The Pacific War Historical Society came into existence in 2003. It is closely linked to the Pacific War Web-site and the companion Battle for Australia Web-site.

The society is still in the formative stage, but has members in North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe. The only qualifications for membership are access to the internet and a strong interest in the Pacific War and its historical setting.

There is no fee for membership.

Members include veterans of the Pacific War, historians, teachers, admirals, generals, history students, and anyone who simply has a deep interest in the Pacific War and the Battle for Australia 1942-43.

Contact is maintained with and between members by means of email and an occasional emailed newsletter. It is anticipated that the newsletter will be circulated more frequently by 2006 and hopefully, contain members contributions and correspondence.

If you would be interested in joining us, could you tell me a little about your background and interests (not for publication).


At the beginning of 1940, the Japanese were masters of Korea and Chinese Manchuria, and were waging a brutal war of aggression against China's Nationalist government to acquire the rest of China. Unsatisfied by the massive territorial gains already achieved, Japan's militarist government intended to seize all of the countries of South- East Asia and incorporate them into the Japanese empire. To gain support for its continuing military aggression, in September 1940, Japan joined Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in an alliance for world domination called the Tripartite Pact.

Alarmed by the success of Hitler's Nazi armies in Europe, the United States began to rebuild its long-neglected military forces in 1940. When the Japanese seized French Indo-China in July 1941, the American, British and Dutch governments realised that Japan was threatening their own access to vital raw materials, such as oil and rubber, and imposed sanctions on Japan that included denial of the oil needed by Japan's powerful navy to pursue further military aggression. Fearing that the United States would prove an obstacle to Japan's planned military aggression in South-East Asia, the Japanese resolved to attack the United States before it could rebuild its military forces. To distract the American government while it secretly positioned a powerful aircraft carrier strike force for a surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet at its Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii, the Japanese government ordered its envoys in Washington to engage the Americans in intensive diplomatic negotiations.

World War II came to America's Hawaiian Islands shortly before 8 a.m on 7 December 1941. It was a quiet Sunday morning. America was not yet at war, and most residents of Hawaii were preparing for church or other peaceful Sunday pursuits when Japanese carrier-launched aircraft struck a devastating blow at the United States Pacific Fleet at its anchorage in Pearl Harbor. The treacherous attack was not preceded by a declaration of war.

Despite nine hours notice of the attack at Pearl Harbor, the American army commander in the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur, failed to place his air force and troops on an adequate war footing to meet a Japanese attack. When Japanese aircraft struck the Philippines shortly after midday on 8 December 1942, American air power in the Far East was destroyed on the ground.

Australia was drawn into the war with Japan when the Japanese invaded British Malaya on 8 December 1942. Japan invaded Australia's Territory of New Guinea on 23 January 1942. When Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, Prime Minister John Curtin announced in a press release that the Battle for Australia had begun. The British government indicated to Australia that the defence of India was Britain's highest priority in the Far East and that Britain would not assist Australia to resist a Japanese invasion. Thereafter, until the defeat of Japan in 1945, Americans and Australians fought the Japanese together.

Although eight battleships were sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor, the American aircraft carriers survived the attack and the Commander in Chief of the the United States Pacific Fleet, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, quickly mounted a series of bold hit-and-run counter-attacks on the Japanese. When one of these counter-attacks caused Tokyo to be bombed by American carrier-launched aircraft, Japan's humiliated military leaders resolved to destroy the United States Pacific Fleet at the Midway Islands. The overall Japanese goal was to extend Japan's eastern defensive perimeter to the central Pacific and to incorporate Hawaii, Australia, and all of the islands between them into the Japanese empire.

This web-site takes the viewer from Pearl Harbor to Midway where a great battle for control of the central Pacific took place between the navies of the United States and Japan between 3 and 6 June 1942. Although heavily outnumbered and outgunned by Japanese warships, the United States Pacific Fleet inflicted a major defeat on the Japanese Imperial Navy and turned the tide of the Pacific War against the Japanese aggressors.

The American victory at Midway enabled the United States to launch a counter-offensive against Japan for the first time at Guadalcanal. This history concludes with coverage of the sea and land battles for control of Guadalcanal.

Despite the loss of naval supremacy at Midway, the Japanese were determined to isolate Australia from the United States by capturing Port Moresby on the southern coast of the island of New Guinea and all of the Solomon Islands. The focus of Japanese military operations in the Pacific then switched to New Guinea and the Solomon islands.

For those who wish to understand how Japan came to wage war on the United States and Australia in 1941, it is necessary first to trace the path taken by Japan to World War II, and the manner in which it became a partner of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in a partnership for world domination by military aggression. This is done in the later sections of this web-site which deal with the historical background to the Pacific War. An examination of Japan's history prior to World War II will reveal to the viewer a disturbing picture of ingrained militarism, authoritarian rule, and a citizenry conditioned to obedience to authority.


This web-site was first established on 30 June 2002. Its main purpose is to record a history of the Pacific War between December 1941 and March 1943 that will be readily accessible to all who desire knowledge of that time of great peril for the United States and Australia. This history ends in March 1943 when the Japanese offensives against the United States and Australia were halted, and the Japanese were forced to defend their conquered territories against American and Australian counter-offensives. The Pacific War Historical Society hopes that this history will assist young people to appreciate the courage, sacrifice, and service of the Americans and Australians who fought side by side to defend their countries from Japanese military aggression between 1941 and 1943.

Two further aims of this web-site are to encourage friendship between young people of the countries involved in that terrible conflict between the United States, Australia and Japan, and to foster understanding of the causes of war through the study of history.


This Pacific War web-site is a companion web-site to the Battle for Australia web-site, and it has an emphasis on aspects of the Pacific War that are likely to be of particular interest to Americans. Detailed treatment is given at this site to battles such as the Battle of Midway where the extraordinary courage of American air and ship crews halted the seemingly invincible Japanese military steamroller in its tracks and changed the course of the Pacific War.

The division of operational responsibilities in the Pacific War between American and Australian forces is reflected in the structure of the linked Pacific War and Battle for Australia web-sites. Visitors to this web-site will find illustrated historical treatments of Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Philippines, the Doolittle Raid on Japan, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, and the naval and land battles of Guadalcanal. However, if visitors wish to view an historical treatment of the savage and bloody battles between Japanese and Australian troops on the Kokoda Track in 1942, it will be necessary for them to visit the Battle for Australia web-site.

James Bowen
Convener, Pacific War Historical Society


The Convener apologises for the fact that his email address is an image and not hotlinked. This has been necessary to reduce the flow of unsolicited junk email called SPAM.