Due to its equidistant location between Tokyo and the US island territory of Guam, the Japanese island of Iwo Jima was seen as a strategically valuable staging area for attacks on the Japanese mainland. On 19th February 1945, the US launched an invasion of the island, codenamed Operation Detachment.
Immortalised in Joe Rosenthal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph showing 5 US Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima has come to symbolise US struggle and victory in the Pacific War.
In hindsight, the strategic significance of the Battle of Iwo Jima has been judged by some to be not worth the large losses incurred.
This video shows footage from the amphibious assault on the island.