North African Campaign
The North African Campaign of the Second World War took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria, as well as Tunisia; the campaign was fought between the Allies, many of whom had colonial interests in Africa dating from the late 19th century, the Axis Powers. The Allied war effort was dominated by the British Commonwealth and exiles from German-occupied Europe; the United States entered the war in December 1941 and began direct military assistance in North Africa on 11 May 1942. Fighting in North Africa started with the Italian declaration of war on 10 June 1940. On 14 June, the British Army's 11th Hussars crossed the border from Egypt into Libya and captured the Italian Fort Capuzzo; this was followed by an Italian counter-offensive into Egypt and the capture of Sidi Barrani in September 1940 and again in December 1940 following a British Commonwealth counteroffensive, Operation Compass.
During Operation Compass, the Italian 10th Army was destroyed and the German Afrika Korps—commanded by Erwin Rommel, who became known as "The Desert Fox"—was dispatched to North Africa in February 1941 during Operation Sonnenblume to reinforce Italian forces in order to prevent a complete Axis defeat. A fluctuating series of battles for control of Libya and regions of Egypt followed, reaching a climax in the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942 when British Commonwealth forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery inflicted a decisive defeat on Rommel's Afrika Korps and forced its remnants into Tunisia. After the Anglo-American landings in North-West Africa in November 1942, subsequent battles against Vichy France forces, the Allies encircled several hundred thousand German and Italian personnel in northern Tunisia and forced their surrender in May 1943. Operation Torch in November 1942 was a compromise operation that met the British objective of securing victory in North Africa while allowing American armed forces the opportunity to engage in the fight against Nazi Germany on a limited scale.
In addition, as Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, had long been pleading for a second front to be opened to engage the Wehrmacht and relieve pressure on the Red Army, it provided some degree of relief for the Red Army on the Eastern Front by diverting Axis forces to the North African theatre. Over half the German Ju 52 transport planes that were needed to supply the encircled German and Romanian forces at Stalingrad were tied up supplying Axis forces in North Africa. Information gleaned via British Ultra code-breaking intelligence proved critical to Allied success in North Africa. Victory for the Allies in this campaign led to the Italian Campaign, which culminated in the downfall of the fascist government in Italy and the elimination of Germany's main European ally. On 10 May 1940, the Wehrmacht had started the Battle of France. One month it was plain to see that France would have to surrender within two weeks. On 10 June 1940, the Kingdom of Italy aligned itself with Nazi Germany and declared war upon France and the United Kingdom.
British forces based in Egypt were ordered to undertake defensive measures, but to act as non-provocatively as possible. However, on 11 June they began a series of raids against Italian positions in Libya. Following the defeat of France on 25 June, Italian forces in Tripolitania—facing French troops based in Tunisia—redeployed to Cyrenaica to reinforce the Italian Tenth Army. This, coupled with the degrading equipment of the British forces led General Archibald Wavell to order an end to raiding and placed the defence of the Egyptian border on a small screening force. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered the Tenth Army to invade Egypt by 8 August. Two days no invasion having been launched, Mussolini ordered Marshal Graziani that, the moment German forces launched Operation Sea Lion, he was to attack. On 8 September, the Italians—hampered by the lack of transport and enfeebled by the low level of training among officers and weakened by the state of its supporting arms – were ordered to invade Egypt the following day.
The battle plan was to advance along the coastal road, while limited armoured forces operated on the desert flank. To counter the Italian advance, Wavell ordered his screening forces to harass the advancing Italians, falling back towards Mersa Matruh, where the main British infantry force was based. Positioned on the desert flank was the 7th Armoured Division, which would strike the flank of the Italian force. By 16 September, the Italian force had advanced to Maktila, around 80 mi west of Mersa Matruh, where they halted due to supply problems. Despite Mussolini urging that the advance carry on, Graziani ordered his force to dig in around Sidi Barrani, fortified camps were established in forward locations. In response to the dispersed Italian camps, the British planned a limited five-day attack, Operation Compass, to strike at these fortified camps one by one; the British Commonwealth force, totalling 36,000 men, attacked the forward elements of the 10-division-strong Italian army on 9 December.
Following their initial success, the forces of Operation Compass pursued the retreating Italian forces. In January, the small port at Bardia was taken, soon followed by the seizure of the fortified port of Tobruk; some 40,000 Italians were captured in and around the two ports, with the rem
Battle of Madagascar
The Battle of Madagascar was the British campaign to capture the Vichy French-controlled island Madagascar during World War II. The seizure of the island by the British was to deny Madagascar's ports to the Imperial Japanese Navy and to prevent the loss or impairment of the Allied shipping line, it began with Operation Ironclad, the seizure of the port of Diego-Suarez near the northern tip of the island, on 5 May 1942. A subsequent campaign to secure the entire island, Operation Stream Line Jane, was opened on 10 September; the Allies broke into the interior linking up with forces on the coast and secured the island by the end of October. Fighting ceased and an armistice was granted on 6 November; this was the first large scale operation by the Allies of World War II combining sea and air forces. Diego-Suarez is a large bay with a fine harbour near the northern tip of the island of Madagascar and has an opening to the east through a narrow channel called Oronjia Pass; the naval base of Diego-Suarez lies on a peninsula between two of the four small bays enclosed within Diego-Suarez Bay.
Diego-Suarez Bay cuts into the northern tip of Madagascar severing it from the rest of the island. In the 1880s, the bay was coveted by France, which claimed it as a coaling station for steamships travelling to French possessions further east; the colonization was formalized after the first Franco-Hova War when Queen Ranavalona III signed a treaty on 17 December 1885 giving France a protectorate over the bay and surrounding territory, as well as the islands of Nosy Be and St. Marie de Madagascar; the colony's administration was subsumed into that of French Madagascar in 1897. In 1941, Diego-Suarez town, the bay and the channel were well protected by naval shore batteries. Following the Japanese conquest of Southeast Asia east of Burma by the end of February 1942, submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy were moving throughout the north and eastern expanses of the Indian Ocean. In March 1942, Japanese aircraft carriers conducted the Indian Ocean raid upon shipping in the Bay of Bengal and bases in Colombo and Trincomalee in Ceylon.
This raid drove the British Eastern Fleet out of the area and they were forced to relocate to a new base at Kilindini, near Mombasa, in Kenya. The move made the British fleet more vulnerable to attack; the possibility of Japanese naval forces using forward bases in Madagascar had to be addressed. The potential use of these facilities threatened Allied merchant shipping, the supply route to the British Eighth Army and the Eastern Fleet. Japanese submarines had the longest range of any Axis forces' subs at the time — more than 10,000 miles in some cases, but being challenged by the United States Navy's then-relatively new Gato-class fleet submarines' 11,000 nautical miles top range figures. If the Imperial Japanese Navy's submarines were able to utilise bases on Madagascar, Allied lines of communication would be affected across a region stretching from the Pacific and Australia, to the Middle East and as far as the South Atlantic. On 17 December 1941, Vice Admiral Fricke, Chief of Staff of Germany's Maritime Warfare Command, met Vice Admiral Naokuni Nomura, the Japanese Naval Attaché, in Berlin to discuss the delimitation of respective operational areas between the German Kriegsmarine and Imperial Japanese Navy forces.
At another meeting on 27 March 1942, Fricke stressed the importance of the Indian Ocean to the Axis powers and expressed the desire that the Japanese begin operations against the northern Indian Ocean sea routes. Fricke further emphasized that Ceylon, the Seychelles, Madagascar should have a higher priority for the Axis navies than operations against Australia. By 8 April, the Japanese announced to Fricke that they intended to commit four or five submarines and two auxiliary cruisers for operations in the western Indian Ocean between Aden and the Cape of Good Hope, but they refused to disclose their plans for operations against Madagascar and Ceylon, only reiterating their commitment to operations in the area; the Allies had heard the rumours of Japanese plans for the Indian Ocean and on 27 November 1941, the British Chiefs of Staff discussed the possibility that the Vichy government might cede the whole of Madagascar to Japan, or alternatively permit the Japanese Navy to establish bases on the island.
British naval advisors urged the occupation of the island as a precautionary measure. On 16 December, General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French in London, sent a letter to the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, in which he urged a Free French operation against Madagascar. Churchill recognised the risk of a Japanese-controlled Madagascar to Indian Ocean shipping to the important sea route to India and Ceylon, considered the port of Diego-Suarez as the strategic key to Japanese influence in the Indian Ocean. However, he made it clear to planners that he did not feel Britain had the resources to mount such an operation and, following experience in the Battle of Dakar in September 1940, did not want a joint operation launched by British and Free French forces to secure the island. By 12 March 1942, Churchill had been convinced of the importance of such an operation and the decision was reached that the planning of the invasion of Madagascar would begin in earnest, it was agreed.
As a preliminary battle outline, Churchill gave the following guidelines to the planners and the operation was designated Operation Bonus: Force H, the ships guarding the Western Mediterranean, should move south from Gibraltar and should be replaced by an American Task Force The 4,000 men and ships proposed by Lord Mountbatten for the operation, shou
Arctic naval operations of World War II
The Arctic Circle defining the "midnight sun" encompasses the Atlantic Ocean from the northern edge of Iceland to the Bering Strait. The area is considered part of the Battle of the Atlantic or the European Theatre of World War II. Pre-war navigation focused on the international ore trade from Narvik and Petsamo. Soviet settlements along the coast and rivers of the Barents Sea and Kara Sea relied upon summer coastal shipping for supplies from railheads at Arkhangelsk and Murmansk; the Soviet Union extended the Northern Sea Route past the Taymyr Peninsula to the Bering Strait in 1935. The Winter War opened the northern flank of the eastern front of World War II. Arctic naval presence was dominated by the Soviet Northern Fleet of a few destroyers with larger numbers of submarines and torpedo cutters supported by icebreakers; the success of the German invasion of Norway provided the Kriegsmarine with naval bases from which capital ships might challenge units of the Royal Navy Home Fleet. Luftwaffe anti-shipping aircraft of Kampfgeschwader 26 and Kampfgeschwader 30 operated intermittently from Norwegian airfields, while routine reconnaissance was undertaken by Küstenfliegergruppen aircraft including Heinkel He 115s and Blohm & Voss BV 138s.
To support the Soviet Union against the German invasion, the Allies initiated a series of PQ and JW convoys bringing military supplies to the Soviet Union in formations of freighters screened by destroyers and minesweepers. Escorting cruisers maneuvered outside the formation, while a larger covering force including battleships and aircraft carriers steamed nearby to engage Kriegsmarine capital ships or raid their Norwegian bases; the Soviet Union and Germany employed smaller coastal convoys to maintain the flow of supplies to the Soviet arctic coast, transport strategic metal ores to Germany, sustain troops on both sides of the northern flank of the eastern front. Soviet convoys hugged the coast to avoid ice while German convoys used fjords to evade Royal Navy patrols. Both sides devoted continuing efforts to minelaying and minesweeping of these shallow, confined routes vulnerable to mine warfare and submarine ambushes. German convoys were screened by minesweepers and submarine chasers while Soviet convoys were protected by minesweeping trawlers and torpedo cutters.
A branch of the Pacific Route began carrying Lend-Lease goods through the Bering Strait to the Soviet Arctic coast in June 1942. The number of westbound cargo ship voyages along this route was 23 in 1942, 32 in 1943, 34 in 1944 and 31 after Germany surrendered in 1945. Total westbound tonnage through the Bering Strait was 452,393 in comparison to 3,964,231 tons of North American wartime goods sent across the Atlantic to Soviet Arctic ports. A large portion of the Arctic route tonnage was fuel for Siberian airfields on the Alaska-Siberia air route. 6 September 1939: Bremen was the first of 18 German merchant ships to take refuge in Murmansk after avoiding British naval patrols in the Atlantic. 30 November 1939: The Winter War offensive against Petsamo was supported by Soviet Northern Fleet destroyers Kuibishev, Karl Liebknecht and Grozny. April 1940: Operation Weserübung included an invasion of Narvik by troops embarked aboard ten Kriegsmarine destroyers. Covering battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau engaged HMS Renown.
4 May 1940: The Polish destroyer Grom was sunk off Narvik by a KG 100 bomber. 21 May 1940: HMS Effingham was scuttled after grounding on a shallow pinnacle off Narvik. 4 June 1940: Operation Alphabet troopships Monarch of Bermuda, Sobieski, Lancastria, Oronsay, Arandora Star, Royal Ulsterman, Ulster Prince, Ulster Monarch and Duchess of York began evacuation of 24,600 Allied soldiers from Narvik. 8 June 1940: With some of the longest range naval gunnery hits documented and Gneisenau sank the British aircraft carrier HMS Glorious and her escorting destroyers HMS Acasta and Ardent during Operation Juno. 9 July 1940: Raider Komet sailed north from Bergen and waited near Novaya Zemlya until 13 August 1940 for ice conditions to allow passage through the Matochkin Strait into the Kara Sea. Komet proceeded east with the assistance of three Soviet icebreakers to enter the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait on 5 September 1940. Soviet submarine Shch-423 made a similar trip from Murmansk to Vladivostok from 5 August to 17 October.
25 July 1940: Admiral Hipper sailed for a two-week Arctic patrol. 15 August 1940: Army transport USAT American Legion departed Petsamo for New York City carrying American nationals from Finland, Latvia, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands. American Legion carried Princess Märtha of Sweden with her children, a Bofors 40 mm gun manufactured in Sweden which became the prototype for American manufacture of the primary United States Navy anti-aircraft gun of World War II. 25 August 1940: HMS Norfolk and HMAS Australia sailed for a five-day patrol to Bear Island. 16 October 1940: HMS Furious launched an airstrike against the Tromsø seaplane base. 4 March 1941: HMS Edinburgh and Nigeria covered the Operation Claymore raid on Lofoten. 11 April 1941: HNoMS Mansfield destroyed the Øksfjord fish oil factory. 7 May 1941: Destroyers HMS Somali, Eskimo and HMAS Nestor captured code documents aboard the German weather ship München near Jan Mayen while covered by cruisers HMS Edinburgh and Birmingham. HMS Nigeria made a similar capture of the weather ship Lauenburg on 28 June.
25 June 1941: The Soviet troopship Mossovet brought reinforcements to Titovka.
The Lapland War was fought between Finland and Nazi Germany from September to November 1944 in Finland's northernmost region, during World War II. Although Finns and Germans had been fighting the Soviet Union together since 1941 during the Continuation War, the Soviet Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive in the summer of 1944 forced Finnish leadership to negotiate a separate peace agreement; the Moscow Armistice demanded Finland break diplomatic ties with Germany and expel or disarm any German soldiers left in Finland after 15 September 1944. The Wehrmacht had anticipated the turn of events and drawn up plans for an organised withdrawal to German-occupied Norway called Operation Birke. Despite a failed offensive landing operation by Germany in the Gulf of Finland, the evacuation proceeded peacefully at first; the Finns escalated the situation into warfare on 28 September after Soviet pressure to adhere to the terms of the Armistice. The Finnish Army was required by the USSR to demobilise while at the same time pursuing German troops out of Finnish soil.
After a series of minor battles, the war came to an effective end in November 1944 when German troops had reached Norway or its vicinity and took fortified positions. The last German soldiers left Finland on 27 April 1945 and the end of World War II in Europe came soon after; the Finns considered the war a separate conflict because hostilities with other nations had ceased after the Continuation War. From the German perspective, it was a part of the two campaigns to evacuate from northern Finland and northern Norway. Soviet involvement in the war amounted to monitoring Finnish operations, minor air support as well as entering north-eastern Lapland during the Petsamo–Kirkenes Offensive. Military impacts were limited with both sides sustaining around 4,000 in total casualties—although the Germans' delaying scorched earth and land mine strategies devastated Finnish Lapland; the Wehrmacht withdrew and Finland upheld its obligations under the Moscow Armistice, although it remained formally at war with the USSR and the United Kingdom until ratification by the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty.
Germany and Finland had been at war with the Soviet Union since Operation Barbarossa began in June 1941, co-operating in the Continuation War and Operation Silver Fox with the German 20th Mountain Army stationed in Lapland. As early as the summer of 1943, the German high command Oberkommando der Wehrmacht began making plans for the eventuality that Finland might negotiate a separate peace agreement with the Soviet Union; the Germans planned to withdraw their forces northward in order to shield the nickel mines near Petsamo. During the winter of 1943–1944, Germans improved the roads from northern Norway to northern Finland by extensive use of prisoner-of-war labour in certain areas. Casualties among the labouring prisoners were high, in part because many of them had been captured in southern Europe and were still in summer uniform. In addition, the Germans surveyed defensive positions and planned to evacuate as much materiel as possible from the region, meticulously prepared for withdrawal. On 9 April 1944, the German withdrawal plan was designated as Operation Birke.
In June 1944, the Germans started constructing fortifications against a possible enemy advance from the south. The accidental death of Generaloberst Eduard Dietl on 23 June 1944 brought Generaloberst Lothar Rendulic to the command of the 20th Mountain Army. After the devastating Soviet strategic Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive in southern Finland from June to July and a change in Finnish leadership in August 1944, Finland negotiated a separate peace agreement with the USSR; the ceasefire agreement required the Finns to break diplomatic ties with Germany and publicly demand the withdrawal of all German troops from Finland by 15 September 1944. Any troops remaining after the deadline were to be expelled or disarmed and handed over to the USSR. With the German withdrawal operation, the Finns estimated it would take three months for the Wehrmacht to evacuate; the task was further complicated by the Soviet demand that the majority of the Finnish Defence Forces be demobilised while conducting a military campaign against the Germans.
Before deciding to accept the Soviet demands, President Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, former Finnish commander-in-chief, wrote a letter directly to Adolf Hitler: Our German brothers-in-arms will forever remain in our hearts. The Germans in Finland were not the representatives of foreign despotism but helpers and brothers-in-arms, but in such cases foreigners are in difficult positions requiring such tact. I can assure you that during the past years nothing whatsoever happened that could have induced us to consider the German troops intruders or oppressors. I believe that the attitude of the German Army in northern Finland towards the local population and authorities will enter our history as a unique example of a correct and cordial relationship I deem it my duty to lead my people out of the war. I cannot and I will not turn the arms which you have so liberally supplied us against Germans. I harbour the hope that you if you disapprove of my attitude, will wish and endeavour like myself and all other Finns to terminate our former relations without increasing the gravity of the situation.
The 20th Mountain Army had been fighting the Soviet Karelian Front since Operation Barbarossa along the 700 km stretch from Oulu River to the Arctic Ocean. It now comprised 214,000 soldiers, a considerable amount of them under SS formations, led by Generaloberst Rendulic; the number of active troops decreased as they withdrew to Norway. The army had 32,00
Operation Sea Lion
Operation Sea Lion written as Operation Sealion, was Nazi Germany's code name for the plan for an invasion of the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain in the Second World War. Following the Fall of France, Adolf Hitler, the German Führer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, hoped the British government would seek a peace agreement and he reluctantly considered invasion only as a last resort if all other options failed; as a precondition, he specified the achievement of both air and naval superiority over the English Channel and the proposed landing sites, but the German forces did not achieve either at any point during the war, both the German High Command and Hitler himself had serious doubts about the prospects for success. A large number of barges were gathered together on the Channel coast, with air losses increasing, Hitler postponed Sea Lion indefinitely on 17 September 1940 and it was never put into action. Adolf Hitler hoped for a negotiated peace with the UK and made no preparations for amphibious assault on Britain until the Fall of France.
At the time, the only forces with experience of, or modern equipment for, such landings were the Japanese, at the Battle of Wuhan in 1938. In September 1939, the German invasion of Poland was a success, but this infringed on both a French and a British alliance with Poland and both countries declared war on Germany. On 9 October, Hitler's "Directive No. 6 for the Conduct of the War" planned an offensive to defeat these allies and "win as much territory as possible in Holland and northern France to serve as a base for the successful prosecution of the air and sea war against Britain". With the prospect of the Channel ports falling under Kriegsmarine control, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder attempted to anticipate the obvious next step that might entail and instructed his operations officer, Kapitän Hansjürgen Reinicke, to draw up a document examining "the possibility of troop landings in England should the future progress of the war make the problem arise". Reinicke spent five days on this study and set forth the following prerequisites: Eliminating or sealing off Royal Navy forces from the landing and approach areas.
Eliminating the Royal Air Force. Destroying all Royal Navy units in the coastal zone. Preventing British submarine action against the landing fleet. On 22 November 1939, the Head of Luftwaffe intelligence Joseph "Beppo" Schmid presented his "Proposal for the Conduct of Air Warfare", which argued for a counter to the British blockade and said "Key is to paralyse the British trade" by blocking imports to Britain and attacking seaports; the OKW considered the options and Hitler's 29 November "Directive No. 9 – Instructions For Warfare Against The Economy of the Enemy" stated that once the coast had been secured, the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine were to blockade UK ports with sea mines, attack shipping and warships, make air attacks on shore installations and industrial production. This directive remained in force in the first phase of the Battle of Britain. In December 1939, the German Army issued its own study paper and solicited opinions and input from both Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe; the paper outlined an assault on England's eastern coast between The Wash and the River Thames by troops crossing the North Sea from ports in the Low Countries.
It suggested airborne troops as well as seaborne landings of 100,000 infantry in East Anglia, transported by the Kriegsmarine, to prevent Royal Navy ships from getting through the Channel, while the Luftwaffe had to control airspace over the landings. The Kriegsmarine response was focused on pointing out the many difficulties to be surmounted if invading England was to be a viable option, it could not envisage taking on the Royal Navy Home Fleet and said it would take a year to organise shipping for the troops. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe, responded with a single-page letter in which he stated, " combined operation having the objective of landing in England must be rejected, it could only be the final act of an victorious war against Britain as otherwise the preconditions for success of a combined operation would not be met". Germany's swift and successful occupation of France and the Low Countries gained control of the Channel coast, facing what Schmid's 1939 report called their "most dangerous enemy".
Raeder met Hitler on 21 May 1940 and raised the topic of invasion, but warned of the risks and expressed a preference for blockade by air and raiders. By the end of May, the Kriegsmarine had become more opposed to invading Britain following its Pyrrhic victory in Norway: after Operation Weserübung, the Kriegsmarine had only one heavy cruiser, two light cruisers, four destroyers available for operations. Raeder was opposed to Sea Lion, for the entire Kriegsmarine surface fleet had been either sunk or badly damaged in Weserübung, his service was hopelessly outnumbered by the ships of the Royal Navy. British parliamentarians still arguing for peace negotiations were defeated in the May 1940 War Cabinet Crisis, but throughout July the Germans continued with attempts to find a diplomatic solution. In a report presented on 30 June, OKW Chief of Staff Alfred Jodl reviewed options to increase pressure on Britain to agree to a negotiated peace; the first priority was to eliminate the Royal Air Force and gain air supremacy.
Intensified air attacks against shipping and the economy could affect food supplies and civilian morale in the long term. Reprisal attacks of terror bombing had the potential to cause quicker capitulation but the effect on morale was uncertain. Once the Luftwaffe had cont
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