• For Teachers & Students
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The Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway was one of the most important naval battles of the Pacific Campaign of WWII. It was fought between the U.S. and Japanese navies June 4-7, 1942. This battle turned the tide of the war in the Pacific in favor of the Americans. The Japanese navy wanted to eliminate the United States as a strategic power in the Pacific, which would have given Japan the ability to establish its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Eliminating U.S. interference would also have extended the Japanese defensive perimeter in the Pacific.

The Japanese had planned to lure the American naval forces into a trap around the U.S.-held island of Midway; however, American code breakers were able to determine the details of the attack and defend against it. The Japanese navy suffered heavy losses including four aircraft carriers and a heavy cruiser, while Americans only lost one aircraft carrier and a destroyer. These heavy losses permanently weakened the Imperial Japanese navy, which had previously been one of the strongest in the world at the time. Whereas Japan had been expanding its territory before the Battle of Midway, after the battle, its empire slowly began to shrink.

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Secondary Sources

The Battle of Midway: The Destruction of the Japanese Fleet (Graphic Battle of World War II) by Steve White and Richard Elson

Midway: The Battle that Doomed Japan, the Japanese Story by Mitsuo Fuchida, Masatake Okumiya, Clarke H. Kawakami, and Roger Pineau

Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan B. Parshall and Anthony P. Tully

Midway, Dauntless Victory: Fresh Perspectives on America’s Seminal Naval Victory of World War II by Peter C. Smith

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Other Museum Sources about Midway

Turning Point: 1942 - features videos and images about the Doolittle Raid, Battle of Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway

Midway at a Glance - features popular archival images and a printable fact sheet

Jonathan Parshall on the Museum Blog - the author discusses the Battle of Midway on its 70th Anniversary at The National WWII Museum

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Student Travel – WWII Educational Tours
High school and college students, learn the leadership principles that helped win WWII on a trip to France or during a weeklong residential program in New Orleans. College credit is available, and space is limited.

See You Next Year! HS Yearbooks from WWII
Collected from across the United States, the words and pictures of these yearbooks present a new opportunity to experience the many challenges, setbacks and triumphs of the war through the eyes of America’s youth.

The Victory Gardens of WWII
Visit the Classroom Victory Garden Project website to learn about food production during WWII, find lesson plans and activities for elementary students, get tips for starting your own garden and try out simple Victory Garden recipes!

The Science and Technology of WWII
Visit our new interactive website to learn about wartime technical and scientific advances that forever changed our world. Incorporates STEM principles to use in the classroom.

Kids Corner: Fun and Games!
Make your own propaganda posters, test your memory, solve puzzles and more! Learn about World War II and have fun at the same time.

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