(US Navy/Archival Research Catalog)
Desperate times call for desperate measures and the final years of World War II proved to be most critical for Imperial Japan. As American Naval warships advanced on their territories the Empire of Japan gave their most inhumane bid for victory. Faced with no other alternative and refusing to surrender Japan launched a brutal yet effective method of attack, the Kamikaze.
Imperial Japan had begun to lose qualified pilots faster than they could replace them and as a result, they would accept just about any pilot. However, these new recruits weren’t trained to fight the Americans they were trained to give their lives against them. These pilots were on average in their late teens or early 20s and instructed to give their lives for the good of the Empire.
“Transcend life and death. When you eliminate all thoughts about life and death, you will be able to totally disregard your earthly life. This will also enable you to concentrate your attention on eradicating the enemy with unwavering determination, meanwhile reinforcing your excellence in flight skills.”
– Written notes of a Kamikaze pilot.
On April 6th, 1945 the United States would experience a kamikaze attack unlike other during the entire war. The method was once considered a last-ditch effort for dying pilots, but now it the entire nation was left with little alternative. Over 300 Japanese planes began to collide into American ships in Japan’s most desperate effort. There is archival footage of the attack in this clip from the Smithsonian Channel.