The American assault through the Pacific Theater of War was slow, bloody and horrific for those who experienced it. One by one, Allied Forces liberated Japanese-occupied islands edging slightly closer to the Japanese mainland to launch their assault. But the Americans had one last location to overtake and it would be their most challenging, the island of Okinawa.
The invasion of Okinawa was the biggest operation the Pacific with 280,000 troops and over 100 naval vessels. They knew they had an uphill battle for this last stop on the way to Japan, so they came prepared for a fight.
Soldiers had heard horror stories of Normandy and Iwo Jima where Americans were slaughtered by the thousands when they set foot on land. Most of them expected to be their last days alive after hearing reports of over 100,000 Japanese troops stationed on the island. But what they found upon their arrival of the Okinawa beach, surprised them. The beaches were empty.
This came as a shock to the troops to find a completely unguarded beach, but the troops moved in and set up a base. The natives of Okinawa were friendly despite hearing reports that Americans would enslave them. This was an easy break for the Allied Forces, the next few months would result in the bloodiest conflict of WWII as they pressed ahead to establish an occupation of Okinawa.