For many of us the Battle of Midway is just one more Hollywood spectacular in, to paraphrase Neville Chamberlain, a far-away sea of which we know little. But having recently taken a closer look at the battle I am struck both by what was at stake and what the consequences of the American victory were for the Allies at the time and geopolitics since then.
When the Japanese attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941 they sank four battleships, destroyed 188 aircraft and damaged 159 other planes. Because, by sheer chance, there were no American carriers at Pearl Harbour on that day, the Japanese failed in their strategic aim: supremacy of the Pacific Ocean. They would have to fight again.
The next major conflict between the two fleets was at Coral Sea in early May.