Battle of Midway

USS Yorktown is hit by a Japanese aerial torpedo during the Battle of Midway
USS Yorktown is hit by a Japanese aerial torpedo during the Battle of Midway

Summary

On June 4–7, 1942, American naval and air forces met the Japanese near Midway Atoll in one of the most decisive naval battles of the war. The Battle of Midway would become a turning point in the naval war in the Pacific, as the Japanese losses sustained there proved irreparable.

Background

The Japanese had developed a complex plan that involved attacking and occupying both the Aleutian Islands in Alaska and Midway Atoll, not far from Hawaii, in an attempt to lure the American fleet into a trap. However, American cryptanalysts were able to break enough of the Japanese code to be fairly certain of the basics of the plan. So American admiral Chester Nimitz, commander of the Pacific Fleet, sent two task forces to meet the Japanese at Midway.

Battle of Midway

The Japanese began carrier-based air attacks on the Midway Islands at dawn on June 4 in preparation for a land invasion. But various waves of Midway- and carrier-based American planes found the Japanese fleet and caused devastating damage to all four of the Japanese carriers present. All four would eventually sink from the attacks.

However, the Americans also sustained a carrier loss when—on the afternoon of the 4th—Japanese planes found the USS Yorktown and damaged her badly enough that the captain had the ship abandoned. A Japanese submarine finished off the Yorktown two days later and sunk it.

Aftermath and Effects

As a result of the various engagements between the Japanese and Americans from June 4th to 7th, the Japanese sustained heavy losses: 3,000 men killed and 4 carriers sunk, while the Americans lost 300 men and 1 carrier. The Battle of Midway would prove a turning point in the naval fight in the Pacific, as it hobbled the Japanese carrier fleet and put Japan on the defensive at sea for the remainder of the war.

Learn more about the Battle of Midway through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.


Articles and Clippings about the Battle of Midway

Early news report about the Japanese air attacks on Midway on June 4, 1942Early news report about the Japanese air attacks on Midway on June 4, 1942 Thu, Jun 4, 1942 – Page 1 · The Post-Register (Idaho Falls, Bonneville, Idaho) · Newspapers.comHawaiian newspaper front page headlines about the beginning of the Battle of MidwayHawaiian newspaper front page headlines about the beginning of the Battle of Midway Fri, Jun 5, 1942 – 1 · Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Japan's Fleet Crippled, Driven Back at Midway," June 6, 1942, headlines Sat, Jun 6, 1942 – Page 1 · The San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California) · Newspapers.comNewspaper headlines from June 7, 1942, say U.S. fleet avenged Pearl Harbor during Battle of MidwayNewspaper headlines from June 7, 1942, say U.S. fleet avenged Pearl Harbor during Battle of Midway Sun, Jun 7, 1942 – Page 1 · The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPolitical cartoon about the Battle of Midway published June 7, 1942Political cartoon about the Battle of Midway published June 7, 1942 Sun, Jun 7, 1942 – 1 · The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida, United States of America) · Newspapers.comJune 8, 1942, newspaper headlines declare June 8, 1942, newspaper headlines declare "Midway battle ends in great U.S. victory" Mon, Jun 8, 1942 – 1 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPossible offensive against Japan nears after America’s defeat of Japan during the Battle of MidwayPossible offensive against Japan nears after America’s defeat of Japan during the Battle of Midway Mon, Jun 8, 1942 – 9 · The Oshkosh Northwestern (Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comAmerican pilot shares eyewitness firsthand account of Battle of Midway in June 1942American pilot shares eyewitness firsthand account of Battle of Midway in June 1942 Tue, Jun 9, 1942 – Page 13 · The Ottawa Journal (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) · Newspapers.comAdmiral Chester Nimitz reports US Navy defeated 30 Japanese warships in the Battle of MidwayAdmiral Chester Nimitz reports US Navy defeated 30 Japanese warships in the Battle of Midway Thu, Jun 11, 1942 – 1 · The Morning Chronicle (Manhattan, Kansas, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Marines Praised as Real Heroes of Midway Battle," newspaper article says Thu, Jun 11, 1942 – Page 9 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, United States of America) · Newspapers.comThe Japanese imperial command releases its version of the Battle of MidwayThe Japanese imperial command releases its version of the Battle of Midway Thu, Jun 11, 1942 – 1 · The Morning Chronicle (Manhattan, Kansas, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPicture of Picture of "heroes of the battle of Midway island" returning to Oahu field, Hawaii, in June 1942 Thu, Jun 11, 1942 – Page 1 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, United States of America) · Newspapers.comDay-to-day account of the Battle of Midway written by an AP correspondent who witnessed the battleDay-to-day account of the Battle of Midway written by an AP correspondent who witnessed the battle Mon, Jun 22, 1942 – Page 9 · The Daily Telegram (Adrian, Lenawee, Michigan) · Newspapers.comPhoto of the damage inflicted to a Japanese cruiser during the Battle of MidwayPhoto of the damage inflicted to a Japanese cruiser during the Battle of Midway Mon, Jun 22, 1942 – Page 2 · Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comArticle reports estimates of Japanese airplane and ship losses during the Battle of MidwayArticle reports estimates of Japanese airplane and ship losses during the Battle of Midway Mon, Jun 29, 1942 – Page 1 · The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States of America) · Newspapers.comNewspaper prints full report provided by the US Navy on the Battle of MidwayNewspaper prints full report provided by the US Navy on the Battle of Midway Wed, Jul 15, 1942 – 10 · The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America) · Newspapers.comThe Battle of Midway is filmed in Technicolor by Hollywood director John FordThe Battle of Midway is filmed in Technicolor by Hollywood director John Ford Sat, Sep 5, 1942 – 8 · The Morning Post (Camden, New Jersey, United States of America) · Newspapers.comUS Navy reports the loss of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown as a result of the Battle of MidwayUS Navy reports the loss of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown as a result of the Battle of Midway Wed, Sep 16, 1942 – 2 · Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) · Newspapers.comPhotos and story of the sinking of the USS Yorktown during the Battle of MidwayPhotos and story of the sinking of the USS Yorktown during the Battle of Midway Sat, Sep 19, 1942 – 1 · The Billings Gazette (Billings, Yellowstone, Montana, United States of America) · Newspapers.com
"Battle of Midway," Newspapers.com Topics (https://www.newspapers.com/topics/world-war2/battle-of-midway/ : accessed February 19, 2019)
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