The miracle of Saipan

In a photo that somehow comprises both tenderness and horror, an American Marine cradles a near-dead infant pulled from under a rock while troops cleared Japanese fighters and civilians from caves on Saipan in the summer of 1944.

battle-of-saipan

The child was the only person found alive among hundreds of corpses in one cave. The battle for the Pacific island of Saipan during World War II is one of those well-remembered battles between Japan and America, one made worse by the mass suicide of local Japanese civilians who jumped off cliffs, fearful of capture by the Americans.

The-Battle-of-Saipan-4

The Americans declared Saipan “secure” on July 9 1944, after a battle that obliterated the 30,000-strong Japanese garrison and killed up to 12,000 of the local Chamorro and Carolinian islanders and Japanese civilian settlers on the island.

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