Role in WW2
Main article: History of Nauru § World War II
Nauru was administered by Australia under a League of Nations mandate. Nauru was shelled by a German surface raider in December 1940, aiming to incapacitate its phosphate mining operations (this action was probably the most distant military activity carried out by Germany during the entire war). Phosphates are important for making ammunition and fertilizers.
Nauru was occupied by Japan from 1942–45, and was the target of shelling by American battleships and cruisers, and aerial bombing by the Allies. For example, Nauru was bombarded by the American battleships North Carolina, Washington, South Dakota, Indiana, Massachusetts, and the Alabama, on 8 December 1943, and also bombed by U.S. Navy carrier airplanes on the same day. See the article on the Washington.