What is Battle of Okinawa?

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The United States recently returned twenty-two historic artifacts to Japan that were looted following the Battle of Okinawa during World War II.

About Battle of Okinawa

  • The battle of Okinawa (April 1–June 21, 1945) was the last major battle of World War II and one of the bloodiest.
  • It was fought between U.S. and Japanese forces on Okinawa.
  • Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyus Islands and lies 350 miles from mainland Japan.
  • The Americans wanted control of Okinawa because it had four airfields and could support tactical and strategic air operations.
  • Capturing Okinawa was regarded as a vital precursor to a ground invasion of the Japanese home islands.
  • Code named Operation Iceberg,the invasion of Okinawa and other islands in the Ryukyus began on April 1, 1945.
  • The immense size of the invasion forces made it the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War. 
  • It involved more than 1,500 ships of all types. Total American forces numbered approximately 548,000; of these, there were approximately 183,000 combat troops for the assault.
  • By the time Okinawa was securedby American forces on June 22, 1945, the United States had sustained over 49,000 casualties, including more than 12,500 men killed or missing.
  • Okinawans caught in the fighting suffered greatly, with an estimate as high as 150,000 civilians killed.
  • Of the Japanese defending the island, an estimated 110,000 died.
  • The enormous casualties and the brutal fighting that occurred on Okinawa forced military planners to reconsider the invasion of Japan.
  • It directly influenced the American decision to use atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Q1: What are Ryukyus Islands?

It is an archipelago, extending some 700 miles (1,100 km) southwestward from the southern Japanese island of Kyushu to northeastern Taiwan. The archipelago defines the boundary between the East China Sea (west) and the Philippine Sea (east). With a total land area of 1,193 square miles (3,090 square km), the Ryukyus consist of 55 islands and islets divided into three major groups: the Amami island chain in the north, the central Okinawa islands, and the Sakishima islands in the south. Administratively, the Ryukyus are part of Japan.

Source:US returns 22 artifacts looted after Battle of Okinawa to Japan, here's how they were discovered