Introduction

In March 1942, with the Japanese on the verge of conquering the Philippines (then an American colony), President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of American Army Forces in the Far East, to leave Corregidor island in Manila Bay, to which he had withdrawn as the Japanese advanced. Upon his arrival in Australia, MacArthur vowed, “I shall return.” On October 20, 1944, MacArthur waded ashore in the Leyte Gulf as American troops landed to re-take the Philippines. He immediately delivered this radio address.


Source: AmericanVoices, Vincent Voice Library, MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences, Michigan State University https://goo.gl/LaAt4q


TO THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES:

I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil – soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed, to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring, upon a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people.

At my side is your President, Sergio Osmena, worthy successor of that great patriot, Manuel Quezon, with members of his cabinet.1 The seat of your government is now therefore firmly re-established on Philippine soil.

The hour of your redemption is here. Your patriots have demonstrated an unswerving and resolute devotion to the principles of freedom that challenges the best that is written on the pages of human history. I now call upon your supreme effort that the enemy may know from the temper of an aroused and outraged people within that he has a force there to contend with no less violent than is the force committed from without.

Rally to me. Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead on.2 As the lines of battle roll forward to bring you within the zone of operations, rise and strike. Strike at every favorable opportunity. For your homes and hearths, strike! For future generations of your sons and daughters, strike! In the name of your sacred dead, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled. The guidance of divine God points the way. Follow in His Name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!

Douglas MacArthur

Study Questions

A. What is the purpose of MacArthur’s opening line? What is his message to the Filipino people?

B. How does MacArthur’s view of the enemy compare to the description in James Fahey’s Pacific War Diary?

Footnotes

  1. Manuel Quezon was president of the Philippines when the Japanese invaded and headed the Filipino government-in-exile until he died in April 1944 of tuberculosis.
  2. After long resistance, the surrender of American and Filipino troops in Bataan (April 1942) and Corregidor (May 1942) had completed the Japanese conquest.