Since the Japanese had begun building defensive fortifications on Saipan as early as 1934, one cannot imagine the terror these young Marines encountered… and endured.
Saipan is an island within the Marianas Island group. It is 12 miles long and just under 6 miles wide, altogether encompassing around 90 square miles. Following the Spanish-American War (1898), the United States occupied the island of Saipan, a Spanish-held territory, for a short period of time. Subsequently, Spain sold the island to Germany in 1899. Germany administered the island as part of German New Guinea, but there was never any serious attempt to develop of settle the island. Essentially, control of Saipan remained in the hands of its Spanish/Mestizo landowners.
During World War I, Japan was an ally and therefore an enemy of Germany. Japan “captured” Saipan and, with appreciation for their participation in World War I, the League of Nations granted to Japan formal control over it. In time, Saipan became one of Japan’s more important possessions and a…
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