World War II: The Fall of Imperial Japan


After Germany surrendered in May of 1945, Allied attention focused on Japan. The island-hopping strategy adopted by the U.S. Navy successfully brought B-29 bombers within range of Japan's Home Islands, and they carried out massive attacks involving high explosives, incendiary bombs, and finally the two most powerful weapons ever used in war: the newly-invented atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In June, after more than 80 days of fighting, Allied forces captured the Japanese island of Okinawa, but at a horrible cost, with more than 150,000 casualties on both sides, and tens of thousands of civilians dead (many by their own hand). Okinawa was seen as a painful preview of a planned full invasion of Japan, and Allied generals predicted massive casualties if it took place. As the U.S. carried out the atomic bombings, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, invading occupied Manchuria with a force of more than one million soldiers and, quickly defeating Japan's Kwantung Army. Six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, and after much internal struggle, Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945. World War II was over. Next week, in the final entry in this series, we'll take a look at what came next in the new post-war era. (This entry is Part 19 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II)
Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Ads are being blocked

For us to continue writing great stories, we need to display ads.

Un-block Learn more
Back

Whitelist

Please select the extension that is blocking ads.

Back

Please follow the steps below

Most Recent

  • John Moore / Getty

    On the Border

    The border between the United States and Mexico stretches 3,169 kilometers (1,969 miles), crossing deserts, rivers, towns, and cities from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico.

  • SIPA Asia via ZUMA Wire / Corbis

    The Beauty of Terraced Fields

    For thousands of years, when farmers in mountainous regions have expanded their farms to grow crops on the steep slopes, they have carved massive steps into the terrain.

  • Matthias Schrader / AP

    Fall Is in the Air

    It’s starting to feel like my favorite time of year once more—the autumnal equinox took place last week.

  • Phyllis B. Dooney

    Rejecting the Deadbeat Dad Stereotype

    Parenting in the age of mass incarceration, the War on Drugs, and frequent exposure to crime and trauma

Join the Discussion