Raid on Taipei

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Taihoku Air Raid
Part of World War II, Pacific theater
Taihoku Air Raid 1945.jpg
An aerial photograph by U.S. Air Force
DateMay 31, 1945
Taihoku, Japanese Taiwan (modern-day Taipei, Taiwan)
Result Allied victory
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg  Japan Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States
Virtually nonexistent 117 B-24
Casualties and losses
Civilians killed: 3,000+
Wounded/Displaced: tens of thousands

The Taihoku Air Raid (traditional Chinese and Japanese : 臺北大空襲;; pinyin : Táiběi Dà Kōngxí; rōmaji : Taihoku Daikūshū) that took place on 31 May 1945 was the largest Allied air raid on the city of Taihoku (modern-day Taipei) during World War II. Despite efforts by Allied planners to minimize civilian casualties, many residents were killed in the raid and tens of thousands wounded or displaced.

Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han dynasty and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.

Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japanese has been grouped with language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

Pinyin Chinese romanization scheme for Mandarin

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.



Location of bombs landed during the air raid Taipei bomb.jpg
Location of bombs landed during the air raid

As early as 1943, Fourteenth Air Force of the United States Army Air Forces and units of the combined air force of U.S. and Nationalist China had launched several air raids against military and industrial targets in Japanese Taiwan. Before this, Soviet volunteer units and Chinese air force had attacked military bases around Taihoku, most of which were targeted on smaller objectives and were of smaller scales. After American ground forces captured Subic Bay in the Philippines, the Allied air forces began larger and more systematic air raids against targets on the island of Taiwan. After 12 October 1944, Allied air forces began scheduled air raids on factories located in Heitō (Pingtung) and Kobi (Huwei), Takao Harbor (Port of Kaohsiung), and fighter production facility in the outskirt of Takao (Kaohsiung). Also, Taihoku, the capital and political and financial center of Taiwan, had been under constant aerial assaults by the Allies since that time.

Fourteenth Air Force Numbered air force of the United States Air Force responsible for space forces

The Fourteenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). It is headquartered at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

United States Army Air Forces aerial warfare branch of the United States army from 1941 to 1947

The United States Army Air Forces, officially known as the Army Air Forces, was the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army during and immediately after World War II (1939/41–1945), successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force of today, one of the five uniformed military services. The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which on 2 March 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply, and the Army Air Forces. Each of these forces had a commanding general who reported directly to the Army Chief of Staff.

Republic of China (1912–1949) 1912–1949 country in Asia, when the Republic of China governed mainland China

The Republic of China (ROC) was a sovereign country that existed between 1912 and 1949 based in Mainland China, which is now controlled by the People's Republic of China. It was established in January 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China. The Republic's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only briefly before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, the leader of the Beiyang Army. Sun's party, the Kuomintang (KMT), then led by Song Jiaoren, won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. However, Song was assassinated on Yuan's orders shortly after; and the Beiyang Army, led by Yuan, maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan proclaimed himself Emperor of China before abdicating not long after due to popular unrest. After Yuan's death in 1916, the authority of the Beiyang government was further weakened by a brief restoration of the Qing dynasty. Cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed individual autonomy and clashed with each other during the ensuing Warlord Era.

Air Raid

The Japanese Governor-General's Office (now the Presidential Office Building) was directly hit Presidential Building, Taiwan (0750).JPG
The Japanese Governor-General's Office (now the Presidential Office Building) was directly hit

On 31 May 1945, units of the Fifth Air Force consisting of 117 Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombers were sent to conduct the largest air raid ever on Taiwan. The bombing began from around ten o'clock in the morning and lasted until one o'clock in the afternoon, during which the attack was non-stop. The Americans met virtually no resistance from the Japanese, mainly due to the attrition the Japanese air forces had suffered in the Aerial Battle of Taiwan-Okinawa, which completely exhausted Japan's fighter units in Taiwan. The Allies dropped approximately 3,800 bombs on military units and governmental facilities in Taihoku[ citation needed ]; many other buildings within the downtown area and Japanese quarter also suffered various damages.

Fifth Air Force Numbered air force of the United States Air Force responsible for the Japanese region

The Fifth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). It is headquartered at Yokota Air Base, Japan. It is the U.S. Air Force's oldest continuously serving Numbered Air Force. The organization has provided 70 years of continuous air power to the Pacific since its establishment in September 1941.

Consolidated B-24 Liberator 1939 bomber aircraft family by Consolidated Aircraft

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator is an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. It was known within the company as the Model 32, and some initial production aircraft were laid down as export models designated as various LB-30s, in the Land Bomber design category.

Heavy bomber Bomber aircraft of the largest size and load carrying capacity

Heavy bombers are bomber aircraft capable of delivering the largest payload of air-to-ground weaponry and longest range of their era. Archetypal heavy bombers have therefore usually been among the largest and most powerful military aircraft at any point in time. In the second half of the 20th century, heavy bombers were largely superseded by strategic bombers, which were often smaller in size, but were capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Buildings hit

Lungshan Temple was extensively damaged by the raid and ensuing fire Lungshan temple taipei taiwan.jpg
Lungshan Temple was extensively damaged by the raid and ensuing fire

The Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan suffered a direct hit, in spite of the building being heavily camouflaged to avoid being targeted. The building suffered extensive damage from fire caused by the bombs and almost collapsed on itself; it was rendered unoccupiable and was not repaired until the Nationalist Chinese takeover. Other facilities hit during the bombing included the residence of the Assistant Governor-General, Taiwan Railway Hotel, Office of Governor-General Library, Army Headquarters, Taihoku Imperial University, Taipei Main Station, Bank of Taiwan, Taihoku High Court, Taihoku New Park, and many other facilities.

National Taiwan University A national university in Taipei

National Taiwan University is a national university in Taipei City, Taiwan. NTU is the most prestigious comprehensive university in Taiwan and one of the top ranked universities in the world. It consists of 11 colleges, 56 departments, 112 graduate institutes, four research centers and a school of professional education and continuing studies.

Taipei Main Station railway and metro station in Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei Main Station is a railway and metro station in Taipei, Taiwan. It is served by Taiwan High Speed Rail, the Taiwan Railways Administration, and the Taipei Metro. It is also connected through underground passageways to the terminal station of Taoyuan Airport MRT and the Taipei Bus Station. In 2017, it was the busiest station on all three rail systems, with a total of 190 million entries and exits.

Bank of Taiwan central bank

The Bank of Taiwan is a commercial bank headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan. It is administered and owned by the Executive Yuan of Taiwan.

Civilian casualties

Although the Allies tried to avoid civilian casualties, many civilian installations were mistakenly bombed, including Taihoku Prefectural Taihoku First Girls' High School, Huashan Catholic Church of Taihoku, and the famous Lungshan Temple of Manka, which was hit in the main building and the left corridor; many precious artifacts and art works in the temple were lost in the ensuing fire. [1]

Taipei First Girls High School Public school

Taipei First Girls High School, is a Taiwanese high school, located in Zhongzheng District within Taipei City, with only the top 1% of scorers on the Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students (國民中學學生基本學力測驗) receiving admission. Its male counterpart is the Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School.


The number of deaths totaled more than 3,000, which exceeded the total number of deaths resulting from all the previous air raids on Taiwan by the Allies. Tens of thousands of people were displaced or became homeless, and many buildings were destroyed either by the attacks or by the fire caused by the attacks. The air raid showed that the city was defenseless against Allied aerial assaults, and the Governor-General ordered schools and other installations to be evacuated, and that more air raid drills be held.

After the conclusion of World War II, because of its pro-American political stance, the government of Republic of China toned down the attack and excluded it from the media and history textbooks.

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

On 15 July 2009, two duds assumed to be dropped during this raid were found in a construction site of MRT Xinyi Line near Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Bomb-disposal units of the ROC Armed Forces removed them.

See also

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  1. "THE INTRODUCTION OF LUNGSHAN TEMPLE". 艋舺龍山寺網站. Retrieved 1 June 2019. It is well known that the statue of Kuan-in in this temple survived the bombing from the allied aircrafts [sic] on 8 June 1945. Lungshan Temple was bombed on that day. The whole main hall and a part of the right annex were burned out during the air raid, but the statue of Kuan-in in the center of the main hall left intact. This is the most famous manifestation of efficacy of Lungshan Temple.