On October 25, 1944, the Empire of Japan employed kamikaze suicide 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. 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.”
 
More than 3,000 Japanese pilots were killed, and the attacks resulted in more than 7,000 U.S., Australian, and British casualties. However, the tide of war was not turned. Japan lost the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and was forced to accept an unconditional surrender less than a year later. 
Allies
Noun

alliance of countries that opposed the Axis during World War II. The Allies were led by the U.S., the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.

deliberately
Adverb

on purpose.

desperate
Adjective

hopeless.

empire
Noun

group of nations, territories or other groups of people controlled by a single, more powerful authority.

employ
Verb

to hire or use.

ferocious
Adjective

fierce or savage.

kamikaze
Noun

suicide bombing tactic used by the Empire of Japan during World War II, in which a pilot would deliberately crash an explosives-laden plane into an enemy warship.

naval
Adjective

having to do with a government's navy, or military ships and crew.

pilot
Noun

person who steers a ship or aircraft.

policy
Noun

set of actions or rules.

squadron
Noun

tactical military unit.

suicide
Noun

intentional taking of one's own life.

suicide bombing
Noun

violent attack intended to kill the attacker as well as victims and/or property.

tactic
Noun

procedure or method for accomplishing a goal.

unconditional surrender
Noun

total surrender (giving up), in which no terms or guarantees are offered to the surrendering party.

warship
Noun

seagoing vessel built for armed conflict.

World War II
Noun

(1939-1945) armed conflict between the Allies (represented by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union) and the Axis (represented by Germany, Italy, and Japan.)

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