Not the “beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning,” 1943 is the turning point of the war as the Axis begins to lose everywhere. The Soviets smash the Sixth Army in Stalingrad, killing or capturing 600,000 men. The Allied Navies destroy U-boats and build ships faster than the Germans can do anything about it. The Germans are driven out of North Africa. The Allies land in Sicily and cause Mussolini to be expelled from the government. Subsequent landings would prove more difficult. Landings in France are planned and the biggest tank battle of the war is fought outside a Russian town called Kursk.
In 1943, the Americans began to deploy the results of their crash building program. The Japanese could not match the output of the huge naval shipbuilding program; they were being deprived of steel, oil, and other resources. MacArthur continued to move up the back of New Guinea. The Allies landed in the Aleutians. The initiative had passed to the Allies, and they would never lose it. By November 1943, heavy fighting began on islands in the Central Pacific. The first stop, Tarawa, would be a bloody lesson in how to conduct amphibious warfare. For the Japanese, it would be annihilation. Their island garrisons would die almost to a man. By December 1943, the Pacific War was entering its second year. The hardest fighting lay ahead.