A vast and complex conflict involving a number of separate and interrelated wars. With roots in Japan's militarist expansionism on the Asian continent in the 1930s, and especially its war with China beginning in 1937, the Asia-Pacific War fed into Japan's decision to risk war with the United States, Great Britain and their allies in December 1941. By the end of the war, most of Japan's major cities had been destroyed by bombing raids, and at least 13 million people were homeless. The war ended with Japan's surrender following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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