Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

History

Advisor

Andrew, Rod

Committee Member

Moise , Edwin

Committee Member

Bartley , Abel

Abstract

This study is on the battle of Tarawa, and how the battle altered military doctrine in amphibious warfare tactics and public perception of war. Tarawa was the first battle of its kind being the first amphibious assault against a fortified objective utilizing joint land, sea, and aerial attacks. It was also the first battle that was filmed from its beginning to its end and shown uncensored to the American public. This study will examine the historiography of the Battle for Tarawa, an overview of the fighting, and the aftermath of the battle. It will also examine the public's reaction to the uncensored stories and images of American dead and try to attempt to understand why they were shocked at what they saw. It will explore the debate of producing and showing the film to the public and examine the lessons learned that altered military doctrine on amphibious war for future operations. The importance of this study is in understanding how military operations evolve through testing them in combat with the understanding that servicemen must often be sacrificed to rewrite military doctrine. The other area of importance is in understanding how the media coverage of wars can affect the public perception of them, and gain insight to the social implications of war.

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