Greatest Military Moments of the 20th Century

Winter 2000, volume 12 #2.

The only ones I'll point out here are the ones relating to the Pacific Theater.

Most Effective Weapon: Atomic Bomb. Most weapons used before could be understood by most people as to how they worked. Not so the atomic bomb. This led eventually to MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. Any major country attacking with nuclear weapons knew full well they would be nearly or totally destroyed by the other nation firing their nuclear weapons.

[Today, though, that procedure applies only to major countries. Other countries have the weapons but only aimed at other small countries. The danger is that a nuclear exchange between two relatively small countries could bleed over into full-scale world-wide nuclear war.]

Greatest Campaign: Firestorm Over Japan. The firebombing of Japanese cities kill more people than the Hiroshima bomb and did more damage than the bomb. Damage was measured by square miles of a city destroyed, and around sixty or so, if I remember correctly, cities felt the firebombing.

The Japanese buildings back then were generally of wooden construction so fires spread easily.

Most Significant Naval Batter: Midway. This resulted in the first defeat of a Japanese navy in over 400 years. Thanks to the code-breaking work in the U.S. the American fleet was able to position itself so it could attack the Japanese fleet. The Japanese not only lost their four carriers but also lost many pilots, aviators, mechanics, crews and others when those ships (and others) were destroyed.

This is also another spot that Yamamoto was completely right on. He had warned his superiors that the industrial capability of the United States was way more than that of Japan. It would be a bad thing, of course, when any of our carriers was lost, but replacing them was not that difficult, whereas many losses such as those at Midway could not be replaced quickly, if at all, by Japan.

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Japanese-American Internment Camps index page
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