Warriors of Word and Sword

The Battle of Okinawa, Media Coverage, and Truman’s Reevaluation of Strategy in the Pacific

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Nicholas Evan Sarantakesu.s.Naval War College

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The Battle of Okinawa was the last major ground battle of World War ii. The Tenth u.s. Army that invaded this small piece of Japan was a unique force composed of units from the u.s. Army and others from the u.s. Marine Corps. Much historical literature has focused on the different approaches to ground combat of the two armed services, but they also employed very different policies towards support of the news media. The u.s. Marines were much more supportive than the u.s. Army. The two different policies and styles of news coverage that reporters employed led to coverage favoring the u.s. Marines. Reporting suggested that u.s. Marine procedures were less costly in lives and created enormous concern in the United States about casualty rates, motivating President Harry S. Truman to hold an Oval Office meeting to re-think strategy in the Pacific theater. It would be wrong, though, to argue that the media altered the course of the war. Truman asked hard probing questions about the direction of the war, but General of the Army George C. Marshall acted to ensure that the United States stayed on its current strategic path.

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