World War II Day by Day: June 1945

In this final year of the war, Germany and Japan were defeated by a relentless tide of aircraft, tanks, ships, and men. Their cities were devastated by fleets of bombers, their armies were encircled and then annihilated, and their merchant and naval fleets were either sunk or trapped in port. There was no match for the economic might of the United States and the numerical superiority of the Soviet Union. Atomic bombs finally ended the war against Japan.

1 June

Far East, Burma

Having broken and scattered all Japanese opposition in Burma, General William Slim’s British Fourteenth Army is mopping up the 70,000 widely-dispersed enemy troops in the country. The Japanese Twenty-eighth Army, having been forced to retreat east to avoid starvation, has been shattered by the XXXIII Corps at the Kama bridgehead. It is now nothing more than an ill-armed rabble.

22 June

Pacific, Okinawa

All Japanese resistance on the island ends. The Japanese commander, Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, realizing that the situation is hopeless, commits ritual suicide in the early hours of the morning in a cave near Mabuni. The 82-day battle, which has seen the extensive use of Japanese kamikaze attacks, has claimed the lives of 110,000 Japanese military personnel. US Navy losses amount to 9731, of whom 4907 are killed, while the Tenth Army has suffered 7613 men killed or missing, and 31,807 wounded. There have also been over 26,000 noncombatant casualties, mostly Japanese civilians, many of whom have committed suicide.