Saturday, July 4, 2009


Although the Philippines had become an autonomous commonwealth in 1935, in 1941 the United States integrated its armed forces into the American military, and General Douglas MacArthur, military adviser to the Philippine government, was recalled to active duty and appointed Far East army commander. The northern Philippines were invaded in December 1941, and, profiting from air and sea superiority, the Japanese soon overran the islands, with the exception of the Bataan Peninsula on Luzon and the island fortress of Corregidor. After brave resistance Bataan fell on April 9, 1942, and Corregidor on May 6. MacArthur himself, on Roosevelt's order, was evacuated in a fast patrol boat. About 78,000 survivors of the fighting on Bataan (above) were herded on a 65-mile (105-km) "death march" on which many of them died from exhaustion or the brutal treatment of their guards.

American victims of the death march (above). In the controversial Far East war crimes trials the Japanese Lieutenant General Homma Masaharu was held responsible for the death march, whose excesses he blamed on officers under his command: he was executed on April 3, 1946.

No comments: