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  • 3/9/2011

Today in History:

WWII: Bombing of Tokyo Kills 100,000 (1945)


The bombing of Tokyo by the United States Army Air Forces took place at several times during the Pacific campaigns of World War II and included the most destructive conventional bombing raid in all of history.

Damage to Tokyo's heavy industry was slight until firebombing destroyed much of the light industry that was used as an integral source for small machine parts and time-intensive processes. Firebombing also killed and made homeless many workers who had been taking part in war industry. Over 50% of Tokyo's industry was spread out among residential and commercial neighborhoods; firebombing cut their output in half.

Emperor Hirohito's viewing of the destroyed areas of Tokyo in March, 1945, is said to have been the beginning of his personal involvement in the peace process, culminating in Japan's surrender five months later.



After the war, Tokyo would struggle to rebuild. In 1945/1946, the city received a share of the national reconstruction budget roughly proportional to its amount of bombing damage (26.6%), but in successive years Tokyo saw its share dwindle. By 1949, Tokyo was given only 10.9% of the budget; at the same time there was runaway inflation devaluing those monies as Japan was spending more than it was bringing in from taxes. Occupation authorities such as Joseph Dodge stepped in and drastically cut back on Japanese government rebuilding programs, focusing instead on simply improving roads and transportation. Tokyo would not experience fast economic growth until the 1950s.

Unexploded U.S. bombs were still being found and recovered in Tokyo as late as 2008.

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com

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