Okinawa civilians

Civilians on Okinawa had their lives changed forever by the battle on their island. When she was 88 years old, Battle of Okinawa survivor Haruko Oshiro said: “During that time there was construction project under way at le-Jima, the most important airport to the east. Since most men went to the frontline, many women were helping with the construction. Believing that Japan would certainly win the war no matter how hard the work might be we didn’t mind. However this huge airport project became the main target for U.S. soldiers. On October 10, 1944, 90 percent of Naha City was destroyed due to an air raid. Day by day bombardment by warships and bombing by air hit hard in Okinawa as the war became more severe.[Source: Haruko Oshiro in Okinawa, Global Geopolitics, translated from Japanese into English by Makoto Higasa, ]

“A decision was made by the Japanese military that if U.S. soldiers landed on le-Jima and gained the advantage of the airport there, it would result in a very dangerous military situation and so we were ordered to destroy the construction that we had risked our lives to build and we were told to dig holes so that U.S. soldiers tanks would be trapped in the holes.

“Offshore, there were countless enemy warships, torpedoes crossing the ocean and bombs from the air and there were fighter planes flying at low altitude. I decided that if l was to die l wanted to die where my family resides. Together with four other women we decided to escape from the le-Jima aboard a small boat headed toward the main island of Okinawa.

“We reached the seashore and in order to avoid the air raid we were all hiding under the shade of Japanese Sago palm trees and bushes. It took three days to get to home only to find our houses were all burned to the ground. Somehow l was able to find my family and after living in a trench for about four or five days we saw U.S. soldiers coming down from the mountain. In those days Americans were considered brutes and they were considered a great threat to women. We cut off our hair and smeared our faces with soot from the bottom of pots and pans to make ourselves look ugly to avoid the American soldiers. But l was soon captured and became a prisoner of war.”

Civilians Seeking Shelter in Caves in Okinawa

Underground Naval Headquarters
Chiyo Kamieda, a 16-year-old girl at the time of the battle, was told to move to a cave after her school was destroyed. She told the Washington Post, "When I first arrived at the entrance of the cave, there was the awful smell of urine, and blood and rotting flesh. I became accustomed to the smell...When the wounded first came in they had the strength to drink. But they would gradually lose strength even to sip water. Kamida's father was shot when he left the caves to fetch some water. The rifleman was Japanese. "I would like to believe that he did the shooting by mistake," she said.

A 14-year boy saw a women get killed with a shell fragment outside a cave because there was no room for her inside. Describing the woman's two children the boy wrote: "The children were safe. The baby was sucking on her mother's breast, while the older one was leaning on her body. They stayed alive like that for three days. But when I came out again to relieve myself, I found the kids lying dead beside their mother, soaked in rain that had fallen all night long."

Kamieda and her mother came out after a bomb was thrown in her cave, killing many of the soldiers there. "I crawled to the feet of a huge American. He had no shirt on. He had a full beard, and was sunburned all over. It was exactly the image of the red devil we Japanese had feared. But he turned out to be a gentle red devil...He offered me his canteen. I was so thirsty, but I thought it was poison." I said in English, 'No thank you.' But he understood my thoughts. He drank from it first, and then I willingly drank, and so did my mother."

Caves, Suicide, Civilians and Fighting on Okinawa

US Marines probing caves

The focal points of the fighting on Okinawa were the caves, where civilians, Japanese and American troops all hid. The caves used by Japanese navy officers contained rooms connected by shafts and tunnels. The Japanese also hid in bunkers, pillboxes and concrete blockhouses with five-foot-thick walls.

Guns and artillery were of little use against these defenses. The Americans fought the Japanese soldiers with flame throwers, grenades, Sherman tanks, ignited gasoline and bazookas fired at point blank range.

Japanese soldiers were given cyanide tablets and grenades to kill themselves. "We were told if anyone was wounded in the stomach, there was no hope. They would die. I remember a soldier who was wounded in the stomach, and another soldier wanted to bring him back. The wounded man blew himself up with a grenade, but the guy who tried to rescue him was killed as well."

Yamamoto was wounded in 14 places by a shell that landed near his bunker. His hand was pulpy mess and he was worried about gangrene setting in. "I knew I would die. So at 6 p.m. I got out of the hole. I took my sword and cut off my arm. There was an old pine tree there, and I put my left arm on the tree and cut it with my right. I had bandaged it so tight I felt nothing."

Killing Family Members and Mass Suicides on Okinawa

US shelling a cave in Okinawa

A number of Okinawans committed suicide. Japanese propaganda had led them to believe that suicide was better than capture and torture by American 'devils.' Kamieda said, I was told if we were captured we would be cruely treated by the Americans, and I firmly believed that. I begged for a grenade and they finally gave me one. I put it in my medical kit. I wanted to die when the time came. It was an honor to die for your country. Everyone said, never be a prisoner. Everyone thought that way."

One day American troops approached within a 100 yards of her cave. "I cannot go further,” she said to herself at the time. “This is my place to die. I opened my medical kit to find my grenade, but it wasn't there. My mother said, your father took it away. I shouted at him, but all he would say is that life is a treasure. By throwing out my grenade, he saved my life."

One survivor who later became a reverend and a professor at a Christian Junior College killed his mother by repeatedly beating her with a rock after she wailed loudly when U.S. soldiers came near his home on Tokashikijima Island. He told the Daily Yomiuri he beat her because they “had to” kill each other somehow and no grenade or guns were available. After she was dead he and his brother killed their 9-year-old sister and 6-year-old brother. He then went and attacked the American soldiers with a stick, assuming he would get killed in the process. [Source: Saori Kan, Daily Yomiuri, August 13, 2005]

On Keram Island 171 of the 360 civilian casualties were attributed to group suicides. One survivor told the Daily Yomiuri he sought refuge in a shelter where he stood by as a school principal slit the throat of his wife with a razor and then slit his own throat with the same razor as blood gushed on survivors. Others committed suicide by setting off grenades, one of which killed the survivorn’t sister. The survivor escaped with his mother who wanted to get away from both the American soldiers and the Japanese trying to kill themselves.

Another survivor said his grandfather tried to kill his wife, his children and himself but only managed to kill his 11-year-old son. The grandfather and wife stayed married but occasionally she cried out and called him “murderer” through her scarred and perforated throat.

The army was deeply involved in the mass suicides, Survivors have said that soldiers handed out grenades to civilians fo use for committing suicide. The mass suicides only occurred in villages where Japanese troops were stationed.

Mass Suicide at Chibichiri Gama

cave entrance
Eight-seven of the 150 Okinawans in Chibichiri Gama, a 100-foot-deep limestone cave, killed themselves or their children. The youngest of the 47 dead children was two. The tragedy began on April 2, 1945, when American soldiers approaching the cave shot and killed two boys who charged them with the only weapons they had — bamboo spears. The soldiers pleaded with the civilians to come out and dropped leaflets in Japanese that said they wouldn't be harmed. The people didn't believe them. "Mommy, kill me!," one 18-year-old girl shouted. "Don’t' let them rape me." The mother killed her daughter, triggering a mass killing as parents slaughtered their children with knives, sickles, flaming oil from their oil lamps and then killed themselves.

A similar incident occurred in Gushikawa (now part of the city of Uruma). There on April 4, 1945 fifteen boys and eight girls gathered before dawn in small beachside shelter. “I felt nothing but fear of death there sitting in the dark shelter,” one survivor recalled. Around 10:00am one boy saw a U.S. soldier about 200 meters away. The students threw grenades at them. The Americans returned fire. Afterwards the students sat in a circle and sang a patriotic song as they set off their grenades.

The survivor, whose grenade failed to go off, told the Daily Yomiuri, “I thought I was in heaven, and heaven was a very dark place. But them I realized was alive and just had my eyes closed.” Most of the students around him were dead, missing limbs or badly injured. “A boy asked me to kill him, groaning with pain. It was like in hell.” He and eight others were given first aid and then taken as prisoners by the U.S. soldiers.

One of the enduring questions from Okinawa was whether the Japanese military “ordered” the civilians of Gushikawa (now part of the city of Uruma) of to commit suicide or whether the civilians acted on their own volition. One survivor told the Daily Yomiuri, “All I know is just that Japanese soldiers gave us two grenades shortly before they move to the southern area of the main island. It was four days before the group suicide in the city. Even we young students believed somehow that we should use one to defend against the U.S. forces and the other to kill ourselves, so as not to be humiliated.”

Himeyuri Student Corps

Chibichiri Cave

The Himeyuri Student Corps consisted of 222 female students from the Okinawa Teachers School and First Prefectural Girls’ High School, who were recruited to attend injured soldiers at military hospital shelters, Of these 123 students, between the ages of 15 and 19, and 13 teachers died, many of them from suicide. Himeyuro means “Star Lillies.” Many killed themselves after being lead to believe they would be raped and tortured by American troops.

”Himeyuri” by Shohei Shibata is a documentary about the incident. One survivor who sat on a beach with her friends as they contemplated committing suicide said in the film “I sat here holding a hand grenade. I only survived because my teacher dissuaded me from pulling the pin.: Another survivor said, “I lost a hairpin here. When I found it and squatted to picked it up, the huge roar of an explosion sounded at the caven’t entrance. If I hadn’t tried to pick up my hairpin, I would have died here with my friends. “

Another who was in a bunker when a bomb landed nearby and saw her best friend flung against a wall by the impact of the blast, said “There I was just looking at Sadakosan...just looking.” She said the brains of patients were scattered around the bunkers. A nurse lost her hand and had her internal organs spilling from their abdomen. She said that after the war she was often haunted by nightmares in which she was chased by a friend who shouted at her, “Why could only you survive?”

Right wing scholars and politicians want to delete references of the suicides from school textbooks. When one such textbook change was announced more than 110,000 people in Okinawa rallied to show their displeasure with the decision. It was the biggest demonstration in Okinawa since the 1970s.

Battle of Okinawa Survivor Watches Sister Die

Haruko Oshiro said: A few days before we were captured, my young sister left the shelter of the trench because her one year old daughter was crying so much and she didn’t want our whole family to be caught by the soldiers. She headed to a nearby grave to take shelter. However, I was informed that a grave had been attacked and l felt uneasy and went to look for my sister. [Source: Haruko Oshiro in Okinawa, Global Geopolitics, translated from Japanese into English by Makoto Higasa]

“I heard a frail voice behind me, saying, Sister, thank you for coming. I then found a person whose face was swollen and covered with dirt mixed with blood; her internal organs protruding from her kimono. I couldn’t recognise who she was but the pattern of her kimono caught my eye. It was the same kimono that I had given to my sister.

“Knowing that it was my sister I asked where her daughter Sa-chan was. She was half conscious and replied that she was killed in the grave. My sister was probably trying to breastfeed her baby when the attack occurred as her breast was smudged with milk. American soldiers took my sister away by truck while l was looking for a straw mat to carry her. That was the last time l saw my sister. No news about her was heard until her ashes were found after the war in a shelter of a nearby village. She was identified because of the pattern of her kimono. Her daughter Sachans ashes were never found. My family along with other villagers were taken to a concentration camp as prisoners of war. The ten of us in our family lived in a shack and had to look for food at the bottom of a dangerous valley where there were habu snakes.”

Horror of Okinawa as Seen by a 17-Year-Old Himeyuri

paper cranes in Chibichiri cave

Alastair Himmer wrote in the Jakarta Post: “Seventy years after the Battle of Okinawa, Yoshiko Shimabukuro still has terrifying nightmares of watching friends and Japanese soldiers die as they hid in caves to escape fierce American shelling. One of 222 female students mobilised as a battlefield nursing unit for the Imperial Army in March 1945, she also suffers deep pangs of guilt for surviving the war while many of her classmates perished in the hell holes that served as military hospitals on the island’s southern tip. “We only had basic training in how to put on bandages, but the wounded soldiers they brought in were beyond help,” Shimabukuro told AFP. “They had legs ripped off, their intestines were falling out, faces missing. We simply had no idea what to do. I was 17. We all thought we would be back at school in a week.” [Source: Alastair Himmer, The Jakarta Post, June 22, 2015 +++]

“Fewer than half of the girls known as the “himeyuri students” — an amalgam of the names of the two schools they came from — survived the 82-day battle, which wiped out a quarter of the subtropical island’s population. Many died after being ordered by Japanese soldiers to leave their caves in a hail of bullets as the enemy closed in. Others plunged off cliffs or blew themselves up with grenades rather than surrender. “We wanted to stay in the caves and die together, but the Japanese soldiers sent us away,” Shimabukuro said, fighting back tears. “People were quickly killed or badly injured. But we couldn’t take the injured with us, we had to leave them. “I still have dreams where I see my dead friends and I wake up screaming. It breaks my heart that I lived and my friends died, without me knowing how, when or where.” +++

“Shimabukuro lost her two elder siblings and was almost robbed of her sanity in the filthy underground hospitals, where soldiers had limbs amputated with little or no anaesthetic and begged doctors to kill them. Some troops became deranged and grew violent as toxins infected wounds that were crawling with maggots, according to Shimabukuro. “They were taken to the back of the cave and put in isolation,” she whispered. “We weren’t allowed to go back there. The constant screaming was dreadful.” After the June 18 order to disband the himeyuri unit, Shimabukuro herself almost died from serious infection before being rescued by a US soldier. “We were told any women captured would be raped and burned alive,” she said. “I would have killed myself if I’d had a grenade, but he gently nursed my wounds and took me to hospital.”“ +++

Horror of Okinawa as Seen by a Primary School Boy

Alastair Himmer wrote in the Jakarta Post: “Zenichi Yoshimine, who was waiting to begin elementary school when war broke out, said Okinawans — long discriminated against by mainlanders — had been hoodwinked by Japanese propaganda. “We were taught Japan was God’s country and couldn’t lose the war,” he said, overlooking the spot in Itoman dubbed “suicide cliff” by American troops. We believed the Americans were devils, that they were savages and if they captured us they would cut our ears and noses off, gouge out our eyeballs and run over us in their tanks.” [Source: Alastair Himmer, The Jakarta Post, June 22, 2015 +++]

“Yoshimine told how tens of thousands fleeing the advancing US troops poured onto clifftops, sending hundreds toppling onto the rocks below as they were strafed by enemy fire. “There was literally nowhere left to run,” he said. “We were caught like mice in a trap. Very soon there were so many bodies we were tripping over them.” +++

“Resentment over the war still runs deep in Okinawa, a formerly independent kingdom annexed by Japan in the 19th century. “I’ll never forgive Japan for what happened,” said Yoshimine, now the director of a museum dedicated to the nursing corps. “And now we have peace, Japan is trying to change the constitution and turn itself into a country that can wage war again,” she added. “And that would drag this poor island back into the firing line.”

Stragglers on Okinawa Give Up to American Forces

Civilians with a Marine in a foxhole

Haruko Oshiro said: “One day when we were looking for food, we found seven young Japanese soldiers. They said they were running around to escape from American soldiers. Listening to these young soldiers made us feel like helping them somehow. Okinawa was occupied by the U.S. military forces on June 23 but we didn’t know that the war was over. Believing that these Japanese soldiers would one day play an active role, we sheltered them. However, ten days later we were found by the U.S. military forces. The seven Japanese soldiers were deported and we had to face military trial for harbouring them. [Source: Haruko Oshiro in Okinawa, Global Geopolitics, translated from Japanese into English by Makoto Higasa]

“I was prepared to be sentenced to death. My fiancé died in the war and I had no dream or hope whatsoever for the future. I had nothing to fear. I thought that my fiancé would welcome me with open arms saying, You fought so well for the country. I was filled with patriotic spirit. The day l knew the war was really over, was on August 15, 1945 when the trial was concluded, I heard the lmperial broadcast. Then l knew that Japan was not the country of god. I knew that Japan was in embroiled in a foolish war. I was sentenced to one year in prison on the day of the end of the war.”

Fiancé of Japanese Soldier

When she was 88 years old, Haruko Oshiro said: “There was a hell called war in my youth. As long as live, I would like to speak out about the importance of peace and education so that we have no more war...In my youth, every day was coloured with war. I had no doubt about Japan winning the war because l was taught that Japan was the kingdom of god. We were ready to fight anytime against the enemy and we wore baggy work pants in preparation for the war. In order to prepare for the war I took the lead in participating in bamboo spear training. Everyone was burning the tip of bamboo sticks to make use as a weapon but l felt unsafe so l tied a sickle to the end the bamboo. [Source: Haruko Oshiro in Okinawa, Global Geopolitics, translated from Japanese into English by Makoto Higasa]

In the summer of 1940 I was engaged to a young man I met in a youth group. I knew that he was going to the frontlines in six months but l wanted to make him feel safe and have hope that he would come back safe. We promised each other that when he came back safe we would be married.

“I will never forget the day November 5, 1944: it was the day that I received notice that my fiancé had died on the battlefield in Burma. I was so shocked that my whole body shook. Because l was told that the wife of a Japanese soldier should never cry even though her husband might die in the war. I couldnt cry in front of other people. My sadness welled up from the bottom of my heart and l bit my lip so hard to contain my emotion so much that my lip was bleeding. I could not accept my fiancés death so at night l went to his tomb where the plain wood box of my fiancés ashes should lay. But when I opened the plain wood box there were only three small rocks inside. I could not believe what l saw.”

Rape of Japanese Women by American Soldiers in Okinawa

U.S. soldiers raped Okinawan women during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Okinawan historian and former director of the Okinawa Prefectural Historical Archives Oshiro Masayasu wrote: Soon after the U.S. Marines landed, all the women of a village on Motobu Peninsula fell into the hands of American soldiers. At the time, there were only women, children and old people in the village, as all the young men had been mobilized for the war. Soon after landing, the Marines "mopped up" the entire village, but found no signs of Japanese forces. Taking advantage of the situation, they started "hunting for women" in broad daylight and those who were hiding in the village or nearby air raid shelters were dragged out one after another.” [Source: Tanaka, Toshiyuki, “Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II,” Routledge, 2003, p.111]

There were also 1,336 reported rapes during the first 10 days of the occupation of Kanagawa prefecture after the Japanese surrender. According to interviews carried out by the New York Times and published by them in 2000, multiple elderly people from an Okinawan village confessed that after the United States had won the Battle of Okinawa three armed marines kept coming to the village every week to force the villagers to gather all the local women, who were then carried off into the hills and raped. The article goes deeper into the matter and claims that the villagers' tale - true or not - is part of a 'dark, long-kept secret' the unraveling of which 'refocused attention on what historians say is one of the most widely ignored crimes of the war': "the widespread rape of Okinawan women by American servicemen." Although Japanese reports of rape were largely ignored at the time, academic estimates have been that as many as 10,000 Okinawan women may have been raped. It has been claimed that the rape was so prevalent that most Okinawans over age 65 around the year 2000 either knew or had heard of a woman who was raped in the aftermath of the war. Military officials denied the mass rapings, and all surviving veterans refused the New York Times' request for an interview. [Source: Wikipedia +]

Professor of East Asian Studies and expert on Okinawa Steve Rabson said: "I have read many accounts of such rapes in Okinawan newspapers and books, but few people know about them or are willing to talk about them." Books, diaries, articles and other documents refer to rapes by American soldiers of various races and backgrounds. Samuel Saxton, a retired captain, explained that the American veterans and witnesses may have believed: "It would be unfair for the public to get the impression that we were all a bunch of rapists after we worked so hard to serve our country." Masaie Ishihara, a sociology professor, supports this: "There is a lot of historical amnesia out there, many people don't want to acknowledge what really happened." +

Japanese POW

An explanation given for why the US military has no record of any rapes is that few - if any - Okinawan women reported abuse, mostly out of fear and embarrassment. Those who did report them are believed by historians to have been ignored by the US military police. A large scale effort to determine the extent of such crimes has also never been called for. Over five decades after the war has ended the women who were believed to have been raped still refused to give a public statement, with friends, local historians and university professors who had spoken with the women instead saying they preferred not to discuss it publicly. According to a Nago, Okinawan police spokesman: "Victimized women feel too ashamed to make it public." +

In his book "Tennozan: The Battle of Okinawa and the Atomic Bomb," George Feifer noted that by 1946 there had been fewer than 10 reported cases of rape in Okinawa. He explains that it was: "partly because of shame and disgrace, partly because Americans were victors and occupiers." Feifer claimed: "In all there were probably thousands of incidents, but the victims' silence kept rape another dirty secret of the campaign." Many people wondered why it never came to light after the inevitable American-Japanese babies the many women must have had. In interviews, historians and Okinawan elders said that some Okinawan women who were raped did give birth to biracial children, but that many of them were immediately killed or left behind out of shame, disgust or fearful trauma. More often, however, rape victims underwent crude abortions with the help of village midwives. +

However, American professor of Japanese Studies Michael S. Molasky argues that Okinawan civilians "were often surprised at the comparatively humane treatment they received from the American enemy." According to Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power by the American Mark Selden, the Americans "did not pursue a policy of torture, rape, and murder of civilians as Japanese military officials had warned."

Legacy and Casualties of the Battle of Okinawa

The 83-day struggle for Okinawa ended on June 22, 1945, positioning American forces just 350 miles south of Kyushu. the southernmost of Japan's main islands. Some soldiers didn't surrender until August 29, 1945, two weeks after Japan's surrender ended the war. Okinawa was taken in less than three months but the cost were so high that plans for similar attacks on the mainland were shelved in favor of atomic weapons.

In the battle of Okinawa 34 ships were sunk and 368 damaged. When the war was over only one of Japan's nine battleships was still afloat. "In less than four years, this great war machine fell from glory to oblivion," wrote naval historian Masanori Ito. The underground Japanese naval headquarters on Okinawa wasn't discovered until three weeks after the battle was over. The underground corridors contained the bodies of 4,000 naval officers and men, nearly all of whom had committed ritual suicide.

Like Iwo Jima, Okinawa was bloody battle of attrition. Some 140,000 people died fighting, including 14,006 American troops, 82 other Allied personnel, 75,219 Japanese troops and 148,289 Okinawans (most of them citizens). About 37,500 Americans were injured. There were more American causalities at Iwo Jima and Okinawa than there were in the previous three years of the war.

On Okinawa 7,400 Japanese soldiers surrendered, a sign that the Japanese die-instead-of-surrender had its limits and defeat was imminent. Both the Japanese and American commanders in the battle died. Lieut. General Simon Bolivar Buckner was killed by a stray bullet and Lieut. General Mitsuru Ushijima committed suicide by plunging a sword into his abdomen.

Half of the civilians on Okinawa were either killed or wounded during the battle. Nearly a third (150,000 civilians) died. Most residents today know of at least one relative who died. The Okinawan people had been deceived by Japan, who told them the Americans were being lured into a trap and would be easily defeated. Naha was reduced to rubble and many smaller towns and villages were destroyed.

Japan Marks 70th Anniversary of Battle of Okinawa in 2015

In June 2015, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid a bouquet of flowers and was heckled during a memorial service at Peace Memorial Park in Itoman in Okinawa to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa. Associated Press reported: “ Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joined about 5,000 people including the U.S. ambassador in a memorial service marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa, one of the bloodiest conflicts of World War II. Resentment over the continuing presence of U.S. bases in Okinawa...was evident during the ceremony held to remember more than 200,000 people, many of them civilians, who died in the fighting near the war’s end. [Source: Associated Press June 23, 2015 |]

"Japanese that chose to give up rather than commit suicide"

“As Abe approached the podium, voices from the crowd could be heard shouting, “What are you doing here?” and “Go home!” The main island of Okinawa is home to about half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan. Residents have frequently complained about crime, noise and other issues related to the U.S. bases. Okinawa’s governor, Takeshi Onaga, a strong opponent of a plan to move a U.S. Marine air station to another part of the main island, took the opportunity to reiterate his demand that the base be moved out of Okinawa. |

“In his remarks, Abe acknowledged Okinawa’s sacrifices both as a battlefront and in the decades since. “We hope to continue to do our best to lighten the burden of the U.S. military bases on the Okinawans,” Abe said. But he indicated the government would go ahead with its plan to keep the base in Okinawa. Those attending the memorial, including U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, observed a moment of silence at the Peace Memorial Park. |

“Even today, wartime remains and unexploded bombs are found underground and at construction sites, said Naeko Teruya, a representative of bereaved families.“Seventy years since the war has ended, we still feel that the war hasn’t truly ended,” she said. “We continue to find the scars of war in Okinawa today.” |

Image Sources: National Archives of the United States; Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, The Guardian, Yomiuri Shimbun, The New Yorker, Lonely Planet Guides, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wikipedia, BBC, “Eyewitness to History “, edited by John Carey ( Avon Books, 1987), Compton’s Encyclopedia, “History of Warfare “ by John Keegan, Vintage Books, Eyewitness to, “The Good War An Oral History of World War II” by Studs Terkel, Hamish Hamilton, 1985, BBCn’t Peoplen’t War website and various books and other publications.

Last updated November 2016

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of country or topic discussed in the article. This constitutes 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you are the copyright owner and would like this content removed from, please contact me.