Watch in Full Color The Fierce Battle of the Philippines During World War 2
War historians argued that the liberation of the Philippines was an unnecessary operation with so many American lives wasted. After having been kicked out of the Philippines two years earlier, General Douglas MacArthur was itching for revenge and convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt that he might lose reelection in 1944 if he will not liberate the island chain he had so ineptly tried to defend in 1942.
From a strategic standpoint, the decision to liberate the Philippines was deemed unnecessary. The other generals knew that there would be no strategic gain from taking back the Philippine islands because the Americans are already winning.
By 1944, the Japanese air and naval presence on the island had been largely nullified and it was too far from Japan to be of use as a base from which to launch raids on its cities, leaving little reason to invade the place other than to satisfy MacArthur’s pride and to fulfill his promise that he will return.
MacArthur wouldn’t simply bypass the Philippines. He had a sacred pledge.
Admiral Nimitz wanted to bypass the Philippines and occupy Formosa instead in order to launch a direct assault on Japan. But General MacArthur argued that the U.S. had a moral obligation to liberate the Philippines from Japanese oppression, given that the U.S. had governed the Philippines prior to the war and was charged with their defense.
MacArthur wouldn’t simply bypass the Philippines, he had a sacred pledge to liberate the archipelago and failing to do so would be an eternal stain to U.S. honor. It seems that President Roosevelt thought that Nimitz’s strategic reasoning was more sound, but in the end agreed with MacArthur.
MacArthur argued that the U.S. had a moral obligation to liberate the Philippines from Japanese oppression.
The time spent securing the islands and the resources committed to doing so delayed the more important invasion of Okinawa in 1945. The liberation of Philippines may have been pointless today but for the Filipinos during those times, being finally liberated from the evil Japanese soldiers who turned the Philippines into a living hell hole must have been a huge relief.
The operation, which eventually went down into the history books as the Battle of the Philippines or Operation Musketeer, started when the US Sixth Army landed on the island of Leyte on the 20th day of October 1944.
The Sixth Army arrived in Leyte, Philippines and after months of fighting, they won against the Japanese.
The Sixth Army received support from the U.S. Navy as they fought the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Battle of Leyte Gulf which took place in a span of 4 days from October 23 to 26. The Americans won and the Japanese lost four of their aircraft carriers along with several battleships, cruisers, and destroyers.
At that point, the Imperial Navy’s forces was badly weakened, they never attempted go get into a major battle again. The Sixth Army, however, received further strength as the Fifth Air Force supported them. Meanwhile, Philippine guerilla forces under the leadership of Ruperto Kangleon also fought side by side with the Americans by assaulting enemy patrols, blowing up bridges, and sabotaging ammunition depots and supplies. They also informed the US forces about the movements of Japanese troops.
Eventually, the Sixth Army arrived in Leyte Island and after months of fighting, they successfully cut off reinforcements to the Japanese troops at the Battle of Ormoc Day in December.
By 1945, the entire Philippines was already under the control of the Americans.
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