The Allied strategy to defeat Japan in the Pacific Ocean was a strategy called island hopping. After the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the American military in the Pacific was severely depleted. As a result, the Japanese were able to capture much of the central and much of the western Pacific Ocean area. Once we were able to rebuild our military, which was done much faster than most people expected, we were able to counter these Japanese attacks.
Two very critical battles in the Pacific Ocean were the Battle of Guadalcanal and the Battle of Midway Island. At Guadalcanal, the Japanese were hoping to position themselves so they would have a direct path to Australia and to New Zealand, which Japan hoped to capture. At Midway Island, the Japanese were hoping to secure that island so it could attack and capture Hawaii. In both instances, the Japanese were defeated. Japan lost several of its aircraft carriers at the Battle of Midway Island. As a result of the Japanese defeats at Guadalcanal and at Midway Island, Japan would not go on the offensive again during the war. Japan would now be in a retreating mode.
Once we won these battles, we could then begin to implement our strategy of island hopping. We would slowly retake islands in the Pacific that Japan had captured, often with a very high cost in terms of loss of life and equipment, until we got close enough to Japan to consider either continual bombing of Japan and/or an invasion of the Japanese islands. Several key battles occurred with this island hopping strategy. Examples of some these battles included those at Tarawa, Guam, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. As a result of this successful strategy, we were now in a position to take the final steps to defeat Japan in World War II.