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Victory over Japan saw the United States touch a zenith of power without equal in world history. The most obvious symbols of that power were the atomic bombs which had devastated the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and hastened the Japanese surrender. But by every other yardstick American military and economic strength in the summer of 1945 was awesome, both in scale and for the effectiveness with which it had been mobilised. There were 12,123,455 men and women in uniform compared with 458,363 in 1940. They were deployed on a global scale across two widely separated theatres of war; 68 army divisions contributed to the defeat of Germany, while in Asia and the Pacific a further 22 army and 6 marine divisions fought against Japan. Even before the use of atomic weapons, American strategic bombing had ruined Japan’s cities, and, with their British allies, brought similar destruction to Germany. In naval terms, the fast carrier force and submarine fleet had projected American offensive power across the Pacific. No armed forces had ever been as well equipped and supplied.
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