On March 26, 1945, 548,000 US troops with 1,500 US ships surrounding the Okinawa Islands began landing and invasion to seize the islands equally distanced to Taiwan, Shanghai, and the southern part of Mainland Japan. It took about two months for US military to finish the battle and establish occupation of the Okinawa Island with the longitudinal distance of 60 miles and located some 1000 miles south of Tokyo.
According to certain statistics, the Battle of Okinawa left 22,000 deaths and 26,000 neuropaths among US troops. The Empire of Japan lost about 100,000 soldiers and more than 150,000 Okinawa civilians.
About 2,000 kamikazes (suicide-attack fighter planes) in addition to fierce fighting on the ground put many US soldiers into mental disorder. In fact, US ships were well defended by more advanced weapon, kamikaze planes sank 26 US navy vessels and damaged 368 ships.
Today the U.S. holds many military bases in Okinawa, which are the largest in Asia-Pacific region. Without Okinawa bases, the US military capability would not sufficiently cover the Strait of Taiwan, Korean Peninsula, and channels between Japan and Russia.
Since 1945, there occurred Taiwan-China struggles, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the War on Afghanistan and Iraq. And unfortunately, the US bases in Okinawa with about 28,000 US troops have remained until today.
One of the reasons that the Empire of Japan attacked the Pearl Harbor in 1941 is that then Japanese government thought Japan would have died down sooner or later due to American embargo of oil. Then US government had stopped export of oil and other key products to the Empire of Japan for various reasons, while WWII had already begun in Europe.
After the Perl Harbor attack, the Imperial Forces of Japan advanced down to south and to oil fields in Indonesia colonized by the Netherlands through Malay Peninsula colonized by the U.K. It looks ironical that today new oil fields have been discovered and developed in the East China Sea, Sakhalin Island, Manchuria, and the offshore area of Vietnam.
Of course, if the Empire of Japan had not occupied Korean Peninsula and some part of mainland China, the Pacific War including the Battle of Okinawa could have been avoided.
In 1990, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait over oil field disputes, though Iraq has plenty of oil reserves. It triggered the Gulf War, created situations where Al-Qaeda began to operate, and the US War on Terror.
It is not clear how much one would learn form experiences of a big war. In the Pacific theater of WWII, Richard Nixon, JFK, and George H.W. Bush all participated. Though they were each the supreme commander of US forces in the era of the Cuban Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War, it is interesting how what they learnt during WWII affected their decision in each situation.
In any wat, it is good to have a reluctant commander, no matter how excellent their ability to lead the army is, when a dispute could be resolved through appropriate negotiations over oil.
Yesterday, a ceremony was held in Okinawa to commemorate victims of the Battle of Okinawa. As usual in this kind of ceremony, no arguments over cause of the war were discussed, but people, including Prime Minister attending there, just showed and shared the extreme sorrow and expressed their determination not to make a war again forever.
One Japanese general who fought and died in the Battle of Okinawa sent his last report to the headquarters in Tokyo, asking for special care for residents in Okinawa who had suffered so much and become true victims of the war. He did not mention any tactic or strategic matters except his request that the government should, after the war, take special measures to repay Okinawa people for their extreme sacrifice.
It was still a long way to the end of the war after Okinawa. But, a daughter of the general, after the war, happened to marry an American. In a sense, a dream for peace was realized at least between those who had had such a dream.
Now, the most important thing about Iraq where some Arabs and Americans are fighting, for whatever reasons, seems to be whether there are some who have a dream for peace.
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APPENDIX. Pictures of the Battle of Okinawa
(The amphibious landing operation on Okinawa Island is of the largest scale in the history as the one using large military ships only, different from the Normandy Landings, dispatched over the Ocean. The US and the UK navies mobilized total 22 aircraft carriers for the Battle of Okinawa.)
“YES, LET THEM MAKE PEACE WITH ME.”