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World War II Index/Glossary of Terms

Manhattan Project

The secret U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project initiated in June 1942 to develop an atomic bomb before Germany or the USSR.


The capital city of the Philippines. Japan captured Manila in January 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor. The Allies finally retook Manila in early 1945 after three years of brutal Japanese occupation.

Mareth Line

An imaginary line of demarcation in southeastern Tunisia behind which the German troops in North Africa established themselves in late 1942.

Market-Garden (Operation Market-Garden)

Code name for a failed Allied attempt to hasten the defeat of Germany in September 1944. The airborne element was code named Operation Market; the corollary ground attack was code named Operation Garden.

Messina (Strait of Messina)

The straight that separates the island of Sicily from the mainland of Italy. Americans took Messina on August 17, 1943, but the Germans were able to evacuate some 60,000 troops across the straight.


The acronym for Military Intelligence.


The acronym for a soldier Missing in Action. MIAPD stands for Missing in Action, Presumed Dead.

Midway Island (Battle of Midway)

A signficant defeat of the Japanese by the U.S. Navy in June 1942. Fought entirely with carrier-based planes. The Japanese lost 4 carriers, a heavy cruiser, 3 destroyers, some 275 planes, at least 4,800 men, and suffered heavy damage among the remaining vessels of their fleet.

Milne Bay

Part of New Guinea, an island nation in the Southwest Pacific. The Australians repulsed a Japanese effort to take Port Moresby through Milne Bay in August 1942.


This Belarussian city was retaken by the Soviets in July 1944.

Morotai Island

An island in the southwest Pacific. Captured from the Japanese in mid-September 1944.


A North African nation that was part of the French colonial empire before World War II. The Allies captured Morocco as part of the North African campaign that began November 8, 1942.


The acronym for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.


Part of New Georgia in the Solomon island group in the Pacific. Taking the Japanese air base here was the principal objective of the U.S. Army invasion that started in June 1943. The air base fell after nearly six weeks of hard fighting on August 5, 1943.

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