Peace at last
Though victory in Europe signified the beginning of the end of the bloodiest war of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands more would have to die to secure a final, if fleeting peace.
From Iwo Jima to Okinawa, and onto Japan's final surrender aboard the USS Missouri, Stars and Stripes invites you to follow along with this interactive timeline.
Use the arrows to get started.
World War II
Roughly 6,000 Americans were killed in the successful attempt to take the island of Iwo Jima from 23,000 entrenched Japanese soldiers. Of those, all except 1,083 were killed in action.
The bloody battle – 22 U.S. Marines and 5 sailors earned the Medal of Honor during the fighting – was made famous by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photo of troops raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi.
Feb. 19, 1945
US invades Iwo Jima
March 9, 1945
Nearly 300 U.S. B-29 bombers dropped incendiary bombs of jelled gasoline and magnesium on the dense metropolis, comprise mainly of wooden structures.
Some 15 square miles of the city would erupt in flames in one of the deadliest attacks on civilians ever conducted by the U.S. military.
More than 85,000 were killed and another 1 million were left homeless.
Bombing of Tokyo
April 1, 1945
Seven U.S. divisions, led by the U.S. 10th Army, began the final amphibious landing of the war.
In one of the last battles of World War II, more than 77,000 Japanese soldiers and 14,000 Allied soldiers would die during the 82 days of fighting.
April 12, 1945
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the longest serving American president, dies at age 63. He is succeeded by Harry S. Truman.
In one of his last acts as president, Roosevelt took part in the Yalta Conference – along with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. During the conference, the three men decided the future of war-torn Europe.
June 22, 1945
Allies take Okinawa
Japanese resistance ends on Okinawa as the U.S. 10th Army completes its capture.
July 5, 1945
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, left, and President Sergio Osmena wade ashore at Palo, Leyte, on Oct. 20, 1944, as the U.S. begins what would be the largest naval battle in history.
The battle for the islands would continue for more than nine months, even beyond when MacArthur declared the Philippines liberated.
A Japanese submarine torpedoes the cruiser USS Indianapolis. The ship sinks before a radio message can be sent, leaving survivors adrift at sea for two days. The 881 lost crewmembers represent the largest loss of life at sea in U.S. Navy history.
Here, the Indianapolis fires its guns during D-Day invasion in Normandy, France. This shot, taken from the USS Birmingham, is one of the last known images of the ship before its sinking in the Pacific.
July 30, 1945
Aug. 6, 1945
First atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima from a B-29 flown by Col. Paul Tibbets. This photo shows the city shortly after the bomb blast.
Aug. 9, 1945
Second Atomic Bomb is dropped on Nagasaki from a B-29 flown by Maj. Charles Sweeney. Emperor Hirohito and Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki then decide to seek an immediate peace with the Allies.
Meanwhile, the Soviets declare war on Japan and begin an immediate invasion of Manchuria.
Japan announces its unconditional surrender.
Aug. 14, 1945
Formal Japanese surrender ceremony on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay as 1,000 carrier-based planes fly overhead; Truman declares V-J Day.
Sept. 2, 1945