Monday, September 07, 2015

Guadalcanal and other critical battles

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THE BATTLE FOR GUADALCANAL was discussed at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC on July 1. Marcus Jones, history professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and consultant for the Institute for Defense Analyses, tells the story of this ambitious undertaking and considers what was won and what was lost. Afterward, Gaspar presented a miniature war-game battlefield created to depict the battle of Guadalcanal. 

This seminal Pacific battle from August 1942 to February 1943 was a victory that marked the transition by the Allies from defensive operations to the strategic offensive against Imperial Japan. It has been immortalized in James Jones' novel The Thin Red Line . 

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After Guadalcanal, it was a slog across the Pacific to Japan. These less remembered battles in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and Central Pacific were mostly critical campaigns, that resulted in Japan's eventual surrender and the end of World War II.

Writer Alan Rems recounts in fascinating detail in the video above the largely unnecessary Australian mop up of Bouganville from November 1944 to August 1945 and the untold tragic story of Major General Barrett's suicide. Mr. Rems' talk introduces his fascinating book South Pacific Cauldron: World War II's Great Forgotten Battlegrounds. In clear language he explains the series of battles, necessary and not, that once riveted the nation. Most interesting are his descriptions of battles in the South Pacific that were largely militarily unessential and generally retributive.

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