The War in East Asia and the Pacific (Late 1941-42)

The Japanese conquered Southeast Asia quickly. Via Thailand, which was occupied from December 7, 1941 and forced to declare war on the USA and Great Britain in January 1942, they advanced to the east coast of Malaya (December 8, 1941) and Burma (capture of Rangoon on March 8, 1941). 3. 1942). The sinking of two British battleships on December 10, 1941 cleared the way for the conquest of Singapore (February 15, 1942). In the first few weeks the Japanese also captured Guam (December 10th), Wake (December 23rd), Hong Kong (December 25th) and most of the Philippines (landing on Luzon on December 10th, 1941, Surrender of American troops in Baatan on April 9, 1942). Only the rocky island of Corregidor in Manila Bay lasted until May 6, 1942. The conquest of Burma threatened India and robbed China of its only supply line (Burma Strait). After Sumatra and Bali, Java was also lost (February 25 – March 9, 1942). With the neutral Portuguese Timor and with the Moluccas Islands Amboina and Ceram, the Japanese received air bases against northern Australia. After they had established themselves at the end of January on the Bismarck Archipelago (Rabaul, January 23), the southeastern tip of New Guinea and on Bougainville and in the spring on the southern Solomon Islands, their advance southward came to a standstill (Battle of the Coral Sea, April 4th-8th) 5.1942, first sea-air battle in military history [high point 7/8 May]). In the north, the Japanese seized the Aleutian islands of Kiska and Attu on June 7th. In mid-1942, Japan ruled over an area of ​​450 million people. With it it had also gained the raw material sources, which it needed for a longer warfare. His war plan was now to take the defensive and fend off the expected American and British counter-attacks until the chance for peace arose. A surprising American air raid on Tokyo (April 18, 1942) caused Japan to move the security line forward to the Midway Islands. In the sea and air battles on these islands (June 3–7, 1942), however, the Japanese failed to land there and force the American fleet into a decisive battle. The Japanese lost four aircraft carriers, the Americans only one. The decryption of Japanese radio traffic (“Magic”) played a major role in this success in the USA. This was a turning point in the Pacific theater of war,

While the Japanese troops had already repeatedly conquered the eastern Chinese territories (including after the capture of Nanking in December 1937, where the massacre of the civilian population claimed around 200,000 deaths), the occupation of the Southeast Asian territories was also carried out under deployment brutal means. While the Japanese in a number of former European colonies were able to disguise their military advance as the liberation of the Asiatic peoples from the rule of the “white man” and to rely on local nationalist circles in establishing their occupation order, the arrogance of nationalist arrogance intensified shaped regime of the Japanese military, their failed economic policy, which finally led to severe famines towards the end of the war and which was connected with the forced eviction of labor, the rejection of the reorganization of East Asia as the “Greater East Asian Prosperity Sphere”. Resistance in the form of v. a. powerful communist partisan groups against which the imperial army acted with particular cruelty in “purges” (according to the principle: “burn everything down, slaughter everything, plunder everything”). According to ALLPUBLICLIBRARIES,there were numerous war crimes; Countless Chinese prisoners died in Japanese camps of starvation, inhuman labor, were murdered or perished as a result of human experiments. The Allied prisoners of war also suffered a difficult fate, many of which did not survive; around 16,000 of them died while building a railway line through the jungle, the most famous part of which was the “Bridge on the River Kwai” in Thailand. Hundreds of thousands of Korean, Chinese, Filipino and Indonesian women were also forced to prostitute themselves as “comforters” in Japanese military brothels. Only at the end of its occupation did Japan encourage the formation of independent governments (Burma in 1943, Indonesia and Vietnam in 1945).

During the Japanese advance on January 18, 1942, operational zones between Germany and Japan were demarcated. The dividing line was the 70th longitude, which dropped most of India and the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar into the Japanese operational area. However, there was no more intensive cooperation between the German and Japanese armed forces. Hitler rejected the call for the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, E. Raeder, to shift the focus of German warfare to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and insisted on the overthrow of the USSR.

The War in East Asia and the Pacific