The League of Nations assigned the South Pacific Island Mandate (Nan-Yo) to Japan. Japan fought with the Allies in World War I. The Mandate covered a large part of Micronesia and were former German colonies. The Mandate included the Carolines, Marianas, Marshall Islands and Palau archepeligoes. An exception was made for Guam which continued under U. S. administration. The South Pacific Mandate was put under the control of the Japanese Navy. The Governors appointed were mostly admirals or vice-admirals. The Mandate capital was Koror, in the Palau islands. The most important island was Saipan in the Marianasa for both military and economic reasons. Sapan also became a major center for Japanese settlement. Another important island militarily was Truk (now Chuuk), in the Carolines. The Imperial Navy referred to it as the Southern Gibraltar. Japan withdrew from the League (1935). This invalidated the Mandate, but Japanese had by this time integrated the islands into the Japanese Empire. Large numbers of Japanese immigrants had settled on the islands, especially Saipan. The Japanese Navy built airfields, fortifications, ports, and other military instaltions. Construction of military instalations was escalated after Japan withdrew from the League. These facilities proved important in the Pacific War (1941-45). The Japanese carrier fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor came from ports in the Hime Islands. The Japanes attacks on the Philippines, New Guinea, Nauru and the Gilberts islands t the beginning of the war were launched frpm bases in the various South Pacific Mandate islands (1941-42). They also posed a formidable challenge to the U.S. Marines charged with taking the islands during the U.S. Navy's Central Pacific offensive. The Marianas in particular were critical as they were the cloest to Japan and thus could be used for bases to begin the American strategic bombing campaign of the Japanese Home Islands.
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