Pearl Harbor was just the beginning of Japan’s attacks in the Pacific. The day after the infamous attack, Japan invaded the Philippines.
Bataan Death March
Japanese forces made quick work of the Philippines and took over the capital a month after the invasion. The United States troops tried to keep control over the islands but were outnumbered.
The U.S. was up against a fierce force and battling starvation, disease, and very few supplies. Their defenses were falling apart. By April 8, 1942, the Japanese were successful in taking full control of the islands.
This included Manila Bay and the Bataan Peninsula. On April 9, the U.S. surrendered, leaving 75,000 Filipino and American forces to be subjected to the Japanese, who made them walk 65- miles in the Bataan Death March.
Those who survived the march went into prison camps in San Fernando. Among the survivors were 12,000 Americans. The captives were starved, beaten, and bayoneted along the way.
Thousands died at the hands of Japanese soldiers before they even reached the camps, and once they were there, thousands more died from starvation, disease, and abuse.
Taking Back Bataan
General MacArthur had been ordered to leave the Philipines and the American soldiers who were there. It was the biggest group of soldiers to surrender to the Japanese.
MacArthur said he would be back and would rescue those who remained. Then, finally, in 1944, he got his chance. He began in Leyte.
First, the U.S. Navy took out the Japanese Fleet, then MacArthur and American troops pushed the Japanese out of the Philipines. Finally, they took over Bataan and removed the last of the Japanese soldiers from the peninsula.