US Marine discovers a near-dead baby in a cave in the jungle of Saipan island, 1944

In a photograph that somehow contains both tenderness and horror, a US Marine carries a dead infant pulled from under a cliff while soldiers remove Japanese fighters and civilians from the Saipan caves in the summer of 1944.

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

The Americans declared Saipan "safe" on July 9, 1944, after a battle that destroyed a 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 (Japanese The settlers worked the island's sugar cane fields).

It has been called a "war without mercy"—a battle supercharged by racial stereotypes about the enemy. Japanese soldiers hid in thickets on the island long after the end of the war, refusing to give up and attacking American troops stationed on the island. A large group led by Captain Oba surrendered only in December 1945 when the war had become prolonged.

Over 1,000 Japanese civilians committed suicide in the final days of the war out of fear of the Japanese killed in the American war. Some Japanese people living near the cliff jumped from what was later named Suicide Cliff and Banzai Cliff.

These will become part of the National Historic Landmark District in the form of Landing Beaches; Eslito/Islay Field; and Marpi Point, Saipan Island, which was named in 1985. Today these sites are a memorial and Japanese people come to console the soul of the victim.

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