Impac T of the Japanese Advances in 1941 - 1942 and Their Impact on the Course of the Pacific War

The first 6 months of the war in the pacific were characterized by Japan's rapid advance down and through South East Asia after the attack on Pearl Harbour, Japan achieved a long series of military successes. In December 1941, Guam and Wake Island fell to the Japanese, followed in the first half of 1942 by the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore, and Burma. Only in mid-1942 were Australian and New Zealander forces in New Guinea   able to halt the Japanese advance. This rapid advance was to have a significant impact and influence on the remaining course of the pacific war.

The first 6 months advances were the result of Japans "centrifugal offensive" strategy - the capture of resource rich colonial possessions in southeast Asia and the establishment of a defensive perimeter around this conquered territory. The Japanese planned to occupy the Philippines as part of this strategy , initial landings of Japanese troops began on 8th December 1941 and American forces surrendered on the 8th may 1942.   The invasion of the Philippines had three main objectives for the Japanese : to prevent the use of the Philippines as an advance base of operations by American forces , To acquire staging areas and supply bases to allow operations against the Dutch East Indies and To secure the lines of communication between occupied areas in the south and the Japanese Home Islands.1

The Surrender of General MacArthur’s forces and the subsequent fall of the Philippines heavily influenced the course of war in the pacific , The Japanese gained Naval access to the Java sea and the use of naval repair facilities and airfields in the Philippines - this meant that the Philippines could also act as a new staging base for continued operations against the Dutch east indies by the Japanese. The fall of the Philippines also meant that the left Flank of the Japanese southern advance had been secured .2

However while the campaign was a victory to the Japanese, it was...