Iwo Jima
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Iwo Jima and WWII: A Turning Point in History

US History
US History
Active Military
Active Military
March 5, 2020
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When you think of World War II, Hitler and Nazis may come to mind. Iwo Jima specifically conjures images of Marines fighting the Japanese. The truth is, Iwo Jima played a significant role in actually ending World War II.World War II progressed intensely as it traveled from Europe to the Asian Pacific region. While the entire war was monumental, each battle created a series of significant events and battles. Of those poignant battles, Iwo Jima played a crucial part toward the end, securing several subsequent victories for the Allies.Five years into World War II and four years after the strike on Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima happened. Japan had aligned with Germany, fighting as many of its neighbors as possible. The tiny island had strategic advantages to both the US and the Japanese.The ultimate US objective would be the acquisition of Iwo's airfields. Unfortunately, the Japanese had already dug miles of tunnels throughout the island, using the location to get to other nearby islands. Conducting an amphibious assault, the Marines landed on the shores February 19, 1945.The battle immediately escalated, resulting in over 6,500 American deaths and over 19,000 wounded. The Imperial Japanese Army suffered over 18,000 deaths. The five week long incursion would become one of the fiercest in the war. The methods that both sides fought each other were incredibly brutal.While the stats are grim, Iwo Jima also resulted in the award of 27 Medal of Honor recipients. This includes the badass John Basilone, who we wrote about, here. This is more than any other battle in history.Over 70,000 Marines landed on the shores of Iwo Jima. That would be approximately 1/3 of today's Marine Corps. Though the fighting was savage, the US was able to take hold of the island, pushing Japan back.With so many Japanese forces lost, the Marines and Army would then regroup shortly after to take Okinawa. Ultimately, Okinawa would be taken and Japan would get two atomic bombs dropped on them. Shortly after that, Japan surrendered, securing the end of World War II.Iwo Jima therefore played an integral role in securing Japan's ultimate surrender. Imagine if things had gone a little more sideways for the US and Japan ended up winning Iwo Jima. How different would the outcome be?

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