Nov 30, 2020 Pearl Harbor was a United States naval base on the island of Oahu, located west of Honolulu. On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy bombed the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in a surprise attack. Admiral Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy came to the conclusion that for the Japanese to be victorious in the pacific, they had to destroy the American fleet at Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor was considered to be geographically perfect for the United States to have their Pacific fleet based there. The island had a narrow entrance and shallow water which made it an ideal and impenetrable fort. An attack by enemy forces was thought to have been impossible. Prior to the attack, Japanese Naval forces practiced the attack at Kagoshima Bay, a Japanese base. It was described as the “twin sister” of Pearl Harbor for its near-identical structure.
Episode 70: The Battle for Burma
Nov 20, 2020 Burma was a mountainous country nestled between British India and Japan occupied China. Prior to 1941, Burma was of little importance to countries such as Great Britain and the United States. The mountainous region of Burma discouraged any type of trade or travel. Only once did the campaign of the Japanese to control Southeast Asia began, did Great Britain and the United States realize the value of Burma. From the beginning, Great Britain and the United States agreed that Burma was strategic in defeating Japan. Interestingly enough, Great Britain and the United States differed in their motives for protecting Burma. First, Great Britain viewed Burma as a barrier between British India and Japan occupied China. The barrier between these two countries would secure the safety of the “Crown Jewel of the British Empire”. In contrast, the United States saw Burma as a lifeline for China, which was under occupation by Japan. The United States believed that if they were to hold Burma, the Chinese could overthrow Japan and take back their country. The continued support of the Chinese was an effort by Franklin D. Roosevelt to gain a potential ally in China.
Episode 69: The Underground Philippines Resistance
Nov 16, 2020 The Imperial Japanese Forces attacked Pearl Harbor and the Philippine Islands simultaneously. This planned attack on these two specific areas was a strategic attack that meant American control in the Pacific and expand Japan’s territory. Following the surrender of the Allies at the Battle of Corregidor, all radio connections and communications ceased as the Japanese military invaded the Philippine Islands. Despite the lack of communication, some American and Filipino soldiers were able to evade the Japanese and go into hiding. One of those soldiers who was able to escape was Ramon Magsaysay Sr. who would become a prominent leader in the Western Luzon Guerrilla Force.
Episode 68: Lee Kuan Yew and the Occupation of Singapore
Nov 13, 2020 There is no person more important to Singapore’s modern history than Lee Kuan Yew. He led Singapore into the modern age, guiding Singapore from a devastated British colony to a thriving and prosperous independent city-state. His determination to reshape Singapore was shaped in part by his experiences during the brutal Japanese occupation.
Episode 67: The Plight of the Guerrilla Forces in the Philippines in WW2
Nov 9, 2020 During World War 2, there were non-Filipinos soldiers who decided not to surrender with some running off to safety and others being cut off in their location at the time of surrender behind the Imperial Japanese Army's line. These men chose to serve along the side of their Filipino allies during World War II in the resistance against the Japanese thus becoming guerrillas. This list of men also includes those who were inserted through submarines on various Philippine islands. These men were sent there to conduct different intelligent functions most commonly radio operators or coastwatchers, but they fought with guerrillas and served beside them as well. These Filipino and American soldiers went through inhumanity and deprivation at the hands of the Japanese who were responsible for transporting them. The Guerrillas also fell subject to horrible torture by the Japanese followed by beheading usually after being forced to dig their own graves.
Episode 66: The History of the Flying Tigers
Oct 30, 2020 The Flying Tigers, officially known as the First American Volunteer Group, were American pilots who fought in the Chinese Air Force during World War II between 1941 and 1942. They are best known for popularizing the shark's mouth design frequently painted American military aircraft. In addition, their now-famous unit insignia of a winged Bengal tiger was designed by the Walt Disney Company.
Episode 65: Education in Singapore During Japanese Occupation
Oct 28, 2020 The Japanese occupation of Singapore took place from 1942 to 1945 after the British surrendered in February 1942. One month later, in March 1942, the Japanese government adopted an educational policy as part of the “Principles for the Gunsei Disposition of the Occupied Area”. The objectives of the policy were to teach industrial technologies and the Japanese language as the lingua franca of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, to promote the spirit of labor, and to unite the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the southern region with Japanese culture under the spirit of Hakko Ichiu (universal brotherhood). Education was essentially a propaganda tool.
Episode 64: Philippines Battles in World War II
Oct 26, 2020 The Philippines played a critical role in American strategy during World War II. Before the war, the United States had large numbers of troops stationed on the islands. After U.S. forces were defeated from the islands, regaining the Philippines became an important goal, especially for General MacArthur, who had been forced to evacuate from his headquarters there in 1942 when the Japanese attacked. Accordingly, MacArthur adopted a strategy of island-hopping, which would allow him to steadily drive Japanese forces out of the islands they had conquered, bringing him closer and closer to Japan itself. Unfortunately, the Philippines’ proximity to Japan meant that they were among the last of the occupied islands to be retaken; fighting on the island of Mindanao continued up until the Japanese surrender in August of 1945.
Episode 63: Japan’s Unofficial War with China
Oct 23, 2020 During the early twentieth century, the Imperial Japanese Army invaded and occupied Chinese lands without ever officially declaring war. In 1915, Japan issued the secret Twenty-One Demands to Chinese president Yuan Shikai, with the intent to claim economic and political power over China. The Demands were divided into five groups, with the Group Five demands including concessions similar to those Japan had forced on Korea. After twenty-five rounds of negotiations and intense political maneuvering on President Yuan’s part, the Twenty-One Demands were agreed to, except for the Group Five demands. The other Demands, though, reinforced Japanese control of southern Manchuria, Shandong, and eastern inner Mongolia.
Episode 62: A Pariah of Singapore - General Henry Gordon Bennett
Oct 21, 2020 The Fall of Singapore was a military disaster contemporary with Pearl Harbor, but it led to division and finger-pointing instead of rallying the Allies further against Japan. The Japanese invasion of Malaya (today’s Malaysia) began December 8th, 1941, landing troops on its shores and pushing south through the peninsula.