Japan campaign

The Japan Campaign was a series of battles and engagements in and around the Japanese Home Islands, between Allied forces and the forces of Imperial Japan during the last stages of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. The Japan Campaign lasted from around June 1944 to about September 1945.

Air war

Periodic air raids on Japan were the first attacks undertaken by the Allied forces. In late 1944, these raids were followed by a major strategic bombing campaign against Tokyo and other military and civilian targets throughout Japan.

Land and sea battles

In early 1945, there were two major island battles:
* The Battle of Iwo Jima (16 February to 26 March): Of approximately 21,000 Japanese defenders, only 216 survived the battle.
* The Battle of Okinawa (1 April to 21 June): Of approximately 100,000 Japanese defenders, only 24,455 survived the battle.

There were also two naval battles:
* Operation Ten-Go (7 April): Most of the Japanese vessels committed were lost.
* The Battle of Tokyo Bay (22 July to 23 July): Most of the Japanese vessels committed were heavily damaged or lost.

The battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa foretold what was to be expected when the Japanese Home Islands were attacked. Iwo Jima and Okinawa were lost only after extremely fierce resistance was overcome. In both cases the Japanese refused to surrender and there were few survivors. But, while Japanese losses were extremely high, the Allied forces paid dearly to take both islands.

Naval operations included a suicidal Japanese counteroffensive on 7 April 1945 (Operation Ten-Go) to relieve Okinawa and an Allied campaign to place air and submarine-delivered mines into Japanese shipping lanes. This was illustrated by the naval surface interdiction of Tokyo Bay in July.

The end

World War II ended with the surrender of Japan after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Before those two bombings and the Soviet entry into the war, Japan was unwilling to surrender. The firebombing of Japanese cities resulted in thousands of deaths but did not move the government towards surrender. The Japanese government was clearly prepared to fight an Allied invasion of the home islands as fiercely as they had defended Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

The Japan Campaign was intended to provide staging areas and preparation for a possible Allied invasion of Japan ("Operation Downfall") and to support Allied air and naval campaigns against the Japanese mainland. Japan still had a homeland army of about two million soldiers and sufficient resources to cripple an Allied invasion. Consequently, had that invasion been necessary, it most likely would have resulted in a much higher death toll for both sides.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have saved many lives on both sides by causing the surrender of Japan before an invasion of the Japanese mainland was carried out. Estimates made at the time ran as high as 7,000,000 Japanese civilian and military casualties and as many as 500,000 American military casualties. Debate continues to this day over the necessity of the atomic bombings and over their results.

Like Nazi Germany, some members of the Japanese government and the Japanese military were involved in crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It was beneficial to put a stop to these heinous activities as soon as was possible. The Japanese war crimes were detailed during the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and, like the Nuremberg Trials, several members of the Japanese government and the military were sentenced to death.

ee also

* United States strategic bombing of Japan
* Secret and special weapons in Showa Japan
* Operation August Storm - The invasion of Japanese-held Manchuria launched by the Soviet Union between the atomic bombings.
* Surrender of Japan
* Victory over Japan Day
* Japanese war crimes
* Japanese Instrument of Surrender
* Occupation of Japan

References

ources

*cite book
last = Drea
first = Edward J.
authorlink =
coauthors =
year = 1998
chapter =
title = In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army
publisher = University of Nebraska Press
location = Nebraska
id = ISBN 0-8032-1708-0


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