BATTLE OF MIDWAY
The Battle of Midway is considered by many historians to be one of the most important battles of World War II in the Pacific Theater. The Battle of Midway occurred from June 3rd to the 7th in 1942 and was a major naval battle fought between Japan and the United States near the Midway Atoll in the Northern Pacific Ocean.
Just as in its earlier attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan went into the Battle of Midway with the goal of destroying the United States’ Pacific Fleet and removing the United States as a threat in the war in the Pacific. The Japanese Navy hoped that it could draw the United States’ Pacific Fleet into a battle near Midway Atoll and surprise attack the American ships, thus delivering the final blow to the United States in the Pacific. Instead, the Battle of Midway was a decisive victory for the United States and dramatically changed the rest of the war in the Pacific. The victory at Midway was mostly caused by the United States’ ability to decode Japanese communications. The Japanese believed that they were going to carry out a surprise attack against the American Pacific Fleet but instead the United States decoded the Japanese plans and ordered their own surprise attack against the Japanese Imperial Navy. Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Chester W. Nimitz used the decoded Japanese plans to order the use of American aircraft carriers to counter the Japanese attack at Midway and unleash their own surprise attack on the Japanese fleet.
The effective American attack at Midway devastated the Japanese fleet in the Pacific. Many historians now view the Battle of Midway as the turning point of the war because the American victory was so decisive. Japan suffered huge losses and was ultimately unable to rebuild its fleet to counter the United States as they pushed their way towards to Japanese home islands. For instance, over 3000 Japanese soldiers died in the battle while just over 300 American soldiers died. As well, Japan suffered the loss of almost 250 aircraft, while the United States lost approximately 150. Finally, Japan lost 5 ships in the Battle of Midway while the United States lost 2 ships.