Dramatic Colorized Images of Battle of Iwo Jima Show the Brutalities of War

During the Battle of Iwo Jima, thousands of Marines experienced the horrors of war as shells exploded across the landscape and bodies were left in the sand. Considered one of the bloodiest campaigns in the Pacific, over 26,000 American service members were killed or wounded during the fight, and new colorized images help show what they encountered.

The images were colorized by Nicholas Rodriguez who, according to a report by the Daily Mail, wanted to show people what US Marines and others in the battle experienced.

“For lack of a better word, these pictures show reality,” said Rodriguez. “The reason I put so much emphasis on accuracy in these photos because it’s not about making these pictures pretty. It’s about showing the public what these individuals had to go through and what they saw with their very own eyes.”

“These moments are forever captured with each telling a story in every frame,” he added. “If there’s one thing I can say, it’s never forget how much history has an impact on our lives. People usually think ‘It was so long ago, who cares?’ because they see images as black and white and they become out of touch.”

“People like what they can relate to and with colorized images they get to see history in the making as if it was done yesterday.”

Marines first landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, looking to capture the airfield that was deemed of strategic importance in just a week, ahead of an anticipated invasion of mainland Japan.

Ultimately, the battle waged on for five weeks. Japanese tunnels that connected defensive bunkers meant hundreds of bombs were dropped on the area, along with thousands of heavy artillery shells.

Japanese forces also fought to nearly the last man, with only 216 of an estimated 21,000 defenders surrendering or being captured during the battle.

The primary intent of the battle was to prevent Japanese forces from attacking American bombers leaving the island to hit the Japanese mainland, though many questioned whether the island truly offered strategic value.

In the end, the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima led to Japan’s surrender, and the planned invasion from Iwo Jima never took place.