Tutor profile: Manuel M.
Subject: World History
Why would the strategy of "Island Hopping" be necessary based on the Pacific's geography?
The US counterattack against the Japanese was necessary to stop them from taking over more of the Pacific and to push them out of the islands they had already colonized. The particular strategy itself was necessary because of the locations the Japanese were targeting in order to secure for themselves strongholds over the entire Pacific. The Japanese were intent on taking Midway island (named so because it was almost literally "midway" between the US and Japan) and Port Moresby in the South Pacific just north of Australia. They wanted the former because it would help them to close in on the US. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service: With Midway deemed second only to Pearl Harbor, Oahu in importance to protecting the West Coast, airstrips, gun emplacements and a seaplane base quickly materialized on the tiny atoll. But the Navy created a long-term infrastructure as well, creating Naval Air Station Midway" (1). If they did take Midway Island, it would likely have been a severe blow to the US presence in the Pacific and its ability to defend itself on the west, since Pearl Harbor was already destroyed too. The Japanese sought Port Moresby so that way they could surround Australia, which they planned to either invade or to simply isolate. Wikipedia cites a swiss scholar, Henry P. Frei, to point out, The generals of the Army General Staff, and the Prime Minister of Japan, General Hideki Tojo, did not see a need to commit massive troop resources to the conquest of Australia, with the massive logistical problems that would produce. The generals were confident that Australia could be bullied into surrender to Japan by isolating it completely from the United States and by applying intense psychological pressure. (2) With Australia out of the way, Japan would be able to exert more dominance over the Pacific and pressure on the western coasts of the US. For these reasons, the US had to pursue this two-pronged approach towards confronting the Japanese from both the North and from the South. You might consider too that the Japanese had already invaded some of the Aleutian Islands, which are the chain of islands that tail out of Alaska into the north of the Pacific. By invading these islands they technically already set foot on American soil. Many of the islands in the Pacific that were colonized by the Japanese were just too small for the US to deem it necessary to land troops on the ground. I actually lived in one of those islands for an entire year, and can tell you from personal experience that you can literally walk from one end to the other within an hour or so. For precisely that reason it was not deemed necessary for the US to actually bring troops and tanks to all of these islands, especially the ones called the "Caroline Islands" otherwise known loosely as Micronesia. The US did land on some islands that were larger, but for the smaller ones it was sufficient to simply drop bombs or pursue continuous air raids like Operation Hailstone. The islands are so small and so distant that once the Japanese were defeated on them, the US used them to store and refuel their planes and ships. Even today, the only airlines that fly around these tiny islands that make up what is now called the Federated States of Micronesia is dubbed an "island hopper" because it is as though the airplane is literally hopping from one island to another. That is really the only way that people can get to these landmasses since they are so remotely isolated in the middle of the Pacific. Let me know if you have any questions or would like a tutoring session for further assistance. References: 1) US Fish and Wildlife Services https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Midway_Atoll/preserving_the_past/Preparing_for_War.html 2) Wikipedia - Proposed Japanese Invasion of Australia during World War II https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposed_Japanese_invasion_of_Australia_during_World_War_II
Subject: US History
Did congressional reconstruction secure full equality for African Americans as American citizens?
Despite outlawing slavery, affording citizenship and voting rights to African-Americans with the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, Congress did not implement lasting protections of their rights, nor did it find a way to ensure that African-Americans owned land. After Republicans agreed to remove the military from the South in the Compromise of 1877, that allowed the mostly white Democrat-controlled governments of the South to continue to restrict the rights of African Americans. That meant the rise of Jim Crow laws, grandfather clauses, and poll taxes. This was a time when "separate-but-equal" was ruled as constitutional by the Supreme Court in Plessy vs. Ferguson. Without land they would have to be dependent on their former slave masters for a means of survival. According to an elderly African-American man who was interviewed around the 1930s about his life before and after the Civil War, he says: Freedom wasn't no different I knows of. I works for Marse John just the same for a long time. He say one morning, "John, you can go out in the field iffen you wants to or you can get out iffen you wants to, 'cause the government say you is free. If you wants to work I'll feed you and give you clothes but can't pay you no money. I ain't got none." Humph, I didn't know nothing what money was, nohow, but I knows I'll git plenty victuals to eat, so I stays ... (1) While some may have fled to cities in the North to seek other opportunities, those in the South would likely see their standard of living unchanged and preserved with the sharecropping system that kept them in long-standing debt. African-Americans may have enjoyed some freedoms but their sense of equality with other American citizens was still deeply undermined politically, legally, socially and economically. References: (Benjamin Botkin, ed., Lay My Burden Down: A Folk History of Slavery, University of Chicago Press, 1945,p. 238.)
Subject: European History
Which reason for the fall of Rome do you believe is the most significant in the collapse of the empire and why?
The longstanding absence of any effective leaders needed to strengthen both the economy and the military could be argued as an important factor that led to Rome's decline. One of the reasons why Rome transitioned into an empire in the first place was because the leadership, (be it the consuls, Senators, tribunes, etc.) were unable or unwilling to mitigate the republic's persistent economic instability, which in turn undermined the country's political and military institutions. The latifundia system kept the small farmers and plebeians in debt to the patricians who owned most of Rome's land. If the lawmakers had accepted reforms, such as the proposal made by the Gracchi brothers to redistribute land, maybe that would have maintained the people's confidence in their government. But since those reforms were ignored, that inequality continued and grew so pervasive that it actually invited more ambitious men, like Sulla, to exploit the poor by offering them promises of obtaining land if they joined his own private army, thereby giving him the power to eventually seize Rome and wipe out dissidents. This, of course, would foreshadow Caesar's march on Rome. Even when the Empire is in place, it is noticeable how the presence of competent as opposed to incompetent emperors impacts Rome's internal and external security. The "Five Good Emperors" (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius) helped the land interests of the poor, provided state funds for their assistance and education, invested in public infrastructure projects (ie. aqueducts, bridges, roads, and harbor facilities) and strengthened the borders of the empire to the extent that Rome experienced almost a century of peace (the Pax Romana). After Marcus Aurelius dies, we see a series of emperors who are only concerned about maintaining military rule over the people. During and after the time of the Severan rulers, there was a decline in trade, labor shortages due to a plague, a decline in farm production and the currency was on the brink of collapse. This in turn would again undermine the strength of the government and military, for similar reasons that were encountered when Rome was a faltering republic - hiring soldiers would be a problem if they cannot be paid. And if the military is weak, there would be no means of suppressing civil wars, foreign invasions, and the trespassing of borders all of which was prevalent at the time. While it's arguable that no single leader could have easily taken on such a formidable role during Rome's later stages, it should be recognized that Diocletian was able to resuscitate some stability into the Empire and Constantine's creation of the Eastern Roman Empire lasted for another millennia. In addition to strengthening the military, Diocletian brought some political stability with a power-sharing arrangement that divided the empire into four parts. Despite these accomplishments, the economic reforms of both men (wage and price controls, forcing workers to stay in their jobs) would not be enough to save the Empire. But the fact that these leaders were able to make some significant headway at that point in Rome's decline suggests that it was possible for Rome to have been revived to an equal extent, if not saved entirely, had more leaders of that caliber arisen to power. Therefore, the chronic lack of such leadership, and the continued presence of weak rulers, is the most significant reason for its collapse.
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