Research Paper on Pearl Harbor Attack: US, UK, and Allies Join Forces Against Japan

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1614 Words
Date:  2023-02-27


On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the USA pacific fleet, after a failure in dispute resolutions concerning Japanese actions of acquiring territories in French Indochina and China. This attack massively crippled the US pacific battleship fleet and birthed war between the two countries. At almost the same time, Japan also attacked territories owned by the British Empire and acquired them, therefore, attracting the UK, New Zealand, and Australia in this conflict. With these attacks, Japanese rulers aimed to deactivate the threat of the US fleet, acquire capture natural-rich territories from other empires, and boost their military defenses by obtaining strategic military bases. In a view to tackling this Japanese threat, the US government officially created the Pacific Ocean Theater on March 30, 1942. Admiral Chester Nimitz was appointed to head this theater with the title of 'Supreme Allied Commander Pacific Ocean Area.' A southwest Pacific Theatre was also instituted, and it constituted all allied armies who were commanded by the US army general by the name of Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur and Nimitz used Leapfrogging and Island hopping to attack Japan in the pacific. Admiral Nimitz commanded a large fleet and attacked northwards towards Bonin Islands by capturing the Marianas and the Marshall and Gilbert Islands and Marshall. At the same time, a more significant ground force led by General MacArthur advanced towards the Philippines while acquiring New Guinea, the Solomon's Island, and the Bismarck Archipelago.

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Leapfrogging Use and Importance

Leapfrogging was a military strategy applied during World War 2 by the Allied forces in the Pacific War against Japan. This technique involved evading and isolating the Islands that were more fortified by the Japanese and simultaneously taking measures to acquire vital and strategic islands. Leapfrogging came about through another technique called Island hopping. Island hopping entailed setting up of military base after a new Island was taken over from the Japanese. Future attacks and planning of taking over of another Island would then be launched from the newly acquired Island. The two strategies were useful in the pacific war because Island hopping led to the establishment of new bases. On the other hand, leapfrogging aided in subduing of essential and strategic placed Islands from the enemies and at the same helped in winning wars against Japanese forces by destroying their military bases.

The leapfrogging strategy applied both air and seaborne attacks on Japanese bases by Isolating and blockading them, therefore, undermining their garrisons and minimizing any ability to reinforce or resupply. It meant that bypassed principal islands like the significant base of Rabaul were isolated and rendered useless to the Japanese war effort. It has enabled Allied forces to take over targeted territories from the Japanese with less difficulty. This strategy's effectiveness is shown when the Philippines is regained from Japanese troops by General MacArthur and his forces. The leapfrogging plan mainly had to advantages. It provided the Allied forces with the upper hand of the element of surprise that always caught the Japanese troops mainly off-guard. It also the US troops to reach Japan faster and with fewer casualties than if they had to capture every Japanese Island along the way.

Nimitz Contribution In the Pacific War

US Naval Admiral Chester Nimitz played an essential role in ensuring that the Allies were victorious in the pacific Wars against the Japanese troops. He was appointed the dual Commander in chief of the US Pacific fleet (CinCPac) for the American naval troops, and also for the Pacific Ocean Areas (CinCPOA) representing the US and the Allied Air, Sea, and land forces. He successfully repelled and defeated the advances of Japanese imperial navy through his wits in various documented battles like; the battle of the Coral Sea (May 4-8, 1942, the action of Midway (June 4-7, 1942), Solomon island campaign (January-June, 1942), the battle of the Leyte Gulf (October 23-26, 1944), and the battle of the Philippines Sea (June 19-20, 1944).

In early May, Admiral Nimitz and his staff deciphered Japanese messages that indicated a probable Japanese attack to Port Moresby and Allied bases at Suva and Samoa. After consulting Admiral Ernest king, four aircraft career fleets were sent to the Coral Sea to contend with the Japanese army. Although the Japanese troops sank Allies ships, the battle was a success because the Japanese were repelled from acquiring strategic Allied territories. One month after the Coral Sea battle, the US naval fleet inflicted irreparable damages to the Japanese naval fleet in the battle of Midway through the help of Nimitz's brilliance. He used the US cryptanalysis to decipher Japanese JN 25b code, where he learned that the Japanese had divided their fleet into four groups, which advantaged the US fleet because fleet carriers were more substantial and more equipped than those of the Japanese navy.

Nimitz led the Allied fleet to comprehensively defeat the Japanese forces in the battle of the Philippines that occurred in the Mariana Islands, during the final stages of the pacific war. This defeat culminated with the take over of Tinian, Saipan, and Guam. Nimitz led ships also prevailed in the Leyte Gulf battle, where they drove back a powerful Japanese fleet assault. Other key achievements of Admiral Nimitz was the accomplished long-range amphibious raid on Okinawa and Iwo Jima. Moreover, the successful 'operation starvation' mission that mined Japanese waterways and ports using B-29 super fortresses to cause logistics disturbances in the Japanese camp, only shows how Nimitz was brilliant in war strategies. After the formal surrender of Japan, Nimitz signed the treaty on behalf of the USA on board the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.

MacArthur's Contribution to the Pacific War

Army General Douglass Mac Arthur was the supreme Allied CommanderCommander responsible for the southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) during the Pacific War. Allied forces comprised of troops from Australia, the US, New Zealand, several Pacific Islands, and the Netherlands. General MacArthur troops occupied the northeast coast of New Guinea and the surrounding Islands. After Japanese forces had taken over Rabaul from Australian soldiers in 1942 and made it a significant base in Southern Pacific, it presented a considerable obstacle to the Allies because of its crucial positioning. MacArthur developed Operation recapture the support from the Japanese.

General MacArthur is the director of Cartwheel operation (also called Elkton 3) that occurred between 1943 and 1944. The process uses a leapfrogging strategy as experienced in early 1943. Its implementation led to the seizure of Tulagi (Guadalcanal), central Solomon's Island Santa Cruz Islands, and the northeast coast of New Guinea, An example being the Guadalcanal war, which led to unchallenged capture of Russell Islands through operation clean slate in February 1943. Reprisal trials by Japanese troops to reinforce the area via the Sea prompted MacArthur to attack through the air force on March 2-5, 1943. The Japanese suffered disastrous effects, which causes Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto to initiate operation hastily 'I Go' against Allied forces, which ultimately leads to his death and more territorial losses for the Japanese.

The operation began on September 4, 1943, when the Australian 9th division landed at Lae. In November 1943, MacArthur directed an amphibious landing in Admiralty Islands that was not received well by the Japanese. Admiralty Islands were finally captured after six months of fierce fighting. The Japanese troops were Isolated and caught off-balance in the Wewak area. The strategy success is cutting off enemies' lines of supply and communication, therefore, avoiding facing intense enemy concentration and improve chances of success. To capture Rabaul, implementation of the operation, Cartwheel required action from the forces in the divisions of the Pacific Theater. The directions of the activities stipulated that a raid had to be led by MacArthur against western New Britain and northeast New Guinea through the air and another by Admiral William F Halsey, Jr. against the Solomon's Islands via the Sea.

In 1944, and following the success of operation Cartwheel, President Roosevelt summoned MacArthur to Hawaii together with Admiral Nimitz in a view to formulate the next phase of action against Japan. They agreed to take over the Philippines. MacArthur formulated a leapfrogging strategy that aimed at isolating and blockading Japan from the territories it had acquired in Southeast Asia. The US fleet moved into the Island of Leyte on October 20, 1944, and denied the Japanese fleet to essential oil supplies. This strategy culminated in the most massive naval battle (23-26 October 1944). The Leyte Gulf battle was between the Allied troops (Australian and American forces) and the Imperial Japanese forces. The Japanese Navy was poorly defeated, and their capacity to perform large-scale fleet carriage was dented.

The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project (1939-1946) was USA-led research and a developmental project that created the first atomic bomb during World War 2. The project was concluded at the cost of $2 billion, and the United Kingdom and Canada were participant nations in the project. Two atomic weapons (a gun-type fission weapon and a plutonium implosion-type weapon) were developed as a precautionary measure for the war. On May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany signed its instrument of surrender, and the war in Europe ended, but Pacific Wars persisted. On July 26, 1945, a Potsdam Declaration of call for submission of Japan was issued by the US, the UK, and the Republic of China. The declaration had an ultimatum of utter destruction for Japan, if ignored.

Japan disregarded the declaration, and on August 6, 1945, the USA bombed the City of Hiroshima with a uranium gun-type atomic weapon. With Japan still reluctant to surrender, another bomb, this time a plutonium implosion-type weapon was dropped in the City of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. With the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities, Emperor Hirohito announced to accept the Potsdam Declaration terms and end the Pacific War.


Lumen Learning. (n.d.). From Isolation to World War II: 1930-1945. In Boundless US History. Retrieved from

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