World War II Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What's the importance of the Bataan Death March in terms of WWII?

Expert Answers info

Phillip Holland eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write1,846 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

From a strategic perspective, the Bataan Death March had little impact on the course of the war. The march happened after American forces surrendered the Philippines to the Japanese. The Japanese army forcibly marched the prisoners back to a camp. During the march, the Japanese army tortured and beheaded several servicemen. Others were forced to go without food, water, or proper medical care after contracting tropical diseases.

The Bataan Death March was another rallying point for Americans who were already furious with the Japanese after the Pearl Harbor attack. The war in the Pacific was far more fierce than the one in Europe in terms of brutality. After the war, many Japanese officers were tried and executed in war crimes trials. The Bataan Death March was one of many crimes that Japanese officers and servicemen had to answer for during the American occupation of Japan.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

brettd eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write4,576 answers

starTop subjects are History, Social Sciences, and Literature

I mostly agree with the above post, but since the Bataan Death March happened early in the war, after the conquest of our colony the Philippines, it was really our first direct exposure to the Japanese Code of Bushido and the way in which they devalued humans who surrendered.

The brutality of that march, along with the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor on a Sunday, and the suicide attacks later in the war did shape US attitudes towards how the war should be fought.  Some even argue it contributed to the decision to drop the atomic bomb, both as revenge for things like Bataan and Nanking, and as a way to save American lives from an army that would fight to the last man.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

This incident did not really have much of an impact, if any, on the actual outcome of World War II.  And it did not have much of an impact on how the war was fought.  The only real importance of this is in how it affects the way we remember the war (and of course it affected the people involved, like one of my great-uncles who died in it).

The Bataan Death March happened after the US and Filipino troops surrendered their last position on Luzon in the Philippines.  This was the island fortress of Corregidor.  After the surrender, the troops were marched 60 miles or so off to a railhead that would bring them to a prison camp.  Along the way, many of the prisoners died because of the brutal way they were treated.

This became important as a symbol of Japanese brutality during WWII.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial



krishna-agrawala | Student

Bataan Death March refers to the forced march of of USA soldiers taken prisoners by Japanese in Philippines. On April 9, 1942 nearly 75,000 US and Filipino troops at Bataan Peninsula of surrendered to the Japanese. Most of these soldiers were made to march to prison camps located about 105 kilometers away. The soldiers faced gross mistreatment from the Japanese during the march. As a result many prisoners died on the way because of diseases, exhaustion and other causes. Different authorities have placed the number of causalities between six thousand and eleven thousand in a span of about one week.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial