How Filipino WWII Soldiers Were Written Out of History

tags: WWII, Filipino Soldiers

From 1941-1944, hundreds of thousands of Filipino soldiers fought and died under the command of American generals against the Japanese in the Philippines. This struggle included one of the worst military defeats in U.S. history, and a grisly period of imprisonment and occupation.

In exchange for their service in the United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE), Filipino soldiers were promised American citizenship and full veterans benefits. But Congress and President Truman reneged this offer in 1946. Only four thousand Filipino war veterans, out of an estimated 200,000 who survived the war, were able to get citizenship before the retraction was signed into law. 

You didn’t sleep through this section of US History. It was never taught. The role of Filipino soldiers in WWII has largely been erased from the history books.

In 1941, the United States suspected war with Japan was imminent. Whether they ‘knew’ Japan would strike Pearl Harbor is a matter of debate, but Japan had expanded its assaults to American allies. The Imperial Japanese objective was domination of all of Asia, and, having conquered Korea, parts of Russia, China and Taiwan, many of the countries that remained were colonial holdings of Western nations. According to an article in Salon:

“[Roosevelt’s] administration had adopted the objective of defeating all the Axis powers and had begun the military and the economic planning to achieve it. He had shared that objective publicly with the American people, a large majority of whom now accepted war as inevitable.”

The Philippines was a large American holding in the South Pacific. And what’s more, it was vulnerable. ...

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