Do any Manileños remember what happened between February and March 68 years ago when two powers – Japan and the United States – turned the Philippine capital into a battleground?
Manila’s population was decimated and centuries of historic treasures were lost forever.
In remembrance of this tragedy, I would like to share with you today a piece that my hubby Alan wrote on the Battle of Manila.
It is also good to remember this in the light of present events – as Japan and the Philippines cozy up to each other and Manila pressures the US into taking sides in the West Philippine Sea conflict.
The month Manila died
by Alan C. Robles
It was meant to be liberation. Instead it became obliteration.
Between February and March, 1945, Japanese and American troops fighting for possession of Manila slaughtered at least 100,000 Filipinos who’d been expecting deliverance. Manila was flattened. By the time the fighting ended, one of Asia’s most beautiful cities was reduced to acres of debris, ash and heaps of rubble. The only things standing were burned, blackened stumps and hollowed out shells of buildings.
It was an apocalpyse the city’s inhabitants hadn’t expected. When 1945 started, many Filipinos were looking forward to being freed from the grasp of a cruel conqueror. In 1942, Japanese invaders had defeated a US army composed largely of Filipinos, most of them untrained. The Japanese had promised an “Asia for the Asians” in a “Co-Prosperity Sphere” free of white imperialists. Instead they simply imposed their own imperialism, maltreating Filipinos, kidnapping women for use in mobile army brothels, seizing, torturing and murdering all who opposed the new rulers.
Now it was time for payback: the Americans, commanded by General Douglas Macarthur, had returned in overwhelming strength and Filipino guerrillas were flocking to join them. The Japanese navy and air force were shattered, the army driven back.
To read the rest, please click on this link…