How many were killed on the first few days of the Allied invasion of Japan? Tens of thousands of bodies lay mangled on the blood soaked beaches. The sea churned, frothing pink-tinged waves pounding the sticky, red sand. Memories of the D-Day landings were eclipsed by this new slaughter, the desperate defence producing a suicidal savagery that surprised leaders on all sides. Waves of devoted but poorly armed locals had been thrown against the invaders, the feudal mown down by the mechanized as the spirit of the samurai was crushed by the tank.
The Allies moved in wave after wave of reinforcements and eventually secured their beachhead. The vast armies moved on, paying an unthinkable price for each and every mile they captured. Slaughter on this scale brought to mind the Mongol decimation of China or the grinding body count of the Soviet-Nazi clash of ideologies. The invasion would succeed – it had to succeed – but would cost millions of American, British, Soviet, Commonwealth and, of course, Japanese lives. The invasion of Japan became the truly terrifying climax to the deadliest war in history.
By mid-June, the theatre of war had shifted decisively away from Europe into the Pacific. After a bloody and tortuous 82-day campaign, America had captured Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa. The USA was now poised to finish the war against their original enemy and now had the territorial base from which to strike.
The invasion of the Japanese home islands was an awesome and terrifying prospect for the Allied military planners. The Pacific war had become infamous for its savagery and the extreme belligerence of the Japanese forces.