Malta 1940-1943

Il Duce Benito Mussolini wanted the Mediterranean to be an Italian Lake. When he declared war against a defiant Britain and a defeated France on June 10, 1940, he told his military commanders the war would last four months.

Malaya, December 8, 1941 - January 31, 1942

In making plans for war, the Japanese coveted the tin and rubber of Malaya. The islands were rich in resources, and nearby Java had badly needed oil. The American embargo had left Japan with enough oil to last through 1944 if consumption was reduced.

Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 23-26, 1944

United States Army General Douglas MacArthur had fought a hard campaign up the back of New Guinea, only to see his greatest successes eclipsed in the press by the invasions in the central Pacific and Europe. Privately, he was considering a run for US President against Roosevelt, and he did not get along with United States Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Letters From Iwo Jima (Film)

This essay contains spoilers. Please don't continue unless you want to know key details about the film.



The Historical Setting

The Film

Historical Accuracy


Leningrad, September 8, 1941 - January 27, 1944

For centuries the cultural heart of Russia and the second largest city in the Soviet Union, Leningrad was a prime target of the advancing German Army Group North in June 1941.

Kwajalein, January 31 - February 3, 1944

Kwajalein Atoll was the administrative center of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands. The atoll was 73 miles long, with eighteen islands clustered together. During the Battle of Midway radio stations on Kwajalein listened to traffic between Hawaii and Midway.

Kursk, July 5 - August 23, 1943

At the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, the Soviets held a salient near the town of Kursk, 125 miles north of Kharkov. If this bulge could be eliminated, a great encirclement could be accomplished on the scale of the 1941 battles. Adolf Hitler in the spring of 1943 realized that he had to crush the Red Army before it completely surpassed the Wehrmacht in size and quantity.

Korea in World War II

Korea had been an outright occupied province of Japan since 1910. In reality Japan had controlled the government since 1905. The Korean Army was disbanded and the Korean language and culture were outlawed.

Kasserine Pass and the Mareth Line, February - May 1943

After the Anglo-American landings in North Africa on November 8, 1942, the Americans remained optimistic about their ability to fight a real opponent like Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Korps. In retreat after the Battle of El Alamein, Rommel had disobeyed orders of his Führer. He was not without the ability to fight, however.

The Imperial Japanese Navy (Nihon Kaigun)

The Imperial Japanese Navy (Nihon Kaigun) in 1941 was unquestionably a world power. With the help of the British, who trained the Japanese to the point that all bridge orders were issued in English, a Japanese fleet was built in the early twentieth century.


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