Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting major operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent. Together with the British Empire and China, the United States called for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945—the alternative being "prompt and utter destruction". While publicly stating their intent to fight on to the bitter end, Japan's leaders were making entreaties to the still-neutral Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms more favorable to the Japanese. Meanwhile, the Soviets were preparing to attack Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea in fulfillment of promises they had secretly made to the United States and the United Kingdom at the Tehran and Yalta Conferences. On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 AM local time, the United States detonated an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
Sixteen hours American President Harry S. Truman called again for Japan's surrender, warning them to "expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth." Late in the evening of August 8, 1945, in accordance with the Yalta agreements, but in violation of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, soon after midnight on August 9, 1945, the Soviet Union invaded the Imperial Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. In the day, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. Following these events, Emperor Hirohito intervened and ordered the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War to accept the terms the Allies had set down in the Potsdam Declaration for ending the war. After several more days of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a failed coup d'état, Emperor Hirohito gave a recorded radio address across the Empire on August 15. In the radio address, called the Jewel Voice Broadcast, he announced the surrender of Japan to the Allies.
On August 28, the occupation of Japan led by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers began. The surrender ceremony was held on September 2, aboard the United States Navy battleship USS Missouri, at which officials from the Japanese government signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, thereby ending the hostilities. Allied civilians and military personnel alike celebrated the end of the war; the role of the atomic bombings in Japan's unconditional surrender, the ethics of the two attacks, is still debated. The state of war formally ended when the Treaty of San Francisco came into force on April 28, 1952. Four more years passed before Japan and the Soviet Union signed the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, which formally brought an end to their state of war. By 1945, the Japanese had suffered a string of defeats for nearly two years in the South West Pacific, the Marianas campaign, the Philippines campaign. In July 1944, following the loss of Saipan, General Hideki Tōjō was replaced as prime minister by General Kuniaki Koiso, who declared that the Philippines would be the site of the decisive battle.
After the Japanese loss of the Philippines, Koiso in turn was replaced by Admiral Kantarō Suzuki. The Allies captured the nearby islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in the first half of 1945. Okinawa was to be a staging area for Operation Downfall, the Allied invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. Following Germany's defeat, the Soviet Union began redeploying its battle-hardened European forces to the Far East, in addition to about forty divisions, stationed there since 1941, as a counterbalance to the million-strong Kwantung Army; the Allied submarine campaign and the mining of Japanese coastal waters had destroyed the Japanese merchant fleet. With few natural resources, Japan was dependent on raw materials oil, imported from Manchuria and other parts of the East Asian mainland, from the conquered territory in the Dutch East Indies; the destruction of the Japanese merchant fleet, combined with the strategic bombing of Japanese industry, had wrecked Japan's war economy. Production of coal, steel and other vital supplies was only a fraction of that before the war.
As a result of the losses it had suffered, the Imperial Japanese Navy had ceased to be an effective fighting force. Following a series of raids on the Japanese shipyard at Kure, the only major warships in fighting order were six aircraft carriers, four cruisers, one battleship, none of which could be fueled adequately. Although 19 destroyers and 38 submarines were still operational, their use was limited by the lack of fuel. Faced with the prospect of an invasion of the Home Islands, starting with Kyūshū, the prospect of a Soviet invasion of Manchuria—Japan's last source of natural resources—the War Journal of the Imperial Headquarters concluded in 1944: We can no longer direct the war with any hope of success; the only course left is for Japan's one hundred million people to sacrifice their lives by charging the enemy to make them lose the will to fight. As a final attempt to stop the Allied advances, the Japanese Imperial High Command planned an all-out defense of Kyūshū codenamed Operation Ketsugō.
This was to be a radical departure from the defense in depth plans used in the invasions of Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa. Instead, everything was staked on the beachhead.
Bombing of Osaka
The bombing of Osaka during World War II first took place from the middle of the night on February 26, 1945, to the early morning of the next day. There were bomb raids on March 13, 14, June 1, 6, 7, 15, 26, July 10, 24, August 14, the last day of the war, it is said that more than 10,000 civilians died in these bombings in Japan. Osaka was the second largest city in Japan, with a population of 3,252,340 in 1940. Traditionally, it was the most important industrial concentration in the Far East. Osaka was one of the principal centers of heavy industry, noted for its shipbuilding, steel, rolling stock works, as well as non-ferrous metals enterprises. In addition, it was noted for its production of aircraft propellers and propeller governors and ordnance, special steels, electrical equipment, chemicals and machines and machine tools anti-friction bearings, it was a transportation hub and home to Japan's third largest port. Much work had been done to develop its shallow harbor, it was the center of Japan's rail network.
The first air raid on Osaka lasted for about three and a half hours from 23:57 on March 13, 1945, to 03:25. A total of 274 B-29 heavy bombers attacked Osaka; the first wave of 43 bombers of the 314th Bombardment Wing arrived from Guam island. It was a low-level night raid from an altitude of about 2,000m aiming at the local civilian housings; the first bombers dropped incendiary bombs at targets in the Minato ward. The second wave of 107 bombers of the 313th Bombardment wing arrived from Tinian and attacked the Naniwa ward. 124 bombers of the 73rd Bombardment Wing from Saipan arrived and attacked the Kita and Nishi wards. This bombing raid resulted in 3,987 dead and 678 missing and destroyed 8.1 square miles of the city for the loss of two aircraft. The bombing raid resulted in 3,987 dead and 678 missing and destroyed 8.1 square miles of the city for the loss of two aircraft, one by accident. 274 aircraft dropped a total of 1,733 tons of bombs on the urban area of Osaka. The destruction of Osaka was entirely concentrated in one area southwest of Osaka Castle.
The U. S. suffered no crew casualties during the mission. The aircraft lost from the accident crashed and burned on take-off. On the first day of June 521 B-29s escorted by 148 P-51s were dispatched in a daylight raid against Osaka. While en route to the city the Mustangs flew through thick clouds, 27 of the fighters were destroyed in collisions. 458 heavy bombers and 27 P-51s reached the city and the bombardment killed 3,960 Japanese and destroyed 3.15 square miles of buildings. A force of 409 B-29s attacked Osaka again on 7 June. Osaka was bombed for the fourth time in the month on 15 June when 444 B-29s destroyed 1.9 square miles of the city and another 0.59 square miles of nearby Amagasaki. On 24 July, 625 B-29s were dispatched against seven targets near Osaka. On the night of 6/7 July the 315th Bombardment Wing destroyed the Maruzen oil refinery near Osaka, three nights it completed the destruction of the Utsube refinery; the eighth bomb raid was executed on August 1945, the day before the end of the war.
150 B-29's raided Osaka. They dropped about 700 1-ton bombs. Four units of 1-ton bombs were dropped onto Kyobashi Station of the Japan National Railway nearby around 1pm, resulting in substantial damage to the civilian-filled station; this air raid was called "Kyobashi Station Bomb Raid". There were two trains; the victims of the air raid in this station counted more than 210 dead civilians identified, more than 500 unidentified. Bombing of Kobe in World War II Bombing of Nagoya in World War II Strategic bombing during World War II Bombing of Tokyo in World War II Battle of Okinawa Battle of Iwo Jima XXI Bomber Command, Tactical Mission Report, Mission #42, 13–14 March 1945
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stage of World War II, the United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. The United States dropped the bombs after obtaining the consent of the United Kingdom, as required by the Quebec Agreement; the two bombings killed 129,000 -- 226,000 people. They remain the only use of nuclear weapons in the history of armed conflict. In the final year of the war, the Allies prepared for what was anticipated to be a costly invasion of the Japanese mainland; this undertaking was preceded by a conventional and firebombing campaign that devastated 67 Japanese cities. The war in Europe had concluded when Germany signed its instrument of surrender on May 8, 1945; as the Allies turned their full attention to the Pacific War, the Japanese faced the same fate. The Allies called for the unconditional surrender of the Imperial Japanese armed forces in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945—the alternative being "prompt and utter destruction".
The Japanese ignored the war continued. By August 1945, the Allies' Manhattan Project had produced two types of atomic bombs, the 509th Composite Group of the United States Army Air Forces was equipped with the specialized Silverplate version of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that could deliver them from Tinian in the Mariana Islands. Orders for atomic bombs to be used on four Japanese cities were issued on July 25. On August 6, one of the modified B-29s dropped a uranium gun-type bomb on Hiroshima. Three days on August 9, a plutonium implosion bomb was dropped by another B-29 on Nagasaki; the bombs devastated their targets. Over the next two to four months, the acute effects of the atomic bombings killed 90,000–146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 people in Nagasaki. Large numbers of people continued to die from the effects of burns, radiation sickness, other injuries, compounded by illness and malnutrition, for many months afterward. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians. Japan announced its surrender to the Allies on August 15, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki and the Soviet Union's declaration of war.
On September 2, the Japanese government signed the instrument of surrender ending World War II. The effects of the bombings on the social and political character of subsequent world history and popular culture has been studied extensively, the ethical and legal justification for the bombings is still debated to this day. In 1945, the Pacific War between the Empire of Japan and the Allies entered its fourth year. Most Japanese military units fought fiercely, ensuring that the Allied victory would come at an enormous cost; the 1.25 million battle casualties incurred in total by the United States in World War II included both military personnel killed in action and wounded in action. Nearly one million of the casualties occurred during the last year of the war, from June 1944 to June 1945. In December 1944, American battle casualties hit an all-time monthly high of 88,000 as a result of the German Ardennes Offensive. America's reserves of manpower were running out. Deferments for groups such as agricultural workers were tightened, there was consideration of drafting women.
At the same time, the public was becoming war-weary, demanding that long-serving servicemen be sent home. In the Pacific, the Allies returned to the Philippines, recaptured Burma, invaded Borneo. Offensives were undertaken to reduce the Japanese forces remaining in Bougainville, New Guinea and the Philippines. In April 1945, American forces landed on Okinawa. Along the way, the ratio of Japanese to American casualties dropped from 5:1 in the Philippines to 2:1 on Okinawa. Although some Japanese soldiers were taken prisoner, most fought until they were killed or committed suicide. Nearly 99% of the 21,000 defenders of Iwo Jima were killed. Of the 117,000 Okinawan and Japanese troops defending Okinawa in April–June 1945, 94% were killed; as the Allies advanced towards Japan, conditions became worse for the Japanese people. Japan's merchant fleet declined from 5,250,000 gross tons in 1941 to 1,560,000 tons in March 1945, 557,000 tons in August 1945. Lack of raw materials forced the Japanese war economy into a steep decline after the middle of 1944.
The civilian economy, which had deteriorated throughout the war, reached disastrous levels by the middle of 1945. The loss of shipping affected the fishing fleet, the 1945 catch was only 22% of that in 1941; the 1945 rice harvest was the worst since 1909, hunger and malnutrition became widespread. U. S. industrial production was overwhelmingly superior to Japan's. By 1943, the U. S. produced 100,000 aircraft a year, compared to Japan's production of 70,000 for the entire war. By the middle of 1944, the U. S. had a hundred aircraft carriers in the Pacific, far more than Japan's twenty-five for the entire war. In February 1945, Prince Fumimaro Konoe advised Emperor Hirohito that defeat was inevitable, urged him to abdicate. Before the surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945, plans were underway for the largest operation of the Pacific War, Operation Downfall, the Allied invasion of Japan; the operation had two parts: Operation Coronet. Set to begin in October 1945, Olympic involved a series of landings by the U.
S. Sixth Army intended to capture the southern third of the southernmost main Japanese island, Kyūshū. Operation Olympic was to be followed in March 1946 by Operation Coronet, the capture of t
Bombing of Kobe in World War II
The bombing of Kobe in World War II on March 16 and 17, 1945, was part of the strategic bombing campaign waged by the United States against military and civilian targets and population centers during the Japan home islands campaign in the closing stages of World War II. The city would be bombed again in months. Kobe was the sixth-largest city in Japan at the time, with a population of 1 million; the houses were built with wood and thus flammable, suitable for starting and sustaining large fires. Second, it was Japan's largest port, home to the largest concentration of shipbuilding and marine-engine manufacturing. Kobe was an important city for transportation and business. National highways ran through the city through the congested business section, Kobe contained business facilities for steel, rubber, railway equipment, ordnance. Lastly, Kobe's low water supply, consisting of only three reservoirs, its poor firefighting equipment created a fire-prone environment. After trials on the Japanese Village set on the Dugway Proving Grounds, Curtis LeMay of the American Forces ordered the B-29 bombers to drop incendiary bombs to burn Japan's wood-and-paper houses, in an "experimental" carpet bombing against Kobe on February 4, 1945.
On March 16/17, 1945, 331 American B-29 bombers launched a firebombing attack against the city of Kobe, Japan. This raid was executed by all three wings of the XXI Bomber Command, namely the 73rd, 313th, 314th bombardment wings, it was flown in honor of Brigadier General LaVerne Saunders, who was, at the time, recuperating in Walter Reed General Hospital from injuries he sustained during an aircraft accident. The raid targeted four key areas: the northwest corner of the city, the area south of the main railroad line, the area northwest of the main railroad station, the area northeast of the third target. Of the city's residents, 8,841 were confirmed to have been killed in the resulting firestorms, which destroyed an area of three square miles—21% of Kobe's urban area. At the time, the city covered an area of 14 square miles. More than 650,000 people had their homes destroyed, the homes of another million people were damaged. During the raid, 280 Japanese fighters were spotted, 96 of which engaged the B-29 bombers in 128 attacks.
Three bombers were lost during the raid. Two of the airmen in the downed aircraft, Sergeant Algy S. Augunus and Second Lieutenant Robert E. Copeland and were captured by the Japanese, they were subsequently tried by a hastily convened court for the "indiscriminate bombing" of Kobe and Osaka, sentenced to death, executed by firing squad. On June 5 that same year, Kobe was bombed again. Incendiaries dropped from 530 bombers destroyed 3.8 square miles of the city, 51% of the built-up area of the city was damaged. In addition to incendiary attacks, Kobe was the target of a B-29 precision attack on industry, three mine-laying operations, one fighter-bomber swoop: May 11, 1945: 92 B-29s hit Kawanishi aircraft industry June 18, 1945: 25 B-29s laid naval mines in several areas, including waters near Kobe June 28, 1945: 29 B-29s laid naval mines in three harbors, including Kobe's July 19, 1945: 27 B-29s laid naval mines in several areas, including waters near Kobe July 30, 1945: Fighters attacked airfields and tactical targets throughout Kobe/Osaka area Pacific War Pacific Theater of Operations Bombing of Tokyo Grave of the Fireflies, a semi-autobiographical short story set during the bombing Grave of the Fireflies, an anime film based on the novel Edoin, Hoito.
The Night Tokyo Burned. Garden City, N. Y.: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-01072-9. Werrell, Kenneth P. Blankets of Fire. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 1-56098-665-4
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
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 August 1945. Periodic air raids on Japan were the first attacks undertaken by Allied forces. In late 1944, these raids were followed by a major strategic bombing of cities and other war infrastructure throughout Japan, most notably: Operation Meetinghouse raid on Tokyo: 100,000 Japanese civilians were killed, including the conflagration that followed the firebombing. Bombing of Kure: Most of the surviving large Japanese warships were lost, leaving the Nagato as the only remaining capital ship in Japan's inventory. Atomic bombing of Hiroshima: Of 70,000 deaths, 20,000 were Japanese combatants and 20,000 were Korean slave laborers. Atomic bombing of Nagasaki: Of 35,000 deaths, 27,778 were Japanese munitions workers, 2,000 were Korean slave laborers, 150 were Japanese combatants.
The air raids resulted in heavy damage to Japanese infrastructure and the deaths of 500,000 Japanese citizens, as well as the loss thousands of aircraft and flak guns. The Allies, in turn, only lost a few hundred aircraft to fighters. In early 1945, there were two major island battles: The Battle of Iwo Jima: Of 21,000 Japanese defenders, only 216 survived; the Battle of Okinawa: Of 100,000 Japanese defenders, only 24,455 survived. There were two naval battles: Operation Ten-Go: Most of the Japanese vessels committed were lost; the Battle of Tokyo Bay: Most of the Japanese vessels committed were damaged or lost. Allied warships bombarded several Japanese cities during July and August 1945; 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 fierce resistance was overcome. In both cases, the Japanese refused to surrender and there were few survivors. While Japanese losses were high, Allied forces paid dearly to take both islands.
Naval operations included a suicidal Japanese counteroffensive on 7 April 1945, to relieve Okinawa and an Allied campaign to place air and submarine-delivered mines in Japanese shipping lanes. This was illustrated by the naval surface interdiction of Tokyo Bay in July 1945. In late 1945, the Soviet Union launched a series of successful invasions of Northern Japanese territories, in preparation for the planned invasion of Hokkaido: Invasion of South Sakhalin Invasion of the Kuril Islands Battle of Shumshu World War II ended with the surrender of Japan after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Before those two attacks, Japan was unwilling to surrender; the firebombing of Japanese cities resulted in 350,000 civilian deaths but did not move the government towards surrender. The Japanese government was prepared to fight an Allied invasion of the home islands as fiercely as they had defended Iwo Jima and fought on the Japanese home island of Okinawa; the Japan Campaign was intended to provide staging areas and preparation for a possible Allied invasion of Japan 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. Had that invasion been necessary, it most would have resulted in a much higher death toll for both sides. United States strategic bombing of Japan Soviet invasion of Manchuria - Launched by the Soviet Union after the first atomic bombing. Surrender of Japan Victory over Japan Day Japanese war crimes Japanese Instrument of Surrender Occupation of Japan Drea, Edward J.. In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1708-0