Island Hopping
Island hopping was the strategy used by commanders in the Pacific to defeat the Japanese. The strategy was to invade islands that would lead up to Japan, the newly capturd islands would be used as airfields so aircrafts will be able to bomb the Japanese mainland. The term also known as "leap frogging" was thought of by the Supreme Commander of the Pacific, **General Douglas MacArthur**. The islands that were mainly chosen were the ones that were poorly defended, because of this many civilians died during the attacks. Also, the strategy was to capture islands that were behind enemy lines so that the bases they passed would allow them to "suffocate" because their communication and supplies are cut off from the rest.

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The plan began at Tarawa, this was the first step in the island hopping campaign, and from there, the fighting would continue to the Marshall islands then to the Marianas. The fighting would incur a heavy death toll on the U.S. forces that invaded the islands. But compared to the Japanese they were small, because the Japanese defenders fought to the death. The battle at Tarawa was very severe, because after the fighting, only a handful of Japanese survived, because the others had fought with suicide in mind. After the victory at Tarawa, the U.S. would bombard the islands they were to invade before attacking it, and the plan worked to soften up the defences at the Marshall islands.
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The final battles that would help America bomb the Japanese mainland occurred during the last islands, Sapain, Guam, and Tinian island. These were the last stepping stones to begin the bombardment of Japan. The islands would be taken after July 7, 1944, and the islands would provide for air bases for bombers to fly and land on. The battle at Iwo Jima would prove to be a very hard battle fought and won, many Americans died on the island because the Japanese were well dug in into their positions, especially in Mt. Surabachi, the amount of Japanese fighting created very tough battles for the Americans. But the fight was worth it, because the island provided and air strip for heavy bombers to pound the Japanese mainland.

The importance of the island hopping during World War II was very great, because without the plan it would've been hard to defeat the Japanese. This plan to hop from island to island provide bases where aircrafts could land and fly from. The Japanese became desperate near the end of the war and would resort to kamikaze attacts, suicide pilots flying their aircraft in american assets. This problem with the Japanese increased as the Americans got closer to mainland Japan, and would tally more deaths to the Americans.

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Cites
http://www.ww2incolor.com/d/347978-2/battle_okinawa19
http://www.nps.gov/archive/amme/wwii_museum/d-day_saipan/beach_assault_saipan_lg.jpg
http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/worldwarii/a/wwiipacishop.htm
http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/allies-bomb-northern-nazi-germany-54.jpg
http://thehistoryprofessor.com/Collaborative_Project/1302/2.0007.html