The Battle of Okinawa

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The Battle of Okinawa was fought on the island of Okinawa in the Ryukyu islands which are located south of the four big islands of Japan. It was the largest amphibious assault during the Pacific campaign of World War II. It was also the largest sea-land-air battle in history and lasted from April through June of 1945. Nobody expected it to be, but it was the last major battle of the war. The Americans were planning Operation Downfall, an invasion of the main islands in Japan, but never happened after the Japanese surrendered due to the atomic bombs that were dropped by them first in Hiroshima, and then in Nagasaki. Another reason the operation didn't happen was because of the Soviet Union declaring war on Japan. The battle became known as "Typhoon of Steel" in English and "tetsu no ame," "tetsuno bofu" by the Okinawans, which mean "rain of steel" and "violent wind of steel." The battle earned these names becasue of the intensity of the gunfire. At some battles there had been no civilians, but Okinawa had a large civilian population, and the losses were at least 150,000.

American losses were over 72,000 casualties, of which 18,900 were killed or missing, over twice the number killed at Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal combined. Several thousand soldiers who died from wounds and other causes at a later date are not included. About a third of the civilain population of the island in spring 1945 were killed. There were about 100,000 Japanese soldiers killed and 7,000 captured. Some of the soldiers blew themselves up with grenades. Some of the civilains, who were convinced by Japanese propaganda that the Americans were barbarians, killed their families and themselves to avoid capture. The battle started on April 1,1945 and ended June 21, 1945.