Why was the Battle of Midway a turning point for the war in the Pacific?
In: World War 2 [Edit categories]
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The simple fact that the US emerged as victor from the battle of Midway is not the reason for it being the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
The carriers Kaga, Akagi, Hiryū and Sōryū were lost by Japan while only managing to sink one American carrier, the Yorktown. The two large carriers that Japan had left after Midway, Zuikaku and Shōkaku were not enough to provide enough support for offensive action. Although Yamamoto still had a good number of surface ships including the battleships Yamato and Musashi, the largest and most powerfull ships deployed in WW2, he new he could accomplish nothing without air support and thus avoided conventional offensive after Midway.
Japan entered the war with a navy that in conventional terms was the equal of its US counterpart, and in naval aviation somewhat superior. The Japanese, who had just one ocean to worry about, could field huge battleships and numerous aircraft carriers to any location in the Pacific. They used four of their large carriers -- Hiryu, Soryu, Akagi, and Kaga -- at Pearl Harbor. At that time, the US Navy's Pacific Fleet possessed only three carriers; all three were at sea and not at Pearl on December 7.
Somehow, the paradox of attacking battleships with aircraft carriers was lost for a while, especially with the Japanese. Pearl Harbor was the first of a completely new type of naval battle, a type that would come to be measured by the numbers of aircraft and aircraft carriers applied to the fight. In spite of their masterful demonstration of this principle at Pearl Harbor, Japanese Naval planners continued to lust for that one big slugfest, the battleship-to-battleship exchange of high-explosive naval artillery that would permanently...