‘Japan’s Defeat at Okinawa: A Reexamination of Surrender in the Pacific War’ moves forward

16 Feb

26 May 1945. Corporal Yukio Araki, holding a puppy, with four other pilots of the 72nd Shinbu Squadron at Bansei, Kagoshima. Araki died the following day, at the age of 17, in a suicide attack on ships near Okinawa.

I am Forty-eight pages into my graduate thesis on the Battle for Okinawa, at the time of this entry, and I’ve uncovered some interesting and noteworthy information which will make its way from the paper to my book on the historic battle.

We know that the Battle of Okinawa–the final battle of the war–was the largest land, air, and sea battle in all of history. More than twice the
number of American marines, soldiers and sailors were killed or wounded at the Ryukyu prefecture than on Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal combined. But did you know that it was the U.S. Navy which suffered more losses in lives at Okinawa? As a service, the Navy had more men killed at sea than the Marines or Army lost fighting ashore on Okinawa. Furthermore, the Navy lost more ships at Okinawa than any other naval battle or invasion in history.

This tragedy for the American Navy was the result of Japan’s last-gasp effort on the island through the expenditure of young men in kamikaze missions against American ships. Thirty-one of the forty-nine U.S. Ships and vessels lost at Okinawa were destroyed by the “divine wind”–Japan’s meaning of kamikaze.

The photograph at left is from the U.S. National Archives in Washington D.C.; taken 26 May 1945, less than one month before U.S. forces would secure the island.


Posted by on February 16, 2013 in WWII in the Pacific


2 responses to “‘Japan’s Defeat at Okinawa: A Reexamination of Surrender in the Pacific War’ moves forward

  1. Hal Klegman

    September 8, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I am 66, retired and just started my MA in History as Arkansas State University, with a World History emphasis. I need to write a paper for the intro to the graduate study of world history. Rather than try to write a chapter for my thesis, which will be about the destruction of the American Embassy in Beirut i 1983, I have decided that my first paper needs to be a learning opportunity, as in, how to write an academic paper. I have decided to go through compilations of letters from ground-pounders on Okinawa. My father, 1st lieutenant Herman Klegman, Armor, received a Bronze Star there. Being the opposite of a pack rat, at some point in 1966 when I was in school in Vermont he cleaned out the basement and threw out, among everything else, all of his scrapbooks and letters.
    Finding compilations of letters and books is not a challenge, finding academic studies of Okinawa is proving more difficult. I would very much appreciate an opportunity to speak with you.
    312.502.1245 is my cell. I appreciate your web site more than you can imagine, I found it about an hour ago.
    Hal Klegman

    • Scott M.H. Lyons

      September 24, 2013 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Hal, let’s try to connect soon. Having completed my MA in the Military History of WWII, I’ve just begun an MBA which is keeping me busy. However, I believe I can assist–somewhat. Let’s try to connect on LinkedIn as well. Please join my website as well:

      Scott Lyons


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