World Battlefronts: Islands of Fear

Descendants of the ancient Ainus,* now mixed with Japanese, Chinese and Polynesian strains, the 600,000 people of the Ryukyu Islands had been treated as second-class citizens by the Japanese, and have little reason to love their rulers. But they have also been taught that Americans were barbarians who would violate and torture their women, torture and kill their men. And then the Americans came.

The first reactions were frightening. In the Keramas, 77th Division patrols heard inhuman wailing and bursting hand grenades all through the first night ashore. In the morning a patrol came upon a scene of horror. More than 150...

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