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Sam Willcuts

McNabb
S.S. p.4
4/1/19
Assault on Iwo Jima
By the time 1945 rolled around, Germany had already surrendered along with Italy,
leaving Japan all alone against the Allies. Japan, however, was not willing to surrender to the
Allies, and would fight to the last man if they needed too. This is why Iwo Jima was a critical
step in defeating Japan, since now the bombers could target civilians rather than just soldiers. It
may have been a high cost, but taking Iwo Jima was a critical move to give Allied bombers the
ability to bomb mainland Japan.
In the first room, we see how Iwo Jima was a strategic island that would help with the
bombing of Japan. According to the editors of History.com, “​Located 750 miles off the coast of
Japan, the island of Iwo Jima had three airfields that could serve as a staging facility for a
potential invasion of mainland Japan”. The new bombers, B-29 Superfortresses, were able to fly
over Japan, bomb it, and fly back to Iwo Jima quite easily. It would also allow US ships to dock
there and refuel, if the United States had to eventually invade Japan.
On the second room, we see that while all of this sounded good on paper, the Allies
didn’t know how heavily defended Iwo Jima was. The Editors at Nationalww2museum.org state
“Although most in the 20,000-strong Japanese garrison were draftees, they refused to surrender,
fighting tenaciously until only a few hundred remained alive to be taken prisoner.” This meant
that even though the Allies might have had a huge advantage over the Japanese forces, the
soldiers would not give up (though they knew that they would not win). They would rather die
then become a prisoner.
In our third room, we view over the defences of Iwo Jima. The 20,000 soldiers defending
the island had a smart leader, and he told them to wait until the US troops had landed before
engaging. By doing this, the bombardment crews didn’t know where to shoot, so they ended up
hardly killing any of the Japanese. Once the infantry were on the island, that was when the
Japanese started the slaughter. There were a couple of natural chokepoints, which were called
names like “Bloody Gorge” and “Meat Grinder”. These had the most US casualties, even though
the Japanese were greatly outnumbered.
In the fourth and final room, we see how by taking Iwo Jima the allies were able to
finally start shutting down Japan’s control. Iwo Jima and Okinawa were the last islands that
Japan had control of, and once those two had fallen, the only thing left was mainland Japan.
There were three airstrips along Iwo Jima, which provided the B-29’s with the ability to
firebomb the Japanese civilians. While Japan still didn’t surrender, they were hardly able to fight
back, since it was just them left. Overall, while taking Iwo Jima came at a high cost, it was
definitely necessary to help in defeating Japan once and for all.
Works Cited

Michal. “Iwo Jima and Okinawa: Death at Japan's Doorstep.” ​The National WWII Museum | New
Orleans,​ The National World War II Museum, 9 July 2017,
www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/iwo-jima-and-okinawa-death-japans-doorstep​.

Editors, History.com. “Iwo Jima.” ​History.com​, A&E Television Networks, 29 Oct. 2009,
www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/battle-of-iwo-jima​.