Major military battles of World War II include the following.
Attackers from two directions were detected by U.S. Army radar at 136 miles; the warning was discounted
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii on the morning of Sunday, 7 December 1941. Aircraft launched from aircraft carriers of the Imperial Japanese Navy destroyed five U.S. Navy battleships, along with 188 aircraft, one minelayer, and three destroyers, killing 2,333 and wounding 1,139. Japanese losses were minimal at 29 aircraft and five midget submarines, with 65 Japanese servicemen killed or wounded.
The Battle of the Coral Sea
An explosion aboard USS Lexington, May 8, 1942, seen from the cruiser Minneapolis
Fought from May 4-May 8, 1942, with most of the action occurring on May 7 and May 8, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States and Allied fleet. It was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other. The battle is considered a tactical victory for Japan since the United States carrier USS Lexington was lost, while Japan only lost the light carrier Shoho in the battle. At the same time, the battle was a strategic victory for the Allies because the Japanese abandoned their attempt to land troops to take Port Moresby, New Guinea. The engagement ended with no clear victor, but the damage suffered and experience gained by both sides set the stage for the Battle of Midway one month later.
Battle of Midway
U.S. Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers about to attack the burning cruiser Mikuma for the third time
A naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It took place from June 4, 1942 to June 7, 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, about five months after the Japanese capture of Wake Island, and six months after the Empire of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor that had led to a formal state of war between the United States and Japan. During the battle, the United States Navy defeated a Japanese attack against Midway Atoll (located northwest of Hawaii) and destroyed four Japanese aircraft carriers and a heavy cruiser while losing a carrier and a destroyer.
The battle was a decisive victory for the Americans, widely regarded as the most important naval engagement of World War II. The battle permanently weakened the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), particularly through the loss of over 200 naval aviators. Both nations sustained losses in the battle, but Japan, industrially outstripped by America, was unable to reconstitute its naval forces while the American shipbuilding program provided quick replacements. By 1942 the United States was 3 years into a massive ship building program that sought to expand the Navy to a size superior to Japan's. As a result of Midway the Japanese were faced with Naval inferiority within months as the years old ship building program created a steady flow of aircraft carriers and other ships of the line. Strategically, the U.S. Navy was able to seize the initiative in the Pacific and go on the offensive.
Allied Invasion of Sicily
The U.S. support ship Robert Rowan explodes after being hit by a German bomber off of Gela, Sicily, 11 July 1943
The Allied invasion of Sicily began on the night of 9 July 1943, and ended 17 August in an Allied victory. The invasion of the island was codenamed Operation Husky and launched the Italian Campaign. It was the largest amphibious operation of World War II in terms of men landed on the beaches and of frontage. Strategically, the Sicily operation achieved the goals set out for it by Allied planners. Axis air and naval forces were driven from the island; the Mediterranean Sea lanes were opened and Mussolini had been toppled from power. It opened the way to the Allied invasion of Italy, which had not necessarily been seen as a follow-up to Operation Husky.
Battle of Normandy
Assault landing one of the first waves at Omaha Beach as photographed by Robert F. Sargent. The U.S. Coast Guard caption identifies the unit as Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between German forces and the invading Allied forces as part of the larger conflict of World War II. Operation Overlord was the codename for the Allied invasion of northwest Europe, which began on June 6, 1944, and ended on August 19, 1944, when the Allies crossed the River Seine. Over sixty years later, the Normandy invasion still remains the largest seaborne invasion in history, having involved almost three million troops crossing the English Channel from England to Normandy. Operation Neptune was the codename given to the initial assault phase of Operation Overlord; its mission, to gain a foothold on the continent, started on June 6, 1944 (commonly known as D-Day) and ended on June 30, 1944.
Battle of the Bulge
American soldiers of the 75th Division photographed in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge
The Ardennes Offensive, called Unternehmen: Wacht am Rhein (Operation Watch on the Rhine) by the German military, officially named the Battle of the Ardennes by the U.S. Army, and known to the general public as the Battle of the Bulge, started on 16 December 1944. Wacht am Rhein was supported by subordinate operations known as Bodenplatte, Greif, and Währung. Germany's planned goal for these operations was to split the British and American Allied line in half, capturing Antwerp, Belgium, and then proceeding to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis Powers’ favor.
Battle of Iwo Jima
First raising of the U.S. flag over Mount Suribachi
Fought by the United States and Japan in February and March 1945, during the Pacific Campaign of World War II. The U.S. invasion, known as Operation Detachment, was aimed at capturing the airfields on Iwo Jima.
The battle was marked by some of the fiercest fighting of the campaign. The Imperial Japanese Army positions on the island were heavily fortified, with vast bunkers, hidden artillery, and 18 kilometers (11 mi) of tunnels. The battle was the first American attack on the Japanese Home Islands, and the Imperial soldiers defended their positions tenaciously; of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers present at the beginning of the battle, over 20,000 were killed and only 216 taken prisoner.
Joe Rosenthal photographed five Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the U.S. flag atop the 166 meter (546 ft) Mount Suribachi. The photo is actually the second flag to be raised on the mountain, and as turns out, it was actually taken on the fifth day of the 34-day battle. The picture became the iconic image of the battle and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time. The first flag raising was photographed by US Marine Lou Lowery, the first flag was taken as a souvenir by a high ranking Navy officer.
Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The Fat Man mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rose 18 km (11 mi, 60,000 ft) from the hypocenter
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the dropping of Little Boy
The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks during World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States of America under U.S. President Harry S. Truman. On August 6, 1945, the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, followed on August 9, 1945 by the detonation of the "Fat Man" nuclear bomb over Nagasaki. These are the only uses of nuclear weapons in warfare.
According to most estimates, the bombing of Hiroshima killed approximately 70,000 people due to immediate effects of the blast. Estimates of total deaths by the end of 1945 range from 90,000 to 140,000, due to burns, radiation, and subsequent disease, aggravated by lack of medical resources. The numbers for Nagasaki are consistently lower, because the valley terrain reduced the impact of the bomb, with immediate deaths estimates ranging from 40,000 to 75,000. In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the deaths were civilians.
On August 15, 1945 Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2 which officially ended World War II. Furthermore, the experience of bombing led post-war Japan to adopt Three Non-Nuclear Principles, which forbids Japan from nuclear armament.