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Battle Of Midway

Airs Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Credit: Public domain: photo provided by Naval Historical Society

Above: Scene taken of the actual battle in 1942 of a stricken ship in the water, surrounded by antiflak gun shots.

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.

Video Excerpt: Battle Of Midway

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