Tuesday, July 19, 2011
In the space of just four minutes, at a tiny atoll in the Pacific Ocean called Midway, the entire course of World War II was changed. On June 4, 1942 – just six months after Pearl Harbor – the massed forces of the U.S. and Japanese fleets met for a decisive showdown.
Thanks to both sides’ use of a relatively new piece of technology – the aircraft carrier – this battle would be decided without the ships of either fleet ever coming within sight of each other.
At Midway, America’s carrier pilots destroyed Japan’s best ships and killed nearly four thousand men – the cream of Japan’s naval elite. It was a blow the Japanese would never recover from, making the outcome of the conflict in the Pacific virtually inevitable and releasing precious American military resources for the conflict in Europe.