Southwest Pacific Area

Photo Of The Day

Photo: August 01, 1944| Cr?dits : W. Eugene Smith. Desperation: Saipan civilians commit suicide rather than surrendering to American troops.

Photo: August 01, 1944| Cr?dits : W. Eugene Smith.
Desperation: Saipan civilians commit suicide rather than surrendering to American troops.

Suicide Cliff

The Battle of the Island of Saipan is most remembered as an amazing show of US military defiance, but there was another act of defiance which took place during that bloody battle:?Mass Suicide.

Fearing the US troops would torture and murder them?mainly due to propaganda laid out by the Japanese Imperial Army?the citizens of Saipan walked into the sea, or jumped off the cliffs and drowned themselves. The most notorious scene of the mass suicide was Marpi Point, a steep 250-meter (800 ft) precipice where American soldiers witnessed entire families fling themselves into the waves. First the older children pushed the younger children over the edge, then the mothers would push the eldest children, and finally the fathers would push their wives, before jumping over the edge themselves. Thousands of civilians?died this way.

The Imperial Army drove residents from shelters, took their food, prohibited them from surrendering, tortured, and slaughtered them on grounds of suspected spying. They forced people into ?mutual killing? among close relatives, and left the sick and handicapped on the battlefield.

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