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World War II was a truly global conflict, running 24/7 across every time zone. However, for all the attention given to it in history books, magazines, films and television, the European Theater of Operations was only a fraction of the size physically of the war being fought in the Pacific Theater. Encompassing almost half the world's landmass, the Pacific Theater necessarily had to be broken into pieces, and prosecuted by a number of separate commands and commanders. The South Pacific was just one big part of this effort, and yet had multiple commanders directing operations from Guadalcanal to Okinawa before the war ended. Some of the greatest names in American military history, commanded these operations including Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Adm. Chester Nimitz, Adm. William F. "Bull" Halsey, and Gen. "Howl'in Mad" Smith. Incredibly, the Allied victory over the Japanese was completed in just under four years from the attack on Pearl Harbor. But perhaps most amazing was that it was accomplished in spite of one of the worst collection of military egomaniacs and narcissists being in control of much of the drive towards Japan. Add to this the debilitating long-term effects of alcohol, smoking, and command stress, and is easy to see why so many of the top Allied military leaders died or fell by the wayside during the war.
To learn more about World War II in the South Pacific and the unvarnished stories of the men who prosecuted it, join military historian, author and journalist John D. Gresham (@greshmj01) for Military Monday (#MilitaryMonday at @Writestream) at 1 p.m. Eastern.His guest this week is U.S. Naval Institute Press (@USNIBooks) author Alan Rems, the writer of SOUTH PACIFIC CALDRON, which tells the stories of the campaign in the South Pacific. His book provides readers a really transparent look at the battles and leaders on both sides in the South Pacific during World War II.