Part 3 – Palm Trees, Mud, & Bugs: WWII in the South & Southwest Pacific
With the U.S. success at the Battles of the Coral Sea in May 1942 followed by Midway in June, the U.S. was ready to begin the rollback of the Japanese Empire. That summer, Japanese forces captured several islands in the Solomons chain southeast of New Guinea and northeast of Australia in an effort to choke off the Sea Line of Communication (SLOC) between the U.S. and its Australian ally. The thrust was stopped by the Coral Sea victory, but the Japanese controlled the Solomons and the northern half of New Guinea. The U.S. needed to go on the offensive and the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomons was chosen as the first target. In August 1942, U.S. Marines launched an amphibious assault on Guadalcanal, which resulted in a six-month, bloody campaign and set in motion the successes against Japan in the Southwest and South Pacific Campaigns. The third lecture in the World War II in the Pacific series addresses the Guadalcanal and Southwest/South Pacific campaigns.