The Japanese Occupation (1941-1945)
World War II started in Europe on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded
Poland. In the Asia-Pacific region the increasing Japanese military imperialism
alarmed the United States, and made war with Japan almost a certainly.
In preparation for war, General Douglas MacArthur was put in command of the
16,000 American soldiers stationed in the country combined with 12,000 strong
Fleets of Japanese airborne bombers launched a surprise attack on Clark Air
Base in Pampanga and other American military installations in Manila, Baguio,
and Davao on December 8, 1941, just hours after the Japanese attacked Pearl
Harbor. It was the start of the Japanese invasion and subsequent occupation of
the Philippines. Due to lack of adequate defence and air support, the American
military fleet withdrew to Java on December 12, 1941.
Japanese troops landed in Lingayen Gulf on December 22, 1941and quickly
advanced across Central Luzon towards Manila. MacArthur declared Manila an
open city to prevent its destruction and the Commonwealth government of
President Quezon was moved to Corregidor where MacArthur concentrated his
military troops in the adjoining Bataan peninsula.
IN BUSINESS: The Philippine Airlines (PAL) was established in 1941. Its first
commercial flight was a 45-minute flight from Manila to Baguio using a twin-
engine Beech Model 18 aircraft with five passengers aboard, on March 15, 1941.
PAL is known to be Asia's pioneer commercial airline.
The Japanese occupying forces led by Masaharu Homma entered Manila on
January 2, 1942, signaling the Fall of Manila.
General Edward P. King surrendered on April 9, 1942 to spare the lives of some
76,000 starving and sick Filipino and American soldiers in what is considered the
Fall of Bataan. The outnumbered and battle weary soldiers did not receive badly
needed reinforcements, and eventually ran out of supplies and ammunitions. The
Japanese led their captives in a harrowing ten-day "Death March" to internment
camps where an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 soldiers were either killed, or died
along the way.
General Jonathan Wainwright surrendered the USAFFE armed forces in the
Philippines to General Masaharu Homma of the Japanese Imperial Army on May
6, 1942 in what is considered to be the Fall of Corregidor.
The Kapisanan sa Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas (Kalibapi) was established
and elected Jose P. Laurel as President of the Philippines. This party, however,
lasted only until 1945. Laurel was later accused of Japanese collaboration.
General Douglas MacArthur landed in Leyte Gulf with Sergio Osmeña Sr. and
Carlos P. Romulo on October 20, 1944. This signaled the liberation of the
Philippines from the Japanese forces. It was a fulfillment of MacArthur’s
declaration in 1942 that "I shall return."
Sergio Osmeña succeeded President Quezon as President of the Philippine
Commonwealth on August 1, 1944. President Quezon died of Tuberculosis while
in exile at Saranac Lake, New York.
Makabayang Kalipunan ng mga Pilipino (Makapili) was organized on December 8,
1944. The Japanese used its members to inform on guerrilla sympathizers.