The last island in the Pacific Theater to be contested was Okinawa, which previous to the war was considered part of the Japanese home islands. It was a final stand for the Japanese Army, and the battle for control of it raged for 10 weeks.
That same spring, Allied troops uncovered evidence of the Third Reich’s heinous crimes against humanity in the liberation of the concentration camps. When the Allies reached Berlin and the German Army surrendered, it set off a celebration to mark V-E Day. In July, the USS Indianapolis delivered a secret shipment to the Pacific island of Tinian.
After its mission, the ship was torpedoed and sank within minutes, leaving hundreds of sailors in shark-infested waters; some survived a four-day ordeal, but many more did not. The ship’s cargo was the atomic bomb that would devastate Hiroshima on August 6, eventually forcing the Japanese to capitulate. V-J Day marked the end of fighting, and after six years, World War II was over.
"We lost a lot of men that day..."
"...I felt like it was an honor to serve my country, according to the dictates of my conscience."
"You really don't realize how destructive war is until you really see it."
"The smell of death … is something that stays with you for a lifetime."
"Veterans should not be mute about history. It breeds blind generations of destructive dreamers who have learned nothing ..."
"Bullets are flying in all directions… you [can] hear them but you don't know which way they're going."
"It looked like an explosion or an earthquake in a cemetery."
"This is what hell is like. In my mind I imagined the devil himself coming up out of the ground."
"At the time of her capture, she had spoken seven languages, and here she was, just worried about getting her food."
"My feeling was to get those ovens shut down."
"Here we were in the middle of Germany, with the war over—our job done."
"They invited all of the troops—American British, French—to march in full uniform."
""...I had driven through Rheims the day that General Jodl was signing the surrender documents, and I didn't even know it."
"We were scared to go out the gate because the women were waiting for us. A lot of us got our clothes ripped off."
"Truman was giving his speech about the war being over and suddenly the German planes came over..."
"We looked in [and] could see the German and Italian prisoners of war sitting down at the same table with white soldiers..."
"... it was interesting to note the different reactions of the German and Dutch people."
"There was a combination of solemn gratitude along with jubilant celebration."
"We tried to all gather in the water and keep ourselves together where the sharks wouldn't get us."
"I didn't want to end up in the belly of some shark and neither did the other guys."
"I knew all about the atomic bomb two months before it happened, but we didn't know what we knew."
"I did my best under trying circumstances with my parents in the camps."
"We can't have a formal surrender on a general mess table."
"...send Land, Sea, and Air personnel into Japan, for the occupation of the Japanese Islands."
"... An announcer cut in on the movie and said the Japanese had surrendered."
"If we appeared to take death lightly, it was because we had to in order to keep from going crazy."