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Guadalcanal

Guadalcanal -- when the best defense was a bold offense

The early months of World War II were a time of high anxiety over inexperienced personnel, critical shortages of supply, and great uncertainty as to strategy. “Defense” was the operative word of the day. But while many in the American military worried about how they would defend the United States, Admiral Ernest J. King, commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet, seized on how they might attack its enemies.As the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrestled with how to prioritize the demands of a two-ocean, global war, Admiral King was adamant that the West Coast–Hawaii–Australia sea-lanes remain in American control at all costs. These routes ran past islands most Americans had never heard of: Samoa, Fiji, the New Hebrides, and New Caledonia. If the Japanese gained a toehold on any of them, they would push a bulge of military influence well eastward into the South Pacific—at best detouring support for Australia and at worst severing these lines. With limited resources, just how, Army Chief of Staff Georg...

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