Political map of East Asia & the Western Pacific on 08 May 1945 (WWII: Victory Over Japan: Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa), showing the following events: Japanese coup in French Indochina; First US firebombing attack kills more than 80,000 in Tokyo; US secures Iwo Jima; US captures Okinawa; Soviet Union denounces Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact of 1941; Australia lands on Tarakan, Dutch Borneo; Operation Dracula; V.E. Day.

Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa

WWII: Victory Over Japan

East Asia 1945.0508

Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa

World War II, Pacific War, Second Sino-Japanese War (8 May 1945)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

By now the United States was ready to advance on the Japanese home islands. In February, US forces landed on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, followed two months later by Okinawa in the Ryukyus. In both cases, the Japanese defended ferociously, mounting numerous suicide attacks. The fighting in Okinawa alone saw over 200,000 deaths, including 95% of the Japanese defenders and as much as half of the civilian population.

Main Events

Japanese coup in French Indochina

In Operation Bright Moon, Japan launches a surprise attack against French colonial garrisons across French Indochina, successfully preempting any attempt those forces might make to mount an uprising in favor of the Allies. French colonial power in Indochina dismantled and replaced over the following months by Japanese-backed states - the Empire of Vietnam and the Kingdom of Kampuchea.

First US firebombing attack kills more than 80,000 in Tokyo

US secures Iwo Jima

US captures Okinawa

Soviet Union denounces Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact of 1941

Australia lands on Tarakan, Dutch Borneo

Operation Dracula

In Operation Dracula, British forces mount an amphibious and airborne attack on Rangoon, capital of Japanese-occupied Burma, in an attempt to secure it before the arrival of the monsoon later in May. With the main body of British forces fighting the Japanese only 70 km away in Pegu, Gurkha units make a parachute drop on Elephant Point at the mouth of the Rangoon River on 1 May and secure the coastal batteries. The following day, the 26th Indian Division arrives from the Bay of Bengal, capturing Rangoon itself on 3 May.

V.E. Day

Following the German signing of the Act of Surrender on 7 May in Reims, France, and 8 May in Berlin, Germany, a public holiday - Victory in Europe Day, or V.E. Day - is celebrated in Allied countries to mark the Allies' formal acceptance of Germany's surrender and the end of World War II in Europe.

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