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After the Battle of Midway the United States began to fight back against the Japanese. They fought to take over strategic islands in the Pacific. One of the first major battles was over the island of Guadalcanal. After fierce fighting the US was able to take the island, but they learned that fighting the Japanese was not going to be easy. There were many battles over islands in the South Pacific, these included Tarawa, Saipan, and Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima took 36 days of fighting to take the island. Today a statue of marines raising a flag on the island of Iwo Jima serves as the Marine Corps Memorial in Washington DC.

Finally in 1945 the Japanese army had been pushed back to Japan. However, the Japanese would not surrender. American leaders felt that the only way to get Japan to surrender would be to invade the main island of Japan. However, they feared this would cost the lives of up to 1 million US soldiers.

Instead of invading, President Harry S. Truman decided to use a new weapon called the atomic bomb. The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. It completely destroyed the city and killed thousands and thousands of people. Japan did not surrender. Another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. This time the Japanese decided to surrender.

On August 15, 1945 Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced that Japan would surrender. Later on September 2, 1945 the Japanese signed a surrender treaty with US General Douglas MacArthur aboard the battleship USS Missouri. This day was called V-J Day which means Victory in Japan.
     
 
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