When news of the “Bataan Death March” reached the American public, people were absolutely outraged. Their husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and nephews were not just mistreated ... they were dying needlessly at the hands of Japanese forces invading the Philippines. Propaganda posters, like the one depicted in this image, were not uncommon. Image online via the U.S. National Archives.


Captured Japanese photographs, and drawings by Ben Steele (a Death-March survivor), depict the men en route and at their final destination:

  • The day after their surrender, with hands tied behind their backs, hungry men went from a terrible situation into an unending nightmare.

  • Totally deprived of food and water, they were forced to march 60 miles in less than two weeks. Many men dropped dead (or were killed by the Japanese) on the way.

  • American prisoners fashioned makeshift litters to carry fallen comrades (seen here as they approach Camp O’Donnell) who had collapsed.

  • Along the way, civilian Filipinos tried to help the captives by “slipping” them food.

  • On the sixth day of the march, prisoners were jammed inside box cars as they crossed the mountainous terrain from San Fernando to Capas. Many died of heat, malaria, dehydration and dysentery.

  • The end of the march meant death for many.

  • After the Allies recaptured the Philippines, U.S. medical teams attempted to identify more than 100 American prisoners of war who were first captured at Bataan and Corregidor and then burned alive at the Japanese prisoner-of-war camp at Puerto Princesa, Palawan. On March 20, 1945 the remains of one of those men were buried.

People attempting to escape capture as Bataan fell tried to swim the 2½ miles to nearby Corregidor. To make it, they had to traverse shark-infested waters. To survive, they also had to dodge the bullets of Japanese riflemen intending to kill them before they reached shore.

Scores of Filipinos and Americans were drowned or killed, but approximately 2,000 refugees reached the rocky island now commanded by General Wainwright. Hardly any of them were combat soldiers. All would further tax Corregidor’s limited food supplies.

Although they had escaped the brutality of the Death March, those who fled would not escape capture by the Japanese. The following month, Wainwright was forced to surrender Corregidor.

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Aug 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: Jul 07, 2019

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"DEATH MARCH PHOTOS" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 01, 2005. Jun 05, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips