How did The Battle of Midway account for American victory in the Pacific War?Table of contents:Identification and evaluation of sources………………………………………………………p.2Investigation…………………………………………………………………………………..p.3Reflection…………………………………………………………………………………….
p.10Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………………p.11NAME: Hailyn SandresCANDIDATE NUMBER:TOTAL WORLD COUNT:1,883Identification and Evaluation of sourcesFor the topic of how The Battle of Midway accounted American victory, I chose the books by Toland and H.
Belote and M.Belote to begin my research. Toland offered information over the rise and fall of the Japanese empire, from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, from the Japanese perspective. This book was relevant to my investigation because it allowed me to get an insight on the events of World War II and gave me the Japanese viewpoint of how the events occurred.
While Belote offered an insightful analysis on how the carrier operations were valuable in making the battleships obsolete, the types of planes used and the carrier commanders are identified, their operations and tactics explained and it also goes into depth about the comparison of the Naval fleets in general.This book was relevant to my investigation because it gave me a huge insight on Pearl Harbor and the battle of the Coral Sea and the battle of Midway.My first source is TOLAND, JOHN. The RISING SUN VOLUME 1. RANDOM HOUSE, 1970.
Gives a clear description of the decisions of the United States and Japan to go to war over control of East Asia. The purpose of this history is to give historical insight of how war took place and the reasoning behind it, while still being easily readable and more accessible to readers than other histories. Detail account of discussions between the Japanese figures at the top of the government and those responsible for the lead in WWII Pacific war utilizing interviews of all sorts of people: from Prince Mikasa, brother to Hirohito and former US President Harry Truman, to your rank and file Japanese and American troops stationed in the Pacific and the civilians that had to overcome the hardships of war. Toland’s research is comprehensive and thorough and shows how modern Japanese wars came to be. The only limitation to the history is that it was written in the Japanese perspective. My second source is Belote, James H., and William M.
Belote. Titans of the Seas: the Development and Operations of Japanese and American Carrier Task Forces during World War II. Harper ; Row, 1975. This source focuses on tactics and the steps by which Japanese carrier force was laid low by an enemy.
The purpose of the history in the book is to allow the reader an insight on both the US and Japanese point of view at war. This book benefits my investigation because it allows me to get a better insight on the wars within WWII. The limitations of Belotes history is that it fails to go into super depth detail and it provides an unbiased perspective. It relates to my topic because it provides a heavy amount of research and background information leading up to war.InvestigationThe Battle of Midway took place about 1,300 miles away from Hawaii on U.S.
territory, on June 4, 1942, during World War II. At Midway, Japan’s commanders and leaders included Isoroku Yamamoto, Nobutake Kondo, and Chuichi Nagumo, while the United States main leaders included Chester W. Nimitz, Frank Jack Fletcher, and Raymond Spruance.
The Battle of Midway significantly shaped the rest of World War II through the U.S. Navy only losing one carrier, the Imperial Japanese Navy march across the Pacific was halted there, the Japanese attack against Midway Atoll, marked a turning point of war once the US Navy defeated them and ultimately aided allied strategy worldwide in the Pacific.Source:”Path to Midway: Tactical Loss, Strategic Victory.” Station HYPO, 30 Aug.
2016, stationhypo.com/2016/05/27/path-to-midway-tactical-loss-strategic-victory/.Japan’s objectives became a key issue in World War two because their desires to get revenge grew once getting both of their home islands bombed during the Tokyo Air Raid of April of 1942. Although the US had an Eastern defensive perimeter control of Midway, Japan wanted to finish off the US Pacific Fleet, and eventually invade and take Hawaii. In a sense, if Japan would have obtained their goal, US West Coast would have been defenseless against the Japanese Navy.
Before the battle, Midway was not Japan’s first concern, the Samoa Islands, Fiji and Australia were more relevant to them in expanding their new territory in the SouthEast Pacific. But, since it was the closest remaining United States base to Japan, it would ultimately be strongly defended by the US.Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s battle plan was different and strategically planned.
His plan according to the Imperial Japanese Navy strategic doctrine, it was specifically made to get major parts of the United States Fleet into a difficult situation. Yamamoto’s made sure to place his carriers, in an intent to prevent anything from the US Fleet that might come to Midway’s support. Their plan was made during the Tokyo Air Raid by US Army B-25’s flying from US carriers in the middle of April, so their plan had just initiated and was overall going to be a hard and complicated plan to successfully do. The Raid was meant to cause more damage than it actually ended up doing, but it became a shock because it showed just how the Japanese military can’t successfully prevent attacks against their home islands. The Battle of Coral Sea (see appendix), fought 7-8 May 1942, the Imperial Navy of Japan had swept aside all of its enemies from the Pacific and Indian oceans. Information from JN-25(see appendix) was still being deciphered into more depth but it wasn’t until the very end that Admiral Nimitz had a sufficient amount of information to gather up a surprise attack for the Midway attack force.
Fletcher’s carriers were then called back from the South West Pacific area, and Pearl Harbor shipyard successfully managed to get Yorktown, which was severely damaged at the Battle of the Coral Sea. In three days, Yorktown was fixed and fully functioning aircraft carrier, that would be put to work if needed. The Japanese probably only assumed that only Enterprise and Hornet would be sent off considering Yorktown had been thought of as a lost cause, under Admiral Spruance.
Four of the six aircraft carriers that the Japanese used at Pearl Harbor were being used, which were Soryu, Hiryu, Akagi and Kaga.Finally, on June 4, 1942 Japanese carrier aircraft attacked and bombed the base on Midway. B-17’s, long range bombers and Midway based fighters made multiple attacks on the Japanese but it was barely affecting them. Admiral Raymond A. Spruance led US carrier forces but Admiral Fletcher was in total command of Yorktown. Admiral Spruance had the ultimate advantage because of Japanese Navy communications, they knew what intentions and plans to counterattack of the Japanese.
So, quickly the Japanese aircraft returned to their carriers, and Admiral Nagumo re-armed his carriers with bombs for another strike at Midway. The American ships were quickly spotted so, Nagumo then decided to arm an attack against the American ships with torpedoes and bombs stacked, and fuel hoses snaking across their decks. But, the Japanese aircraft failed to initiate the attack on US fleet quick enough, before they fell under attack themselves. Admiral Spruance quickly launched an attack from both Enterprise and Hornet against the Japanese carriers. Anti-aircraft fire and fighters shot down 35 of 41 TBD Devastator torpedo bombers. Then, three Japanese carriers, the Akagi, Kaga and Soryu, were damaged. But then Japanese carrier Hiryu struck aircraft carrier Yorktown, which quickly damaged it but luckily it survived this and a second attack.
Although on June 7th it was sunk by a Japanese submarine. The same submarine sank the destroyer USS Hammann which had been assigned to stay with the Yorktown. Since Admiral Fletcher was in charge of Yorktown but destroyed, his duty was done and then Admiral Spruance came into command. He got the Enterprise aircraft to attack the Hiryu and also managed to damaged Isokaze while doing so. Lastly, Spruance, launched his final attacks and destroyed the last of its Japanese cruisers Mikuma and Mogami.
Ultimately, the United States successfully stopped the expansion of the Japanese Empire in the Pacific after the loss of four aircraft carriers. It had been six months to the day since the attack on Pearl Harbor. The US Navy managed to lose only one aircraft which was yorktown. Meaning they weren’t at a complete loss. The march of the Imperial Japanese Navy across the Pacific was put to an end at Midway. After Midway, the Japanese would be able to react to the Americans, instead of prevailing as they had been for only about six months.Reflection The process of this investigation has enabled me to increase my abilities to research and learn new research methods, in order to experience the role historians play and the challenges they face.
I began my Investigation with a problem of knowledge, that question initiated my research. It was over a time period that I had a personal interest and drive to study. Although most of my sources were secondary, they provided a good amount of useful information covering my topic but it is also tests the accuracy of this material due to the fact that it is not a primary source and not written within the time period. Like for example in Toland, The rising sun volume 1, gives an overview of the relations of the United States of America and Japan leading up to and during World War II. Provides a clear description of the decisions of the United States and Japan to go to war over control of East Asia. But the limitation to the history is that it was written in the Japanese perspective and it was also a secondary source. The book had a Japanese focus that was evident throughout the reading. The total amount of research into both Japan and America, within the World War II, Battle of Midway, has made a good amount of information available.
The quantity of information of research by historians is both beneficial but challenging, it is challenging because they are obligated to carefully select the most factual material. When trying to depict the account for American victory but also managing to include the role of the Japanese, it was difficult to accurately explain the extent of the war itself along with the specific details occurring within battles. Overall, I quickly learned throughout my investigation to overlook the less appealing facts with less importance and go straight to the more factual and into depth analyzes and I believe that is a huge struggle historians face when selecting what information covers the time period more accurately. In conclusion, while creating an argument from the selected sources it was difficult to compare perspective and interpret what the authors are trying to depict accurately. That was a huge problem I personally faced, and I’m sure many historians continue to face. As seen by my analysis, I examined the United States Navy in depth, posing their overall position into the lead up and overall victory of that battle while providing a good amount of information on how the expansion of the Japanese Empire was halted in the Pacific. Providing an unbiased perspective and interpretation was difficult due to how the authors of my sources demonstrated their information.
Endnotes 1- Belote, James H., and William M. Belote, p.552- Toll, Ian W,p.
763-Torres, John Albert,p.104-U.S. Government,p.245-Craddock, John,p.456- U.S. Government,p.
117- Torres, John Albert, p.1278-Toland, John, p.239- Craddock, John,p.1110-Torres, John Albert,p.5411- Weinberg,p.26AppendixMore information on JN-25:Dutch and British had been reading parts of the JN-25 enciphered code, the first Japanese Imperial Fleet communications system.
But, since the most recent version had just changed before the Pearl Harbor attack, they had actually made progress on the new version. Sometime around the beginning of April and late May, it was evident that the current JN-25 version was being deciphered and known that the new Japanese operations could be effectively halted. Location “AF”, was an unclear code but it was obvious that it would be a major point of attack.
Opinions about it were scattered some thought it meant Midway, and others believed it was Aleutians. The issue was never settled but Jasper Holmes, officer at Station Hypo, helped uncover the Japanese plan. Holmes made the base commander at Midway radio Pearl Harbor to say, “it was an emergency and that drinking water was running low due to a breakdown of the water plant.” So JN-25 code was deciphered and “AF” stood for fresh water problems, so the attack force was more prepared because that meant the new operation of attack would be at Midway. More information on The Battle of Coral Sea:It was the first pure carrier-versus-carrier battle in history as neither surface fleet sighted the other. Though a draw, it was an important turning point in the war in the Pacific because, for the first time, the Allies had stopped the Japanese advance.
One of the first major intelligence coups the US Navy was able to capitalize on was learning of the Japanese plan to invade Port Moresby, New Guinea and Tulagi in the eastern Solomon Islands.BibliographyBelote, James H., and William M. Belote. Titans of the Sea: the Development and Operations of Japanese and American Carrier Task Forces during World War 2.
Harper; Row, 1975.Burleigh, Michael. Good and Evil in World War II. Harper, 2011.Craddock, John. First Shot: the Untold Story of the Japanese Mini subs That Attacked Pearl Harbor.
McGraw-Hill, 2006.Toland, John. The Rising Sun Volume 1. Random house, 1970.Toll, Ian W.
Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942. W.W. Norton, 2012.
Torres, John Albert. The Battle of Midway. Mitchell Lane Publishers, 2012.Wagner, Margaret E., and David M. Kennedy. The Library of Congress World War II Companion.
Simon; Schuster, 2007.The War against Japan. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1952.
Weinberg. World War II: a Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2014.”Path to Midway: Tactical Loss, Strategic Victory.
” Station HYPO, 30 Aug. 2016, stationhypo.com/2016/05/27/path-to-midway-tactical-loss-strategic-victory/.