February 3 – March 3, 1945 – Battle Of Manila
President Roosevelt – Gen. Douglas MacArthur – Messages to People Of Manila – March 3, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Battle Of Manila – although the messages of victory conveyed by President Roosevelt and General Douglas MacArthur spoke of the fall of Manila – that was actually a month after the Battle began, on February 3, 1945.
The Battle of Manila from 3 February – 3 March 1945 was a major battle of the Philippine campaign of 1944–45, during the Second World War. It was fought by forces from both the United States and the Philippines against Japanese troops in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. The month-long battle, which resulted in the death of over 100,000 civilians and the complete devastation of the city, was the scene of the worst urban fighting in the Pacific theater. Japanese forces committed mass murder against Filipino civilians during the battle. Along with massive loss of life, the battle also destroyed architectural and cultural heritage dating back to the city’s founding, and Manila became one of the most devastated capital cities during the entire war, alongside Berlin and Warsaw. The battle ended the almost three years of Japanese military occupation in the Philippines (1942–1945). The city’s capture was marked as General Douglas MacArthur’s key to victory in the campaign of reconquest. It is the last of the many battles fought within Manila’s history.
On 3 February, elements of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division under Maj. Gen. Verne D. Mudge pushed into the northern outskirts of Manila and seized a vital bridge across the Tullahan River, which separated them from the city proper, and quickly captured Malacanang Palace. A squadron of Brig. Gen. William C. Chase’s 8th Cavalry, the first unit to arrive in the city, began a drive toward the sprawling campus of the University of Santo Tomas, which had been turned into the Santo Tomas Internment Camp for civilians and the US Army and Navy nurses sometimes known as the “Angels of Bataan”.
Since 4 January 1942, a total of thirty-seven months, the university’s main building had been used to hold civilians. Out of 4,255 prisoners, 466 died in captivity, three were killed while attempting to escape on 15 February 1942, and one made a successful breakout in early January 1945.
Capt. Manuel Colayco, a USAFFE guerrilla officer, became an allied casualty of the city’s liberation, after he and his companion, Lt. Diosdado Guytingco, guided the American First Cavalry to the front gate of Santo Tomas. Struck by Japanese bullets, Colayco died seven days later in Legarda Elementary School, which became a field hospital. At 9 PM, five tanks of the 44th Tank Battalion, headed by “Battlin’ Basic”, headed into the compound.
The Japanese, commanded by Lt. Col. Toshio Hayashi, gathered the remaining internees together in the Education Building as hostages, and exchanged pot shots with the Americans and Filipinos. The next day, 5 February, they negotiated with the Americans to allow them to rejoin Japanese troops to the south of the city, carrying only individual arms. The Japanese were unaware the area they requested, was the now American-occupied Malacañan Palace, and soon afterwards were fired upon and several were killed, including Hayashi.
On 4 February, the 37th Infantry Division freed more than 1,000 prisoners of war, mostly former defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, held at Bilibid Prison, which had been abandoned by the Japanese.
The battle for Manila was the first and fiercest urban fighting in the entire Pacific War. Few battles in the closing months of World War II exceeded the destruction and the brutality of the massacres and savagery of the fighting in Manila. In Manila’s business district only two buildings were not damaged and those two were looted of their plumbing.
Here is a message, delivered by President Roosevelt and General Douglas MacArthur to the people of Manila the day the allies took control of the city.