World War II is the bloodiest and costliest war in human history. Many cities and towns were destroyed or completely devastated. Millions were killed and injured and billions worth of properties and livelihood were destroyed.
Pearl Harbor: Hawaii
Pearl Harbor or locally known as Pu’uloa is the first place in the Pacific to experienced the bitterness of World War II. This lagoon harbor on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii, which is a US Navy naval base and the headquarters of the US Pacific Fleet, was attacked by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941 that eventually brought the US into war.
The USS Arizona and other navy watercrafts and military installations were completely destroyed during surprise attack conducted by Imperial Japanese Navy on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attacked was intended to prevent the US Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia.
The Siege of Leningrad is one of the most historic and bloodiest incidents that occurred during the World War II. The siege of the city began on September 8, 1941 and lasted until January 27, 1944 after 872 days.
This prolonged military operation by the German Army was one of the longest and most costly in terms of casualties. This historic event is also known as the Leningrad Blockade. The Hero-city Obelisk, located in Vosstaniya Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was constructed in commemoration of the Siege of Leningrad.
Normandy in France is the historic site of the Invasion of Normandy. This invasion and establishment of Allied forces in Normandy during the World War II was the largest amphibious operation in history. This historic event began in June 6, 1944.
Allied forces involved in the invasion were Canadians, British, French and Americans. Belgians, Polish, Greeks, Czechs and Dutch forces also participated weeks later. Naval and air forces of Australia, New Zealand and Norway also supported the invasion.
The above picture is the German military cemetery in Normandy it is the final resting place of German soldiers who were killed during the invasion. This historic event is depicted in the film “Saving Private Ryan”.
The Island of Corregidor is the location of the Battle for Corregidor which was one of the bloodiest and most historic battles in the Pacific during World War II. The island and the rest of Bataan Peninsula fall to the Japanese on April 9, 1942 and was the culmination of the Japanese campaign in conquering the Philippines. The fall of Bataan ended all organized opposition by the US Army Forces Far East to the invading Japanese forces on Luzon in the northern Philippines. Corregidor is important for the Japanese so that they can use the finest natural harbor in the Far East – the Manila Bay.
Here is an aerial view of the ruins of Corregidor. The site is now a very popular historic tourist destination for locals and tourists alike.
The photo shown above is the Pacific War Memorial. It is another tourist attraction and historic landmark in the island of Corregidor.
Bataan is the location of the historic event known in history as the Bataan Death March. After the fall of Bataan in April 1942, thousands of Filipino and American POW had to walk 97 kilometers from Bataan to the nearby province of Tarlac.
Battling Bastards of Bataan Memorial at Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac, Philippines
During the forcible and horrible “march” of around 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war, thousands and thousands perished due to Japanese cruelty. Many were murdered by beheading, throat-cutting and shooting. In addition, common causes of death were death by bayonet, rifle-butt beating, rape, disembowelment and deliberate starvation or dehydration on the week-long continual march in the tropical heat.
Leyte Gulf: Philippines
Leyte Gulf is the location of largest naval battle in history the “Battle of Leyte Gulf”. This historic naval battle is generally considered as the largest naval battle of World War II and by some criteria considered the largest naval battle in history. It is also called the “Battles for Leyte Gulf”.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf from October 23 to 26, 1944 was fought in the Philippines near the islands of Leyte, Samar and Luzon. The opposing forces were the combined American and Australian forces and the Japanese Imperial Navy. The Japanese suffered very heavy losses during the battle and majority of its surviving heavy ships remained in their bases for the rest of the Pacific War.
Iwo Jima: Japan
Iwo Jima on the Ogasawara Archipelago is the historic site of the Battle of Iwo Jima that occurred from February 19 to March 26, 1945 between the Empire of Japan and the United States. Iwo Jima became famous worldwide when the iconic photograph “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” was taken during the battle. This historic photograph, which was taken on February 23, 1945, depicts 5 US Marines and US Navy raising the US flag atop Mt. Suribachi.
The historic island of Iwo Jima was occupied by the United States until 1968, when it was returned to Japan.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japan
Two places in the world that suffered much during the final stages of World War II in 1945 were Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both in Japan. The United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki because Japan refused to surrender. The first bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945 and the second on August 9, 1945 forcing Japan to surrender.
The bombs were dropped upon the order of Harry S. Truman. The nuclear weapon used in Hiroshima was named “Little Boy” while the bomb used in Nagasaki was called “Fat Man”. These two destructive events are the only active deployments of nuclear weapons in war. An estimate of between 90,000 to 166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000 to 80,000 in Nagasaki were killed in the said incidents.
On August 15, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, the Empire of Japan finally surrendered to the Allied Powers. The above photo of a black marker indicates “ground zero” of the Nagasaki atomic bomb explosion.