Japanese Occupation of the Philippines.

The Japanese Occupation

A few hours after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the Japanese launched air raids in several cities and US military installations in the Philippines on December 8 and on December 10, the first Japanese troops landed in Northern Luzon.

General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), was forced to retreat to Bataan. Manila was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1942. The fall of Bataan was on April 9, 1942 with Corregidor Island, at the mouth of Manila Bay, surrendering on May 6 (an act which completely delayed the Japanese war timetable).

The Commonwealth government by then had exiled in Washington, DC upon the invitation of President Roosevelt. The Philippine Army continued to fight the Japanese in a guerilla war and were considered auxiliary units of the United States Army. Several Philippine military awards, such as the Philippine Defense Medal, Independence Medal and Liberation Medal, were awarded to both the United States and Philippine Armed Forces.

The Japanese Invasion

The invasion by Japan began in December of 1941. As the Japanese forces advanced, Manila was declared an open city to prevent it from destruction, meanwhile, the government was moved to Corregidor. In March of 1942 U.S. General Douglas MacArthur and President Quezon fled the country.

The cruelty of the Japanese military occupation of the Philippines is legendary. Guerilla units harassed the Japanese when they could and on Luzon, native resistance was strong enough that the Japanese never did get control of a large part of the island. Finally in October of 1944 McArthur had gathered enough additional troops and supplies to begin the retaking of the Philippines, landing with Sergio Osmena who had assumed the Presidency after Quezon's death.

The battles entailed long fierce fighting, some of the Japanese continued to fight until the official surrender of the Empire of Japan on September 2. After their landing, American forces undertook measures to suppress the Huk-Movement, which was originally founded to fight the Japanese Occupation. The American forces removed local Huk governments and imprisoned many high-ranking members of the Philippine Communist Party. While these incidents happened there was still fighting against the Japanese forces and despite the American measures against the Huk they still supported American soldiers in the fight against the Japanese.

Over a million Filipinos had been killed in the war and many towns and cities, including Manila, were left in ruins. The final Japanese soldier to surrender was Hiroo Onoda, in 1974.

For further information on the history of the Philippines have a look here.

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