Iwo Jima was an island in the Japanese which was just about 600 miles from Tokyo. It was governed by the Tokyo metropolitan government. The Battle of Iwo Jima happened in February. America’s desire to capture Iwo Jima was because they wanted to destroy Japan’s food supplies that were coming through the island of Iwo Jima (Hama 26). Before this battle took place, no foreign army had managed to successfully attack Japan in its own soil. Iwo Jima is a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean located at the southern side of the Japanese island of Honshu.
Despite being small in size Iwo Jima was of great tactical significance. The two air strips at the island were used by the Japanese fighter planes to target American fighter planes on their way to Japan. If the island of Iwo Jima was under the control of American s, they would have used it as a control base and an emergency landing for their fighter planes.
After realizing that the island was of great importance, Japanese had determination to retain the control of the island. More than 21,000 soldiers being led by Lieutenant- General Kuribayashi were put on standby (Burrell 15). Their aim was to provide strong protection of the island. The Lieutenant was well aware that the size of the island limited the options of attack for his soldiers.
America on the other hand had numerous resources at their disposal. For four days before the attack of the Iwo Jima American battleships were strategically placed at vantage positions. The commander of the American soldiers was Admiral Chester Nimitz but the major attacks of the island were executed by the Marines.
The actual day for the attack was February 19th, 1945 (Burrell 18). The Bombings by the Americans were not very effective and hence resulted in many marines being injured. They had only concentrated more on the beaches and hence giving the Japanese opportunities to hide at strategic positions where they could attack the American snipers. Moving towards the inland of the island was a challenge to the American troops because of the extensive bombings that they had done.
The Japanese had a unique way of fighting with the Americans. They fought the battle from under the ground where they had dug tunnels in the rocks. The Soldiers had also planned not to survive but to die as they defended the island of Iwo Jima. The strategy was for every Japanese soldier to kill 10 American soldiers before they themselves were killed.
Before the launch of the attack general Kuribayashi was informed that if they managed to injure enough Americans, the Americans would never think of invading Japanese territory again. The strategy of “no Japanese survivors” reflects on the Japanese commitment to sacrifice for the benefit of the whole society (Rottman 57). General Kuribayashi told his wife not to expect his survival after the battle.
The Americans launched the invasion into the island of Iwo Jima by organizing one of the longest air attack using jet fighters and bombers. The attack affected very few Japanese soldiers since most of them were underground in the volcanic rock of Iwo Jima. For reinforcement US sent more than 100,000 Marines and 890 ships (Hammel 56). That was considered as on of the biggest attacks in the Pacific War. By the end of the end of the first day, the Americans had more than 2,000 casualties.
One of the main aims of the American Marines was to take over the Suribachi Mountain. The Japanese remained entrenched at the base of the Mountain but the Americans were determined to reach the summit of the mountain. On February 23rd the American forces gathered at the base of Mount Suribachi and climbed to the top of the mountain. They hoisted the American flag at the top of the mountain at approximately 10.20 am on 23rd February (Dougherty 38). The Marines attacked Suribachi Mountain on day two of the battle but was only after three days of intensive fighting that Suribachi was taken over. Taking Iwo Jima proved to be a major challenge to the Americans but they advanced slowly everyday. The Japanese were eventually cornered at the extreme north of the Island at a place called Kitano Point and by March 26th Americans had taken over the control of the island.
It basically took the Americans more than one month to win the Battle of Iwo Jima. Their Marines had lost more than seven thousand lives with more than 18,000 of them being wounded. The American Marines managed to hold around two hundred Japanese Soldiers as prisoners out of 23,000 who were in the battle. The battle demonstrated that Japanese were ready to do anything to defend their country and this may have prompted the use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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