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August 14, 1945 - Image 2

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Michigan Daily, 1945-08-14

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Brief History
23,000,000 Casualties
In" W rldsGreatest War
Associated Press Foreign Staff
The second great world war of the century has ended with the utter de-
feat' of Japan, last of the Axis powers which conspired to divide the world
into three vast spheres of cruelty and barbarism.
Peace has come after 14 years of alnost continuous war in Manchuria,
thiopia, China, Europe, Africa, Asia aid the Islands of the Pacific.
The chief instigators of this enormous conflict in which close to 23,-
000,00 were killed or wounded in combat - not counting the millions
killed by starvation; air raids and othex ,;auses * have been Japan's mili-
tary clique, choosing to lead the people. into what amounted to national
'icidle. It has now been smashed.
fih 'legend of the divinity of her clouds of smoke covered the harbor.
emperor, cornerstone of Japan's In the blazing inferno eight bat-
"ifique culture, may have been swept tliships - almnost half the U. S.
4 y inthe first major defeat of .Navy's backbone - and 10 other
r -2,605 years of recorded or myth ships were sunk or damaged and
lcal' history. more than 3,000 men killed or miss-
"Hitler has disappeared in the veri- ii'g
table Goetterdaemmerung that ex- for the next six months the news
tihguish'ed Germany as a unified nart Was like a bad dream.
.t61.' Mussolini, living by violence, Striking simultaneously at the
died that way. Phiflippines, Singapore, Hong Kong,
" The boast of Admiral Osoroku that the Dutch East Indies and the islands
he would dictate terms in the White in the Paiflc, the warriors of Nip-
House, the Greater East Asia Co- pen seemed swarming everywhere at
'Prosperity Sphere, the Reich of a once. Awmed with their leend of
thousand years and the New Order, irnvincibility, schooled in jungle war-
MVfudolini's 8,000,000 bayonets and fare and seemingly directed by fault-
the new Roman empire, stand today less precision, the Japanese stretched
as emnpty vainglories. their empire thousands of miles in
'he chain of aggression, beginning a:scant three months.
in Manchuria Sept. 18, 1931, reached Hawaii lay under the dread of in-
its zenith in 1942, when Japan's vasion, Alaska was in danger. Jap-
realm reached 5,000 miles either way, anase submarines prowled the Pa-
inom the Aleutians to Java, from cific coast and. California had the
'Mianchuria and Burma to mid-Pa- jitters and once was actually shelled.
cifc, and embraced an enslaved pop-
ulation of nearly 500,000,000.' Bataan
''Japah's militarists,-dreaming of
eb Ursts more faitastis than But new epics of American heroism
'righis Khan's, stood on the were being written.
tihresheld of dominion over 1,000, 'the Death March of Bataan - the
,0,00people. saga from the thirst-parched lips of
Rickenbacker and others like him
Pearl Harbor adrift for days and weeks on the





ing four aircraft carriers sent to thes
bottom and three battleships dam-





With bated breath the whole world aged, It was Japan's most crippling
waited for the battle for Australia. loss in her naval history up to that
On March 17, MacArthur arrived in time. At least 275 of her planes were
Australia by plane after slipping 'out lost.
of Corregidor on a bouncing PT boat American losses were the carrier
that eluded Japanese over hundreds Yorktown and a destroyer.
of South Sea miles.IThis was the end of retreat in the
"I came through and I will return," Pacific, and the Allies were near
he declared, as he assumed command their low point in the war. Three
in Southeast, Asia. days later, on June 9, Hitler loosed
But the English-speaking democ- his drive from Kharkov for Stalin-
racy in the litle continent in the grad, and 15 d-fys later, on June 21,
Antipodes was in a desperate plight. Rommel in Africa suddenly turned
The Japanese had seized the Ad- the tables on the British, captured
miralty Isles and 1l the important Tobruk and sped on to El Alamein
bases in northern New Guinea. They within striking distance of Suez.
were solidly settled in Rabaul in
New Britain and were infiltrating Guawdlcanal
into the Solomons. Australia was in
danger of having its supply line to The time had now come 'to strike
America cut. the first real counterblow. It came
Washington and London were pre- Aug. 7, 1942, at Guadalcanal, the
occupied with the German peril to first of the amphibious landings on
Moscow and Suez. the way to Tokyo.
But .,lowly MacArthur's American- Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Mar-
Australian-Dutch-New Zealand forc- 'ies under Maj. Alexander A. Van-
es gathered strength. Refugees from dergrift took the Japanese complete-
hundreds of shipwrecks, the bombed Jy by surprise and at first scored a
escape ports of the Indies. the scat- brilliant success, seizing the prized!
tered guerilla battlers"of the Philip- Henderson airfield and the nearby
pines filtered in. Australian veterans Tulagi anchorage.
of Africa returned. U. S. troops en- But for months the outcome of
route to Manila when the war broke this struggle in the insect-infested
out were diverted to Australia, and jungles remained in doubt. Not
more arrived. Militia drilled. until Feb. 9, 1943, was the island
He had not long to prepare before finally secured.
the Japanese launched a full scale 'The "Tokyo Express"- fast taks
effort down the Solomon Sea cor- forces of destroyers and other ships
ridor through the Louisiades. -ran supplies and reinforcements



and three American cruisers were
There followed the naval engage -
ments of the eastern Solomons, the
Battle of Cape Esperance and the
Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
in which the Americans. lost the
veteran carirer Hornet and a de-
In October the Japanese succeed-
ed in landing reinforcements and in
preparing to drive the Americans
into the sea. But American Army re-
inforcenents also arrived at the crii-
sis. Adm. William F. (Bull) Halsey
.took command of naval forces in the
On the other side of the world,
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's great
expedition was sailing from England
and America for North Africa.
On Nov. 13, 14 and 15 the decisive
battle, known as the Batle of Guad-
alcanal, took place at sea. It was
the greatest surface action since the
Battle of Jutland in the First World
The Japanese sent three forces of
warships and transports, with a
spearhead of at least two -battle-
ships and 16 cruisers and destroyers
in one column. This vanguard was
almost destroyed at night by a cruis-
er task force lead by Rear Adm. Dan-
iel J. Callaghan. Callaghan, match-
ing his cruiser San Francisco against
one of the battleships, boldly thrust
his Title column in the midst of the
Japanese. Callaghan lost his life,
but the Japanese were routed in the
Either unaware of the disaster
that had overtaken their vanguard
or unable to arrest their battle plans,
the other two Japanese forces came
on the next day and night and ran
into a similar massacre. This time
U. S. batleships participated.
The final count was at .least 28
Japanese ships sunk, including one
and possibly two battleships and 12
transports loaded with troops. Two
American cruisers and six destroy-
ers were sunk.
In a last desperate effort the Jap-
(Continued on Page 3)


Pearl Harbor, "the date that will'
live in infamy," wrecked that dream.
On that day, Dec. 7, 1941, there was
'ast into the scales the vast flood
from the arsenal of America, the
high courage of her soldiers, sailors,
marines and airmen.
"Smnall but elite air forces, submar-
ine men, soldiers, a crippled navy-
the expendables -.arrested Japan's
progress. Then the mightiest fleet
the world had ever known, the earth's
greatest air force and one of its most
powerful armies-the armed power
of an aroused American democracy
-beat their way across the widest
ocean to the homeland of the Mik-
ado. Allies from Britgin and the
'British dominions, from China and
others of the United Nations shared
in the mighty enterprises.
Japan was overwhelmed by new
weapons and methods of global strat-
egy - the movable strategic air'
force of a hundred aircraft carriers.
The super-bomber, the incredible ar-
madas of supply ships, floating docks
and' maintenance vessels known 'a
the "fleet train," the more 'than 60
types of landing craft and crawling
monsters, the stupendous array of
'e'quipment and talent of the more
than 60 amphibious "island hopping"
operations, the seabee and the bull-
dozer that turned tiny islands into
formidable bases, the jellied gaso-
line bomb that 'turned Japan into a
land of burned out cities.
The United States was tested by
the most humiliating defeats of her.
history, but she also won 'some of
her greatest victories.
Fighting two great wars simultan-
'eously, she won them both, and now
emerges upon a new stage of world
power, her armies of occupation
spanning two oceans.
But the cost is in huge American
cemeteries that dot the world map,
news names - Bataan, Faid Pass,
Corregidor, Salerno, Guadalcanal,
Anzio, Coral Sea, Cassino, Midway,
Tarawa, St. Lo, Saipan, Aachen, Iwo
Jima, the Rhine, Okinawa, the Ar-
dennes and many others --have
been burned into American memory
Pearl Harbor was foreshadowed by
the tri-partite pact of Germany, Italy
and Japan on Sept. 27, 1940, but
Americans were astounded in the
midst of a quiet Sunday afternoon
by the White House announcement
that Japanese planes were attacking
that proud stronghold in mid-Paci-
Even as the Japanese bombers
were roaring over Diamond Head,
Tokyo's two envoys called at the
State Department in their "peace
Never were treacherous negotia-
tions carried to such farcical ex-
Senator Burton K. Wheeler, a lead-
er of the isolationists, fervently ex-
pressed the white hot indignation:
"The only thing now is to do our
best to lick hell out of them.". The
Japanese had done what everything
before could not do--unify the
American people for war against ag-
In Honolulu that morning Ameri-
cans praised the Lord and passed the
ammunition. They had need to place
their trust in providence that Sab-

Pacific - the cockiness of Chen-
nfault's AVG, the Flying Tigers-Doo-
l ttle's unheard-of stunt, flying two-
m tored bombers off the Hornet over
Tokyo . . . the resourcefulness of
Bulkeley's PT crews . . . fortitude in
the malarial jungles of New Guinea
and the leech-infested mud of Bur-
ma . . . a war under savage condi-
tions against savage men.
Associated Press dispatches from
Bataan gave the first inkling of how
the modern American soldier was
facing up"to this. He was cocky,
slangy, humorous, ingenious and
To Tojo's great surprise, Americans
had not grown soft.
Thailand, a supposedly indepen-
dent buffer for 'British Singapore,.
vas the first to fall. Bangkok, weak-
ened by Japanese political infiltra-
te n, capitulated on the second day
6the wan.
Guam, the U. S. island whose
fortifications had only been talked
about, fell on the fourth day. For
the first time since 1812 a con-
queror's flag waved over Ameri-
can soil!
Wake was next after an epic 14-
day defense by fewer than 400 mar-
Hong Kong, the British crown col-
ony, was attacked from the Chinese
mainland. The teeming Asiatic city
fell on Christmas day. Some of its
handful of Canadian and British de-
fenders' were bayoneted after being
'taken prisoner.
Aepeating their success of Pearl
Harbor, Japanese air strikes caught
lines of parked American planes on
airfields around Manila, and the in-
vasion of the Philippines started on
Dec. 10 with a landing at Aparri at
the northern tip of Luzon. Other
landings followed in the Legaspi
area southeast of Manila and Lin-
gayen Gulf, north of the capital.'
With Filipino troops loyally rally-.
ing about him, Gen. Douglas Mac-
Arthur began his delaying battle.
Manila was declared an open city
the day after Christmas, but the Jap-
anese bombed it unmercifully.
Manila, where Dewey wrote history
in another generation, was occupied
by the Japanese on January 2, and
MacArthur gathered his little army
of 35,000 Americans and Filipinos
into the tight jungle-girt peninsula
of Bataan.
The Americans dug in among the
banyan roots and began writing the
epic of Bataan. A few patched up
planes were their only air force, sub-
marines slipping in at night their
only supply, horsemeat their fare.
They repelled many a bloody
charge. Capt. Arthur Wermuth be-

came the first "one man army" of
the war. But on April 11 Bataan sur-
Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright
took over on Corregidor for nearly
a month of blood and suffering, af-
ter MacArthur was ordered to pre-
pare the defense' of Australia and for
a counter-offensive the Japanese
pounded the bare little rock with
bombers and artillery, then landed,
and Corregidor gave up on May 6.
The survivors joined the death march
to prison camps.
Jap's Spread Out
By then the Japanese had spread
over all Malaya, the Dutch East In-
dies and virtually all of Burma.
The loss of Singapore was the
greatest blow to British prestige
since Dunkerque two years before.
The Japanese piled off their wooden
landing boats onto the scarcely de-
fended marshy coast of Malaya at
Kota Bharu on Dec. 8, the date the
war began in the Far bast.
Two days later they struck their
second great blow at Allied naval
power when their bombers pounced
on two of Britain's proudest battle-
ships, the Prince of Wales and the
Repulse, and sank them off the Ma-
laya coast.
Having robbed Singapore of its
naval shield, the Japanese leap-
frogged down the coast and infiltra-
ted British lines in the jungle at
night, to the amazement of British
generals who never had believed an
attack on Singapore from the land-
ward side was possible.
AustraliansuBritish and Indians
were brave but outclassed in this
type of warfare. The Japanese beat
them back onto Singapore's island
on Jan. 12, and after a short seige
they plunged across the strait into
the mangrove swamps in a night
attack. Singanore fell on Feb. 15
amid lurid fires, its giant guns still
pointing toward the sea - the wrong
The British lost an army of
100,000 men, control of the ap-
proaches to Burma, India, the
Dutch East Indies, communica-
tions between Australia and the
Middle East.
The Japanese already had landed
on Borneo on Dec. 16 and on the
Celebes and worked down Makassar
Strait despite the blows of flying
fortresses and U. S. destroyer forces
which got in their first licks of the
So far as the East Indies were con-
cerned, the decisive battle was fought
in the Java Sea - a disaster for the
Allies. Setting their invasion fleet
in motion, the Japanese trapped a
United Nations fleet commanded by
Dutch Vice Admiral C. E. L. Hel-
frich in the Java Sea. In the en-


gagement, Feb. 27-28, the Allies lost
15 American, British, Australian and
Dutch warships before they could
withdraw under punishing air and
submarine attacks.
The Japanese landed. on Java
.March 1 and six days later had oc-
cupied Batavia, the capital, and Ban-
doeng, mountain stronghold. The
British defended Sumatra and its
rich oil wells until -March 19, and
Dutch guerillas continued to hold out
in some of the islands for months,
but the campaign was virtually over.
The white man's prestige in the
Orient slumped to a new low in
Burma, which the Japanese in-
vaded , along almost impossible
mountain trails from Thialand
even before. they finished the cap-
ture of Singapore.
The enemy captured Moulmein,
crossed the Sittang, and captured
Rangoon, capital and chief port, on
March 8 - again striking from the
backdoor. Harrassed by unruly Bur-
mese in their retreat up the Irra-
waddy, the hard way out of Burma,
the British surrendered Mandalay,
heart of the Kipling country, on May
2. To many, the old British Empire
seemed to be' coming apart at the
The Japanese, who at last had got
the better of the heroic AVG, pushed
on through Lashio, terminal of the
Burma Road to China, and reached
the Salween Gorge in Yunnan, Chi-
na's southwestern province. China,
fighting since July 7, 1937, seemed
open to a knockout.
On May 25, Gen. Joseph W. Still-
well and Is little band of Americans'
and Chinese straggled through the
rugged mountains back into India.
He summed up the whole sorry story
of unpreparedness:
"I claim we got a hell of a beat-
ing. We got run out of Burma and
it is ;hugiiliating as hell!"
' i ?
The British had negnected to build
the roads which would have made a
defense in northern Burma possible.
They had attempted to stay the Jap-
anese advance with obsolete planes.
Insufficient reinforcements had ar-
rived in Singapore just in time to be
captured. The Dutch had planned
a defense with planes and guns that
never arrived from America.
The Japanese had won an empire
of oil, tin, rubber at trifling cost.

Coral Sea
The Battle of the Coral Sea, May
4-8, was the first great modern sea
battle fought without surface ships
coming within gunrange of one an-
other. In in the flattop, the giant
airplane carrier, proved that hence-
forth it was the queen of sea power.
For four days the flaming battle
spread over 400,000 square miles of
tropic and coral reefs, with the two
fleets standing 80 to 100 miles apart.
Two American carriers were pitted
against three of the Japanese. And
when the smoke of battle cleared 15
Japanese ships, including. at least
one carrier and perhaps a second,
had gone down. At least 20 more,
including another carrier, were dam-
aged. The American losses were the
gallant carrier Lexington, a destroy-
er and a tanker.
At least 32 other Japanese ships
were sunk or damaged inprevious air
strikes on shipping concentrations at
Tulagi, Salamaua and Lae on March
10 and May 4.
This was the beginning of the
turning of the tide, but it did not
halt the Japanese entirely.
The little brown warriors were yet
to make their landings at Buna in
New Guinea on July 2 and begin
their audacious thrust over the top
of the"towering Owen Stanley range
toward Port Moresby. They were
yet to make their abortive attempt
at Milne Bay on Sept. 25, highwater
mark of the threat of Asiatic dom-
ination of Australia.
Then, almost exactly six months
after Pearl Harbor, a Japanese in-
Vasion armada of more than 80 ships
was ambushed as the result of an
accurate estimate that the balked
enemy would now turn toward Ha-
The Battle of Midway, June 3-6,
was another vast engagement spread
over a great panorama of the Pacific
with Japanese landings in the midst
of the Aleutians as a sideshow.
This time submarines, flying fort-
resses, Navy flying boats and Marine
bombers and fighters got in their
blows as well as the carrier planes.
Never did outnumbered Americans
display a more brilliant courage.
Navy Torpedo Squadron 8 connected
with the enemy fleet and not one
plane of the 15 returned. A lone en-
sign survived.
But the Japanese battle fleet was
forced to flee, crippled and burning
under a hail of bombs and torpedoes.
The final score was at least 20 Jap-
anese ships sunk or damaged, includ-

down at night. Their submarines
prowled the waters, making them un-
safe for Allied transports and war-
ships to remain off the island. Their
warships made night raids, ripping
the beach and scattering death in
the foxholes. Their bombers forced
U. S. fighter squadrons on Guadal-
canal into a battle of exhaustion.
Naval engagement after naval en-
gagament was fought while the
Leathernecks held on grimly. On the
night of Aug. 8 a Japanese cruiser
force caught Allied naval forces off
guard and in a spectacular night
action off Savo Island one Australian

7 _1_ ,


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