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        #194: The War in the Pacific

        作者:David Jarmul 發布日期:8-24-2013

        Ruins left by the explosion of an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan, August 6, 1945
        Ruins left by the explosion of an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan, August 6, 1945

        STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.

        (MUSIC)

        American military planners had to make an important decision when the United States entered the Second World War at the end of nineteen forty-one.

        American forces could not fight effectively in Asia and Europe at the same time. The military planners decided to use most of their forces to defeat the German troops of Adolf Hitler. Only after victory over the Nazis was clear in Europe would they use all of America's strength to fight Japan in Asia and the Pacific.

        Because of this decision, Japan was able to win many of the early battles of the war in Asia. The fighting in the Pacific is the subject of program this week.

        (SOUND)

        Japanese planes bombed the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December seventh nineteen forty-one.

        BROADCASTER: "We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin. The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by air, President Roosevelt has just announced.

        "We take you now to Washington. The attack was apparently made on all naval and military activities on the principal island of Oahu."

        The surprise raid marked the first of several major victories for the Japanese.

        (MUSIC)

        Shortly after Pearl Harbor, imperial forces attacked American bases in the Philippines. And within days Japan captured the American island of Guam. Japanese troops landed in Thailand. They marched into Malaya, and they seized Hong Kong. The Japanese also moved into Indonesia and Burma.

        Even Hitler's troops in Europe had not moved so quickly or successfully. As one American historian wrote later, the Pacific Ocean looked like a Japanese lake.

        (SOUND)

        The United States began to fight back. General Jimmy Doolittle led a group of sixteen American B-25 bombers that took off from the aircraft carrier Hornet and bombed Tokyo in a surprise raid.

        General Jimmy Doolittle led an air raid on Tokyo
        General Jimmy Doolittle led an air raid on Tokyo

        JIMMY DOOLITTLE: "The B-25 was selected because it was small, because it had the sufficient range to carry two thousand pounds of bombs, two thousand miles, and because it took off and handled very well."

        (SOUND)

        STEVE EMBER: It was a bold move. The B-25 had never been launched from an aircraft carrier before. And the demands on the planes -- and the pilots -- were even greater with the weight of a full load of bombs.

        Japan's leaders believed no army could stop them. So they expanded their goals and launched new campaigns.

        This was Japan's mistake. It stretched its forces too thin and too quickly. The military leaders in Tokyo believed that the United States could not resist because American forces were busy fighting the war in Europe. But no country could extend its communications and fighting ability over such a great distance and continue to win.

        The turning point came in June nineteen forty-two in the central Pacific in the great battle of Midway Island.

        Smoke rises from the Yorktown after a Japanese bomber hit the American aircraft carrier in the Battle of Midway in June 1942. Bursts of anti-aircraft fire fill the air.
        Smoke rises from the Yorktown after a Japanese bomber hit the American aircraft carrier in the Battle of Midway in June 1942. Bursts of anti-aircraft fire fill the air.

        Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto launched the battle. He wanted to meet and destroy the remaining ships in the American fleet before the United States could recover from the destruction at Pearl Harbor.

        Yamamoto had one hundred sixty-two ships. The American admiral, Chester Nimitz, had just seventy-six. But the United States had discovered how to read the secret messages of the Japanese forces.

        For this reason, Nimitz and the Americans knew exactly where the Japanese ships would sail. And they put their own ships in the best positions to stop them.

        The fighting between the two sides was fierce. But when it ended, the Americans had won a great victory. Admiral Yamamoto was forced to call off his attack and sail home. For the first time, the Japanese navy had been defeated.

        (MUSIC)

        The next big battle was at Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon Islands in the southwestern Pacific. Guadalcanal's beaches were wide and flat. Japanese officers decided to build a military air base there. The United States learned of the plans. American commanders decided that they had to prevent Japan from establishing that base.

        United States Marines quickly landed on the island. They were joined by troops from Australia and New Zealand. But Japanese ships launched a surprise attack and destroyed many of the American ships in the harbor. Allied forces on the island were left without naval support and suffered heavy losses.

        For six months, the two sides fought for control of the island. Historian and naval officer Samuel Eliot Morison described the fighting this way in his book "The Struggle for Guadalcanal":

        "For us who were there, or whose friends were there, Guadalcanal is not a name but an emotion, recalling desperate fights in the air, furious night naval battles, frantic work at supply or construction, savage fighting in the sodden jungle, nights broken by screaming bombs and deafening explosions of naval shells."

        The fighting continued, seemingly forever. But finally, in February, nineteen forty-three, the Japanese were forced to leave Guadalcanal.

        The battle was an important defeat for Japan. It opened the door for the American and other Allied forces to go on the attack after months of defensive fighting.

        But American military planners did not agree about the best way to launch such an attack. Admiral Nimitz of the Navy wanted to capture the small groups of Japanese-held islands in the Pacific, then seize Taiwan, and finally attack Japan itself. But General Douglas MacArthur of the Army thought it would be best to attack through New Guinea and the Philippines.

        The American leadership finally decided to launch both attacks at once. Nimitz and MacArthur both succeeded. Nimitz and his naval forces moved quickly through the Marianas and other islands. General MacArthur's troops attacked through New Guinea and into the Philippines.

        American ships defeated Japanese naval forces in the battle for Leyte Gulf.

        Throughout the Pacific and East Asia, the fighting continued. Many of the fiercest battles were fought on tiny Pacific islands. Japanese troops captured the islands early in the war. And they quickly built strong defenses to prevent the Allies from invading.

        Allied military leaders found a way to defeat the Japanese plan. They simply avoided the islands where the Japanese were strong and attacked other islands.

        But sometimes the Allies could not avoid a battle. They had to land on some islands to seize airfields for American planes.

        The names of these islands became well-known: Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands. Truk in the Marshall Islands. Saipan in the Marianas, and other islands including Guam and Tinian.

        The two sides fought fiercely in the battle of Iwo Jima. And, on Okinawa, Japanese forces resisted for eighty-three days before finally being defeated by Allied troops.

        After the defeat at Okinawa, many Japanese understood that the war was lost, even if Japan had not yet surrendered. Emperor Hirohito appointed a new prime minister and ordered him to explore the possibilities of peace.

        But both sides still expected the Allies to launch a final invasion into Japan itself. And everyone knew that the cost in human life would be great for both sides.

        But the invasion never came.

        For years, American scientists had been developing a secret weapon, the atomic bomb. The code-name was the Manhattan Project. President Harry S. Truman made the decision to use it against Japan.

        HARRY TRUMAN: "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. We won the race of discovery against the Germans. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war."

        (SOUND: Atomic bomb tests)

        American planes dropped one of the bombs on Hiroshima on August sixth, nineteen forty-five, and another on Nagasaki three days later.

        Exactly how many people in those two cities died from the force and heat of the blasts or later from radiation may never be known. The Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Japan estimates that between one hundred fifty thousand and two hundred forty-six thousand died within two to four months of the bombings.

        Japan surrendered on August fifteenth, nineteen forty-five, six days after the Nagasaki bombing.

        (MUSIC)

        Suddenly, sooner than expected, World War Two was over. More than twenty-five million people -- soldiers and civilians -- died during the six years of fighting. Germany and Japan were defeated. The Soviet Union was strong in much of eastern Europe. But the United States found itself the strongest military, economic and political power in the world. Our story continues next week.

        Our program was written by David Jarmul. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and pictures at www.squishedblueberries.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember, inviting you to join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English.

        ___

        This was program #194. For earlier programs, type "Making of a Nation" in quotation marks in the search box at the top of the page.

        1941年年底美國加入第二次世界大戰時,美國軍事指揮官必須做出一個重要決定。美軍部隊不能在亞洲和歐洲兩個戰場上同時作戰,所以美軍指揮官決定,集中主力部隊,首先擊敗希特勒率領的德國部隊。在歐洲打敗德國納粹后,再回過頭來全力在亞洲和太平洋地區對付日本。正是因為這個原因,日本在二戰初期打了很多勝仗。

        日本1941年12月7號偷襲美國在夏威夷的珍珠港海軍基地。當時的一段廣播說:"我們打斷本節目的正常播出,插播一條特別新聞:羅斯??偨y宣布,日本向夏威夷珍珠港發動了空襲。很顯然,日本的進攻目標是瓦胡島上的所有海軍和軍事設施。"

        這次偷襲行動是日本多次重大勝利中的第一次。日本偷襲珍珠港后不久,又對美國設在菲律賓群島的軍事基地發動攻擊,并于幾天后占領了美國關島。日本軍隊登陸泰國,進入馬來亞,占領香港,隨后又陸續進入印度尼西亞和緬甸。

        日軍進攻的速度和取得的勝利,就連歐洲的希特勒部隊也望塵莫及。美國一位歷史學家曾寫道:"當時的太平洋似乎就是日本的一個湖泊。"

        美軍予以還擊。杜立德將軍率領16架B-25轟炸機從大黃蜂號航空母艦上起飛,對日本首都東京發動突襲。杜立德將軍說:"選擇B-25轟炸機是因為B-25體形小,能攜帶兩千磅重的炸彈,飛越2000英里的路程,而且起飛和駕駛都很容易操作。"

        這是一次大膽行動。此前,B-25轟炸機沒有從航空母艦上起飛過,外加攜帶了一飛機的炸彈,對飛行員的要求格外高。

        日本領導人以為,沒人可以阻止他們,因此擴大戰線,發起更多新行動,而這正是日本失策之處,因為這樣一來,日本軍力迅速分散。日軍領導人以為,美軍兵力集中在歐洲作戰,因此無力抵抗。但事實上,沒有哪個國家可以把陣線拉得這么長,還能繼續打勝仗的。1942年6月太平洋中途島一役,成為了戰爭的轉折點。

        這場戰役的發起者是日本海軍上將山本五十六,他希望徹底消滅珍珠港偷襲后剩下的美國海軍艦只,不讓美國有機會重建海軍。山本五十六率領了162艘戰艦,而美國海軍將領尼米茲只有76艘戰艦。不過,美國掌握了破譯日軍秘信的方法。

        這樣一來,尼米茲率領的美國海軍就能知道日本艦只的準確動向,并提前趕到,占據有利地勢,打擊日本戰艦。雙方展開激戰,最后美軍獲勝。日本海軍上將山本五十六被迫撤退,日本海軍第一次戰敗。

        接下來的一場重大戰役是太平洋西南部所羅門群島的瓜達爾卡納爾島戰役。瓜達爾卡納爾島海灘寬闊平坦,日軍指揮官決定在那里建立一個空軍基地。美國得知這一消息后,決定不能讓日軍得逞。

        美國海軍陸戰隊迅速登陸瓜達爾卡納爾島,跟澳大利亞和新西蘭的部隊會合,但是日本戰艦出其不意地發動襲擊,摧毀了美軍停泊在港口處的很多船只,讓島上的盟軍失去了海上支援,損失慘重。

        瓜達爾卡納爾島一役持續了六個月。歷史學家,海軍指揮官莫里森在"瓜達爾卡納爾的斗爭"一書中是這樣描述當時戰斗的:

        "對于自己親身經歷過,或是有朋友經歷過那場戰役的人來說,瓜達爾卡納爾不是一個名字,而是一種情感,讓人回憶起誓死的空戰,激烈的夜間海戰,緊張繁忙的供給和建筑,泥濘叢林里的原始搏斗,還有被呼嘯而過的炸彈和震耳欲聾的爆炸聲驚醒的夜晚。"

        瓜達爾卡納爾島的戰斗似乎永無止境,直到1943年2月,日本才被迫撤離瓜達爾卡納爾。這次戰役的勝利十分重要,讓美國和盟軍從被動防守轉為主動進攻。

        然而,在從何下手的問題上,美軍將領卻出現了意見分歧。海軍上將尼米茲主張先奪取日本在太平洋占領的小島,然后奪取臺灣,最后攻打日本;但是陸軍將領麥克阿瑟卻認為,最有效的途徑是從新幾內亞和菲律賓下手。

        美軍將領最后決定雙管齊下。結果尼米茲和麥克阿瑟將軍都取得了勝利。尼米茲率領海軍迅速穿過馬里亞納群島等島嶼,麥克阿瑟將軍也率部穿過新幾內亞進入菲律賓。美國艦只也在萊特灣擊敗日本海軍。

        太平洋和東亞地區到處硝煙彌漫。很多最激烈的戰斗都是在太平洋島嶼上展開的。二戰初期,日本部隊占領了很多島嶼,并迅速建立強大防御,防止盟軍進攻。

        盟軍將領找到了擊敗日本的偏方。他們避開防御嚴密的島嶼,先去攻打其他防御相對薄弱的島嶼,但是有些戰斗也是不可避免的,盟軍部隊有時不得不登陸某些島嶼,為美軍戰機奪取飛機場。

        這些島嶼都很有名,其中包括吉爾伯特群島的塔拉瓦島;馬歇爾群島的特魯克島;馬里亞納群島的塞班島;以及關島和天寧島。雙方還在硫磺島發生激戰。日軍部隊在沖繩島抵抗83天,最后被盟軍打敗。

        沖繩島戰役失敗后,雖然日本尚未宣布投降,但是很多日本人都知道,大勢已去。日本裕仁天皇任命了一位新首相,并下令讓他探討尋求和平的可能性。

        此時,交戰雙方都猜想,盟軍還會向日本本土發動最后進攻,而且大家都知道,雙方都會傷亡慘重,但是這次進攻最后并沒有發生。美國科學家多年來一直在開發一種秘密武器,被稱為曼哈頓項目,研究出來的最后產品就是--原子彈。

        當時的美國總統杜魯門決定,向日本投放原子彈。杜魯門說:"全世界都會知道,第一枚原子彈被投擲到了廣島的軍事基地。我們在德國之前研制出原子彈,我們動用原子彈的目的是要縮短戰爭的痛苦,我們會一直使用原子彈,直到徹底摧毀日本的戰斗能力為止。"

        1945年8月6號,美軍戰斗機向廣島投擲了一枚原子彈,三天后又向長崎投擲了一枚原子彈。廣島和長崎有多少人當場斃命,又有多少人日后死于原子彈的輻射,我們不得而知。日本核輻射效果研究基金會估計,在投擲原子彈后的兩到四個月里,日本有15萬到24萬6千人死亡。

        1945年8月15號,也就是原子彈在長崎爆炸的六天后,日本宣布投降。第二次世界大戰瞬間結束,比大家預計的早了很多。在長達六年的戰爭中,共有五千多萬平民和士兵喪生。德國和日本戰敗。蘇聯在東歐大部分地區勢力強大,美國也一舉成為世界上最大的軍事、經濟和政治強國。

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