Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Bombardment of Japan

Starting on July 14, 1945, U.S. Navy carrier and warships joined U.S. Army B-29's in direct attacks on the Japanese Home Islands. These direct strikes were aimed at Japanese industry.  By the end of July, American forces, assisted by a task force from the Royal Navy, effectively eliminated the Japanese navy, further reducing their already depleted merchant marine.  Despite these impressive results, the invasion of the Home Islands appeared necessary to end the war.   On July 26, the Allies issued the Potsdam Proclamation, threatening, "the utter destruction of the Japanese homeland" unless Japan unconditionally surrendered.   The vast destruction wreaked by the bombings of Hiroshima, August 6, and Nagasaki, August 9, along with impending Soviet invasion of Manchuria, also on the 9th, changed the view of the Japanese to accept the Potsdam Declaration on August 10.  

Image:  80-G-490143:  Bombardment of Kamaishi, July 1945.   U.S. Navy battleships in column formation bomb the iron works.   Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.