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Thoughts on War$
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Phillip S. Meilinger

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813178899

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813178899.001.0001

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Unity of Command in the Pacific during World War II

Unity of Command in the Pacific during World War II

(p.159) 11 Unity of Command in the Pacific during World War II
Thoughts on War

Phillip S. Meilinger

University Press of Kentucky

Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have strong opinions on how the Pacific War was fought and how victory was achieved over Japan. Too often these views have been shaped by service parochialism dressed up in the guise of war principles. Regarding the issue of unity of command, there was actually more unity in the Pacific theater than there was in Europe. Strategy is similarly seen through parochial lenses and usually breaks into three camps: sailors and sea power advocates trumpet the importance of the Central Pacific thrust commanded by Admiral Chester Nimitz. Soldiers and land warfare historians instead hail General Douglas MacArthur’s island-hopping campaign in the Southwest Pacific Area. Airmen applaud the strategic bombing campaign culminating in the atomic bombs. In truth, it was a joint effort by all the services that defeated Japan.

Keywords:   World War II, unity of command, Pacific theater, Douglas MacArthur, Chester Nimitz, Twentieth Air Force, B-29 bombers, Curtiss LeMay, “Hap” Arnold, strategic bombing, unrestricted submarine warfare, joint operations

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