At the start of 1945, it was obvious to most people on both sides that the war would end in the Allies' favor. As the war ends, the true scope of the Nazi horrors are discovered. True to the Allied close cooperation throughout the war, the “Big Three” meet in Yalta to discuss the postwar world. The Allies cross the Rhine as the Soviets drive on Berlin. After the surrender, the victors hold the Nazi leadership for trial.
Huge formations of bombers would head for Japan from the new airfields in the Marianas. Starting with the landing on Iwo Jima in February 1945, the Allies would land close enough for tactical air forces to range all over Japan. Okinawa, considered part of the Home Islands, would be the last amphibious operation of the Pacific War.
But no one knew that at the time. As the fight for Okinawa was ending, the Americans tested a weapon that would again change warfare, as it was known: the atomic bomb. The total war would end with total annihilation of a city with only one bomb. By the time of the formal surrender, millions were dead and most of the Asian and Pacific cities were destroyed. The reasons for that war would be debated for decades. The war left Asia in chaos, and soon a new tension arose.
The alliance between the Soviet Union and the West was beginning to unravel. A new war - a cold war - would be fought all over Asia. Former enemies would become Allies; the enemy would be former Allies. The last Japanese soldier left the jungle in the 1970s. He returned to a Japan that was on the verge of becoming an economic superpower. Her cities were reconstructed, and her government was modeled on their former enemy. But the war wounds would still linger; the memories of the fighting and the dying would never be forgotten.
The World In 1945 (PDF Map)