Thursday, October 12, 2023 - 4:30pm
Henry R. Luce Hall (LUCE ), 203
34 Hillhouse Avenue
“Should we lose Saipan,” Emperor Hirohito warned Prime Minister Tōjō Hideki shortly after U.S. Marines landed on the island in June 1944, “Tokyo will face relentless air raids. We must hold the island at all costs.” Instead of holding the island, the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces suffered catastrophic defeats in the Pacific Ocean theater. By the following month, Saipan and the other Mariana Islands were in U.S. hands. This presentation explores the Japanese government’s strategies for civil air defense after the majority of Japan’s cities came within range of America’s newly developed Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers.
Cary Karacas is an Associate Professor of Human Geography at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. He is co-writing with David Fedman (Associate Professor, Department of History, University of California at Irvine) a history - 1915 to the present - of the firebombing by the United States Army Air Forces of urban Japan during World War II.