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The South West Pacific Area, as defined by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Australian cruiser Canberra (center left) protects three Allied transport ships (background and center right) unloading troops and supplies at Tulagi.
Japanese troops load onto a warship in preparation for a Tokyo Express run sometime in 1942.
General Douglas MacArthur and staff land at Palo Beach, Leyte, October 20, 1944.

The South West Pacific was one of two theatres of World War II in the Pacific region, between 1942 and 1945. The South West Pacific theatre included the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies (excluding Sumatra), Borneo, Australia, the Australian Territory of New Guinea (including the Bismarck Archipelago), the western part of the Solomon Islands and some neighbouring territories. The theatre takes its name from the major Allied command, which was known simply as the "South West Pacific Area".

In the theatre, Imperial Japanese forces fought primarily United States and Australian forces. Dutch, Filipino, British, Mexican and other Allied forces also served in the theatre.

Most Japanese forces in the theatre were part of the Southern Expeditionary Army Group, which was formed on November 6, 1941, under General Hisaichi Terauchi (also known as Count Terauchi), who was ordered to attack and occupy Allied territories in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

On March 30, 1942, the Allied South West Pacific Area command (SWPA) was formed and U.S. General Douglas MacArthur was appointed Supreme Allied Commander South West Pacific Area.[1]:84 The other theatre, known as the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II, was commanded by Admiral Chester Nimitz.


Major campaigns in the theatre

See also


  1. ^ Cressman (2000)
  2. ^ a b c Dull (1978)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Silverstone (1968)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Potter & Nimitz (1960)
  5. ^ a b c Sulzberger (1966)


  • Cressman, Robert J. (2000). The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-149-1.  
  • Drea, Edward J. (1998). In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1708-0.  
  • Dull, Paul S. (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy (1941-1945). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press.  
  • Eichelberger, Robert (1989 (reissue)). Our Jungle Road to Tokyo. New York: Battery Press. ISBN 0-89839-132-6.  
  • Griffith, Thomas E., Jr. (1998). MacArthur's Airman : General George C. Kenney and the War in the Southwest Pacific. Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.A.: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-0909-1.  
  • Krueger, Walter (1979). From Down Under to Nippon: Story of the 6th Army in World War II. Zenger. ISBN 0-89201-046-0.  
  • Potter, E.B.; Chester W. Nimitz (1960). Sea Power. Prentice-Hall.  
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1968). U.S. Warships of World War II. Doubleday and Company.  
  • Sulzberger, C.L. (1966). The American Heritage Picture History of World War II. Crown Publishers.  
  • U.S. Army Center of Military History. "Japanese Operations in the Southwest Pacific Area, Volume II - Part I". Reports of General MacArthur. Retrieved 2006-12-08.  - Translation of the official record by the Japanese Demobilization Bureaux detailing the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy's participation in the Southwest Pacific area of the Pacific War.


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