In August 1942, U.S. Marines landed on the remote South Pacific island of Guadalcanal, and America’s first campaign of World War II began.
From afar, Guadalcanal resembled a tropical paradise. In actuality, it was infinite misery: steamy jungles, swarming malarial mosquitoes, downpours, mud, and Japanese soldiers pledged to fight to the death in the Bushido tradition.
Initially a simple mission to seize Japanese air bases in the southern Solomon Islands, the campaign mushroomed into an all-in battle waged on air, land, and sea. Both sides rushed planes, ships, and men to the sprawling battleground.
For months, the outcome of the desperate struggle with Japanese land, sea, and air forces was in doubt. When the fighting ended, however, Guadalcanal had become a byword for American grit. It was there that Japanese expansion was stopped for the first time — the turning point of the Pacific war.
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