When the U.S. entered the war, Germany and Japan stood at the zenith of their power and expanse. For a half-year afterwards, the Axis Powers continued to pound the Allies. Then in June 1942, American ingenuity and courage delivered a stunning and devastating victory against the previously-undaunted Japanese, at the Battle of Midway. This began a long, gradual, gruesome turning of the tide in the Allies’—primarily the U.S.A.’s—favor in the Pacific.
In Europe, America’s entry provided an incalculable morale boost to the beleaguered British in the west and Russians in the east. U.S. “Lend Lease” provisioning to those nations of everything from clothing to battleships had helped prevent both from already perishing to the mighty Germans. It continued apace.
The U.S. also put boots and big guns on the ground in North Africa. At the end of 1942, the Germans lost North Africa to the Allies. British breaking of Nazi codes proved crucial in the victory, which set the stage for the Allies’ 1943 southern European invasion of Italy. Germany suffered an inestimably more devastating defeat against the Russians at Stalingrad in December 1942.
As America’s colossal economic prowess roared to full throttle and Soviet Russia’s gargantuan military forces regrouped east beyond the reach of the Germans, the pendulum of battle gradually swung in favor of the Allies through 1943. The epic German counterattack against the Russians at Kursk in July 1943 was the largest tank battle in history. Over 8,000 tanks participated. The destruction of more than 2,300 aircraft filled the flaming skies.
The Germans ravaged their foes, unleashing approximately five times the losses they suffered. The Soviets had an inexhaustible supply of men and materiel, however, and better battleground leadership than earlier in the war. This at last carried them to a victory that proved an even greater blow to the Third Reich than Stalingrad, and marked the beginning of the end for Hitler.
Hurling forth men, materiel, and firepower sometimes 10 times as numerous as its foe, the Red Army gradually shoved the Nazi forces back. Still, despite the Germans’ slugging it out on the Western Front with just one-fourth of their forces against the U.S., Britain, and numerous other Allied nations, it took nearly two more years before their capital of Berlin fell to the Soviets. The U.S. had halted its own charging troops 60 miles west on the Elbe River and allowed them to do so. Hitler committed suicide a few days before.
The fathomless reaches of the Pacific necessitated that America’s early campaigns against Japan advance through air and sea. Then, a series of brutal U.S. land victories followed Midway, including Guadalcanal, Tarawa, New Guinea, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Driven by their relentless “way of the warrior” code of Bushido, the Japanese sometimes fought literally to the last man.
Once the Americans conquered the Marianas Islands, they used them to attack mainland Japan. They did so with bomber fleets that by 1945 included the B-29 Superfortress bomber, the largest and most powerful aircraft in history at the time, as well as the legendary P-51 Mustang fighter plane. A series of fearsome firebombings of Japanese cities led to the August 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended the war.
American ingenuity and courage delivered a stunning victory against the Japanese at the Battle of Midway that began to turn the tide in the Allies’ favor in the Pacific.
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Statehood - 2020s
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