The early Pacific battles bring heroism and hardship, success and failure… long before victory.
In the aftermath of World War I, the vast Pacific Ocean became the setting for a struggle between imperialistic Japan and isolationist America. Japan, eager for resources it lacked, invaded Manchuria, and later China. The situation in the Far East set Japan on a collision course with the United States, a course that ultimately led to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Japan’s success on December 7th began an unbroken tide of victory and conquest. For the next six months, the military forces of Imperial Japan swept virtually unchecked throughout the Pacific. However, in May of 1942, the tide began to turn at the Battle of the Coral Sea, before the pivotal American victory at Midway opened the way for the United States to strike back. The question was when and where.
On August 7, 1942, Marines of the First Division went ashore on Guadalcanal, the opening move of what would become a six month struggle to wrest control of the lower Solomon Islands from the Japanese. Much of the American strategy for the war in the Pacific was derived from the experience on Guadalcanal.
The story of these early Pacific battles is one of heroism and hardship, success and failure, and ultimately, final victory. Experience first hand these pivotal battles through the vivid images captured by the combat cameramen and as told by those who were there. Over 8 1/2 hours, contains combat veteran first person accounts.
An MM&V/Dastar/Timeless Media Group Production
Part 1: Pearl Harbor Pt. 1
PEARL HARBOR: A DOCUMENTARY OF THE DAY OF INFAMY. 3 hours viewing.
The story of one of the most momentous events in American history and of a crucial turning point in the 20th Century.
In the chaotic aftermath of the First World War, the vast Pacific Ocean becomes the flash point for a new crisis, a struggle between militaristic Japan and isolationist America. Japan, eager for raw materials to feed her fledgling industries, invades Manchuria and later China. The fighting in Asia sets Japan on a collision course with the United States, a course that will ultimately lead to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
On December 7, 1941, the uneasy peace is shattered as the Japanese carrier fleet launches a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oahu. Within thirty minutes, the power of the United States Pacific Fleet is devastated. By the end of the attack, seven battleships are damaged or sunk, half the aircraft on the island are wiped out and 2,400 American lives are lost.
Chapters included : Japanese Paradox; Great Depression; China Incident; Drift to War; Last Days of Peace; Eleven Minutes of Terror; Battleship Row; Hell in the Harbor; Second Wave
Part 2: Pearl Harbor Pt. 2
The attack had been a tremendous success for the Japanese, but for the Americans, Pearl Harbor became a rallying cry, and proof positive of Japan’s treachery. America’s resolve to fight until the bitter end was forged in the flames of battleship row.
The story told here is one of global forces, of fascism and imperialism. It is the story of one of the most momentous events in American history and of a crucial turning point in the 20th Century. Most importantly, it is the story of the people who were there, told through the eyewitness accounts of both American and Japanese veterans, some whose stories have never been told. This is a story of courage, heroism and resilience in the face of overwhelming odds. This is the story of Pearl Harbor.
Chapters included : Rescue and Escape; Aftermath; What Went Wrong?; Pearl Harbor in Retrospect
Part 3: Pacific Turning Point Pt. 1
PACIFIC TURNING POINT. Running Time: Over 2 1/2 Hours.
This documentary focus on the events and battles of 1942 and 1943 that turned the course of the war.
After Pear Harbor, U.S. and Britain declare war on Japan. Japan launched a relentless assault that swept through the US territories of Guam, Wake Island, and the Philippines, as well as British-controlled Hong Kong, Malaya, and Burma.
Just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines fell under the Japanese sword in the opening move of what would become an inhuman ordeal for many of the American and Filipino defenders. On the morning of December 22, the main Japanese attack began at three points on northern Luzon, with a second large landing south of Manila two days later. Douglas MacArthur, commander of all U.S. and Filipino army forces in the Philippines, began executing plans to make a final stand on the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island. But Bataan defenders, low on ammunition, food, and medicine, could not hold back a final Japanese offensive. Their battle ended on April 9, 1942, when Army Major General Edward P. King surrendered to Japanese General Masaharu Homma. About 12,000 Americans and 63,000 Filipinos became prisoners of war. What followed became known as the Bataan Death March — one of the worst atrocities in modern history.
Chapters included : The Tide of Conquest; The Battle for the Phillippines; The Early Combat; The Battling Bastards of Bataan; The Phillippines’ Final Agony
Part 4: Pacific Turning Point Pt. 2
As Imperial Japan sought to stretch their dominion throughout Asia, the first attempts to strike back were made as American carriers launched several successful attacks, culminating with the Doolittle Raid. In early May 1942, US and Japanese carrier forces clashed in the Battle of the Coral Sea. While both sides suffered major losses, the US Navy checked a major Japanese offensive for the first time.
In response, Japanese Admiral Yamamoto formulated an elaborate, multi-faceted plot to destroy the American carrier fleet once and for all. Invasion fleets were dispatched toward the Aleutian Islands and the tiny American outpost at Midway. The resulting Battle for Midway became the defining moment of the Pacific War. US carrier aircraft dealt a devastating blow to the Japanese navy, destroying four aircraft carriers. The battle marked the first major US victory against Japan and was a turning point in the war.
By shifting the balance of naval power in the Pacific, Midway allowed US forces to take the offensive for the first time. The Allies soon set their sights on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands and on New Guinea.
Chapters included : The Homefront; The Silent Hunters; The Carrier Raids; A Coming Storm; The Battle of Midway; War Comes to The Aleutians; The Aleutian Patrol; The Invasion of Attu; The Invasion of Kiska
Part 5: Guadalcanal Pt. 1
GUADALCANAL: THE ISLAND OF DEATH. From this story of mistakes and heroism would rise the genesis of American land, sea and air strategy for the rest of the war in the Pacific. It included six major naval battles, daily aerial engagements and countless clashes on land. No campaign in either theater saw such sustained action by sea, land and air.
In the summer of 1942, America was still reeling from the attack on Pearl Harbor and the humiliating victories of the Japanese throughout the Far East. Then came the battles of the Coral Sea and the pivotal Battle for Midway. Japan had been effectively countered and it was time to launch an attack. Operation Watchtower, the code name for the first landing of American forces on a Japanese held island would occur on Guadalcanal, August, 7, 1942. This was the opening of a six month campaign to wrest control of the lower Solomon Islands from the Japanese Empire. From this story of mistakes and heroism would rise the genesis of American land, sea and air strategy for the rest of the war in the Pacific. Join the Marines as they go ashore on the Japanese held islands of Tulagi and Guadalcanal and watch as the enemy quickly counters their early successes.
Chapters included : Day of Infamy; The Rising Sun; The Coral Sea; Midway; Pestilence; Watchtower; First Offensive; The Battle of Savo Island; First Days Ashore; The Tenaru; The Battle of the Eastern Solomons; Boredon & Fear; The Battle of Edson’s Ridge; Loss of the Wasp
Part 6: Guadalcanal Pt. 2
Cactus was the American code name for Guadalcanal and for the men who fought and died there, the name was eerily prophetic. The Marines most significant asset was an airstrip known as Henderson Field, little more than a wide spot in the road, but crucial to the defense of the island. The Japanese fully undestood its strategic value and sought to wrest control of the airfield through a series of famous attacks. Frustrated by their inability to dislodge the Americans, the Japanese launch a massive assault on the island in mid-November in an all or nothing effort. The pressure on the Japanese builds to the breaking point as they struggle to regain control over what they call “The Island of Death.” Contains Combat Veteran Interviews and footage from The National Archives.
Chapters included : Reinforcement and Reassessment; Matanikau River Actions; The Battle of Cape Esperance; The Bombardment; The Battle for Henderson Field; The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands; Actions at Point Cruz & Koli Point; The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal; The Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal; The Final Push