June 22, 1945: The Battle of Okinawa ends.

The Allied assault on the Okinawa Islands was the bloodiest and one of the last major battles of the Pacific War.The Okinawa Islands were of great strategic importance to the Allies for the role they would have played during the planned November invasion of the Japanese mainland; the islands’ airfields, located only several hundred miles away from the rest of the Japanese archipelago, would have served as launch pads from which the invasion would begin. Over 100,000 Japanese and American combatants were killed, along with an estimated 100,000 civilians and commanders on both the Allied and Japanese sides, during the eighty-day-long battle over the sixty-mile-long island. 

Not only was the Battle of Okinawa (codenamed “Operation Iceberg”) the bloodiest clash of the Pacific War, it was also one of the largest (and was, in fact, the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific)  over 100,000 troops participated on each side; some 1,400 American ships were also involved in the battle, dozens sunk by desperate kamikaze attacks; and, because of the sheer scale of the battle, it has been referred to as the “typhoon of steel”. Much of the combat and fiercest fighting took place in the southern portion of the island, but, despite fierce Japanese counter-attacks, resistance was mostly wiped out by mid-June. Realizing their force’s impending, inevitable defeat, the three Japanese commanders - Mitsuru Ushijima, Isamu Cho, and Minoru Ota - chose to commit seppuku toward the end of the battle rather than surrender. 

One other notable aspect of the Battle of Okinawa was the presence of a significantly large civilian population living on the island, caught in the crossfire between Japanese and Allied attacks. Around 300,000 people lived on Okinawa before the assault began, and, according to US Army estimates, nearly half were dead by the end, from bombings and artillery fire, starvation, forced military service, and mass executions. The vast majority of buildings on Okinawa were also destroyed during the battle. Some historians theorize that the bloody results of the battle may have influenced strategists to seek a different means to end the war besides a full-scale mainland invasion. 

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    22 Iunie 1945 - Se sfârșește Bătălia de la Okinawa
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