The Allies considered several strategies to defeat Japan in World War II. Early on, they considered that control of the South China Sea and a foothold on the mainland of China would be of utmost importance. They reasoned that this could possibly be accomplished via an overland route from Burma....
The Allies considered several strategies to defeat Japan in World War II. Early on, they considered that control of the South China Sea and a foothold on the mainland of China would be of utmost importance. They reasoned that this could possibly be accomplished via an overland route from Burma. This proved to be unfeasible, however, due to lack of resources. Another possible strategy was to attack Japan via the Northern Pacific route. This area was ultimately deemed too cold and isolated for a major offensive.
Eventually the Allies settled on using Australia and New Zealand as staging areas and launching a two-pronged offensive based on amphibious assaults of the many islands in the southwest and central Pacific. In 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway were decisive in proving that the Allies could hold their own in the Pacific. The Battle of Midway in particular shifted the balance of naval power, and in August 1942, the Allies commenced the amphibious invasion of Guadalcanal.
After this important island was taken, the Allies set their sights on another heavily defended island called Rabaul. However, rather than directly attack Rabaul and incur major losses of men and resources, they decided to bypass it and attack islands that were less well defended. This isolated Rabaul and cut it off from supplies. This became a strategy that the Allies continued to follow, referred to as "island hopping" or "leapfrogging." They used the Pacific's vast distances to isolate and weaken the Japanese forces on some islands by conquering the weaker islands all around them.
By the time the Allies captured Okinawa in mid-1945, the Japanese air force and navy were decimated and the Japanese mainland was being heavily bombed. Plans were being finalized for the strategy of an invasion of the Japanese mainland in late 1945, although it was projected to be horribly costly in terms of Allied casualties. It proved to be unnecessary, however, when the final Allied strategy became the dropping of two atomic bombs on heavily populated Japanese cities. Japan formally surrendered after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, rendering a land invasion with troops unnecessary.