Why the Army Matters in the Indo-Pacific

In Papua, U.S. Lieutenant General Robert Eichelberger and members of hi staff look over the newly taken ground in the Triange area, 1942. Credit: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Papua/img/USA-P-Papua-p302.jpg

Why the Army Matters in the Indo-Pacific – The Diplomat

If World War II teaches us anything, it is that navies, armies, and air forces are intertwined, but that ultimate victory depends on the control of key ground.

By John C. McManus August 11, 2023

Our popular memory of World War II in the Asia-Pacific theater focuses almost entirely upon the maritime dimensions of this titanic struggle between the Allies and Japan. This simple narrative holds that the U.S. Army fought the war in Europe while the U.S. Navy dealt with Japan in a waterborne and aerial struggle, and the U.S. Marines did the ground fighting, seizing a series of key islands as stepping stones on the road to Japan.

The vast majority of books about the war have focused on the naval dimensions or on famous Marine-dominated battles such as Iwo Jima and Tarawa. Wikipedia’s extensive Pacific War entry mentions the U.S. Army only a few times and with no actual source citations. HBO’s excellent, gritty miniseries “The Pacific” largely ignored the Army’s role to tell the story of the war through the experiences of three Marines: John Basilone, Robert Leckie, and Eugene Sledge. The series thus reinforced the notion that the Marine Corps did the ground fighting against Japan. 

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