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World War II
Okinawa - WWII's Bloodiest Battle



Okinawa - WWII's Bloodiest Battle
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.73

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    airbase, hara, determined, kamikaze, morphine, best, invasion, wounded, relentless, resistance, homeland, toll, fleet, communication, beloved, monsoon
     content words:    Asia-Pacific War, World War II, Operation Iceberg, Easter Sunday, Thirty American, On April, Many Japanese, Sugar Loaf, Chocolate Drop, Strawberry Hill


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Okinawa - WWII's Bloodiest Battle
By Jane Runyon
  

1     The island of Okinawa lies just 400 miles south of Japan. The Japanese had used the island for air bases since it had started the Asia-Pacific War in the 1930s. Approximately 300,000 thousand Okinawans called it home. The Allies of World War II looked to it as a natural stepping stone in its advance toward Japan. The Japanese looked to it as its last hope of taking control of the Pacific.
 
2     The Allies decided to "soften" up Okinawa by bombing it for several days at a time starting in October of 1944. The Allies called their plan to invade Okinawa "Operation Iceberg." They destroyed Naha, the capital of Okinawa.
 
3     The main invasion of Okinawa was planned for April 1, 1945, Easter Sunday. By the middle of March, the Americans had amassed 1,300 ships off the coast of Okinawa. The Japanese were well prepared for the invasion. They had moved more than 100,000 additional troops to Okinawa. They had drafted citizens of Okinawa to fight for them. They were determined to fight off the Allied forces. At the first sight of the American fleet, they sent out large groups of kamikaze planes. The pilots of these planes knew they would never return to their homes or families. They believed it was their responsibility to give their lives in defense of their homeland. They were able to direct the flight of their planes is such a way as to crash onto the American ships. Thirty American ships were sunk by kamikazes. They also had a plan to load up motor boats with explosives and direct them into the fleet to destroy more ships. This plan was never put to use.

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