The war between Japan success against the United States and Europe

Millions of people died in the second World War

which was the largest human war to date. Victims included both military personnel and civilians. Germany, Italy, and Japan were at war with the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain when World War II first broke out.

Axis powers gain strength

Due to the European democracies' ineffective defenses against Axis invasion (Germany, Italy, and Japan) and their estrangement from the United States, the Axis grew immensely powerful. The United States struggled to overcome the great depression that ended in the 1930’s; Japan had already emerged from the depression, which begun in the1926 and ended in the 1930’s. Japans’ military soldiers, mainly comprised of young men from rural areas greatly affected by the depression and poverty, were committed to expand the Japanese’s territory in order to achieve economic stability. The end of depression in Japan was partly due to the government’s effort to expand both the heavy industry and military.

Japan's alliance with Germany and Italy

The European war presented tempting deals to Japan. After the attack on Russia by Nazi, Japan had options to either form allies with Germany or fight against the Soviet Union or join the European forces which would provide opportunities to seek richer prizes from the European colonies. Japan settled on forming alliance with Germany and Italy to fight against the American and European forces. The alliance paved way for Japan to take control over the Southeast Asia. Conquering the British and Dutch in the Southeast Asia would provide Japan with total control on the oil, rubber and other raw materials.

Japan's expansion in eastern Asia

Japan expanded its military power in other eastern Asia countries in the 1931; the invasion started in Manchuria and was followed with brutal attacks on china in the 1937. The United States made efforts by imposing heavy economic sanctions on Japan to curb aggression and force it to withdraw forces from china and Manchuria. The economic sanctions resulted to severe shortage of oil and other resources on Japan; this drove Japanese’ ambition to take control over the pacific and displace the United States. Japan decided to launch an invasion, on the British and the American forces in Asia, to allow it to take control of all resources in the southeast of Asia.

Attack on Pearl Harbor and US involvement

Japan, in 1941, launched a number of attacks on the United States’ pacific fleet in Hawaii. The attack had heavy damage on the American fleet which prevented any further interference of the American forces on the Japanese military operations. In response to the attack, the United States vowed to go to war with Japan; this was the same case with Germany which also declared war on the country. After the attack on the fleet, Pearl Harbor Japan accomplished a long series of military success.

Expansion and counterattacks

Different Asian countries were now controlled by Japanese territory; Guam and Wake Island fell under Japanese control in 1941; the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore, Burma and the Dutch of East Indies all fell under Japan in the first half of 1942. However, Thailand remained neutral. In 1942, the United States attacked Japanese fleet leaving heavy losses and took control of the fleet. The American forces launched attacks on the different islands under Japan and took control over them. Japan, however successfully defended their position in china until 1945.


Gilbert, Martin. "Japan and The United State Enter War." In The Routledge Atlas of Second World War, by Martin Gilbert, 53-69. New York: Routelege Publishers, 2014.

William Murray, Allan R. Millett. A War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War . Boston: Harvard University Press, 2009.

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