Today in Philippine History, February 3, 1945, the American forces liberated prisoners of war in Manila

Friday February 03, 2012 ()

On February 3, 1945, the American forces liberated nearly 4,000 prisoners of war in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) internment camp in Manila, which signaled the full American control and victory over the Japanese invaders in the Philippines.

The month-long battle, which ended on March 3, 1945, destroyed the city and left scores of people dead. It marked General Douglas MacArthur’s victory in the campaign of reconquest against Japanese military occupation from 1942 to 1945.

Aerial view of the devastated Manila in May 1945
(Aerial view of the devastated Manila in May 1945)

The losing Japanese troops took out their anger and frustration on the civilians caught up in the crossfire, committing multiple acts of severe brutality, later known as Manila Massacre.

For the rest of the month, the Americans and Filipino guerrillas mopped up resistance throughout the city.

An estimated 100,000 Filipino civilians were killed, both deliberately by the Japanese and from artillery and aerial bombardment by the U.S. military forces. About 12,000 Japanese soldiers died, mostly sailors from the Japanese Manila Defense Force.

With Intramuros secured on March 4, 1945, Manila was officially liberated.

Before the fighting ended, MacArthur summoned a provisional assembly of prominent Filipinos to Malacanang Palace and in their presence declared the Commonwealth of the Philippines to be permanently reestablished.

"My country kept the faith," he told the gathered assembly. "Your capital city, cruelly punished though it be, has regained its rightful place -- citadel of democracy in the East.”

Hence, in memory of the victims of the war, on February 18, 1995, the Shrine of Freedom, also known as Memorare Manila Monument, was erected at the Plaza de Santa Isabel, also known as the Plaza Sinampalukan, at the corner of General Luna and Anda Streets in Intramuros.

Reference: Philippine News Agency
Photo credit: FYI.


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