Wake Island NASA photo map-1-.jpg

Wake Island (also known as Wake Atoll, pronounced /ˈweɪk/) is a coral atoll having a coastline of 12 mi (19 km) in the North Pacific Ocean, located about two-thirds of the way from Honolulu (2300 mi or 3700 km west) to Guam (1510 mi or 2430 km east). It is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. Access to the island is restricted, and all current activities on the island are managed by the United States Air Force.

Wake Island in Days of Infamy[]

Wake Island was the closest territory the US had to the Japanese home islands. It fell to Japan some time during the invasion of Hawaii in late 1941.[1]

After the Hawaiian Islands were liberated in 1943, Wake Island was believed to be the next target for the US Marines following the liberation of Midway.[2]

Wake Island in "News From the Front"[]

The New Yorker ran an article about the fall of Wake Island, citing the incompetence of the Roosevelt administration. It also published a letter from Admiral Husband Kimmel stressing the importance of the island and denying it to the Japanese.

Admiral Kimmel's attempt to reinforce the Island after the first attempt to take it failed was met with stunned disbelief from the New Yorker, that he would've attempted such a feet in the face of over whelming and superior Japanese forces. The series of blunders that followed that allowed Wake to fall to the Japanese led to yet more embarrassment for the Roosevelt administration.[3]

Wake Island in Southern Victory[]

Wake Island became a territory of the United States after the Great War. It was captured by Japan early in the Second Great War,[4] but it was retaken by US forces unopposed after the Japanese disengaged from the war with the United States to attack Britain's Asian colonies.[5]

Wake Island in The War That Came Early[]

Wake Island fell to Japan early not long after Japan attacked the United States and other western powers.[6] While an attempt by the U.S. to retake Wake saw the successful landing of Marines, the subsequent defeat of the Pacific fleet left the Marines stranded, and Wake in the hands of Japan.[7]

In 1943, after the U.S. retook Midway Island, the Japanese could launch nuisance air raids from Wake using Bettys but didn't bother since it served no strategic purpose. It was clear they would not hold onto Wake for much longer.[8]


  1. Days of Infamy, pg. 246, HC.
  2. End of the Beginning, pg. 510, HC.
  3. See, e.g., Atlantis and Other Places, pgs. 85-86, HC.
  4. Drive to the East, pg. 477.
  5. The Grapple, pg. 566.
  6. Coup d'Etat, pg. 229, HC.
  7. Ibid., pg. 295.
  8. Last Orders, pg. 247, HC.