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B-25 bomber takes off from U.S.S. Hornet
B-25 bomber takes off from U.S.S. Hornet
Photograph courtesy U.S. National Archives, photo no. 80-G-41196


When asked where the Doolittle Raid bombers came from, President Roosevelt replied “Shangri-la,” referring to the mythical Asian kingdom in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizons. The U.S. Navy promptly named an aircraft carrier under construction the Shangri-la.

The Doolittle raid inflicted little damage but had important psychological impact for the United States and Japan. The raid also forced the Japanese to push forward the planned assault on the Midway Islands to help prevent further carrier attacks against Japan. Because of this speedup, two Japanese carriers were unable to join the Midway striking force. This gave the U.S. Navy better odds in that decisive carrier battle, in June 1942.

U.S. Navy carrier aircraft sunk all four Japanese carriers at Midway, the turning point of the Pacific War. And those four Japanese carriers had all been part of the Pearl Harbor strike force. Later in the war the U.S. Navy would sink the other two carriers used to attack Pearl Harbor.

Related Site: Return to Midway
Search for sunken ships, read survivors’ stories, and more.


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