In honor of Tom Hanks’ apparent belief that the two sides in World War II were both equally evil, I am going to start a new series.
Today’s Fact: In the Japanese-occupied Philippines alone, at least 131,028 civilians and Allied prisoners of war were murdered.
The Manila massacre refers to the February 1945 atrocities conducted against Filipino civilians in Manila, Philippines by the Japanese troops during World War II.
To avoid needless violence and civilian deaths, and also to preserve as large a force as possible to continue defensive operations in rural Luzon, Imperial Japanese Army General Tomoyuki Yamashita had ordered a complete withdrawal of Japanese troops from Manila. However, 10,000 marines under Vice Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi disobeyed Yamashita’s orders and remained in Manila along with some IJA stragglers.
Various credible Western and Eastern sources agree that the death toll was at least 100,000. The massacre was at its worst in the Battle of Manila. During lulls in the battle for control of the city, Japanese troops took out their anger and frustration on the civilians caught in the crossfire. Japanese troops looted and burned, and brutally executed, decapitated and abused women, men and children alike, including priests, Red Cross personnel, prisoners of war and hospital patients.
In 2006, former IJN medical officer Akira Makino stated that he was ordered—as part of his training—to carry out vivisection on about 30 civilian prisoners in the Philippines between December 1944 and February 1945. The surgery included amputations. Ken Yuasa, a former military doctor in China, has also admitted to similar incidents in which he was compelled to participate.
A Japanese soldier took Dyess’ canteen, gave the water to a horse, threw the canteen away. In a broiling sun, the prisoners were herded through clouds of dust. Men recently killed lay along the road, their bodies flattened by Japanese trucks. Patients bombed out of a field hospital were pushed into the marching column. At midnight the entire group was penned in an enclosure too narrow to allow any of them to lie down. They had no water — a Japanese officer finally permitted them to drink at a dirty carabao wallow.
…Along the road in the province of Pampanga there are many wells. Half-crazed with thirst, six Filipino soldiers made a dash for one of the wells. All six were killed. As we passed Lubao we marched by a Filipino soldier gutted and hanging over a barbed-wire fence.
Before daylight on April 15 we marched out and 115 of us were packed into a small narrow-gauge box car. The doors were closed and locked. Movement was impossible. Many of the prisoners were suffering from diarrhea and dysentery. The heat and stench were unbearable. I made that march of about 85 miles in six days on one mess kit of rice. Other Americans made ‘the march of death’ in 12 days without any food whatever.
Question after Reading: Do you think any rage American soldiers might have shown towards the Japanese was as a result of racism or because of outrage over what the Japanese did?