Death at Japan's Doorstep: First Assault onto Japanese Soil

Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries

Iwo Jima and Okinawa were the final two islands on the way to Japan’s mainland, and two of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific theater. Desperate fighting underscored the implacable fervor of the enemy—Japanese soldiers willing to resist to the last man, motivated by their government’s urging: “one hundred million will die together.” The enemy also had a logistical advantage: an underground defensive network of caves and tunnels, realistically depicted in this evocative gallery. Exhibits discuss the lifesaving impact of Navajo code talkers; the headline-grabbing deaths of General Simon B. Buckner, journalist Ernie Pyle, and nearly 20,000 others; and the extraordinary valor that earned US Marines a total of 27 Medals of Honor in Iwo Jima—more than any other battle in US history.

Made possible in part through the support of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph de T. Hogan, Sr.; The Brees Family in Honor of Cpl. Robert Ray Akins, 1st Marine Division/Special Weapons Company; and Satre Family in Memory of Gail and Vern Sterling, First Marine Division, Okinawa