The War in the Pacific: From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay

By Harry A. Gailey | Go to book overview

Chapter 15
The Killing Time

LONG BEFORE THE Okinawa operation was concluded, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had instructed MacArthur and Nimitz to plan for the invasion of the Japanese home islands. During the preliminary stages of planning, the differences between army and navy strategists became apparent. Admirals King and Spruance wanted to seize positions on the south China coast and from there intensify the bombardment of Japan, as well as draw the blockade tighter. They argued that such a strategy might preclude the need to invade Kyushu and Honshu. MacArthur was openly critical of such undertakings. Any invasion of the China mainland would not be without cost, and the stepped-up bombing campaign and blockade might take years to bring about Japan's surrender. Admiral King abandoned his arguments for the China venture only after Nimitz joined MacArthur in recommending a two-step invasion of Japan. The Joint Chiefs responded on 25 May 1945 by issuing a directive that spelled out in general terms the responsibility of the army and navy in the projected invasion.

MacArthur's staff had already begun planning for the complex operation. Code-named Downfall, it was divided into two parts: Olympic and Coronet. For Olympic, Krueger's Sixth Army would invade southern Kyushu on 1 November 1945. The larger and more

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