War and Resistance in the Philippines, 1942–1944

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Overview

War and Resistance in the Philippines, 1942–1944 repairs the fragmentary and incomplete history of events in the Philippine Islands between the surrender of Allied forces in May 1942 and MacArthur’s return in October 1944. No book has comprehensively examined the Filipino resistance during this crucial period.Here, James Kelly Morningstar provides for the first time a comprehensive history of the protracted fighting by 260,000 guerrillas in 277 units across the archipelago.

Beginning with the Japanese occupation, the collapse of the United States Forces, Far East (USAFFE), and the simultaneous rise of the complex, diverse Philippine guerrilla movements, Morningstar exposes the inadequacy of MacArthur’s conventional plans while revealing his inchoate preparation for guerrilla resistance. Morningstar then recounts in detail the impromptu resistance led by refugee American and Filipino soldiers, local politicians, and social revolutionaries left to battle the Japanese—and each other—with emphasis on how Japanese, American, and Filipino actions influenced and proscribed each other.From a distance, MacArthur contacted select guerrillas and organized agents to deliver supplies and radios to them by submarine. In this way he empowered some to gain power as part of a united framework under his leadership. This not only kept alive the resistance that denied the Japanese exploitation of the Philippines while setting the conditions for MacArthur’s return, it also ensured that no one guerrilla leader could challenge America’s supremacy. MacArthur’s selective support to guerrilla groups that encouraged continued Filipino dependence on the United States would prove fatal for the incipient Maoist social revolution on Luzon. Even so, the Filipinos’ shared sacrifice in their act of resistance fueled a national consciousness that created a sense of deserved nationhood.

War and Resistance in the Philippines, 1942–1944 concludes with a brief discussion of legacies of the guerrilla resistance. MacArthur’s return reestablished the power of American and Filipino political elites. Guerrillas and other citizens who had experienced exceptional hardship now had to fight for recognition. However, the war had resulted in a more united Philippine national identity along with new political institutions to repair the divisions between the formerly exiled government, the collaborationists, and the members of resistance. These momentous years of struggle in the Philippines changed the tide of history and challenge our understanding of war and resistance.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“With thorough mastery of the sources, strict objectivity and intelligence, James Kelly Morningstar has written the first complete account of the Philippines in World War II, including the largely untold story of the operations of numerous widespread guerilla groups and the ordeal of the populace and government under Japanese occupation.” —Alan Rems, author of South Pacific Cauldron: World War II’s Great Forgotten Battlegrounds
“For years, Filipino guerrillas waged a valiant struggle against the Japanese during World War II that historians have overlooked for far too long — until now. Thanks to the dogged research of author James Kelly Morningstar, we now have a blow-by-blow account of this vital campaign, from its infancy following the surrender of Allied forces in 1942 through Douglas MacArthur’s triumphant return in late 1944. War and Resistance in the Philippines is a must-have for anyone interested in this fascinating and important history.” —James Scott, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Rampage and Target Tokyo
War and Resistance in the Philippines ,1942-1944 is a solid work of military history. It fills in a gap in the knowledge covering the Japanese occupation of the Philippine islands. War and Resistance is an essential narrative that captures the complex relationship between civil populations, insurgents and military forces. It’s as much a study in personality, character and psychology as a conventional military history…. War and Resistance will be of interest to the student of the World War II Philippines campaigns, the post-war Philippine insurgencies and general counter-insurgency studies.” —Armchair General
“This is probably the most complete—and most fully documented—book on day-to-day resistance activities in the Philippines to date. From beginning to end it's packed with colorful characters and memorable incidents. Heroes, villains, and victims leap from every page. For each person willing to sacrifice for a greater cause, someone strives for personal gain. Events, decisions, attitudes, and motives are seldom black and white. The war, the occupation, the collaboration, and the resistance transform everything into shades of gray. Readers looking for this kind of kaleidoscopic account of men and women caught up in the guerrilla war—or merely enduring Japanese occupation—will be thoroughly pleased by War and Resistance in the Philippines.” —Stone & Stone Second World War Books