The Battle of Midway is often referred to as “the turning point of the Pacific”. It took place between the 4th to 7th of June, 1942. It was the Allies’ first major naval victory against the Japanese forces. Which was a rather surprising, as the Japanese Navy had more forces and experience than their American rivals.
In the photo above is an artist’s impression of the infamous Battle of Midway. The renown military historian, John Keegan, referred to it “the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare”.
During World War II Japan attacked nearly all of its neighboring Asian countries, allied with Nazi Germany and later launched a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The Japanese were infamous for being ruthless. In the photo above you can see officer Yasuno Chikao moments before beheading the captured Australian pilot, Leonard Siffleet in Aitape, New Guinea, on October 24, 1943. While on mission in Papua New Guinea, Siffleet and two Ambonese companions were captured and handed over to Japanese forces. All three of the men would be interrogated, tortured and later beheaded.
Women's Army Corps
In 1945, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was formed. It was the only all African-American and all-female battalion during World War II. Working in France and England, made them the first black female battalion to serve overseas. The battalion was commanded by Major Early (in the photo below) and composed of 30 officers and 800 enlisted women.
During World War II African American women struggled to find jobs in the defense industry, and when they did, white women were often unwilling to work beside them. Factory work allowed black women to escape domestic servant jobs during the period of the war, and they earn better wages; however, most were fired after the war and forced to resume work as maids and cooks.
The Famous Kiss
This is an outtake of the iconic photo taken by photojournalist, Alfred Eisenstaedt, was first published in Life magazine and is often called "V-J Day in Times Square," or more famously as "The Kiss." It was taken in New York City's Times Square on August 14, 1945. Eisenstaedt was happened to photographing a spontaneous event that in Times Square right before the announcement of the end of the war with Japan was made by U.S. President Harry S. Truman early that morning.
As pedestrians watched, an American sailor passionately kisses a white-uniformed nurse who was a stranger to him, to celebrate the long awaited-victory over Japan. The two were later identified as George Mendonsa and Greta Friedman. Many were shocked to hear that at the time Mendonsa's new girlfriend, Rita Petry, was actually waiting for him in the crowd.
The Japanese Surrender
Early Sunday morning on September 2, 1945, aboard the new 45,000-ton battleship U.S.S. Missouri and before representatives of nine Allied nations, soldiers and sailors watched as the Japanese signed their surrender. General MacArthur stated at the ceremony that the Japanese and their conquerors did not meet "in a spirit of mistrust, malice or hatred but rather, it is for us, both victors and vanquished, to rise to that higher dignity which alone benefits the sacred purposes we are about to serve."
None of the Japanese delegates were saluted by any of the high-ranking officers, and later, Gen. Carl A. Spaatz revealed that U.S. planes were set and ready with bombs to halt any last-minute guerilla attack by the Japanese, as a deckful of high-ranking Allied officers on the U.S.S. Missouri might have presented a tempting target for a final suicide attack.