Japan as a Pacific Power
Japanese Strategy
American Strategy
Invasion of Saipan
The Last Surrender of World War II
Tinian - The Final Offensive
Seize, Occupy and Defend Tinian
The Effort at Tinian
Secret Cargo to Tinian
A Steel Shark
Death of a Warship
The Final Offensive
American Strategy
When Japan invaded China to protect its interests the United States 
waited until the summer of 1941 to retaliate with a trade embargo to cut 
the country's oil supply.This was done after negotiations had failed to 
halt Japan's aggression in China. It was the final act which led the 
Japanese to decide to prepare for war against the United States and was 
Kaisen Zen-ya -  "the eve of war."Their objective was to sink the United 
States Pacific Fleet so it would not interfere with Japan's conquest of 
the East Indies and the Philippines for the area's supplies of oil and 
other strategic resources. At that time the Philippine Islands was
U.S. territory.
On December 7, 1941 the Japanese launched an air strike at 
Shinjuwa (Pearl Harbor, Hawaii) which consisted of 6 aircraft carriers, 
183 planes,2 battleships,2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser,9 
destroyers,3 submarines and 8 oilers. The day's  rising sun brought with 
it the dawn of war.  In response to the Shunobu's  coded fleet signal of 
"Niitaka-Yama-Mobere" ("Climb Mount Nitaka"), Japan's "Wild Eagles" dove 
out of a morning sky to reek death and destruction on a sleeping 
American fleet of 145 ships... all at anchor. The U. S. territory of 
Guam was attacked, partly by forces stationed on Saipan,  and conquered 
by  the Japanese on December 10th. 
The Northern Marianas would not play a major role in the war  for 
another two and one-half years. United States war planning groups had 
developed a course of action known as the "Appreciation And Plan For The 
Defeat Of Japan." This plan recognized that the most effective way to 
defeat the Empire was to destroy its capacity to resist without invading 
the home islands, thus avoiding the high cost in men and materiel of an 
invasion. This could be accomplished by aerial bombardment directed at 
Japan's industrial base. In terms of a geographic location from which to 
launch such strikes the Mariana Islands fulfilled all the requirements. 
However, the islands could not be secure if other islands in the central 
Pacific east of the Marianas remained capable of launching attacks on 
the sea lanes stretching across the Pacific from supply depots in Hawaii. 
Plans to launch an offensive against the Japanese were initiated 
in 1943 at the Quadrant Conference held in Quebec. President Roosevelt 
received the proposal that the Allied effort in the Pacific should be 
directed first toward the Gilbert Islands, then the Marshalls followed 
by Wake, the Eastern Carolines and  then the Marianas. It was at Saipan 
that American military planners were presented with the problem of how 
to cope with a dense civilian population, the first to be  encountered 
in the Pacific war. The U. S.  forces were to be under the overall 
command of Admiral Chester Nimitz. The American drive across the Pacific 
would be two-pronged. While Nimitz fought his way across the central 
Pacific, General MacArthur would advance across the southwest Pacific to 
the Philippines. The islands of the central Pacific either succumbed one 
by one under the shear weight of American forces or were bombed, 
neutralized and bypassed. With their supply  lines cut, the defenders of 
by-passed islands were left to starve. After the fall of the Marshall 
islands, no other island in the central Pacific would be invaded by 
American ground forces until the American armada reached the waters off 
the Marianas and the island of Saipan.

Sources: 
- Excerpts from this section were taken from the author's book, Ghost 
Fleet Of The Truk Lagoon, Japanese Mandated  Islands  and the book 
Saipan In Flames  as well as from the text of his map entitled, 
Battlefield Map Of Saipan - 1944. 
- Time Magazine - October 30, 1944 
- Japan was occupied by U. S. forces until Sept. 8,1951. 
-  Fletcher Pratt, The Marianas War,  New York: William Sloan Assoc., 
1948, p.266. 
Stephenson, H.W., Analysis Of Battle Statistics For The Pacific War In W 
W II, #30, Bennington Vt. 
-  Bowers, Neal M. ,Problems Of Resettlement on Saipan, Tinian and Rota, 
Mariana Islands, Pacific Science Board,  National Research Council and 
the United States Navy, 1950, page 69. 
- Richards, Dorothy E., United States Naval Administration Of The Trust 
Territory Of The Pacific Islands, Office Of Chief Naval Operations, U. 
S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., 1957. 

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