Iwo Jima

One of the most strategic battles of World War II happened in the South Pacific island of Iwo Jima.Most historians believe that the battle of Iwo Jima was decisive in changing the outcome for the United States in World War II. Iwo Jima, which means sulfur-island, was strategically important as an air base for fighter escorts.It supported long-range bombing missions against mainland Japan.Because of the distance between mainland Japan and U.S. bases in the Mariana Islands, the capture of Iwo Jima provided an emergency landing strip for crippled B-29s returning from bombing runs.The seizure of Iwo Jima allowed for sea and air blockades, the ability to conduct intensive air bombardment and to destroy the enemy's air and naval capabilities. (Bradley, 2000)
The Island of Iwo Jima had a harsh and rough terrain.Consisting of volcanic ash and rock all over the island, it made for a tough battle field.The seizure of Iwo Jima was deemed necessary, but the prize would not come easy.The fighting that took place during the 36-day assault would be immortalized in the words of Commander, Pacific Fleet/Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who said, "Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
Iwo Jima's location proved to be the reason for the battle.Strategically the island of Iwo Jima was crucial to continued B-29 raids on mainland Japan.The island contained three airstrips that the Japanese had been using for their Kamikaze attacks.Iwo Jima was Japanese home soil, part of Japan, only 650 miles from Tokyo.It was administered by the Tokyo metropolitan government.No foreign army in Japan's 5,000 year history had trod on Japanese home soil.To the U.S., Iwo Jima's importance lay in its location, midway between Japan and American bomber bases in the Marianas.Since the summer of 1944, the Japanese home islands had been ree…

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