Oct 25, 1944 CE: First Kamikaze Strikes

Oct 25, 1944 CE: First Kamikaze Strikes

On October 25, 1944, the first kamikaze suicide bombers attacked Allied warships during World War II’s ferocious Battle of Leyte Gulf, fought in the Pacific Ocean around the Philippines.


8 - 11


Social Studies, World History

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On October 25, 1944, the Empire of Japan employed kamikaze bombers for the first time. The tactic was part of the ferocious Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, which took place in the Pacific Ocean near the Philippines. Kamikaze strikes against Allied warships continued throughout World War II. Kamikaze pilots deliberately crashed specially made planes directly into enemy warships, which resulted in suicide. It was a desperate policy. Motoharu Okamura, who commanded a kamikaze squadron, remarked that by 1944, “I firmly believe that the only way to swing the war in our favor is to resort to crash-dive attacks with our planes. There is no other way. Provide me with 300 planes and I will turn the tide of war.” In these kamikaze attacks, more than 3,000 Japanese pilots were killed, and there were more than 7,000 casualties among American, Australian, and British personell. However, the tide of war was not turned. Japan lost the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and later the war. Japan was forced to accept an unconditional surrender less than a year later.

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National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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