World War 2
US in WW2

How did the geography of the Pacific affect US strategy in World War 2?



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The war in the Pacific was fought for the most part, on a series of islands. Due to this geagraphical make up wide spread campaigns such as those used in Europe were impossible. The allied forces had to rely on a campaign of island hopping. This meant that after the conquered one island they had to start all over again with the next island. Each new island meant a new amphibious assault (think of the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan). Amphibious assaults are a high risk assault. This forced the leadership in the Pacific to be somewhat selective of what islands they assaulted. For example, Iwo Jima had a large air strip that could be used by the USAAF and was therefore assulted. Chichi Jima, about 150 miles away had nothing that the allies could use and was therefore skipped. The Allies were also faced with a more confined environment. Some of the islands assulted were not very large. This limited the amount of troop movement thus limiting the amount of strategic options.