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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  • Battle Timeline

  • World War Two, U.S. - Quick Battle Timeline 1944

    Invasion of Normandy

    USA and World War II, 1944

    With the gains made by the Allies in North Africa and Italy during 1943, the military commanders continued preparations for a land war across Europe, the invasion of France to wrest control of western Europe from the Axis. Postponed for two years while other priorities took precedence, the eventual 1944 battles after the invasion of Normandy, coupled with United States and Allied successes in the Pacific as battles along the island chains leading to Japan gained more and more ground, showed slow, but steady progress against both remaining powers of the Axis alliance.

    January 17 to May 18, 1944 - Battle of Monte Casino, Italy (European Theater)
    Troops: USA/UK/Free France/Italian Royal Army/Allies 240,000; Germany/Italian Social Republic 140,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 55,000; Axis 20,000.
    Series of four assaults against the Winter Line in northern Italy caused many Allied casualties but eventual withdrawal of German forces.

    January 22 to June 5, 1944 - Battle of Anzio, Italy (European Theater)
    Troops: USA/UK/Canada 150,000; Germany/Italian Social Republic 130,000 plus.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 43,000; Axis 40,000, including 4,500 prisoners.
    Allied amphibious landing and flanking maneuver around the Winter Line leads to the fall of Rome, although initial surprise landing is wasted for months until breaking out to capture the Italian capitol held by German troops on June 4.

    January 31 to February 3, 1944 - Battle of Kwajalein, Marshall Islands (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA 46,670; Japan 8,000 plus.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 1,993; Japan 8,800, 253 captured.
    Twin assaults on the main islands of Kwajalein Atoll lead to victory after vigorous Japanese defense. First victory within the outer ring of the Japanese Pacific sphere for the USA in their campaign to battle island to island toward Japan.

    June 6 to August 23, 1944 - Battle of Normandy, France (European Theater)
    Troops: Allies 2,052,299; Germany 1,000,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 226,386; Germany 530,000, including captured.
    Operation Overland and Operation Nepture, known as D-Day, invades Western Europe with one hundred and sixty thousand troops on June 6, rising to over two million Allied troops within two months to battle the German defenses. Initial foothold expanded to victories at Cherbourg on June 26 and Caen on July 21. Paris liberation occurred on August 25.

    June 15 to July 9, 1944 - Battle of Saipan, Mariana Islands (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA 71,000; Japan 32,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 13,790; Japan 29,000, plus 921 captured.
    Bombardment of Saipan by fifteen battleships lead to USA landing on island and face a vibrant defense for nearly one month before securing the island. Costly attack which would place American forces within one thousand three hundred miles of the islands of Japan.

    June 20-24, 1944 - Battle of Philippine Sea (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA 129 warships, including 28 submarines, 956 aircraft; Japan 90 warships, including 24 submarines, 750 aircraft.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 109 plus 123 aircraft, 1 battleship damaged; Japan 2,987, plus 5 ships sunk, 550-645 aircraft.
    Major naval battle eliminates Japanese Imperial Navy's ability to wage carrier war. Largest carrier to carrier battle in history.

    July 21 to August 10, 1944 - Second Battle of Guam (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA 59,401; Japan 18,657.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 7,598; Japan 18,337, plus 1,250 captured.
    United States recaptured the territory of Guam lost in the 1st Battle of Guam on December 10, 1941 and use the island as a base for air raids against the Pacific and Japan home islands for the remainder of the war.

    July 24 to August 1, 1944 - Battle of Tinian, Mariana Islands (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA 41,364; Japan 8,039.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 1,919; Japan 7,807, plus 252 captured.
    United States eliminates the Japanese garrison and adds Tinian to Guam and Saipan as Allied air bases with camps for fifty thousand troops at Tinian.

    August 15 to September 14, 1944 - Invasion of Southern France (European Theater)
    Troops: Allies 651,833; Germany 300,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 21,000; Germany 28,000, plus 131,250 captured.
    Postponed Operation Dragoon meant to accompany D-Day landing succeeds after one month, inflicting heavy casualties on German forces and occupying the majority of southern France.

    September 15 to November 27, 1943 - Battle of Peleliu, Palau Islands (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA 47,561; Japan 10,900.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 10,786; Japan 10,695, plus 202 captured.
    New Japanese defense tactics lead to costly battle over questionable valued target lasting months instead of predicted days with eventual American victory.

    October 2-21, 1944 - Battle of Aichan, Germany (European Theater)
    Troops: USA 100,000; Germany 18,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 5,000; Germany 5,000, 5,600 captured.
    One of the largest urban battles fought by the USA in World War II leads to first capture of a German city. German surrender after difficult battle that slowed Allied progress further into German territory.

    September 19, 1944 to February 10, 1945 - Battle of Hurtgen Forest, Germany (European Theater)
    Troops: USA 120,000; Germany 80,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 33,000; Germany 28,000.
    Western front battle that lasts for five months, the longest single battle in U.S. Army history. German defensive victory allows German winter offensive Watch on the Rhine.

    October 17 to December 26, 1944 - Battle of Leyte, Philippines (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA 323,000; Japan 85,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 15,584; Japan 49,000.
    Amphibious assault of Philippine gulf led by General MacArthur reduces Philippine presence of Japanese army by fifty percent with guerrilla warfare continuing into 1945.

    October 23-26, 1944 - Battle of Leyte Gulf, Philippines (Pacific Theater)
    Troops: USA 300 ships, 1,500 aircraft; Japan 67 ships, 300 aircraft.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 3,000, plus 6 ships, 200 aircraft; Japan 12,500, plus 28 ships, 300 aicraft.
    Largest naval battle in World War II held in four phases in conjunction with land battle for Leyte reduces Japanese capacity for further naval action. First use of organized kamikaze tactics.

    December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945 - Battle of the Bulge, Belgium, France, Luxembourg (European Theater)
    Troops: Allies 610,000 plus; Germany 450,000.
    Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 90,908, including captured; Germany 67,459-125,000.
    Last major German offensive of the war in Ardennes forest gains element of surprise, but defensive positions of Allies lead to eventual German defeat and retreat to the Siegfried Line.

    Note: Image above: Photo of troops during the Normandy invasion. Courtesy National Archives. Info source: Wikipedia Commons; Military Battles of WWII,

    2nd World War 1945

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