Iwo Jima was a critical battle of WWII – both for its strategic importance and its ferocity. This clip reveals why both American invaders and Japanese defenders were willing to fight to the death for this volcanic rock in the Pacific Ocean. In 1945, American forces were fighting their way towards Tokyo to invade mainland Japan. The Japanese knew it and presumed the US would need to capture a tiny volcanic island called Iwo Jima on their inevitable path to the homeland. While the Japanese had no hope of holding the island, they had time to heavily fortify. Their goal: inflict as much damage as possible while holding off a US invasion of mainland Japan. The American goal was to control this speck of land for its airfields.