How did American colonial rule shape the Philippines' experience of World War II?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One can argue that the Philippines' experience of WWII would have been quite different if they had not been a colony of the United States.  It is quite possible that the war would have been much less painful for the Philippines if they had been independent or a colony of some other country.  The reason for this is that the fighting in the Philippines was more intense and prolonged than in any other Asian country occupied by Japan.

Because the US had colonized the Philippines, there were US troops there, along with the Philippine Army which had been created by the US.  None of the other Asian colonies had such a presence, especially not of their own army.  This meant that the fighting was much more prolonged in the Philippines, leading to the Bataan Death March in which most of the dead were Filipino.

Because the US had colonized the Philippines, there was the assumption that they had to come back and fight to liberate the islands instead of simply defeating Japan and then accepting the surrender of the Philippines (as was done with most other occupied areas).  The fighting to liberate the Philippines (and the way the Japanese army treated the Filipinos as it became clear they had lost) was very intense as well.

Overall, then, one can argue that the Philippines would not have seen so much fighting if they had not been a colony of the US.

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