Asia Pacific 1945: Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa
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.
9 Mar 1945 Japanese coup in French Indochina▲
In Operation Bright Moon, Japan launched 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 was dismantled and replaced over the following months by Japanese-backed states—the Empire of Vietnam and the Kingdom of Kampuchea.
9–10 Mar 1945 First US firebombing attack kills more than 80,000 in Tokyo▲
First US firebombing attack kills more than 80,000 in Tokyo
26 Mar 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima▲
US secures Iwo Jima
1 Apr–21 Jun 1945 Battle of Okinawa▲
US captures Okinawa
5 Apr 1945 Soviet Union denounces Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact of 1941▲
Soviet Union denounces Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact of 1941
1 May 1945 Battle of Tarakan▲
Australia lands on Tarakan, Dutch Borneo
3 May 1945 Operation Dracula▲
In Operation Dracula, British forces mounted 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 made a parachute drop on Elephant Point at the mouth of the Rangoon River on 1 May and secured the coastal batteries. The following day, the 26th Indian Division arrived from the Bay of Bengal, capturing Rangoon itself on 3 May.
8 May 1945 V.E. Day▲
Following the German signing of the Act of Surrender on 7 May 1945 in Reims, France, and on 8 May in Berlin, Germany, a public holiday—Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day—was celebrated in Allied countries to mark the Allies’ formal acceptance of Germany’s surrender and the end of World War II in Europe.