In the event, by May 1942 the Japanese had overrun the Philippines, forcing the US to surrender its forces after dogged rearguard actions at Bataan and Corregidor. MacArthur was evacuated, accompanied on his retreat to Australia by the Commonwealth’s President Manuel Quezon. The Japanese stationed an enormous occupation force, some 625,800 soldiers, in the Philippines, which were rightly regarded as crucial to defence of the home islands and to the entire Japanese position in South-east Asia. Few members of the Hispanic elites who had collaborated with the Americans had qualms about switching their allegiance. The Japanese met them halfway, explaining, ‘Like it or not you are Filipinos and belong to the Oriental race. No matter how hard you try, you cannot become white people.’33 Tokyo offered its collaborators independence more rapidly than the defeated Americans had done. In July 1943 they were instructed to draft a constitution, the quid pro quo being that they declare war on the US, which after much foot dragging they did in September 1944.
Sunday, March 6, 2016
The Japanese stationed an enormous occupation force, some 625,800 soldiers, in the Philippines
From Small Wars, Faraway Places by Michael Burleigh. Page 25. I had not realized that the Japanese occupation of the Philippines required such a sizeable part of their army (about 10% of their entire field force). Nor had I realized that the occupied Philippines had declared war on the US. All sorts of interesting details get left out of the simplified overviews.