The WW2 Invasion That Didn’t Happen

Originally published 1/4/16

At the Mayor-At-Your-Service meeting on Tuesday, a large turnout listened intently to noted historian Jim Lewis outline little-known facts pieced together from recently declassified material and years of research. The subject was the detailed planning for the invasion of Japan to bring an end to the largest and most destructive war ever fought.

Jim Lewis [Photo courtesy of Adam Kincaid]

After years of uphill battle involving virtually all the islands of the southern Pacific Ocean, the US was closing in on Japan. But we knew from experiences with Kamikaze pilots, and more intimately in caves and fortifications of those islands, the fierce loyalty and mindset of the enemy. Bringing the war to the mainland was going to be very costly. Estimates of a million more US casualties were projected.

The plan, code named Operation Downfall, was to begin on November 1 of 1945 with the capture of the southern island of Kyushu, and followed if necessary by a northern assault in the Tokyo area. Lewis walked us through the particulars.

Fortunately, with the Soviet declaration of war against Japan, and the delivery of two atomic bombs, Operation Downfall never took place.