Midway Atoll (also called Midway Island and Midway Islands, or simply Midway; Hawaiian: Pihemanu Kauihelani) is a 2.4-square-mile (6.2 km2) atoll in the North Pacific Ocean. As its name suggests, Midway is roughly equidistant between North America and Asia, and lies almost halfway around the world from Greenwich, United Kingdom. It is near the northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago, about one-third of the way from Honolulu, Hawaii to Tokyo, Japan. Midway Atoll is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States.
Midway in Days of Infamy
When Japan invaded Hawaii in December of 1941, Midway was left isolated, after the fall of Wake Island, while the US Army on Oahu slowly crumbled. It was conquered not long after the island fell and became a stop over point for planes coming to and from Japan.
In 1943, when the Hawaiian islands were liberated, Japanese forces where pushed back to Midway, and started using the air base there to bomb Hawaii. However, these proved nothing more than nuisance raids, and only achieved a guarantee that the island would be the next target for the US Marines.
Midway in "News From the Front"
The loss of Midway was seen as a catastrophe for the war against Japan as it now threatened the whole life line in the Pacific Ocean. The loss of Midway was the final straw for many and was seen as the last nail in the coffin for the besieged US President, Franklin Roosevelt.
Midway in Southern Victory
Midway was a British possession until the Great War, when the island was lost to the United States after they successfully invaded the Sandwich Islands. When the war ended, the island was recognized as a US territory.
During the Second Great War, the island was lost when the Japanese destroyed the US Pacific Fleet's only carrier, forcing the US back to the Sandwiches. Afterwards, the IJN used the island to launch bombing attacks against the Sandwiches, but due to the large fighter presence on the islands, these were nothing more than nuisance raids.
In 1943, after defeating Japan's carrier task force in the waters around Midway, the island was retaken by US forces, unopposed, after the Japanese disengaged from the war with the United States, to attack Britain's Asian colonies.
Midway in The War That Came Early
Midway Island was an important air base for the US Navy. When Japan entered World War II in January 1941, Midway became the forward defense post for the Navy after the fall of Wake Island. After the failed attempt to liberate Wake, it once again became the forward defence post for the Navy, until it too fell to Japan in late 1941.
Throughout 1942 and into 1943, Japanese planes attacked Hawaii with relative impunity. In the beginning of 1943, Japanese planes dropped fleas infected with the plague and containers of anthrax over Honolulu, prompting mass inoculations.
However, the US Army Air Force retaliated with bombing raids of its own from Hawaiian airfields. While using only conventional high explosive bombs, the bombing raids did crater runways preventing the Japanese from taking off until they were repaired and destroying the occasional G4M in its revetments. Because Japan was at the extreme end of its supply lines while the US had much shorter ones, they could launch only small raids with one or two aircraft while the Americans could send massive raids with a hundred aircraft.
Unfortunately for the US, the Japanese could absorb the damage and would not be driven off. Therefore, after a large bombing raid, the US Navy sent a second wave of C-47 transport aircraft and dropped a brigade of Marine paratroopers who succeeded in retaking the island. The US flag was raised by Marines in an iconic photograph.
Midway in Worldwar
Liu Han visited Midway in 1963 on her way to visit the United States to gain support and weapons for Mao Tse-Tung's efforts against the Race's occupation of China, as did Rance Auerbach and Penny Summers on their journey from Free France to Canada in 1965.