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World War II Index/Glossary of Terms

Battle of the Philippine Sea

A massive air battle on June 19, 1944. The Japanese lost more than 400 planes and three carriers. This American victory paved the way for eventual success in the Marianas invasion.

Ploesti Oil Fields

A focal point of Axis industrial strength. In August 1943 the Allies attempted to destroy the area through bombing raids.

Plough Project

An Allied plan to employ "snow tanks" and a joint American-Canadian Special Service Force to destroy strategic Axis targets in snowbound areas.


Pacific Ocean Area.


An Eastern European nation. On March 31, 1939 Britain declared that it would support Poland against possible German invasion. But in August, Germany and the USSR signed a secret non-agression pact dividing up Poland. When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 it marked the beginning of World War II. On September 17, 1939 the Soviets invaded eastern Poland.


Site in Normandy on the coast of France that looks down on Utah Beach on one side and Omaha Beach on the other. On D-Day American Rangers had to scale a 100-meter cliff to take it.

Port Moresby

A city in southeastern New Guinea, an island nation in the Southwest Pacific, just north of Australia. The Japanese were repulsed in their efforts to take Port Moresby by sea in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 and again in August 1942 when the Australians battled back a Japanese effort to take it through Milne Bay.

Potsdam Conference (Potsdam Declaration)

A summit between the U.S., Britain, and the USSR that began in Germany on July 16, 1945. Disagreements over the future of Europe at the Potsdam Conference planted more seeds for the coming Cold War. On July 26, 1945, the U.S., Britain, and China issue the Potsdam Declaration which gives an ultimatum to Japan: unconditionally surrender immediately, or face "prompt and utter destruction."


P.O.W. is the commom acronym for a Prisoner of War. KDPOW stands for Killed or Died while a Prisoner of War.

PT Boat

A Motor Torpedo Boat. A PT can also be abbreviated as MTB.


Pacific Theater of Operations


American term for the top-priority Japanese diplomatic cipher.

Geoffrey Pyke

An eccentric Englishman who conceived the idea of the "snow tanks" and a Special Service Force to destroy strategic Axis targets in snowbound areas.

Quebec Conference

A summit between the U.S. and Britain that began on August 11, 1943.

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