stevens
Barry Dryer, MPP
Barry Dryer


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