Oct. 20, 2020, marks the 76th anniversary of General Douglas MacArthur’s promised return to the Philippines. This first short video is from newsreel footage of MacArthur’s return to the Philippines. He had left the Philippines just before the Japanese conquest of the islands at the Battle of Corregidor on May 5 and 6, 1942.
When he left he made a promise to the Philippines saying, “I Shall Return!” It would be 2 1/2 years before he did.
After the surrender of the American forces at Corregidor, the Japanese forced the Americans, including American nurses and Filipino captives on the Bataan Death March. Those who had survived that horrible march endured the hell of Japanese POW camps until the return of American forces. The Japanese had also brought the full weight of their powers to the subjugation of the people of the Philippines. Filipino guerrilla fighters would heroically keep up their efforts against the Japanese as best they could.
Over those two years the American and Allied forces would conduct the long, hard and bitterly fought island hopping campaigns taking one Japanese held island or island group after another. The costs were staggering in terms of men, ships, aircraft and material, but each victory brought the forces of freedom every closer to the Japanese mainland. The Philippines would be the largest nation to be liberated in the Pacific Theater on the way to the Japanese home islands and the ultimate defeat of Japanese Imperialism.
American Marines, Army and US Naval and allied forces would engage in monumental battles against the entrenched Japanese occupying forces all across the Pacific from the Marianas, to the Gilbert and Solomon Island groups including: Guam, Guadalcanal, Saipan, New Guinea, and Borneo. Each proved to be bloody affairs.
By October 1944, the Americans objective became the liberation of the Philippines. They would engage the Japanese Navy in the Leyte Gulf in one of the greatest sea battles in history and the Marines would finally go ashore on Leyte Island. It was here that Gen. MacArthur and the Philippine President would be filmed for all the world to see coming ashore off of an American landing craft.
MacArthur had returned, just as he said he would.
The second video is the radio address he gave to the Philippine nation on his return.
On this 76th anniversary of MacArthur’s return to the Philippines, Oct. 20, 1944, the Veterans Site wishes to honor the monumental historical efforts that led up to the eventual liberation of the Philippines during WWII. We honor General Douglas MacArthur and, even more, the men who went ashore with him to bring about the liberation of the Filipino people from the tyranny of Japanese Imperialism in WWII.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.