At the Battle of Letye Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, the US Navy quashed Japanese air and sea forces. Japanese forces suffered more than 11,000 casualties and the loss of twenty-eight ships.
At the Battle of the Bulge, 200,000 German troops sought to push back and divide the Allied armies. Generals Patton and Eisenhower led their soldiers in slowing the attack and ultimately organized a counterattack to restore the front. Soon after the conflict, Winston Churchill called it “the greatest American battle of the War, and . . . an ever-famous American victory.” During the battle, 101st Airborne commanding general Anthony McAuliffe famously sent his one word reply to the German ultimatum to surrender: “Nuts.”
American forces achieved their first success of the war at the Battle of the Coral Sea, when American aircraft carriers intercepted a Japanese invasion fleet that planned to invade Port Moresby in New Guinea.
In the first use of nuclear weapons, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb destroyed much of the city and killed about 30 percent of the population immediately. It injured tens of thousands more. Radiation-related diseases continued to affect residents for years to come. Harry Truman announced the bomb’s deployment to the American public and stated that the United States had chosen to use it when Japan did not respond to the Potsdam Declaration: “If they do not now accept our terms they may...
After the bombing of Hiroshima and Japan’s refusal to acknowledge the Potsdam Declaration, the United States deployed a second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. Similar to the first explosion, the bomb destroyed the city and killed thousands of civilians. It left traumatized survivors to face radiation-related illness.
Following the elaborate plans developed by Dwight Eisenhower of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, Allied forces landed along fifty miles of the coastal beaches of Normandy, France. The landing was the largest amphibious invasion ever executed and included more than 160,000 troops. They were supported by more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft. Allied forces battled the Germans on the beaches of Normandy, taking 9,000 casualties. They pushed back the Germans to begin the march through Europe to Berlin.
Japan agreed to unconditional surrender. Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender to the Japanese people, declaring that “the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should We continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin met in Iran to discuss strategy and cooperation. The three leaders agreed to coordinate a Soviet offensive and an Allied landing at Normandy, and Stalin agreed to enter the war against Japan once Hitler was defeated.
Harry S. Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin issued coordinated announcements of the Allied Powers’ victory in Europe. Major celebrations took place, though victory in the Pacific was yet to be achieved.