Battle of Singapore
The Battle of Singapore known as the Fall of Singapore, was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of World War II when the Empire of Japan invaded the British stronghold of Singapore—nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East". Singapore was the major British military base in South-East Asia and was the key to British imperial interwar defence planning for South-East Asia and the South-West Pacific; the fighting in Singapore lasted from 8 to 15 February 1942, after the two months during which Japanese forces had advanced down the Malayan Peninsula. The campaign, including the final battle, was a decisive Japanese victory, resulting in the Japanese capture of Singapore and the largest British surrender in history. About 80,000 British and Australian troops in Singapore became prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken by the Japanese in the earlier Malayan Campaign; the British prime minister, Winston Churchill, called it the "worst disaster" in British military history. During 1940 and 1941, the Allies had imposed a trade embargo on Japan in response to its continued campaigns in China and its occupation of French Indochina.
The basic plan for taking Singapore was worked out in July 1940. Intelligence gained in late 1940 – early 1941 did not alter the basic plan, but confirmed it in the minds of Japanese decision makers. On 11 November 1940, the German raider Atlantis captured the British steamer Automedon in the Indian Ocean, carrying papers meant for Air Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, the British commander in the Far East, which included much information about the weakness of the Singapore base. In December 1940, the Germans handed over copies of the papers to the Japanese; the Japanese had broken the British Army's codes and in January 1941, the Second Department of the Imperial Army had interpreted and read a message from Singapore to London complaining in much detail about the weak state of "Fortress Singapore", a message, so frank in its admission of weakness that the Japanese at first suspected it was a British plant, believing that no officer would be so open in admitting weaknesses to his superiors, only believed it was genuine after cross-checking the message with the Automedon papers.
As Japan's oil reserves were depleted by the ongoing military operations in China as well as industrial consumption, in the latter half of 1941, the Japanese began preparing a military response to secure vital resources if diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation failed. As a part of this process, the Japanese planners determined a broad scheme of manoeuvre that incorporated simultaneous attacks on the territories of Britain, The Netherlands and the United States; this would see landings in Malaya and Hong Kong as part of a general move south to secure Singapore, connected to Malaya by the Johor–Singapore Causeway, an invasion of the oil-rich area of Borneo and Java in the Dutch East Indies. In addition, strikes would be made against the United States naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, as well as landings in the Philippines, attacks on Guam, Wake Island and the Gilbert Islands. Following these attacks, a period of consolidation was planned, after which the Japanese planners intended to build up the defences of the territory, captured by establishing a strong perimeter around it stretching from the India–Burma frontier through to Wake Island, traversing Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, New Guinea and New Britain, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Marshall and Gilbert Islands.
This perimeter would be used to block Allied attempts to regain the lost territory and defeat their will to fight. The Japanese 25th Army invaded from Indochina, moving into northern Malaya and Thailand by amphibious assault on 8 December 1941; this was simultaneous with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which precipitated the United States entry into the war. Thailand resisted, but soon had to yield; the Japanese proceeded overland across the Thai–Malayan border to attack Malaya. At this time, the Japanese began bombing strategic sites in Singapore; the Japanese 25th Army was resisted in northern Malaya by III Corps of the British Indian Army. Although the 25th Army was outnumbered by Allied forces in Malaya and Singapore, the Allies did not take the initiative with their forces, while Japanese commanders concentrated their forces; the Japanese were superior in close air support, armour, co-ordination and experience. While conventional British military thinking was that the Japanese forces were inferior, characterised the Malayan jungles as "impassable", the Japanese were able to use it to their advantage to outflank hastily established defensive lines.
Prior to the Battle of Singapore the most resistance was met at the Battle of Muar, which involved the Australian 8th Division and the Indian 45th Brigade, as the British troops left in the city of Singapore were garrison troops. At the start of the campaign, the Allied forces had only 164 first-line aircraft on hand in Malaya and Singapore, the only fighter type was the obsolete Brewster 339E Buffalo; these aircraft were operated by two Royal Australian Air Force, two Royal Air Force, one Royal New Zealand Air Force squadron. Major shortcomings included a slow rate of climb and the aircraft's fuel system which required the pilot to hand pump fuel if flying above 6,000 feet. In contrast, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force was more numerous and better trained than the second-hand assortment of untrained pilots and inferior allied equipment remaining in Malaya and Singapore, their fighter aircraft were superior to the Allied fighters, which helped the Japanese to gain air supremacy. Although outnumbered and outclassed, the Buffalos were able to provide some resistance
The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater of World War II, fought in the Pacific and Asia. It was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia, in China; the Second Sino-Japanese War between the Empire of Japan and the Republic of China had been in progress since 7 July 1937, with hostilities dating back as far as 19 September 1931 with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. However, it is more accepted that the Pacific War itself began on 7/8 December 1941, when Japan invaded Thailand and attacked the British colonies of Malaya and Hong Kong as well as the United States military and naval bases in Hawaii, Wake Island and the Philippines; the Pacific War saw the Allies pitted against Japan, the latter aided by Thailand and to a much lesser extent by the Axis allied Germany and Italy. The war culminated in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, other large aerial bomb attacks by the Allies, accompanied by the Soviet declaration of war and invasion of Manchuria on 9 August 1945, resulting in the Japanese announcement of intent to surrender on 15 August 1945.
The formal surrender of Japan ceremony took place aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. After the war, Japan lost all rights and titles to its former possessions in Asia and the Pacific, its sovereignty was limited to the four main home islands. Japan's Shinto Emperor was forced to relinquish much of his authority and his divine status through the Shinto Directive in order to pave the way for extensive cultural and political reforms. In Allied countries during the war, the "Pacific War" was not distinguished from World War II in general, or was known as the War against Japan. In the United States, the term Pacific Theater was used, although this was a misnomer in relation to the Allied campaign in Burma, the war in China and other activities within the Southeast Asian Theater. However, the US Armed Forces considered the China-Burma-India Theater to be distinct from the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during the conflict. Japan used the name Greater East Asia War, as chosen by a cabinet decision on 10 December 1941, to refer to both the war with the Western Allies and the ongoing war in China.
This name was released to the public on 12 December, with an explanation that it involved Asian nations achieving their independence from the Western powers through armed forces of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Japanese officials integrated what they called the Japan–China Incident into the Greater East Asia War. During the Allied military occupation of Japan, these Japanese terms were prohibited in official documents, although their informal usage continued, the war became known as the Pacific War. In Japan, the Fifteen Years' War is used, referring to the period from the Mukden Incident of 1931 through 1945; the Axis states which assisted Japan included the authoritarian government of Thailand, which formed a cautious alliance with the Japanese in 1941, when Japanese forces issued the government with an ultimatum following the Japanese invasion of Thailand. The leader of Thailand, Plaek Phibunsongkhram, became enthusiastic about the alliance after decisive Japanese victories in the Malayan Campaign and in 1942 sent the Phayap Army to assist the invasion of Burma, were former Thai territory, annexed by Britain were reoccupied.
The allies supported and organized an underground anti-Japanese resistance group, known as the Free Thai Movement, after the Thai ambassador to the United States had refused to hand over the declaration of war. Because of this, after the surrender in 1945, the stance of the United States was that Thailand should be treated as a puppet of Japan and be considered an occupied nation rather than as an ally; this was done in contrast to the British stance towards Thailand, who had faced them in combat as they invaded British territory, the United States had to block British efforts to impose a punitive peace. Involved were members of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, which included the armies of the Japanese puppet states of Manchukuo, the collaborationist Wang Jingwei regime. In the Burma Campaign, other members, such as the anti-Britsh Indian National Army of Free India and Burma National Army of the State of Burma were active and fighting alongside their Japanese allies. Moreover, Japan conscripted many soldiers from its colonies of Taiwan.
Collaborationist security units were formed in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Dutch East Indies, British Malaya, British Borneo, former French Indochina as well as Timorese militia. These units the assisted Japanese war effort in their respective territories. Germany and Italy both had limited involvement in the Pacific War; the German and the Italian navies operated submarines and raiding ships in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The Italians had access to concession territory naval bases in China. After Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declarations of war, both navies had access to Japanese naval facilities; the major Allied participants were the United States and their colonies, the Republic of China, engaged in bloody war against Japan since 1937, the United Kingdom (mos
Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River 75 kilometres west of the border with Bangladesh, it is the principal commercial and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port; the city is regarded as the "cultural capital" of India, is nicknamed the "City of Joy". According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the seventh most populous city. Recent estimates of Kolkata Metropolitan Area's economy have ranged from $60 to $150 billion making it third most-productive metropolitan area in India, after Mumbai and Delhi. In the late 17th century, the three villages that predated Calcutta were ruled by the Nawab of Bengal under Mughal suzerainty. After the Nawab granted the East India Company a trading licence in 1690, the area was developed by the Company into an fortified trading post. Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah occupied Calcutta in 1756, the East India Company retook it the following year.
In 1793 the East India company was strong enough to abolish Nizamat, assumed full sovereignty of the region. Under the company rule, under the British Raj, Calcutta served as the capital of British-held territories in India until 1911, when its perceived geographical disadvantages, combined with growing nationalism in Bengal, led to a shift of the capital to New Delhi. Calcutta was the centre for the Indian independence movement. Following Indian independence in 1947, once the centre of modern Indian education, science and politics, suffered several decades of economic stagnation; as a nucleus of the 19th- and early 20th-century Bengal Renaissance and a religiously and ethnically diverse centre of culture in Bengal and India, Kolkata has local traditions in drama, film and literature. Many people from Kolkata—among them several Nobel laureates—have contributed to the arts, the sciences, other areas. Kolkata culture features idiosyncrasies that include distinctively close-knit neighbourhoods and freestyle intellectual exchanges.
West Bengal's share of the Bengali film industry is based in the city, which hosts venerable cultural institutions of national importance, such as the Academy of Fine Arts, the Victoria Memorial, the Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum and the National Library of India. Among professional scientific institutions, Kolkata hosts the Agri Horticultural Society of India, the Geological Survey of India, the Botanical Survey of India, the Calcutta Mathematical Society, the Indian Science Congress Association, the Zoological Survey of India, the Institution of Engineers, the Anthropological Survey of India and the Indian Public Health Association. Though home to major cricketing venues and franchises, Kolkata differs from other Indian cities by giving importance to association football and other sports; the word Kolkata derives from the Bengali term Kôlikata, the name of one of three villages that predated the arrival of the British, in the area where the city was to be established. There are several explanations about the etymology of this name: The term Kolikata is thought to be a variation of Kalikkhetrô, meaning "Field of Kali".
It can be a variation of'Kalikshetra'. Another theory is. Alternatively, the name may have been derived from the Bengali term kilkila, or "flat area"; the name may have its origin in the words khal meaning "canal", followed by kaṭa, which may mean "dug". According to another theory, the area specialised in the production of quicklime or koli chun and coir or kata. Although the city's name has always been pronounced Kolkata or Kôlikata in Bengali, the anglicised form Calcutta was the official name until 2001, when it was changed to Kolkata in order to match Bengali pronunciation; the discovery and archaeological study of Chandraketugarh, 35 kilometres north of Kolkata, provide evidence that the region in which the city stands has been inhabited for over two millennia. Kolkata's recorded history began in 1690 with the arrival of the English East India Company, consolidating its trade business in Bengal. Job Charnock, an administrator who worked for the company, was credited as the founder of the city.
The area occupied by the present-day city encompassed three villages: Kalikata and Sutanuti. Kalikata was a fishing village, they were part of an estate belonging to the Mughal emperor. These rights were transferred to the East India Company in 1698. In 1712, the British completed the cons
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' formal entry into World War II the next day; the Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, as Operation Z during its planning. Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the United States Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U. S.-held Philippines and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya and Hong Kong. Additionally, from the Japanese viewpoint, it was seen as a preemptive strike; the attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time; the base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.
All eight U. S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk. All but USS Arizona were raised, six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war; the Japanese sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, one minelayer. 188 U. S. aircraft were destroyed. Important base installations such as the power station, dry dock, shipyard and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building, were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, 64 servicemen killed. One Japanese sailor, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured. Japan declared war on the United States on December 8. According to historians David M. Kennedy and Lizabeth Cohen: The sneak attack aroused and united America as nothing else could have done. To the day of the blowup, a strong majority of Americans still wanted to keep out of war, but the bombs that pulverized Pearl Harbor blasted the isolationists into silence. The only thing left to do, growled isolationist Senator Wheeler, was to'lick hell out of them.'
The following day, December 8, Congress declared war on Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy each declared war on the U. S; the U. S. responded with a declaration of war against Italy. There were numerous historical precedents for the unannounced military action by Japan, but the lack of any formal warning while peace negotiations were still ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy"; because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime. War between Japan and the United States had been a possibility that each nation had been aware of, planned for, since the 1920s; the relationship between the two countries was cordial enough. Tensions did not grow until Japan's invasion of Manchuria in 1931. Over the next decade, Japan expanded into China, leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Japan spent considerable effort trying to isolate China, endeavored to secure enough independent resources to attain victory on the mainland.
The "Southern Operation" was designed to assist these efforts. Starting in December 1937, events such as the Japanese attack on USS Panay, the Allison incident, the Nanking Massacre swung Western public opinion against Japan. Fearing Japanese expansion, the United States, United Kingdom, France assisted China with its loans for war supply contracts. In 1940, Japan invaded French Indochina, attempting to stymie the flow of supplies reaching China; the United States halted shipments of airplanes, machine tools, aviation gasoline to Japan, which the latter perceived as an unfriendly act. The United States did not stop oil exports, however because of the prevailing sentiment in Washington: given Japanese dependence on American oil, such an action was to be considered an extreme provocation. In mid-1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the Pacific Fleet from San Diego to Hawaii, he ordered a military buildup in the Philippines, taking both actions in the hope of discouraging Japanese aggression in the Far East.
Because the Japanese high command was certain any attack on the United Kingdom's Southeast Asian colonies, including Singapore, would bring the U. S. into the war, a devastating preventive strike appeared to be the only way to prevent American naval interference. An invasion of the Philippines was considered necessary by Japanese war planners; the U. S. War Plan Orange had envisioned defending the Philippines with an elite force of 40,000 men. By 1941, U. S. planners expected to abandon the Philippines at the outbreak of war. Late that year, Admiral Thomas C. Hart, commander of the Asiatic Fleet, was given orders to that effect; the U. S. ceased oil exports to Japan in July 1941, following the seizure of French Indochina after the Fall of France, in part because of new American restrictions on domestic oil consumption. Because of this decision, Japan proceeded with plans to take the oil-rich Dutch East Indies. On August 17, Roosevelt warned Japan that America was prepared to take opposing steps if "neighboring countries" were attacked.
The Japanese wer
Burma Campaign 1944
The fighting in the Burma Campaign in 1944 was among the most severe in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II. It took place along the borders between Burma and India, Burma and China, involved the British Commonwealth and United States forces, against the forces of Imperial Japan and the Indian National Army. British Commonwealth land forces were drawn from the United Kingdom, British India and Africa; the Allies had overcome the logistic and organisational difficulties which had crippled their earlier efforts, they were preparing to invade Japanese-occupied Burma at several separated points. The Japanese forestalled them by launching their own offensive into India, this offensive became larger in scope than intended. By the end of the year, the Allies had achieved significant territorial gains only in one sector, the extreme north-east of Burma, but the Japanese attack on India had been defeated with heavy casualties; this handicapped the Japanese attempts to defend Burma against renewed Allied offensives in the following year.
After the Japanese conquest of Burma in early 1942, the Allies had launched tentative counterattacks in late 1942 and early 1943, despite lack of preparation and resources. This resulted in a defeat in the coastal Arakan Province of Burma, a questionable success in the first Chindit long-range raid into Burma. In August 1943 the Allies created South East Asia Command, a new combined command responsible for the South-East Asian Theatre, its Commander in Chief was Admiral Louis Mountbatten. This brought a new sense of purpose and in November, when SEAC took over responsibility for Burma, the newly formed British Fourteenth Army was ready to take the offensive; the substantial improvement in the effectiveness of the troops which Fourteenth Army inherited has been credited to its commander, Lieutenant General William Slim. He enforced the use of anti-malarial drugs as part of an emphasis on individual health, established realistic jungle warfare training, rebuilt the army's self-respect by winning easy small-scale victories and developed local military infrastructure.
Slim's efforts were aided by improvements to the Allied lines of communication. By October 1944, capacity on the North-East Indian Railways had been raised from 600 tons a day at the start of the war to 4,400 tons a day; the Allied Eastern Air Command, which consisted of Royal Air Force squadrons but several units of the Indian Air Force and bomber and transport units of the United States Army Air Forces, had gained air superiority and this allowed the Allies to employ new tactics, relying upon air support and aerial resupply of troops. SEAC had to accommodate several rival plans: Admiral Mountbatten, as a naval officer who had served as commander of Combined Operations HQ, favoured amphibious landings; the first of these was to be on the Andaman Islands, but the landing craft assigned to the operation were recalled to Europe in preparation for the Normandy Landings. The previous year, a British attack into the Burmese coastal province of Arakan had been defeated. Having been reorganised, XV Corps had taken over this part of the front and was preparing to renew the offensive with the aim of capturing Akyab Island, important for its port and airfield.
A limited amphibious move in support of this attack had to be abandoned for lack of the necessary landing craft and other shipping. The American aim in the China Burma India Theater was to maintain military aid and supplies to the Republic of China under Chiang Kai-shek, with its wartime capital in Chungking, they had established an air supply route, known as the Hump, over the Himalayas to Kunming in the Chinese province of Yunnan. Some Chinese forces which had retreated into India in early 1942 had been re-equipped and retrained by an American military mission under Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell, Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek and Deputy Commander of SEAC. Stilwell proposed to construct a new road, the Ledo Road, to link India and China by land, although British leaders were sceptical about the value of this road and the effort devoted to it. By the start of 1944, the new road had reached the far side of the Patkai mountains, Stilwell was preparing to advance on Kamaing and Myitkyina in northern Burma.
Chiang Kai-shek had agreed to mount an offensive across the Salween River into eastern Burma from Yunnan. When the Andaman Island landings were cancelled, he claimed this was a breach of faith and cancelled the Yunnan offensive, although he reinstated it. Following a long-distance raid in 1943 by a long-range penetration force known as the Chindits, British Major-General Orde Wingate had gained approval for the force and its scope of operations to be expanded; this was opposed by Slim and others who felt that this was too great a drain on manpower and resources, but under political pressure from Winston Churchill, Wingate's plans went ahead. The Chindits, designated Indian 3rd Infantry Division for cover purposes, were to assist Stilwell by disrupting the Japanese lines of supply to the northern front. Wingate had planned that an airborne brigade would capture a Japanese-held airfield at Indaw, which would be garrisoned by a line infantry division as a base for further Chindit raids; this second part of the plan for Wingate's Special Force, which would have imposed heavy demands on the available transport aircraft and required troops allocated to other operations, was dropped.
After protracted staff discussions within India and between the Allied staffs and commanders in London and Chungking, the Allied plans for 1944 were reduced to: the offensive by Stilwell
Japanese invasion of Thailand
The Japanese invasion of Thailand occurred on 8 December 1941. It was fought between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Empire of Japan. Despite fierce fighting in Southern Thailand, the fighting lasted only five hours before ending in a ceasefire. Thailand and Japan formed an alliance, making Thailand part of the Axis' alliance until the end of World War II; the origin of Japanese invasion of Thailand can be traced to the principle of hakkō ichiu as espoused by Tanaka Chigaku in the mid- to late-1800s. Tanaka interpreted the principle as meaning that imperial rule had been divinely ordained to expand until it united the entire world. While Tanaka saw this outcome as resulting from the Emperor's moral leadership, Japanese nationalists used it in terms of freeing Asia from colonizing powers and establishing Japan as the leading influence in Asia; the concept became expressed in the New Order in East Asia. In 1940, the concept was expanded by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe, who sought to create the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, including Japan, Manchukuo and parts of Southeast Asia.
This would, according to imperial propaganda, establish a new international order seeking "co-prosperity" for Asian countries which would share prosperity and peace, free from Western colonialism and domination under the umbrella of a benevolent Japan. The 30 man Number 82 Section Strike South planning was formed in 1940 to bring this about. In its final planning stages, the unit was commanded by Colonel Yoshihide Hayashi; as part of conquering Southeast Asia, the Japanese military planned to invade Burma. In order to do this, they needed to make use of Thai ports and airfields, they did not want conflict with the Thai military, as this would delay the invasion and reduce the element of surprise. The Japanese plan was seen by the Nazi government of Germany as helpful in diverting Britain's military forces, thus assisting Germany in its own conflict. Thailand had a well-disciplined military, after a series of border skirmishes in 1940 had invaded neighbouring French Indochina to recover provinces lost in the Franco-Siamese War of 1893.
The Japanese, who wanted to use the Indo-Chinese ports and air-bases, acted as negotiators to bring about a settlement between the French and Thais on 31 January 1941. As part of the process, secret discussions were held with Thai Prime Minister Phibun Songkhram, in which the Japanese military sought free passage through Thailand. Phibun had responded positively, but his actions showed he may have been uncertain, as he had concluded the British–Thai Non-Aggression Pact on 12 June 1940. By February, the British were beginning to suspect the Japanese were planning to attack their possessions in Southeast Asia and were concerned Japan might set up bases in Thailand to that end; the situation Phibun faced was that France had now been defeated by Germany, Britain was engaged in Europe. Phibun could have decided he had little choice, as his own forces would have been unable to defeat the Japanese by themselves. Thailand's invasion of French Indochina in 1940 made it difficult for the United States government to support Phibun.
Midway through 1941, Phibun sought British and American guarantees of effective support if Japan invaded Thailand. Neither Britain nor the United States could give them, although British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was in favour of a public warning to Japan that an invasion of the Southeast Asian kingdom would result in a British declaration of war. However, the United States was unwilling to agree to this, Britain was not prepared to make it alone. By August and the United States had placed severe sanctions against Japan; the Japanese sought to have the sanctions lifted by promising not to encroach on Thailand and withdrawing their forces from Indochina, provided the United States withdrew its support for China. This was unacceptable to the United States because of its impact on China. In late November, British become aware of a probable attack on Thailand by Japan because of the rapid buildup of Japanese troops in Indochina. On 1 December 1941, Prime Minister Tojo of Japan stated that he was uncertain where Thailand stood regarding allowing Japanese troops free passage through its territory, but was hopeful a clash could be avoided.
Further negotiations took place between the Japanese diplomatic representative and Phibun on 2 December. Phibun was prepared to look the other way if Japan invaded the Kra Peninsula, but wanted them to avoid passing through the Bangkok Plain. After further discussions on 3 December, Phibun agreed to passage through Thailand, provided Thailand could regain the territories ceded in the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909, as well as Burma's Shan State. On 2 December, the Japanese military issued the order "Climb Mount Niitaka", which set in motion the war in the Pacific; the main invasion fleet for Operation "E", the invasion of Malaya and Thailand, sailed from Sanya, Hainan Island, China on 4 December. Further troops and ships joined the fleet from Indochina. While the Japanese were preparing, the British and Americans were formulating their response to the Japanese troop buildup and the potential invasion of Thailand. Phibun, on the same day he reached an agreement with the Japanese, advised the British that
New Guinea campaign
The New Guinea campaign of the Pacific War lasted from January 1942 until the end of the war in August 1945. During the initial phase in early 1942, the Empire of Japan invaded the Australian-administered territories of the New Guinea Mandate and Papua and overran western New Guinea, a part of the Netherlands East Indies. During the second phase, lasting from late 1942 until the Japanese surrender, the Allies—consisting of Australian and US forces—cleared the Japanese first from Papua the Mandate and from the Dutch colony; the campaign resulted in heavy losses for the Empire of Japan. As in most Pacific War campaigns and starvation claimed more Japanese lives than enemy action. Most Japanese troops never came into contact with Allied forces, were instead cut off and subjected to an effective blockade by the US Navy. Garrisons were besieged and denied shipments of food and medical supplies, as a result, some claim that 97% of Japanese deaths in this campaign were from non-combat causes. According to John Laffin, the campaign "was arguably the most arduous fought by any Allied troops during World War II".
The struggle for New Guinea began with the capture by the Japanese of the city of Rabaul at the northeastern tip of New Britain Island in January 1942. Rabaul overlooks Simpson Harbor, a considerable natural anchorage, was ideal for the construction of airfields. Over the next year, the Japanese built up the area into naval base; the Japanese 8th Area Army, under General Hitoshi Imamura at Rabaul, was responsible for both the New Guinea and Solomon Islands campaigns. The Japanese 18th Army, under Lieutenant General Hatazō Adachi, was responsible for Japanese operations on mainland New Guinea; the colonial capital of Port Moresby on the south coast of Papua was the strategic key for the Japanese in this area of operations. Capturing it would both neutralize the Allies' principal forward base and serve as a springboard for a possible invasion of Australia. For the same reasons, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander Allied Forces South West Pacific Area was determined to hold it. MacArthur was further determined to conquer all of New Guinea in his progress toward the eventual recapture of the Philippines.
General Headquarters Southwest Pacific Area Operational Instruction No.7 of 25 May 1942, issued by Commander-Allied-Forces, General Douglas MacArthur, placed all Australian and US Army, Air Force and Navy Forces in the Port Moresby Area under the control of New Guinea Force. Due north of Port Moresby, on the northeast coast of Papua, are the Huon Peninsula; the Japanese entered Lae and Salamaua, two locations on Huon Gulf, unopposed in early March 1942. MacArthur would have liked to deny this area to the Japanese, but he had neither sufficient air nor naval forces to undertake a counterlanding; the Japanese at Rabaul and other bases on New Britain would have overwhelmed any such effort. The only Allied response was a bombing raid of Lae and Salamaua by aircraft flying over the Owen Stanley Range from the carriers USS Lexington and USS Yorktown, leading the Japanese to reinforce these sites. Operation Mo was the designation given by the Japanese to their initial plan to take possession of Port Moresby.
Their operation plan decreed a five-pronged attack: one task force to establish a seaplane base at Tulagi in the lower Solomons, one to establish a seaplane base in the Louisiade Archipelago off the eastern tip of New Guinea, one of transports to land troops near Port Moresby, one with a light carrier to cover the landing, one with two fleet carriers to sink the Allied forces sent in response. In the resulting 4–8 May 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea, the Allies suffered higher losses in ships, but achieved a crucial strategic victory by turning the Japanese landing force back, thereby removing the threat to Port Moresby, at least for the time being. After this failure, the Japanese decided on a longer term, two-pronged assault for their next attempt on Port Moresby. Forward positions would first be established at Milne Bay, located in the forked eastern end of the Papuan peninsula, at Buna, a village on the northeast coast of Papua about halfway between Huon Gulf and Milne Bay. Simultaneous operations from these two locations, one amphibious and one overland, would converge on the target city.
Buna was taken as the Allies had no military presence there. The Japanese occupied the village with an initial force of 1,500 on 21 July and by 22 August had 11,430 men under arms at Buna. Began the grueling Kokoda Track campaign, a brutal experience for both the Japanese and Australian troops involved. On 17 September, the Japanese had reached the village of Ioribaiwa, just 30 kilometres from the Allied airdrome at Port Moresby; the Australians began their counterdrive on 26 September." "...the Japanese retreat down the Kokoda Trail had turned into a rout. Thousands perished from disease, thus was the overland threat to Port Moresby permanently removed. Since Port Moresby was the only port supporting operations in Papua, its defence was critical to the campaign; the air defences consisted of P-40 fighters. RAAF radar could not provide sufficient w