Full Name 95 Territory of Guam
Alliance Allies - Minor Member Nation or Possession
Possessing Power United States
Entry into WW2 7 Dec 1941
Population in 1939 20,000
Civilian Deaths in WW2 1,000


ww2dbaseIn 1898, the United States took control over Guam at the end of the Spanish-American War. In Oct 1941, anticipating a conflict with Japan, the United States began evacuating non-essential personnel, particularly civilians and dependents of military servicemen, from Guam. On 6 Dec, many classified documents were destroyed as war seemed to be inevitable. On the first day of the Pacific War on 8 Dec 1941 (Guam was located on the western side of the International Date Line), Guam was bombed by Japanese aircraft extensively, damaging fuel tanks, port facilities, store houses, and ships. On 10 Dec, 5,400 Japanese troops landed unopposed by the 400 military and police defenders. The subsequent fighting was limited, and the American garrison surrendered within a short time. Most of the American prisoners of war captured at Guam were sent to Kobe in Japan and Manchuria in northeastern China for imprisonment.

ww2dbaseAlthough the Japanese had worked with the native Chamorro population of various Mariana Islands (Japanese had occupied them since the end of WW1) prior to the Pacific War, they viewed the Chamorro population of Guam with suspicion. The Japanese employed largely Chamorros from Saipan to assist with the occupation of Guam, while local Charmorros from Guam were subjected to forced labor; this would create a chasm between Chamorro peoples for many years to come far after WW2 would end. During the Japanese occupation, somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 Guam natives were killed out of a total population of 20,000.

ww2dbaseAmerican forces invaded Japanese-occupied Guam on 21 Jul 1944 after a heavy bombardment of 28,761 naval shells. The Japanese counterattacked fiercely, but ultimately was unable to push the Americans back into the sea. The Americans pushed the Japanese into the southern mountainous regions of Guam by late Jul, and on 10 Aug the island was declared captured, although fighting would continue for months to come. 18,000 Japanese troops were killed during the American assault; only 485 survived as captives.

United States Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

Last Major Update: Mar 2013

Events Taken Place in Guam
Invasion of Guam8 Dec 1941 - 10 Dec 1941
Mariana Islands Campaign and the Great Turkey Shoot13 Jun 1944 - 10 Aug 1944


USS Canopus with submarines USS S-36, S-37, S-38, S-39, S-40, and S-41, Apra Harbor, Guam, 1924USS Canopus with submarines USS S-36, S-37, S-38, S-39, S-40, and S-41, Apra Harbor, Guam, 29 Oct 1924USS S-39 in Apra Harbor, Guam, 29 Oct 1924US Marine 3rd Amphibious Corps photographer William H. T. Swisher receiving Bronze Star medal from General Rockey, Guam, circa 1944
See all 79 photographs of Guam in World War II


US Navy Construction Brigade Sept 1944 map of Guam in the Mariana Islands highlighting the newly constructed airfields

Guam in World War II Interactive Map

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Guam in World War II Photo Gallery
USS Canopus with submarines USS S-36, S-37, S-38, S-39, S-40, and S-41, Apra Harbor, Guam, 1924
See all 79 photographs of Guam in World War II

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