"We Need to Exterminate Them”: A Marine Describes the Battle of Guam
The Pacific theater was the most inhospitable environment in all of World War II, with all-out assaults that were unparalleled in their barbarity. The ferocity of the battles and the atrocities committed by both sides were further encouraged by the pervasive anti-Asian racism expressed by Americans toward the Japanese enemy. Fighting the war in the Pacific left indelible impressions on the men who served there.
Less than twenty-four hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invaded Guam, an American possession. The small Pacific island, virtually defenseless, held out for only four days. For the next two and a half years, the brave people of Guam endured a horrible occupation: they were starved, beaten, and herded into concentration camps. Many of Guam's people were summarily shot for crimes they did not commit. Some were beheaded. No other American civilians suffered so much under so brutal a conqueror.
On July 21, 1944, the Americans struck back. The battle for Guam lasted only a few weeks, until August 10, 1944, when the island was declared secured. In those weeks, American Marine, Army, and Navy casualties exceeded 7,000. An estimated 18,500 Japanese were killed, and another 8,000 Japanese remained hidden in the jungle refusing to surrender.
Tags: World war 2, WW2, guam, pacific, naval, conflict, world at war, allies, axis, japan, empire, saipan, marianas, american nationals, japanese torture, death, murder, morale, Lost evidence
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