World War I Poster

Photo above: World War II Poster, United We Are Strong, United We Will Win, 1943, Henry Koerner, Office of War Department. Courtesy Library of Congress.

World War II - United States Involvement

For the first two years of World War II, the United States repeated its initial reaction of the first world war, attempting to stay neutral and broker peace. The nation was in the beginning of its recovery from the Great Depression, was celebrating a renewed vigor with World's Fairs in New York and San Francisco, and was not of the mindset to join the initial years of fighting. That, of course, would change. Their neutrality had always been an allied stance with the nations of Europe fighting Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan even during the first two years of war, but without troops. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the sleeping bear would awaken, forced into the fight with full mettle. They would fight the remaining five years of war in theaters around the world, from the European theater to the Pacific Ocean nations of the Orient. And the final act would succumb to use of weapons not thought possible, with a ferocity unsurpassed in warfare to that point with the dropping of two atom bombs on Japan.



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  • World War Two, U.S. - Quick Battle Timeline 1943

    U.S. Soldiers at Kasserine Pass

    USA and World War II, 1943

    Military operations in all theaters advanced as the year 1943 began. A naval blockade, begun after the original declaration of war, was maintained against Germany, as well as their counter blockade. Success in North Africa would eventully be achieved after the initial defeat at Kasserine Pass, and lead to the invasion into Sicily, then mainland Italy, considered by Winston Churchill as the "soft underbelly" of the Axis, opening a Soviet desired second front in Europe that would help alleviate pressure on their Eastern front battle against Germany. Bombing raids would be initiated against German industry to limit their industrial might and ability to resupply, and landings in the South Pacific would begin to push toward mainland Japan by recapturing territory lost earlier in the war.

    By the end of 1943, the first true indication of an Allied potential victory would be signalled when Benito Mussolini, suffering internally within Italy after losses in North Africa, would be deposed and an armistice of peace achieved with Italy, eventually leading to support in that nation for the Allied cause from both the people at the government.

    February 19-24, 1943 - Battle of Kasserine Pass, Tunisia (North Africa Theater)
    Troops: USA/UK/Free France 30,000; Germany/Italy 22,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 10,000; Axis 2,000.
    First major battle between U.S. and German troops in World War Two ends with Axis victory for General Rommel, pushing inexperienced American and British troops back fifty miles from the Faid Pass with heavy casualties.

    March 2-5, 1943 - Battle of the Bismark Sea, Lea (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA/Australia 168 aircraft, 10 ships; Japan 6,900 troops, 100 aircraft, 16 ships.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA/Australia 13, 6 aircraft; Japan 2,890, 20 aircraft, 12 ships.
    American and Australian aircraft destroy convoy of Japanese troops heading to New Guinea after intelligence of destination and timing proves accurate. Of 6,900 Imperial Japan troops heading out, only 1,200 made it to Lae.

    March 23 to April 3, 1943 - Battle of El Guetarr, Tunisia (North Africa Theater)
    Troops: USA NA; Germany/Italy NA.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 4-5,000, 35-55 tanks; Axis 4-6,000, 40 plus tanks.
    Battle led by General George Patton becomes first successful tank battle by U.S. against German tank commanders in defense of their position. Indecisive overall when U.S. tanks could not mount as successful an offense.

    April 22 to September 16, 1943 - Salamaua-Lae Campaign, New Guinea (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA/Australia 30,000; Japan 10,000 plus.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA/Australia 2,249; Japan 11,600, including captured.
    Series of battles to capture Japanese bases by Australian troops under Edmung Hering and USA troops under General Douglas MacArthur in Lae and Salamaua end with the Japanese abandoning the garrison of Salamua and the defeat of Lae five days later.

    May 11-30, 1943 - Battle of Attu, Alaska Territory (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA/Canada 15,000 plus; Japan 2,900.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 1,697; Japan 2,850.
    Final attack in Aleutian Islands campaign begun after Japan invaded American territory June 6-7, 1942. Two week battle in Arctic conditions against fortified Japanese position. Bonzai charge at end of battle surprised American position, but ended with Japanese losing almost all of its men. Only land battle on U.S. soil in the war.


    July 9 to August 17, 1944 - Invasion of Sicily, Italy (European Theater)
    Troops: Allies (USA, UK, India, Canada, Free French, Australia, South Africa) 467,000; Italy/Germany 292,000-312,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 22,802; Axis 55,003, plus 163,039 missing or captured.
    Amphibious and air campaign followed by six week land battle captures island of Sicily and Mediterranean sea lanes for the Allied powers. Victory, celebrated by Sicilians who had grown weary of Mussolini's war rule, would lead to the invasion of Italy and cause Italian leader Mussolini to be ordered jailed by the King of Italy and Germany to divert forces from its Eastern front.

    September 3-17, 1943 - Invasion of Italy, Italy (European Theater)
    Troops: USA/UK/Canada 189,000; Germany/Italy 100,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 12,560; Axis 3,500.
    Allied invasion force lands at three locations on mainland Italy at Solerno, Calabria, and Taranto after Mussolini had been deposed and an armistace with the new Italian leaders signed on September 3. Resistance by German troops was stronger than anticipated, eventually leading to their withdrawal from southern Italy, south of Rome, and a defense of their Winter Line favored by General Rommel in the north.

    August 17, 1943 - Schweinfurt-Regensburg Mission, Germany (European Theater)
    Troops: USA/UK 835 bombers/sorties; Germany 400 aircraft.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 28 plus 557 missing or captured, 65 aircraft; Germany 25-27, 203 civilians.
    First of two major raids into German territory to cripple aircraft industry succeeds in reducing capacity by 34%, but at a high cost of American and British aircraft.

    October 14, 1943 - Schweinfurt 2nd Raid, Germany (European Theater)
    Troops: USA/UK 351 aircraft; Germany NA.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 633 plus 78 aircraft; Germany 35-38 aircraft.
    Anti-aircraft batteries by Germany cause devestating losses, twenty-six percent of attacking force, in second raid against aircraft industry factories in Schweinfurt. Would take four months before USAAF would return to the air war in February 1944.

    November 20-23, 1943 - Battle of Tarawa, Gilbert Islands (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA 53,000; Japan 4,819, including laborers.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 5,493; Japan 4,690, 146 captured.
    First USA offensive in Central Pacific region was met by strong resistance at landing on Tarawa Atoll, which had been captured by Japan in December 1941. U.S. victory came with heavy losses over three days and would lead to the precursor establishment of the Navy Seals.

    Full Text, Armistance with Italy, 1943

    Armistice with Italy; September 3, 1943

    Military armistice signed at Fairfield Camp, Sicily, September 3, 1943. Entered into force September 3, 1943, supplemented by memorandum of agreement of September 23, 1943, as amended, and by instrument of surrender of September 29, 1943, as amended. Terminated September 15, 1947, upon entry into force of treaty of peace of February 10, 1947.

    FAIRFIELD CAMP, SICILY. September 3, 1943. The following conditions of an Armistice are presented by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces, acting by authority of the Governments of the United States and Great Britain and in the interest of the United Nations, and are accepted by Marshal Pietro Badoglio, Head of the Italian Government.

    1. Immediate cessation of all hostile activity by the Italian armed forces.

    2. Italy will use its best endeavors to deny, to the Germans, facilities that might be used against the United Nations.

    3. All prisoners or internees of the United Nations to be immediately turned over to the Allied Commander in Chief, and none of these may now or at any time be evacuated to Germany.

    4. Immediate transfer of the Italian Fleet and Italian aircraft to such points as may be designated by the Allied Commander in Chief, with details of disarmament to be prescribed by him.

    5. Italian merchant shipping may be requisitioned by the Allied Commander in Chief to meet the needs of his military-naval program.

    6. Immediate surrender of Corsica and of all Italian territory, both islands and mainland, to the Allies, for such use as operational bases and other purposes as the Allies may see fit.

    7. Immediate guarantee of the free use by the Allies of all airfields and naval ports in Italian territory, regardless of the rate of evacuation of the Italian territory by the German forces. These ports and fields to be protected by Italian armed forces until this function is taken over by the Allies.

    8. Immediate withdrawal to Italy of Italian armed forces from all participation in the current war from whatever areas in which they may be now engaged.

    9. Guarantee by the Italian Government that if necessary it will employ all its available armed forces to insure prompt and exact compliance with all the provisions of this armistice.

    10. The Commander in Chief of the Allied Forces reserves to himself the right to take any measure which in his opinion may be necessary for the protection of the interests of the Allied Forces for the prosecution of the war, and the Italian Government binds itself to take such administrative or other action as the Commander in Chief may require, and in particular the Commander in Chief will establish Allied Military Government over such parts of Italian territory as he may deem necessary in the military interests of the Allied Nations.

    11. The Commander in Chief of the Allied Forces will have a full right to impose measures of disarmament, demobilization, and demilitarization.

    12. Other conditions of a political, economic and financial nature with which Italy will be bound to comply will be transmitted at a later date.

    The conditions of the present Armistice will not be made public without prior approval of the Allied Commander in Chief. The English will be considered the official text.

    Note: Image above: Photo of U.S. 1st Infantry Division troops marching through the Kasserine Pass in February 1943. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons, U.S. Army photograph. Info source: Wikipedia Commons; World War II Database; Avalon Project, Document in Law, History, and Diplomacy, Yale Law School. Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America 1776-1949, Department of State Publication 8484, Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1969.




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