The End of World War II in the Pacific [EPUB]
08 July 2015, 23:42
2015 | EPUB | 7.24MB
- Includes pictures
- Includes accounts of the Philippines, the firebombing of Tokyo, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the use of the atomic bombs, and more.
- Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
- Includes a table of contents
By the spring of 1943, American military planners had begun to create a plan to dislodge Japan from east and southeast Asia. To do so, parts of the Philippines were considered main strategic points in the potential Allied attack in the Pacific. The end goal of the Allied plan was an invasion of the Japanese home islands, in which heavy aerial bombardment would precede a ground assault. In order for this to occur, Allied forces would have to occupy areas surrounding Japan, with China adding to Luzon (the largest island in the Philippines) and Formosa (a large island off the coast of China) to create a triangle from which they could launch their bombers.
When Admiral Chester Nimitz was directed to capture an island in the Bonin group, Iwo Jima stood out for its importance in making progress against the mainland, with three airfields that would allow American air forces to attack the Japanese mainland. But the Japanese were also well aware of how important Iwo Jima was, and they fought desperately in bunkers and tunnels that required the Americans to carefully clear them out gradually. Less than 5% of the Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima were taken alive, and American casualties were estimated at 26,000, with 6,800 killed or captured. A month later at Okinawa, which lasted from April-June, the Americans suffered an estimated 62,000 casualties, with 12,000 Americans killed or captured. These deadly campaigns came after widely-held predictions that taking these islands would amount to no more than a brief footnote in the overall theater. However, the national character of the Empire was equally misunderstood. Following the month of Iwo Jima, “commentator after commentator in the Anglo-American camp agreed that the Japanese were more despised than the Germans…uncommonly treacherous and savage…alluding to their remarkable tenacity…refused to give up any territory and incurred thousands of losses daily without any possibility of surrender.”
Near the end of 1944, as Allied forces were pushing across the Pacific and edging ever closer to Japan, plans were drawn up to invade the Ryuku islands, the most prominent of them being Okinawa. Military planners anticipated that an amphibious campaign would last a week, but instead of facing 60,000 Japanese defenders as estimated, there were closer to 120,000 on the island at the beginning of the campaign in April 1945. The Battle of Okinawa was the largest amphibious operation in the Pacific theater, and it would last nearly 3 months and wind up being the fiercest in the Pacific theater during the war, with nearly 60,000 American casualties and over 100,000 Japanese soldiers killed. In addition, the battle resulted in an estimated 40,000-150,000 Japanese civilian casualties.
Given the horrific nature of the combat, and the fact that it was incessant for several weeks, it’s no surprise that Okinawa had a profound psychological effect on the men who fought, but it also greatly influenced the thinking of military leaders who were planning subsequent campaigns, including a potential invasion of the Japanese mainland. The casualty tolls at Okinawa ultimately helped compel President Truman to use the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in an effort to end the war before having to attempt such an invasion.
The End of World War II in the Pacific: The History of the Final Campaigns that Led to Imperial Japan’s Surrender chronicles the background leading up to the final fighting of World War II. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the end of World War II in the Pacific like never before.
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