Okinawa consists of many islands that stretch between Japan's main islands and Taiwan. The
islands are peaceful, beautiful tropical islands, but during WWII, they had another importance. Okinawa's main island, Okinawa-honto,
was the site of the largest battle between the Japanese and the Americans in WWII. For the Americans, the capturing of Okinawa
would provide air bases to attack the nearby main islands of Japan, and would also help to isolate Japan by blocking
shipping lanes. For the Japanese, the loss of Okinawa would mean a loss of part of the homeland, and that next, an invasion
of the main islands would follow. For both sides, Okinawa was crucial to possess.
These reasons were why both sides fought so hard and expended so many lives.
From 1 April 1945 until 23 June 1945, over 200,000 people died.
Estimates are: 38,000 Americans wounded
12,500 Americans killed
65,000 Japanese killed
20,000 Okinawan soldiers killed
100,000+ Okinawan civilians killed
A landing beach near Kadena