When 6,000 Marines hit the beaches of Guadalcanal Island in the southwestern Pacific on Aug. 7, 1942, they were both mounting the first American amphibious landing of the war and embarking on the initial major offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan. From that point, the Japanese were on the defensive, pushed back steadily to their homeland until the end of the war.
It was a costly undertaking, with 1,600 Americans killed and several thousand dead from tropical disease. It was even more costly for the Japanese, who lost 24,000 soldiers before pulling out six months later.
Marcus Jones, history professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and consultant for the Institute for Defense Analyses, tells the story of this ambitious undertaking and considers what was won and what was lost. Afterward, join educator Al Gaspar as he presents a miniature war-game battlefield created to depict the battle of Guadalcanal.