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Pacific War (World War II)

Phase of World War II that began when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor (7 December 1941). Their plan was to conquer southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean as far as Midway and then, by defending its perimeter, force the USA to submit. After initial successes Japan experienced a slow but general defeat in the face of allied (mainly American) material superiority. They lost control of the sea at Midway. Their eastern perimeter was smashed by American forces at Tarawa, Kwajalein and in the Solomons. Their western perimeter was undermined by Commonwealth victories at Imphal and Kohima. As the Americans drew closer (1944-45), air attacks saturated Japan with bombs. Soviet forces overran Japanese-occupied Manchuria in August 1945. US President Harry Truman planned to invade Japan in 1945-46, but the nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused Japan to surrender unconditionally before this could occur.


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