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Craig L. Symonds: The Battle of Midway

At 10:00 a.m. on June 4, 1942, the Axis powers were winning the Second World War. One hour later, they were not.

Craig L. Symonds argues that the Battle of Midway was the war's tipping point; though more than three years of savage conflict lay ahead, the Imperial Japanese Navy would never again launch a strategic offensive, and the Nazis were soon to meet stalemate at Stalingrad.

But Symonds also argues against the historical view that America's victory at Midway was some manner of miracle or mostly a matter of good luck. Instead, he counters, it should be seen as the natural, expected outcome of the superior tactics of Adm. Chester A. Nimitz, the ingenuity of Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Rochefort and his team of code breakers, and the skill of long-overlooked battle commanders such as Rear Adm. Frank Jack Fletcher.

Craig L. Symonds is Professor of History Emeritus at the United States Naval Academy. He is the author of many books on American naval history, including Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles That Shaped American History as well as Lincoln and His Admirals, co-winner of the Lincoln Prize in 2009.