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We the Teachers

MacArthur’s Return to the Philippines

October 15, 2019

by Jeremy Gypton

On 20 October 1944, American forces under General Douglas MacArthur landed in the Philippines, establishing an organized presence there for the first time since Spring 1942. Japan’s invasion of the islands after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 had cut off American troops stationed there, and General MacArthur had been ordered to evacuate by FDR in early 1942, leading to MacArthur’s famous comment that “I shall return” to the Philippines, spoken from a railway platform in Australia upon his arrival there. FDR’s government asked MacArthur to amend the comment to “we” for future use, but the General ignored the request and typically referred to his future return to the Philippines with the singular pronoun.

Regardless of the behind-the-scenes politics and public optics of MacArthur’s comments, it was from Australia that the general began working to liberate the Philippines, launching a military campaign across the South Pacific that began in late 1942 and would lead to the shores of Leyte. General MacArthur announced these landings after he famously waded ashore at Leyte, fulfilling his promise to the Philippine people.

You can read the full text of MacArthur’s remarks upon his return below:

Radio Address Upon Returning to the Philippines

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