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MacArthur's Return to the Philippines

MacArthur's Return to the Philippines American History Famous Historical Events Social Studies World War II Tragedies and Triumphs

In this image we see General Douglas MacArthur returning to the Philippines. A serious battle for the liberation of that island nation would soon commence.

The U.S. Navy describes this photo:

General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore at White Beach during the Leyte landings, 20 October 1944, during the Philippines Liberation.

In early 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered General MacArthur to leave The Philippines and set-up a new headquarters in Australia. Although he did not want to leave, MacArthur had no choice. A General—even one like MacArthur—must follow the directives of the Commander-in-Chief.

Leaving The Philippines, MacArthur promised to return. He made good on his promise more than two years later, when he—and a huge fleet of naval vessels and men—arrived in The Philippines in October of 1944.

We learn the details of what happened on the 20th of October from Reports of General MacArthur, The Campaigns of MacArthur in the Pacific, Volume 1 (Chapter 8, "The Leyte Operation"):

On 20 October, the largest mass of naval assault craft and warships ever concentrated in the Pacific sailed boldly into Leyte Gulf. The landing beaches and tactically important rear areas had already been softened by a continuous two-day ship and plane bombardment.1 After an additional morning barrage, the landing troops were ready to go ashore.

The main assault on the east coast of Leyte began at ten o'clock in the morning with landings along an 18-mile front between the two small villages of Dulag and San Jose. X Corps, comprising the 1st Cavalry and the 24th Divisions, covered the right flank of the landings to the north; XXIV Corps, consisting of the 7th and 96th Divisions, secured the left flank. Both shores of Panaon Strait at the southern tip of the island were seized by a single regimental combat team of the 21st Infantry which had gone ashore an hour prior to the main assault.

Did MacArthur address the Filipinos after his arrival?

General MacArthur's stirring promise to return to the Philippines was fulfilled shortly after the main landings. In a drenching rain he strode ashore on the muddy beachhead near Palo, following close to the assault echelons, and heralded the coming hour of liberation. Speaking to millions of waiting Filipinos over a portable radio set, he declared

This is the Voice of Freedom, General MacArthur speaking. 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. 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. As the lines of battle roll forward to bring you within the zone of operations, rise and 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!

Although MacArthur began to actualize his plan to overcome Japanese forces in the Pacific, during October of 1944, it would take much more time, and many more lost lives, before the War in the Pacific finally ended in the late summer of 1945.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5139stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Dec 18, 2017


Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Nav Source.org

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