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Dur­ing World War Two, Ja­pan de­cided to in­vade many sur­round­ing coun­tries, in­clud­ing China and many coun­tries that were con­trolled by the US, UK, Netherland­s and France. Ja­pan’s first main ac­tion was to at­tack Amer­ica’s naval base in Pearl Har­bor, Hawaii, on 7 De­cem­ber 1941. This dev­as­tat­ing raid was the rea­son why Amer­ica joined in the war, which it had been sit­ting out un­til that point.

At the time, Burma (now known as Myan­mar) was part of the Bri­tish Em­pire, and Ja­pan in­vaded the coun­try in Jan­uary 1942. By May, Bri­tish troops had been forced to pull back so far that they crossed the bor­der with In­dia – a dis­tance of around 1,000 miles, which was the long­est re­treat in Bri­tish his­tory.

As the Al­lies fought back, many of the bat­tles were bru­tal and bloody, often lead­ing to hand-to-hand com­bat. Ko­hima in north­east­ern In­dia saw some of the most in­tense fight­ing, in­clud­ing the fa­mous Bat­tle of the Ten­nis Court, where Al­lied and Ja­panese forces were sep­a­rated by the width of the ten­nis court at the house of Deputy Com­mis­sioner Charles Pawsey, a Bri­tish of­fi­cial who helped to rule the lo­cal area.

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