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The Battle of Iwo Jima


Essential Question: How did the battle of Iwo Jima affect the war against Japan?

February 19, 1945 - March 26, 1945

Soldiers at beginning
U.S. Marines: 30,000 at first invasion; 75,000 towards end of battle
Japanese: 21,000

Soldiers at the end of the battle
U.S. Marines: est. 68,000
Japanese: est. 1,038
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The Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the last major battles of World War II against the Japanese. The island held radar installations and weaponry, likely to detect any incoming aircraft. It was considered the most fortified island of Japan. The U.S. Navy could use the island as a refueling station, as it was only 660 miles from Tokyo. The Marines landed on February 19, 1945, beginning the largest Marine offensive ever launched in American History. The mission was only supposed to last a few days, like several previous battles had during the war. An indication of this objective was the flag-raising on February 23, 1945, which is one of the most influential pictures in American history. However, the battle lasted over a month, as the Japanese forces fought relentlessly and kept fighting until there were only barely over 1,000 soldiers left.

The victory for the United States allowed the U.S. planes to bomb Japan with little resistance, and signaled the beginning of the end for the Japanese in the war. The U.S. soon after took Okinawa, and then the Atomic Bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the two bombs, the Japanese surrendered in Tokyo Bay, having lost at least 175,000 from the two bombs combined.





Video Link: United Streaming Video
Information Link: History Channel- Battles




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The Battle of Iwo Jima affected the war against Japan by capturing one of the most vital radar installations for the Japanese. They needed to monitor the South Pacific for U.S. bombers and naval advancements. The loss of the station left U.S. bombers to pound the mainland with little to zero warning. This also likely helped in the U.S. securing both Luzon and Okinawa, both major Japanese military centers. The Japanese suffered greatly from the loss of Iwo Jima, despite their valiant defense. The Japanese fought until there was only 1,038 soldiers left on the island, but their sacrifices would go in vain as the Japanese eventually lost thousands upon thousands of soldiers before Emperor Hirohito and Japan surrendered in Tokyo Bay.

After Iwo Jima, the U.S. Marines and other forces pushed with even greater intensity on the Japanese-controlled islands, crippling the Japanese military by taking its' eyes away first, then breaking them until they were nothing. Radar was especially important in WWII, as dozens of aircraft would routinely perform bombing raids on the enemy, for example Pearl Harbor or bombing raids on Tokyo. Radar helped the defenders get ready and deploy their aircraft in order to attack the aggressors. Destroying the radar leaves the enemy helpless, both civilians and military alike. This is why there were civilian casualties in past wars and even today.

The atomic bombs were able to be dropped because of the success of U.S. forces on the ground, which ultimately ended the war, but none of the aircraft would have been able to infiltrate unopposed without the capture of Iwo Jima and its' radar installations. Without the capture of Iwo Jima, the war would likely have lasted much longer, possibly as late as mid-1946, although the War in Europe would not have been affected. The European and Asian portions of WWII were separate entities, with no connection other than the Allied and Axis powers.