Wednesday 11 March 2015

Tokyo - 70 years on from one of history's deadliest air raids

Seventy years ago this week, Tokyo and other Japanese cities were laid waste in a series of devastating air raids. On the night of March 9 and 10, 1945, more than 300 bombers dropped incendiaries on the Japanese capital for over two hours.

This resulted in what was said to be the worst man-made fire in history. Many of Tokyo's citizens lived in tightly packed, flimsy wooden buildings, and for the loss of just 15 aircraft, the Americans were able to destroy more than a quarter of a million structures. 

Fires raged for four days, and the death toll may have been as high as 140,000 - a similar number to the Atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, and nearly twice as many as the one on Nagasaki. Over the next few days, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe all suffered similar fates to Tokyo.

While last month's 70th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden was marked across Europe, in Tokyo, there is little today to commemorate the devastating raid of 1945, apart from a memorial (pictured) and a charnel house in a park. For more, see A Disastrous History of the World. 

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