|Battle of Okinawa|
|Part of the Volcano and Ryukyu Islands campaign of the Pacific Theater (World War II)|
Two Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment during fighting at Wana Ridge during the Battle of Okinawa, May 1945.
|Commanders and leaders|
Simon B. Buckner Jr. †|
Chester W. Nimitz
Raymond A. Spruance
William Halsey Jr.
Mitsuru Ushijima †|
Isamu Chō †
Hiromichi Yahara (POW)
Minoru Ōta †
Seiichi Itō †
~541,000 in Tenth Army |
~183,000 combat troops rising to ~250,000: 567
~76,000+ Japanese soldiers,|
~40,000+ Okinawan conscripts
|Casualties and losses|
American personnel: ~50,000 combat casualties, includes 12,500 killed and missing, 36,122 wounded  (excludes the several thousand soldiers who died after the battle indirectly, from their wounds)
153 tanks destroyed
13 destroyers sunk
15 amphibious ships sunk
8 other ships sunk
386 ships damaged
763 aircraft lost: 573 : 473
77,166 Japanese soldiers dead
over ~30,000 Okinawan conscripts killed
~110,000 killed total (U.S. estimate)
More than ~7,000–15,000 captured
1 battleship sunk
1 light cruiser sunk
5 destroyers sunk
9 other warships sunk
1,430 aircraft lost
27 tanks destroyed
743–1,712 artillery pieces, anti-tank guns, mortars and anti-aircraft guns: 91–92
|40,000–150,000 civilians killed|
The Battle of Okinawa (Japanese: 沖縄戦, Hepburn: Okinawa-sen), codenamed Operation Iceberg,: 17 was a battle of the Pacific War fought on the island of Okinawa by United States Army and United States Marine Corps forces against the Imperial Japanese Army. The initial invasion of Okinawa on 1 April 1945 was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The Kerama Islands surrounding Okinawa were preemptively captured on 26 March by the 77th Infantry Division. The 82-day battle lasted from 1 April until 22 June 1945. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were planning to use Kadena Air Base on the large island of Okinawa as a base for Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands, 340 mi (550 km) away.
The United States created the Tenth Army, a cross-branch force consisting of the U.S. Army 7th, 27th, 77th and 96th Infantry Divisions with the 1st, 2nd, and 6th Marine Divisions, to fight on the island. The Tenth Army was unique in that it had its own Tactical Air Force (joint Army-Marine command) and was supported by combined naval and amphibious forces. Opposing the Allied forces on the ground was the Japanese Thirty-Second Army.
The battle has been referred to as the "typhoon of steel" in English, and kotetsu no ame ("rain of steel") or kotetsu no hageshi kaze ("violent wind of steel") in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of Japanese kamikaze attacks and the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle was the bloodiest in the Pacific, with around 50,000 Allied and 84,166–117,000 Japanese casualties,: 473–474 including Okinawans conscripted into the Japanese Army. According to local authorities, at least 149,425 Okinawan people were killed, died by coerced suicide or went missing.
In the naval operations surrounding the battle, both sides lost considerable numbers of ships and aircraft, including the Japanese battleship Yamato. After the battle, Okinawa provided a fleet anchorage, troop staging areas, and airfields in proximity to Japan for US forces, in preparation for a planned invasion of the Japanese home islands.
Main article: Okinawa ground order of battle
See also: Okinawa naval order of battle
In all, the US Army had over 103,000 soldiers (of these, 38,000+ were non-divisional artillery, combat support and HQ troops, with another 9,000 service troops),: 39 over 88,000 Marines and 18,000 Navy personnel (mostly Seabees and medical personnel).: 40 At the start of the Battle of Okinawa, the US Tenth Army had 182,821 personnel under its command.: 40 It was planned that Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr. would report to Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner until the amphibious phase was completed, after which he would report directly to Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. Total aircraft in the US Navy, Marine and Army Air Force exceeded 3,000 over the course of the battle, including fighters, attack aircraft, scout planes, bombers and dive-bombers. The invasion was supported by a fleet consisting of 18 battleships, 27 cruisers, 177 destroyers/destroyer escorts, 39 aircraft carriers (11 fleet carriers, 6 light carriers and 22 escort carriers) and various support and troop transport ships.
The British naval contingent accompanied 251 British naval aircraft and included a British Commonwealth fleet with Australian, New Zealand and Canadian ships and personnel.
The Japanese land campaign (mainly defensive) was conducted by the 67,000-strong (77,000 according to some sources) regular 32nd Army and some 9,000 Imperial Japanese Navy troops at Oroku Naval Base (only a few hundred of whom had been trained and equipped for ground combat), supported by 39,000 drafted local Ryukyuan people (including 24,000 hastily drafted rear militia called Boeitai and 15,000 non-uniformed laborers). The Japanese had used kamikaze tactics since the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but for the first time they became a major part of the defense. Between the American landing on 1 April and 25 May, seven major kamikaze attacks were attempted, involving more than 1,500 planes.
The 32nd Army initially consisted of the 9th, 24th and 62nd Divisions and the 44th Independent Mixed Brigade. The 9th Division was moved to Taiwan before the invasion, resulting in shuffling of Japanese defensive plans. Primary resistance was to be led in the south by Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, his chief of staff, Lieutenant General Isamu Chō and his chief of operations, Colonel Hiromichi Yahara. Yahara advocated a defensive strategy, whilst Chō advocated an offensive one.
In the north, Colonel Takehido Udo was in command. The naval troops were led by Rear Admiral Minoru Ōta. They expected the Americans to land 6–10 divisions against the Japanese garrison of two and a half divisions. The staff calculated that superior quality and numbers of weapons gave each US division five or six times the firepower of a Japanese division. To this, would be added the Americans' abundant naval and air firepower.
Japanese commanders of Okinawa (photographed early in February 1945). In center: (1) Admiral Minoru Ota, (2) Lt. Gen. Mitsuru Ushijima, (3) Lt. Gen. Isamu Cho, (4) Col. Hitoshi Kanayama, (5) Col. Kikuji Hongo, and (6) Col. Hiromichi Yahara
Japanese soldiers arriving on Okinawa
Japanese high school girls wave farewell to a kamikaze pilot departing to Okinawa
A US military diagram of typical Japanese hill defensive tunnels and installations
A Japanese Type 89 150 mm gun hidden inside a cave defensive system
A map of Okinawa's airfields, 1945
On Okinawa, the Imperial Japanese Army mobilized 1,780 schoolboys aged 14–17 years into front line service as an Iron and Blood Imperial Corps (Japanese: 鉄血勤皇隊, romanized: Tekketsu Kinnōtai), while female Himeyuri students were organized into a nursing unit. This mobilization was conducted by an ordinance of the Ministry of the Army, not by law. The ordinances mobilized the students as volunteer soldiers for form's sake; in reality, the military authorities ordered schools to force almost all students to "volunteer" as soldiers; sometimes they counterfeited the necessary documents. About half of the Tekketsu Kinnōtai were killed, including in suicide bomb attacks against tanks and in guerrilla operations.
Among the 21 male and female secondary schools that made up these student corps, 2,000 students died on the battlefield. Even with the female students acting mainly as nurses to Japanese soldiers, they were still exposed to the harsh conditions of war.
The land battle took place over about 81 days beginning on 1 April 1945. The first Americans ashore were soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division who landed in the Kerama Islands, 15 mi (24 km) west of Okinawa on 26 March. Subsidiary landings followed, and the Kerama group was secured over the next five days. In these preliminary operations, the 77th Infantry Division suffered 27 dead and 81 wounded, while the Japanese dead and captured numbered over 650. The operation provided a protected anchorage for the fleet and eliminated the threat from suicide boats.: 50–60
On 31 March, Marines of the Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion landed without opposition on Keise Shima, four islets just 8 mi (13 km) west of the Okinawan capital of Naha. A group of 155 mm (6.1 in) "Long Tom" artillery pieces went ashore on the islets to cover operations on Okinawa.: 57
The main landing was made by the XXIV Corps and the III Amphibious Corps on the Hagushi beaches on the western coast of Okinawa on 1 April. The 2nd Marine Division conducted a demonstration off the Minatoga beaches on the southeastern coast to deceive the Japanese about American intentions and delay movement of reserves from there.: 68–74
Tenth Army swept across the south-central part of the island with relative ease, capturing the Kadena and the Yomitan airbases within hours of the landing.: 67–69 : 74–75 In light of the weak opposition, General Buckner decided to proceed immediately with Phase II of his plan, the seizure of northern Okinawa. The 6th Marine Division headed up the Ishikawa Isthmus and by 7 April had sealed off the Motobu Peninsula.: 138–141
Six days later on 13 April, the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Marine Regiment, reached Hedo Point at the northernmost tip of the island. By this point, the bulk of the Japanese forces in the north (codenamed Udo Force) were cornered on the Motobu Peninsula. The terrain was mountainous and wooded, with the Japanese defenses concentrated on Mount Yaedake, a twisted mass of rocky ridges and ravines on the center of the peninsula. There was heavy fighting before the Marines finally cleared Yaedake on 18 April.: 141–148 However, this was not the end of ground combat in northern Okinawa. On 24 May, the Japanese mounted Operation Gi-gou: a company of Giretsu Kuteitai commandos were airlifted in a suicide attack on Yomitan. They destroyed 70,000 US gallons (260,000 L) of fuel and nine planes before being killed by the defenders, who lost two men.
Meanwhile, the 77th Infantry Division assaulted Ie Shima, a small island off the western end of the peninsula, on 16 April. In addition to conventional hazards, the 77th Infantry Division encountered kamikaze attacks and even local women armed with spears. There was heavy fighting before the area was declared secured on 21 April and became another airbase for operations against Japan.: 149–183
While the 6th Marine Division cleared northern Okinawa, the US Army 96th and 7th Infantry Divisions wheeled south across the narrow isthmus of Okinawa. The 96th Infantry Division began to encounter fierce resistance in west-central Okinawa from Japanese troops holding fortified positions east of Highway No. 1 and about 5 mi (8 km) northwest of Shuri, from what came to be known as Cactus Ridge.: 104–105 The 7th Infantry Division encountered similarly fierce Japanese opposition from a rocky pinnacle located about 1,000 yd (910 m) southwest of Arakachi (later dubbed "The Pinnacle"). By the night of 8 April, American troops had cleared these and several other strongly fortified positions. They suffered over 1,500 battle casualties in the process while killing or capturing about 4,500 Japanese. Yet the battle had only begun, for it was realized that "these were merely outposts," guarding the Shuri Line.: 105–108
The next American objective was Kakazu Ridge (), two hills with a connecting saddle that formed part of Shuri's outer defenses. The Japanese had prepared their positions well and fought tenaciously. The Japanese soldiers hid in fortified caves. American forces often lost personnel before clearing the Japanese out from each cave or other hiding place. The Japanese sent Okinawans at gunpoint out to obtain water and supplies for them, which led to civilian casualties. The American advance was inexorable but resulted in a high number of casualties on both sides.: 110–125
As the American assault against Kakazu Ridge stalled, Lieutenant General Ushijima—influenced by General Chō—decided to take the offensive. On the evening of 12 April, the 32nd Army attacked American positions across the entire front. The Japanese attack was heavy, sustained, and well organized. After fierce close combat, the attackers retreated, only to repeat their offensive the following night. A final assault on 14 April was again repulsed. The effort led the 32nd Army's staff to conclude that the Americans were vulnerable to night infiltration tactics but that their superior firepower made any offensive Japanese troop concentrations extremely dangerous, and they reverted to their defensive strategy.: 130–137
The 27th Infantry Division, which had landed on 9 April, took over on the right, along the west coast of Okinawa. General John R. Hodge now had three divisions in the line, with the 96th in the middle and the 7th to the east, with each division holding a front of only about 1.5 mi (2.4 km). Hodge launched a new offensive on 19 April with a barrage of 324 guns, the largest ever in the Pacific Ocean Theater. Battleships, cruisers, and destroyers joined the bombardment, which was followed by 650 Navy and Marine planes attacking the Japanese positions with napalm, rockets, bombs, and machine guns. The Japanese defenses were sited on reverse slopes, where the defenders waited out the artillery barrage and aerial attack in relative safety, emerging from the caves to rain mortar rounds and grenades upon the Americans advancing up the forward slope.: 184–194
A tank assault to achieve breakthrough by outflanking Kakazu Ridge failed to link up with its infantry support attempting to cross the ridge and therefore failed with the loss of 22 tanks. Although flame tanks cleared many cave defenses, there was no breakthrough, and the XXIV Corps suffered 720 casualties. The losses might have been greater except for the fact that the Japanese had practically all of their infantry reserves tied up farther south, held there by another feint off the Minatoga beaches by the 2nd Marine Division that coincided with the attack.: 196–207
At the end of April, after Army forces had pushed through the Machinato defensive line, the 1st Marine Division relieved the 27th Infantry Division and the 77th Infantry Division relieved the 96th. When the 6th Marine Division arrived, the III Amphibious Corps took over the right flank and Tenth Army assumed control of the battle.: 265
On 4 May, the 32nd Army launched another counter-offensive. This time, Ushijima attempted to make amphibious assaults on the coasts behind American lines. To support his offensive, the Japanese artillery moved into the open. By doing so, they were able to fire 13,000 rounds in support, but effective American counter-battery fire destroyed dozens of Japanese artillery pieces. The attack failed.: 283–302
Buckner launched another American attack on 11 May. Ten days of fierce fighting followed. On 13 May, troops of the 96th Infantry Division and 763rd Tank Battalion captured Conical Hill (). Rising 476 ft (145 m) above the Yonabaru coastal plain, this feature was the eastern anchor of the main Japanese defenses and was defended by about 1,000 Japanese. Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions fought for "Sugar Loaf Hill" (). The capture of these two key positions exposed the Japanese around Shuri on both sides. Buckner hoped to envelop Shuri and trap the main Japanese defending force.: 311–359
By the end of May, monsoon rains which had turned contested hills and roads into a morass exacerbated both the tactical and medical situations. The ground advance began to resemble a World War I battlefield, as troops became mired in mud, and flooded roads greatly inhibited evacuation of wounded to the rear. Troops lived on a field sodden by rain, part garbage dump and part graveyard. Unburied Japanese and American bodies decayed, sank in the mud and became part of a noxious stew. Anyone sliding down the greasy slopes could easily find their pockets full of maggots at the end of the journey.: 364–370
From 24 to 27 May the 6th Marine Division cautiously occupied the ruins of Naha, the largest city on the island, finding it largely deserted.: 372–377
On 26 May aerial observers saw large troop movements just below Shuri. On 28 May Marine patrols found recently abandoned positions west of Shuri. By 30 May the consensus among Army and Marine intelligence was that the majority of Japanese forces had withdrawn from the Shuri Line.: 391–392 On 29 May the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines (1/5 Marines) occupied high ground 700 yards (640 m) east of Shuri Castle and reported that the castle appeared undefended. At 10:15 Company A, 1/5 Marines occupied the castle: 395–496
Shuri Castle had been shelled by the battleship USS Mississippi for three days before this advance. The 32nd Army withdrew to the south and thus the Marines had an easy task of securing Shuri Castle. The castle, however, was outside the 1st Marine Division's assigned zone, and only frantic efforts by the commander and staff of the 77th Infantry Division prevented an American airstrike and artillery bombardment which would have resulted in many friendly fire casualties.: 396
On 29 May a Confederate flag was raised over Shuri Castle, before being removed and replaced by a US flag three days later on orders of General Simon B. Buckner Jr.
The Japanese retreat, although harassed by artillery fire, was conducted with great skill at night and aided by the monsoon storms. The 32nd Army was able to move nearly 30,000 personnel into its last defense line on the Kiyan Peninsula, which ultimately led to the greatest slaughter on Okinawa in the latter stages of the battle, including the deaths of thousands of civilians. In addition, there were 9,000 IJN troops supported by 1,100 militia, with approximately 4,000 holed up at the underground headquarters on the hillside overlooking the Okinawa Naval Base in the Oroku Peninsula, east of the airfield.: 392–394
On 4 June, elements of the 6th Marine Division launched an amphibious assault on the peninsula. The 4,000 Japanese sailors, including Admiral Ōta, all committed suicide within the hand-built tunnels of the underground naval headquarters on 13 June.: 427–434 By 17 June, the remnants of Ushijima's shattered 32nd Army were pushed into a small pocket in the far south of the island to the southeast of Itoman.: 455–4661
On 18 June, General Buckner was killed by Japanese artillery fire while monitoring the progress of his troops from a forward observation post. Buckner was replaced by Major General Roy Geiger. Upon assuming command, Geiger became the only US Marine to command a numbered army of the US Army in combat; he was relieved five days later by General Joseph Stilwell. On 19 June, Brigadier General Claudius Miller Easley, the commander of the 96th Infantry Division, was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire, also while checking on the progress of his troops at the front.: 461
The last remnants of Japanese resistance ended on 21 June, although some Japanese continued hiding, including the future governor of Okinawa Prefecture, Masahide Ōta. Ushijima and Chō committed suicide by seppuku in their command headquarters on Hill 89 in the closing hours of the battle.: 468–471 Colonel Yahara had asked Ushijima for permission to commit suicide, but the general refused his request, saying: "If you die there will be no one left who knows the truth about the battle of Okinawa. Bear the temporary shame but endure it. This is an order from your army commander.": 723 Yahara was the most senior officer to have survived the battle on the island, and he later authored a book titled The Battle for Okinawa. On 22 June Tenth Army held a flag-raising ceremony to mark the end of organized resistance on Okinawa. On 23 June a mopping-up operation commenced, which concluded on 30 June.: 471–473
On 15 August 1945, Admiral Matome Ugaki was killed while part of a kamikaze raid on Iheyajima island. The official surrender ceremony was held on 7 September, near the Kadena Airfield.
The Battle of Okinawa was the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War. The most complete tally of deaths during the battle is at the Cornerstone of Peace monument at the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, which identifies the names of each individual who died at Okinawa in World War II. As of 2022, the monument lists 241,686 names, including 149,611 Okinawans, 77,485 Imperial Japanese soldiers, 14,010 Americans, and smaller numbers of people from South Korea (382), the United Kingdom (82), North Korea (82) and Taiwan (34).
The numbers correspond to recorded deaths during the Battle of Okinawa from the time of the American landings in the Kerama Islands on 26 March 1945 to the signing of the Japanese surrender on 2 September 1945, in addition to all Okinawan casualties in the Pacific War in the 15 years from the Manchurian Incident, along with those who died in Okinawa from war-related events in the year before the battle and the year after the surrender. 234,183 names were inscribed by the time of unveiling, and new names are added as necessary. 40,000 of the Okinawan civilians killed had been drafted or impressed by the Japanese army and are often counted as combat deaths.
The Americans suffered some 48,000 casualties, not including some 33,000 non-battle casualties (psychiatric, injuries, illnesses), of whom over 12,000 were killed or missing. Killed in action were 4,907 Navy, 4,675 Army, and 2,938 Marine Corps personnel; when excluding naval losses at sea and losses on the surrounding islands (such as Ie Shima), 6,316 killed and over 30,000 wounded occurred on Okinawa proper.  Other authors such as John Keegan have come up with higher numbers.
The most famous American casualty was Lieutenant General Buckner, whose decision to attack the Japanese defenses head-on, although extremely costly in American lives, was ultimately successful. Four days from the closing of the campaign, Buckner was killed by Japanese artillery fire, which blew lethal slivers of coral into his body, while inspecting his troops at the front line. He was the highest-ranking US officer to be killed by enemy fire during the Second World War. The day after Buckner was killed, Brigadier General Easley was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire. War correspondent Ernie Pyle was also killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on Ie Shima, a small island just off of northwestern Okinawa.
Aircraft losses over the three-month period were 768 US planes, including those bombing the Kyushu airfields launching kamikazes. Combat losses were 458, and the other 310 were operational accidents. At sea, 368 Allied ships—including 120 amphibious craft—were damaged while another 36—including 15 amphibious ships and 12 destroyers—were sunk during the Okinawa campaign. The US Navy's dead exceeded its wounded, with 4,907 killed and 4,874 wounded, primarily from kamikaze attacks.
American personnel casualties included thousands of cases of mental breakdown. According to the account of the battle presented in Marine Corps Gazette:
More mental health issues arose from the Battle of Okinawa than any other battle in the Pacific during World War II. The constant bombardment from artillery and mortars coupled with the high casualty rates led to a great deal of personnel coming down with combat fatigue. Additionally, the rains caused mud that prevented tanks from moving and tracks from pulling out the dead, forcing Marines (who pride themselves on burying their dead in a proper and honorable manner) to leave their comrades where they lay. This, coupled with thousands of bodies both friend and foe littering the entire island, created a scent you could nearly taste. Morale was dangerously low by May and the state of discipline on a moral basis had a new low barometer for acceptable behavior. The ruthless atrocities by the Japanese throughout the war had already brought on an altered behavior (deemed so by traditional standards) by many Americans resulting in the desecration of Japanese remains, but the Japanese tactic of using the Okinawan people as human shields brought about a new aspect of terror and torment to the psychological capacity of the Americans.
Medal of Honor recipients from Okinawa are:
The following table lists the Allied naval vessels that received damage or were sunk in the Battle of Okinawa between 19 March – 30 July 1945. The table lists a total of 147 damaged ships, five of which were damaged by enemy suicide boats and another five by mines. During the naval battle, which started before the amphibious landings on Okinawa on 1 April, USS Franklin suffered over 800 killed and missing and USS Bunker Hill suffered 396 killed and missing. These were the first and third largest loss of life on damaged or sunken American aircraft carriers during World War II. The USS Franklin (hit by two bombs in a level bombing attack by a D4Y Suisei (Judy) on 19 March 1945) and USS Bunker Hill were the only two aircraft carriers that sustained very severe damage from Japanese attacks and as a result were the only aircraft carriers in the Essex-class that did not experience any active service after the end of World War II. One source estimated that total Japanese sorties during the entire Okinawa campaign exceeded 3,700, with a large percentage being kamikaze attacks, and that the attackers damaged slightly more than 200 Allied vessels, with 4,900 naval officers and seamen killed and roughly 4,824 wounded or missing. The USS Thorton was damaged as the result of a collision with another US ship.
The Japanese air attacks were so intense that Fifth Fleet commander Admiral Spruance's flagships were struck two separate times (USS Indianapolis was hit in March and had to retire for repairs which forced him to transfer to USS New Mexico which was also hit in May). Fast Carrier Task Force commander Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher and his chief of staff Commodore Arleigh Burke were yards away from getting killed or wounded by kamikazes on his flagship USS Bunker Hill, which killed three of Mitscher's staff officers and eleven of his enlisted staff members and also destroyed his flag cabin along with all of his uniforms, personal papers, and possessions. Just two days later Mitscher's new flagship USS Enterprise was also struck by a kamikaze forcing him to have to change his flagship yet again. Both fleet carriers were knocked out for the rest of the war.
* sunk or had to be scuttled due to irreparable damage. Of those sunk, the majority were relatively smaller ships; these included destroyers of around 300–450 feet. A few small cargo ships were also sunk, several containing munitions which caught fire.
# scrapped or decommissioned as a result of damage.
|19 Mar 45||USS Wasp||Carrier||Air attack, bomb through flight, & hangar decks||101||269|
|19 Mar 45||USS Franklin||Carrier||Air attack||724||265|
|20 Mar 45||USS Hasley Powell||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze||12||29|
|26 Mar 45||* USS Haligan||Destroyer||Mine, 3 miles SE of Maye Shima,
exploded 2 forward magazines, bow blown off
|26 Mar 45||USS Kimberly||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze||4||57|
|27 Mar 45||USS Murray||Destroyer||Air attack, bomb||1||116|
|27 Mar 45||USS O'Brian||Destroyer||Air attack, Val kamikaze with bomb||50||76|
|28 Mar 45||* USS Skylark||Small Minesweeper||Mine, struck mines twice off Hagushi beaches||5||25|
|28 Mar 45||USS LSM(R)-188||Landing Ship||Air attack, kamikaze||15||32|
|29 Mar 45||USS Wyandot||Attack Cargo Ship||Mine, possibly bomb||0||1|
|31 Mar 45||USS Indianapolis||Cruiser||Air attack, bomb through fuel tanks||9||20|
|1 Apr 45||USS Adams||Destroyer Minelayer||Air attack, kamikaze with bombs to fantail||0||0|
|1 Apr 45||USS Alpine||Attack Transport||Air attack, bomb and kamikaze||16||27|
|1 Apr 45||USS Hinsdale||Attack Transport||Air attack, kamikaze with bombs at waterline||16||39|
|1 Apr 45||# USS LST-884||Tank Landing Ship||Air attack, kamikaze, scuttled 6 May||24||21|
|1 April 45||HMS Ulster||Destroyer||Air attack, near miss bomb, badly damaged||2||1|
|2 Apr 45||* USS Dickerson||Destroyer Transport||Air attack, kamikaze Nick crashed bridge, towed, scuttled||54||23|
|2 Apr 45||USS Goodhue||Attack Transport||Air attack, kamikaze aimed at bridge glanced mainmast,
hit cargo boom, gun tubs, over side
|2 Apr 45||USS Henrico||Attack Transport||Air attack, kamikaze w/bombs hit bridge||49||125|
|2 Apr 45||USS Achernar||Attack Cargo Ship||Air attack, kamikaze w/bomb hit starboard||5||41|
|3 Apr 45||USS Wake Island||Escort Carrier||Air attack, kamikaze blew below waterline||0||0|
|3 Apr 45||USS Pritchett||Destroyer||Air attack, 500 lb bomb||0||0|
|3 Apr 45||USS Foreman||Destroyer||Air attack, bomb passed through her bottom, exploded below||0||3|
|3 Apr 45||USS LST-599||Tank Landing Ship||Air attack, kamikaze through main deck, fires||0||21|
|3 Apr 45||# USS LCT-876||Landing Craft Tank||Air attack||0||2|
|4 Apr 45||* USS LCI(G)-82||Landing Craft, Infantry||Suicide Boat||8||11|
|5 Apr 45||USS Nevada||Battleship||Air attack 25 Mar and 5 April coastal battery||2||16|
|6 Apr 45||* USS Bush||Destroyer||Air attack, 3 kamikaze hits 2 between stacks, blew
forward engine room, broke in half
|6 Apr 45||* USS Colhoun||Destroyer||Air attack, 4 kamikaze hits, bombs blew forward,
& aft fire rooms at waterline
|6 Apr 45||USS Howorth||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze struck superstructure, fires put out||9||14|
|6 Apr 45||USS Hyman||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze Hampton hit torpedo tubes twixt stacks||10||40|
|6 Apr 45||# USS Leutze||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze blew at fantail, bad flooding||7||34|
|6 Apr 45||# USS Morris||Destroyer||Air attack, kate kamikaze portside||0||5|
|6 Apr 45||USS Mullany||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze hit depth charges||13||45|
|6 Apr 45||# USS Newcomb||Destroyer||Air attack, multiple kamikazes||40||24|
|6 Apr 45||USS Haynsworth||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze||7||25|
|6 Apr 45||# USS Witter||Destroyer Escort||Starboard waterline kamikaze||0||5|
|6 Apr 45||USS Fieberling||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze near miss||6||6|
|6 Apr 45||* USS Emmons||Destroyer Minesweeper||Air attack, 5 kamikaze hits, scuttled 7 April||64||71|
|6 Apr 45||USS Rodman||Destroyer Minesweeper||Air attack, 4 kamikaze hits||16||20|
|6 Apr 45||USS Defense||Small Minesweeper||Air attack, two kamikaze strikes||0||9|
|6 Apr 45||* USS LST-447||Landing Ship||Air attack, kamikaze hit close above waterline, bomb blew||5||17|
|6 Apr 45||* SS Hobbs Victory||Cargo||Air attack, kamikaze struck port, flames ignited ammunition||15||3|
|6 Apr 45||* SS Logan Victory||Cargo||Air attack, kamikaze struck
superstructure, flames ignited ammunition
|7 Apr 45||USS Hancock||Carrier||Air attack, cartwheeling kamikaze||72||82|
|7 Apr 45||USS Maryland||Battleship||Air attack, kamikaze hit starboard||16||37|
|7 Apr 45||USS Bennett||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze hit engine room||3||18|
|7 Apr 45||USS Wesson||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze starboard||8||23|
|7 Apr 45||* USS PGM-18||Small Gunboat||Mine, powerful explosion||14||14|
|7 Apr 45||* YMS-103||Small Minesweeper||Mine, struck two mines, blowing off her bow
and stem rescuing PGM-18
|8 April 1945||USS Gregory||Destroyer||Air attack, port kamikaze amidships near waterline||0||2|
|8 Apr 45||USS YMS-92||Small Sweeper||Air attack||0||0|
|9 Apr 45||USS Charles J. Badger||Destroyer||Suicide Boat threw depth charge or mine||0||0|
|9 Apr 45||USS Sterett||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze hit starboard at waterline||0||9|
|9 Apr 45||USS Hopping||Destroyer Transport||Coastal Battery, damaging hits off Buckner Bay||2||18|
|11 Apr 45||USS Kidd||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze||38||55|
|12 Apr 45||USS Tennessee||Battleship||Air attack, kamikaze hit signal bridge||25||104|
|12 Apr 45||* USS Mannert L. Abele||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze||79||35|
|12 Apr 45||USS Purdy||Destroyer||Air attack, splashed kamikaze bomb skidded in||13||27|
|12 Apr 45||USS Cassin Young||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze hit foremast||1||59|
|12 Apr 45||USS Zellars||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze crashed port, bomb blew||29||37|
|12 Apr 45||USS Rall||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze starboard aft, bomb blew||21||38|
|12 Apr 45||USS Whitehurst||Destroyer Escort||Air attack, kamikaze w/bomb crashed pilot house||37||37|
|12 Apr 45||USS Lindsey||Destroyer Minelayer||Air attack, 2 kamikaze Val strikes||56||51|
|12 Apr 45||USS LSM(R)-189||Landing Ship||Air attack, kamikaze||0||4|
|12 Apr 45||* USS LCS(L)-33||Landing Craft||Air attack, kamikaze Val amidships||4||29|
|12 Apr 45||USS LCS(L)-57||Landing Craft||Air attack, 3 kamikaze strikes||2||6|
|14 Apr 45||USS Sigsbee||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze damaged port engine||4||74|
|16 Apr 45||USS Intrepid||Carrier||Air attack, kamikaze crashed deck, fires put out||10||87|
|16 Apr 45||USS Bryant||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze to bridge, w/explosion||34||33|
|16 Apr 45||USS Laffey||Destroyer||Air attack, multiple kamikaze hits||31||72|
|16 Apr 45||* USS Pringle||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze Val hit abaft
stack No. 1, explosion, broke in half
|16 Apr 45||USS Bowers||Destroyer Escort||Air attack, kamikaze to bridge, bomb hit pilot house||48||56|
|16 Apr 45||# USS Harding||Destroyer Minesweeper||Air attack, kamikaze struck side near bridge||22||10|
|16 Apr 45||USS Hobson||Destroyer Minesweeper||Air attack, near miss kamikaze's bomb veered in||4||8|
|16 Apr 45||USS LCS(L)-116||Landing Craft||Air attack, kamikaze hit aft gun mount||12||12|
|18 Apr 45||USS LSM-28||Landing Ship||Air attack||0||0|
|22 Apr 45||USS Isherwood||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze w/bomb crashed gun mount||42||41|
|22 Apr 45||* USS Swallow||Small Sweeper||Air attack, bad kamikaze hit flooded her, 3 mins sunk||2||9|
|22 Apr 45||USS LCS(L)-15||Landing Craft||Air attack||15||11|
|27 Apr 45||# USS Hutchins||Destroyer||Suicide Boat explosive blew close||0||0|
|27 Apr 45||# USS Rathburne||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze hit port bow waterline||0||0|
|27 Apr 45||* SS Canada Victory||Cargo||Air attack, kamikaze hit stern, lit ammo, sunk 10 mins||12||27|
|28 Apr 45||USS Pinkney||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze hit aft of superstructure, lit ammo||35||12|
|28 Apr 45||USS Comfort||Hospital Ship||Air attack, kamikaze through 3 decks to surgery||30||48|
|29 Apr 45||# USS Haggard||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze went through hull, blew engine room||11||40|
|29 Apr 45||USS Hazelwood||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze zero hit port bridge||46||26|
|29 Apr 45||# USS LCS(L)-37||Landing Craft||Suicide Boat||0||4|
|30 Apr 45||USS Terror||Minelayer||Air attack, kamikaze blew through main deck||48||123|
|3 May 45||* USS Little||Destroyer||Air attack, 5 kamikaze strikes||30||79|
|3 May 45||# USS Aaron Ward||Destroyer Minelayer||Air attack; 3 kamikaze hits and bomb frags||45||49|
|3 May 45||USS Macomb||Destroyer Minelayer||Air attack, kamikaze||7||14|
|3 May 45||* USS LSM(R)-195||Landing Ship||Air attack, kamikaze hit rockets, sunk||8||16|
|4 May 45||USS Hopkins||Destroyer Minesweeper||Air attack, Glancing blow by burning kamikaze||0||1|
|4 May 45||# USS Sangamon||Escort Carrier||Air attack, kamikaze & bomb blew through flight deck||46||116|
|4 May 45||USS Birmingham||Light Cruiser||Air attack, kamikaze hit forward||51||81|
|4 May 45||USS Ingraham||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze above port waterline, bomb blew||14||37|
|4 May 45||* USS Luce||Destroyer||Air attack, 1st kamikaze bomb hit, 2nd kamikaze struck aft||149||94|
|4 May 45||* USS Morrison||Destroyer||Air attack, 1st kamikaze hit bridge, then 3 more hit||159||102|
|4 May 45||USS Shea||Destroyer||Air attack Ohka kamikaze through starboard bridge||27||91|
|4 May 45||USS Carina||Cargo Ship||Suicide Boat ramming caused explosion||0||6|
|4 May 45||* USS LSM(R)-190||Landing Ship||Air attack, kamikaze set off her rockets||13||18|
|4 May 45||* USS LSM(R)-194||Landing Ship||Air attack||13||23|
|9 May 45||# USS England||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze dive bomber||35||27|
|9 May 45||# USS Oberrender||Destroyer Escort||Air attack, kamikaze hit starboard gun
mount, bomb through main deck
|11 May 45||USS Bunker Hill||Carrier||Air attack, 3 kamikaze hits with bombs through flight deck||396||264|
|11 May 45||# USS Hugh W. Hadley||Destroyer||Air attack, Aft bomb, an Ohka, and 2 more kamikazes struck||28||67|
|11 May 45||# USS Evans||Destroyer||Air attack, Struck by 4 kamikazes, fires put out||30||29|
|11 May 45||USS LCS(L)-88||Landing Craft||Air attack||7||9|
|13 May 45||USS Enterprise||Fast Carrier||Air attack, 2 kamikazes, struck port, & under starboard bow||13||68|
|13 May 45||USS Bache||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze hit, bomb
exploded amidships just above main deck
|13 May 45||USS Bright||Destroyer Escort||Air attack, kamikaze zero hit fantail, bomb exploded||0||2|
|17 May 45||USS Douglas H. Fox||Destroyer||2 kamikaze strikes, one to forward gun mounts, one to fantail||9||35|
|18 May 45||* USS Longshaw||Destroyer||Coastal Battery, 4 hits, one ignited magazine,
blew off bow back to bridge
|18 May 45||* USS LST-808||Landing Ship Tank||Air attack||11||11|
|20 May 45||# USS Chase||Destroyer Escort||Air attack, Splashed kamikaze skidded in,
bombs opened hull, w/flooding
|20 May 45||# USS Thatcher||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze Oscar struck aft of bridge, large hole||14||53|
|20 May 45||# USS John C. Butler||Destroyer Escort||Air attack, kamikaze hit to mast and antennas||0||0|
|25 May 45||USS Stormes||Destroyer||Air attack, crashed aft torpedo mount,
bomb blew large hole, flooded aft
|25 May 45||USS O'Neill||Destroyer Escort||Air attack, kamikaze||0||16|
|25 May 45||USS Butler||Destroyer Minesweeper||Air attack, kamikaze bombs exploded under keel||0||15|
|25 May 45||# USS Spectacle||Small Minesweeper||Air attack, kamikaze crashed port gun tub causing fires||29||6|
|25 May 45||* USS Barry||Destroyer Transport||Air attack, kamikaze badly crashed
starboard side, fires, abandoned
|25 May 45||* USS Bates||Destroyer Escort||Air attack, 2 kamikaze hits, fires,
abandoned, towed, later sank
|25 May 45||USS Roper||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze hit off Hanagushi, Okinawa||1||10|
|25 May 45||* LSM-135||Landing Ship||Air attack, kamikaze caused fires, beached, abandoned||11||10|
|25 May 45||SS William B. Allison (aka USS Inca)||Cargo Ship, Liberty Ship||Air attack, Aerial Torpedo off Nakagusuku Wan||8||2|
|27 May 45||USS Braine||Destroyer||Air attack, 2 kamikazes,
1st hit bridge, and 2nd hit amidships
|27 May 45||# USS Forrest||Destroyer Minesweeper||Air attack, kamikaze crashed starboard side waterline||5||13|
|27 May 45||USS Rednour||Transport||Air attack, 2 kmaikazes hits,
one made 10 foot hole in main deck
|27 May 45||USS Loy||Destroyer Escort||Air attack, kamikaze near miss sprayed fragments||3||15|
|27 May 45||LCS(L)-119||Landing Craft||Air attack||12||6|
|28 May 45||* USS Drexler||Destroyer||Air attack, 1st kamikaze Frances hit topside,
2nd Francis w/bombs crashed superstructure
|28 May 45||USS Sandoval||Attack Transport||Air attack, kamikaze hit portside of wheelhouse||8||26|
|29 May 45||USS Shubrick||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze bomb hit starboard
causing hole, exploding depth charge
|3 June 45||# USS LCI-90||Landing Craft Infantry||Air attack, kamikaze||1||7|
|6 June 45||# USS J. William Ditter||Destroyer Minelayer||Air attack, 1st kamikaze glanced,
2nd hit port near main deck
|6 Jun 45||USS Harry F. Bauer||Destroyer Minelayer||Air attack, kamikaze hit superstructure||0||0|
|10 Jun 45||* USS William D. Porter||Destroyer||Air attack, splashed kamikaze Val's
bomb exploded close underwater
|11 Jun 45||USS LCS(L)-122||Landing Craft||Air attack kamikaze hit conning tower base,
bomb fragments caused fires
|16 Jun 45||* USS Twiggs||Destroyer||Air attack, splashed kamikaze and
bomb blew in hull plating, w/structural damage
|21 Jun 45||USS Halloran||Destroyer Escort||Air attack, splashed kamikaze's bomb struck||3||24|
|21 Jun 45||USS Curtiss||Seaplane Tender||Air attack, kamikaze and bomb
ripped 2 holes in hull and blew
|21 Jun 45||* USS LSM-59||Landing Ship||Air attack, kamikaze strike while
towing USS Barry, sank in 4 minutes
|22 Jun 45||USS LSM-213||Landing Ship||Air attack, kamikaze strike at Kimmu Wan, hull damage ||3||10|
|22 Jun 45||USS LST-534||Landing Ship Tank||Air attack, While offloading on Nagagusuku Wan,
kamikaze hit bow doors, tank deck
|29 Jul 45||* USS Callaghan||Destroyer||Air attack, bi-plane kamikaze hit,
its bomb blew aft engine room, sunk
|30 Jul 45||USS Cassin Young||Destroyer||Air attack, kamikaze hit
forward, earlier hit 12 April
The US military estimates that 110,071 Japanese soldiers were killed during the battle. This total includes conscripted Okinawan civilians.
A total of 7,401 Japanese regulars and 3,400 Okinawan conscripts surrendered or were captured during the battle of Okinawa. Additional Japanese and renegade Okinawans were captured or surrendered over the next few months, bringing the total to 16,346.: 489 This was the first battle in the Pacific War in which thousands of Japanese soldiers surrendered or were captured. Many of the prisoners were native Okinawans who had been pressed into service shortly before the battle and were less imbued with the Imperial Japanese Army's no-surrender doctrine. When the American forces occupied the island, many Japanese soldiers put on Okinawan clothing to avoid capture, and some Okinawans would come to the Americans' aid by offering to identify these mainland Japanese.
The Japanese lost 16 combat vessels, including the super battleship Yamato. Early claims of Japanese aircraft losses put the total at 7,800,: 474 however later examination of Japanese records revealed that Japanese aircraft losses at Okinawa were far below often-repeated US estimates for the campaign. The number of conventional and kamikaze aircraft actually lost or expended by the 3rd, 5th, and 10th Air Fleets, combined with about 500 lost or expended by the Imperial Army at Okinawa, was roughly 1,430. The Allies destroyed 27 Japanese tanks and 743 artillery pieces (including mortars, anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns), some of them eliminated by the naval and air bombardments but most knocked out by American counter-battery fire.
Main article: Minoru Ōta § Telegraph to the Navy Vice Admiral
Some of the other islands that saw major battles in World War II, such as Iwo Jima, were uninhabited or had been evacuated. Okinawa, by contrast, had a large indigenous civilian population; US Army records from the planning phase of the operation made the assumption that Okinawa was home to about 300,000 civilians. The official US Tenth Army count for the 82-day campaign is a total of 142,058 recovered enemy bodies (including those civilians pressed into service by the Imperial Japanese Army), with the deduction made that about 42,000 were non-uniformed civilians who had been killed in the crossfire. Okinawa Prefecture's estimate is over 100,000 losses.
During the battle, American forces found it difficult to distinguish civilians from soldiers. It became common for them to shoot at Okinawan houses, as one infantryman wrote:
There was some return fire from a few of the houses, but the others were probably occupied by civilians—and we didn't care. It was a terrible thing not to distinguish between the enemy and women and children. Americans always had great compassion, especially for children. Now we fired indiscriminately.
In its history of the war, the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum presents Okinawa as being caught between Japan and the United States. During the battle, the Imperial Japanese Army showed indifference to Okinawans' safety, and its soldiers used civilians as human shields or outright killed them. The Japanese military also confiscated food from the Okinawans and executed those who hid it, leading to mass starvation, and forced civilians out of their shelters. Japanese soldiers also killed about 1,000 people who spoke in the Okinawan language to suppress spying. The museum writes that "some were blown apart by [artillery] shells, some finding themselves in a hopeless situation were driven to suicide, some died of starvation, some succumbed to malaria, while others fell victim to the retreating Japanese troops."
With the impending Japanese defeat, civilians often committed mass suicide, urged on by the Japanese soldiers who told locals that victorious American soldiers would go on a rampage of killing and raping. Ryūkyū Shimpō, one of the two major Okinawan newspapers, wrote in 2007: "There are many Okinawans who have testified that the Japanese Army directed them to commit suicide. There are also people who have testified that they were handed grenades by Japanese soldiers" to blow themselves up. Thousands of civilians, having been induced by Japanese propaganda to believe that American soldiers were barbarians who committed horrible atrocities, killed their families and themselves to avoid capture at the hands of the Americans. Some of them threw themselves and their family members from the southern cliffs where the Peace Museum now resides.
Okinawans "were often surprised at the comparatively humane treatment they received from the American enemy". Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power by Mark Selden states that the Americans "did not pursue a policy of torture, rape, and murder of civilians as Japanese military officials had warned". American Military Intelligence Corps combat translators such as Teruto Tsubota managed to convince many civilians not to kill themselves. Survivors of the mass suicides blamed also the indoctrination of their education system of the time, in which the Okinawans were taught to become "more Japanese than the Japanese" and were expected to prove it.
Witnesses and historians claim that soldiers, mainly Japanese troops, raped Okinawan women during the battle. Rape by Japanese troops reportedly "became common" in June, after it became clear that the Imperial Japanese Army had been defeated.: 462 Marine Corps officials in Okinawa and Washington have said that they knew of no rapes by American personnel in Okinawa at the end of the war. There are, however, numerous credible testimony accounts which note that a large number of rapes were committed by American forces during the battle. This includes stories of rape after trading sexual favors or even marrying Americans, such as the alleged incident in the village of Katsuyama, where civilians said they had formed a vigilante group to ambush and kill three black American soldiers who they claimed would frequently rape the local girls there.
See also: Japanese history textbook controversies
There is ongoing disagreement between Okinawa's local government and Japan's national government over the role of the Japanese military in civilian mass suicides during the battle. In March 2007, the national Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) advised textbook publishers to reword descriptions that the embattled Imperial Japanese Army forced civilians to kill themselves in the war to avoid being taken prisoner. MEXT preferred descriptions that just say that civilians received hand grenades from the Japanese military. This move sparked widespread protests among Okinawans. In June 2007, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly adopted a resolution stating, "We strongly call on the (national) government to retract the instruction and to immediately restore the description in the textbooks so the truth of the Battle of Okinawa will be handed down correctly and a tragic war will never happen again."
On 29 September 2007, about 110,000 people held the biggest political rally in the history of Okinawa to demand that MEXT retract its order to textbook publishers regarding revising the account of the civilian suicides. The resolution states, "It is an undeniable fact that the 'multiple suicides' would not have occurred without the involvement of the Japanese military and any deletion of or revision to (the descriptions) is a denial and distortion of the many testimonies by those people who survived the incidents." In December 2007, MEXT partially admitted the role of the Japanese military in civilian mass suicides. The ministry's Textbook Authorization Council allowed the publishers to reinstate the reference that civilians "were forced into mass suicides by the Japanese military", on condition it is placed in sufficient context. The council report states, "It can be said that from the viewpoint of the Okinawa residents, they were forced into the mass suicides." That was not enough for the survivors who said it is important for children today to know what really happened.
The Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburō Ōe wrote a booklet that states that the mass suicide order was given by the military during the battle. He was sued by revisionists, including a wartime commander during the battle, who disputed this and wanted to stop publication of the booklet. At a court hearing, Ōe testified "Mass suicides were forced on Okinawa islanders under Japan's hierarchical social structure that ran through the state of Japan, the Japanese armed forces and local garrisons." In March 2008, the Osaka Prefecture Court ruled in favor of Ōe, stating, "It can be said the military was deeply involved in the mass suicides." The court recognized the military's involvement in the mass suicides and murder-suicides, citing the testimony about the distribution of grenades for suicide by soldiers and the fact that mass suicides were not recorded on islands where the military was not stationed.
In 2012, Korean-Japanese director Pak Su-nam announced her work on the documentary Nuchigafu (Okinawan for "only if one is alive") collecting living survivors' accounts to show "the truth of history to many people", alleging that "there were two types of orders for 'honorable deaths'—one for residents to kill each other and the other for the military to kill all residents". In March 2013, Japanese textbook publisher Shimizu Shoin was permitted by MEXT to publish the statements that "Orders from Japanese soldiers led to Okinawans committing group suicide" and "The [Japanese] army caused many tragedies in Okinawa, killing local civilians and forcing them to commit mass suicide."
90% of the buildings on the island were destroyed, along with countless historical documents, artifacts, and cultural treasures, and the tropical landscape was turned into "a vast field of mud, lead, decay and maggots". The military value of Okinawa was significant. Okinawa provided a fleet anchorage, troop staging areas, and airfields in proximity to Japan. The US cleared the surrounding waters of mines in Operation Zebra, occupied Okinawa, and set up the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands, a form of military government, after the battle. In 2011, one official of the prefectural government told David Hearst of The Guardian:
You have the Battle of Britain, in which your airmen protected the British people. We had the Battle of Okinawa, in which the exact opposite happened. The Japanese army not only starved the Okinawans but used them as human shields. That dark history is still present today – and Japan and the US should study it before they decide what to do with next.
Because the next major event following the Battle of Okinawa was the total surrender of Japan, the effect of this battle is more difficult to consider. Because Japan surrendered when it did, the anticipated series of battles and the invasion of the Japanese homeland never occurred, and all military strategies on both sides which presupposed this apparently-inevitable next development were immediately rendered moot.
Some military historians believe that the Okinawa campaign led directly to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as a means of avoiding the planned ground invasion of the Japanese mainland. This view is explained by Victor Davis Hanson in his book Ripples of Battle:
... because the Japanese on Okinawa ... were so fierce in their defense (even when cut off and without supplies), and because casualties were so appalling, many American strategists looked for an alternative means to subdue mainland Japan, other than a direct invasion. This means presented itself, with the advent of atomic bombs, which worked admirably in convincing the Japanese to sue for peace [unconditionally], without American casualties.
Meanwhile, many parties continue to debate the broader question of "why Japan surrendered", attributing the surrender to a number of possible reasons including: the atomic bombings, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, and Japan's depleted resources.[page needed]
In 1995, the Okinawa government erected a memorial monument named the Cornerstone of Peace in Mabuni, the site of the last fighting in southeastern Okinawa. The memorial lists all the known names of those who died in the battle, civilian and military, Japanese and foreign. As of 2022, the monument lists 241,686 names.
Significant US forces remain garrisoned on Okinawa as the United States Forces Japan, which the Japanese government sees as an important guarantee of regional stability, and Kadena remains the largest US air base in Asia. Local residents have long protested against the size and presence of the base.
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[Hiroshima and Nagasaki] brought about the Japanese surrender.