Bataan Death March

Bataan Death March

A Marcha da Morte de Bataan * começou como um apelo pela vida. Os homens famintos que fizeram a marcha exaustiva na Segunda Guerra Mundial nunca seriam esquecidos. Em 9 de abril de 1942, as tropas americanas e filipinas na Península de Bataan, na Ilha de Luzon Ocidental, nas Filipinas, decidiram que não sobreviveriam por muito mais tempo em sua luta contra o japonês. Na tarde do dia 9, eles se entregaram aos japoneses levantando bandeiras brancas, camisetas e quaisquer outros artigos brancos que tivessem para avisá-los de que a luta havia terminado.Quando o Tenente Isso preparou o palco para um ataque de brutalidade indesculpável. Naquela época, os japoneses estavam cheios de vitória sobre os intrometidos estrangeiros com os quais lutaram por tantos anos e estavam prontos para mostrar que eram o poder superior em Ásia. Se um prisioneiro fosse encontrado com uma lembrança, ele era baleado imediatamente porque seus algozes presumiam que a única maneira de obter tal item era matando um soldado japonês.A certa altura, 30 prisioneiros de guerra tentaram encher seus cantis à beira da estrada. Quando os homens puderam descansar, foram forçados a descer no asfalto quente e aqueles que ficaram para trás, mesmo que alguns metros, foram alvejados e fuzilados. Em 1946, o general Homma foi considerado responsável pelo tratamento brutal dispensado aos soldados. Testemunhos de sobreviventes do incidente ajudaram a condenar o general por seus crimes de guerra.


* Pronunciado, local: bah-tah-'ahn, Inglês: buh-TAHN.


SOBRE BATAAN

Durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, em 9 de abril de 1942, 75.000 soldados dos Estados Unidos e soldados filipinos foram entregues às forças japonesas após meses de batalha em condições climáticas extremas. Os soldados dos EUA eram de vários ramos das forças armadas dos EUA: Exército, Corpo de Aviação do Exército, Marinha e Fuzileiros Navais. Entre os apreendidos estavam membros da 200th Coast Artillery, New Mexico National Guard.

Logo após o bombardeio de Pearl Harbor em 7 de dezembro de 1941, as forças japonesas começaram a invasão das Filipinas. A captura das Filipinas foi crucial para os japoneses. Isso os deixaria um passo mais perto do controle do sudoeste do Pacífico. As Filipinas eram tão importantes para os EUA. O fato de ter tropas nas Filipinas deu aos EUA um apoio no sudoeste do Pacífico. Após a invasão das Filipinas, as tropas filipinas dos EUA defenderam as terras cruciais.

Esses bravos soldados foram responsáveis ​​pela defesa das ilhas de Luzon, Corregidor e dos fortes de defesa do porto das Filipinas. Eles lutaram em uma região infestada de malária e sobreviveram com pequenas porções de comida. Alguns viviam com metade ou um quarto de ração. Os soldados careciam de atenção médica. Os médicos americanos fizeram o que puderam para ajudar seus colegas soldados. Eles lutaram com equipamentos desatualizados e virtualmente sem poder aéreo.

Os soldados recuaram para a Península das Filipinas quando as forças japonesas foram reforçadas e esmagaram os soldados filipinos dos EUA.

Em 9 de abril de 1942, os soldados americanos e filipinos se renderam após sete meses de batalha combinada com a exposição a elementos extremos, doenças e falta de suprimentos vitais. As dezenas de milhares de soldados americanos e filipinos foram forçados a se tornarem prisioneiros de guerra para os japoneses. Os soldados enfrentaram condições e tratamento horríveis como prisioneiros de guerra.

Os soldados foram privados de comida, água e cuidados médicos e foram forçados a marchar 65 milhas para campos de confinamento nas Filipinas.

Os soldados cativos marcharam por dias, aproximadamente 65 milhas através das selvas escaldantes das Filipinas. Milhares morreram. Os que sobreviveram enfrentaram as agruras dos campos de prisioneiros de guerra e a brutalidade de seus captores japoneses.

Os prisioneiros de guerra não veriam a liberdade até 1945, quando as forças filipinas dos EUA recapturaram o território perdido.

Em 1945, as forças filipinas dos EUA recapturaram as Filipinas e libertaram os soldados prisioneiros que sofriam nos campos de confinamento. Esses soldados seriam afetados pelas más condições dos campos e pelos maus-tratos por parte de seus captores japoneses. Cerca de um terço dos prisioneiros morreu de complicações de saúde depois de serem libertados.

Outros foram feridos ou mortos quando os navios inimigos não marcados que transportavam prisioneiros de guerra para o Japão foram afundados pelas forças aéreas e navais dos EUA.

Durante a Marcha da Morte de Bataan, cerca de 10.000 homens morreram. Desses homens, 1.000 eram americanos e 9.000 filipinos.

Isso teve um grande impacto nas famílias do Novo México. Dos 1.816 homens da Artilharia Costeira 200 e 515 identificados, 829 homens nunca deveriam voltar para casa, perdendo suas vidas em batalha, nas prisões ou após a libertação.

A Segunda Guerra Mundial, a guerra mais sangrenta da história, custou 60 milhões de vidas e terminou em 2 de setembro de 1945.

21 de março de 2021 marca o 79º aniversário da Marcha da Morte de Bataan.


Bataan Death March - História

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No Pacific Theatre da Segunda Guerra Mundial, as Filipinas eram uma área muito disputada devido à sua proximidade com o Japão e seu status como uma Comunidade dos Estados Unidos. Ao longo da guerra, muitas batalhas sangrentas foram travadas lá, incluindo a Batalha de Bataan.

Após uma terrível campanha de três meses no início de 1942, que deixou cerca de 10.000 soldados americanos e filipinos mortos, os japoneses saíram vitoriosos. Quase 80.000 soldados aliados depuseram suas armas, tornando-se a maior rendição americana na história.

Ao todo, o número total de prisioneiros era o dobro do que o tenente-general japonês Masaharu Homma esperava. Como ele não tinha veículos para transportar os prisioneiros para outro lugar, ele decidiu fazer os prisioneiros marcharem 70 milhas no calor tropical escaldante. Em 9 de abril de 1942, a Marcha da Morte de Bataan começou.

Com pouca comida ou água, os prisioneiros logo começaram a cair como moscas. Outros foram feitos para ficarem expostos à luz direta do sol, sem capacetes ou proteção. Alguns foram esfaqueados ou espancados aleatoriamente, enquanto outros foram alvejados se pedissem água. Os caminhões atropelariam aqueles que não pudessem continuar a marcha.

Após a longa marcha, os prisioneiros chegaram à estação ferroviária de San Fernando, onde foram forçados a entrar em vagões de carga em que as temperaturas atingiram alturas de 110 graus Fahrenheit. Muitos prisioneiros morreram nos trens.

Depois de desembarcar do trem, os prisioneiros marcharam mais 10 milhas até o acampamento O'Donnell. Finalmente, este foi o destino final da Marcha da Morte de Bataan, mas não o fim de seu terror.

Cerca de 20.000 soldados que sobreviveram à marcha e chegaram ao acampamento logo morreram ali graças a doenças, calor sufocante e execuções brutais.

Eventualmente, após a rendição do Japão três anos depois, oito generais, incluindo Masaharu Homma, foram todos executados por crimes de guerra relacionados aos horrores inesquecíveis da Marcha da Morte de Bataan.


Sobreviventes contam a história de 'A Tragédia de Bataan'

CARBONDALE, Illinois - Um documentário em primeira pessoa que vai ao ar na próxima semana na WSIU TV e WSIU-FM enfocará os horrores da queda das Filipinas para os japoneses e a Marcha da Morte de Bataan na primavera de 1942.

Entre 5.000 e 15.000 dos mais de 75.000 prisioneiros americanos e filipinos não sobreviveram à marcha forçada de 65 milhas.

Jan Thompson, professor associado da Southern Illinois University Carbondale & # 8217s Department of Radio-Television, produziu & # 8220The Tragedy of Bataan & # 8221, que é o primeiro de uma série de três partes. Os programas subsequentes examinarão a experiência de prisioneiros de guerra e & # 8220hell navios & # 8221 os navios japoneses não marcados usados ​​no transporte de prisioneiros de guerra americanos para o Japão e China como trabalho escravo, disse ela.

Assessoria de mídia

Para mais informações sobre o documentário ou para marcar entrevistas com Jan Thompson, entre em contato com Monica Tichenor, coordenadora de informações públicas e promoções da WSIU Public Broadcasting, pelo telefone 618 / 453-6160.

A história de Bataan, a Marcha da Morte e as circunstâncias em torno de uma provação de três anos e meio para os capturados é uma parte importante, mas pouco notada da história da América & # 8217s, disse Thompson. Seu pai era um prisioneiro de guerra, mas não estava na Marcha da Morte de Bataan.

& # 8220É & # 8217é uma pequena fatia da história, mas é uma parte importante da história porque aconteceu na América & # 8221 disse Thompson, que entrevistou mais de 65 veteranos durante os últimos 17 anos para a série. A primeira parte apresenta relatos em primeira mão de 15 sobreviventes de Bataan, incluindo Albert Brown de Pinckneyville, então com 101 anos. Agora com 104 anos, Brown continua sendo o sobrevivente mais velho de Bataan.

& # 8220Para mim, é inescrupuloso esquecermos esse pedaço da história & # 8221 Thompson disse. & # 8220Acho que as pessoas estão bem cientes do que aconteceu na Europa e das atrocidades e crueldades que aconteceram lá. Mas eles realmente não entendiam o que estava acontecendo no Pacífico. A Marcha da Morte de Bataan é apenas uma. Existem inúmeras outras marchas da morte que aconteceram. & # 8221

Capturado na ilha vizinha de Corregidor, o pai de Thompson & # 8217s, um médico, permaneceu reticente e & # 8220muito protetor & # 8221 sobre o quanto ele compartilhava com sua filha quando ela começou a participar de convenções de prisioneiros de guerra no início de 1990, disse ela.

Quando ela começou a encontrar outros prisioneiros de guerra, Thompson disse que a importância de permitir que todos tivessem a chance de contar suas histórias tornou-se evidente para ela.

& # 8220Não há acadêmicos ou historiadores. Isso é realmente para mim o que um documentário deve ser sobre tópicos como este, se possível. Você tem testemunhas oculares dizendo como foi estar nessas circunstâncias infelizes & # 8221 Thompson disse.

A maior rendição da história militar dos Estados Unidos, a história de Bataan é um dos homens cuja rendição forçada veio depois de combates ininterruptos por várias semanas com rações reduzidas e sem reforços ou suprimentos adicionais. O general Edward P. King, Jr. entregou as tropas depois que o general Douglas MacArthur deixou as Filipinas e foi para a Austrália, e o fez sem informar a esquerda geral no comando MacArthur & # 8217s.

Mesmo depois de sobreviver a condições terríveis, aqueles que permaneceram ainda amam seu país, disse Thompson.

& # 8220Quando você conhece esses homens, fica surpreso por eles ainda amarem seu país, eles ainda amam o que a bandeira representa, que é a liberdade & # 8221, disse ela. & # 8220Estes caras são verdadeiros heróis. Eles são heróis incríveis, verdadeiros guerreiros, aqueles que deram, como disse Abraham Lincoln, a & # 8216última medida completa de devoção & # 8217 ao seu país. & # 8221

Mesmo com toda a pesquisa, Thompson disse que foi há apenas alguns meses que ela descobriu uma & # 8220nugget of gold & # 8221 - o diário do sobrevivente Albert Brown & # 8217s da provação. Ela usa seu diário em todo o documentário e peças de rádio. Jim Gee, diretor de notícias da WSIU-TV, lê trechos do diário de Brown & # 8217s.

"O que é interessante sobre o diário é que você pode ver o cinismo e o humor negro começando a vir à tona porque parte do mecanismo de sobrevivência no campo de prisioneiros era o humor negro", disse Thompson. & # 8220Você pode realmente dizer o que está acontecendo com essas entradas do diário. Albert Brown é muito, muito poderoso para alguém que tem 101 anos. & # 8221

O documentário mostra as memórias vivas dos POWs & # 8217, incluindo o medo de execução após a rendição. Dois soldados se lembram durante a marcha de ter visto um soldado morto que havia se tornado apenas uma mancha impressa de águia espalhada no chão. O corpo estava com cerca de uma polegada plana porque os caminhões o atropelaram repetidamente, disse Thompson.

O pai de Thompson ainda está vivo, mas mais da metade dos veteranos entrevistados estão mortos, disse ela. Ao fazer sua pesquisa, Thompson encontrou imagens nos Arquivos Nacionais em Washington, D.C., de seu pai, claramente olhando para a câmera durante a libertação de seu campo de prisioneiros em setembro de 1945.

Atores locais e colegas, incluindo os professores aposentados Rick Williams e Alan Benson, incluem narrações nas seleções do diário. Kelly Caringer, uma assistente de ensino e estudante de pós-graduação na aula de Produção de Áudio Avançada do Professor Phylis Johnson & # 8217s, coordenou as cinco peças de rádio que irão ao ar, disse Thompson.

& # 8220Estamos satisfeitos por ter a oportunidade de estrear & # 8216The Tragedy of Bataan TV documentário e série de rádio no WSIU, & # 8221 disse Greg Petrowich, diretor executivo da WSIU Public Broadcasting. & # 8220Estes programas são uma missão perfeita para a transmissão pública.

"Jan Thompson criou um corpo de trabalho distinto, que tivemos a sorte de expor ao longo dos anos. Trabalhar com ela para trazer esta história tão pessoal aos nossos telespectadores e ouvintes é uma honra para o WSIU."

Além de aprender mais sobre & # 8220este canto esquecido da história americana, & # 8221 Thompson espera que os telespectadores e ouvintes apreciem a história de coragem e sobrevivência dos jovens americanos, e que o heroísmo & # 8220isn & # 8217t confinado às forças de combate, mas por aqueles forçado a servir de outras maneiras. & # 8221

& # 8220Esta é uma história de verdadeiro patriotismo, a vontade de sobreviver para servir à nação & # 8221, disse ela.

Thompson é o presidente do Descendants Group, uma organização sem fins lucrativos auxiliar dos American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor. A convenção, hospedada pelos descendentes dos POWs & # 8217, será na próxima semana em Reno, Nevada. A missão da organização é educar e garantir que o legado do que os POWs suportaram permaneça vívido, disse ela.

Os dois segmentos restantes da série estão quase completos. Thompson espera gerar interesse nacional na série a tempo para o Dia dos Veteranos.

& # 8220É um trabalho de amor. Mesmo quando eu terminar, provavelmente não vou terminar. Tenho tanto material ”, disse ela. Um dos motivos da demora do documentário é a quantidade de material e a busca de como apresentá-lo da melhor forma, disse ela.

& # 8220Eu sempre pensei que deveria ser esses caras contando suas histórias & # 8221, ela disse.


Os aliados se rendem

Desobedecendo às ordens do general Douglas MacArthur, o major-general Edward P. King reuniu-se com o major-general Kameichiro Nagano em 9 de abril de 1942. Naquele dia, as forças aliadas em Bataan se renderam.

De acordo com a Atomic Heritage Foundation, inicialmente cerca de 58.000 soldados filipinos e 12.000 soldados americanos se renderam, uma vez que a rendição não incluiu as forças do USFIP "em Corregidor e em outras partes das Filipinas", escreve a ThoughtCo. Mas depois que Corregidor caiu em 7 de maio, o tenente-general Jonathan Wainwright e todas as forças aliadas restantes nas Filipinas se renderam.

Durante a Batalha de Bataan, cerca de 10.000 forças aliadas foram mortas e 20.000 ficaram feridas, em comparação com 7.000 mortos e 12.000 feridos no lado japonês. Além disso, entre 58.000 e 63.000 soldados filipinos e 12.000 soldados americanos que faziam parte do USFIP foram feitos pelos japoneses como prisioneiros de guerra,

Desses 75.000 prisioneiros de guerra, pelo menos 30% estavam "doentes ou feridos" no momento da entrega. E as estimativas do número de prisioneiros de guerra chegam a 80.000.


Vingança

Desta vez, o ataque japonês foi opressor demais para as forças de defesa cansadas e famintas.

A derrota iminente forçou o Major General Edward King a entregar Bataan a Yamashita e Homma, transformando soldados em prisioneiros de guerra para evitar um massacre total.

A “misericórdia” dada pelo vingativo Homma foi superficial, na melhor das hipóteses. O orgulhoso general japonês ainda tinha sua derrota humilhante fresca em sua mente e, portanto, pensou em uma maneira criativa de punir seus prisioneiros.

Portanto, Homma decidiu transferir todos os prisioneiros para o Campo O'Donnell, uma base a cerca de 161 km de onde eles estavam - mas a pé.

O General King implorou a Homma. Suas tropas estavam recebendo meia ração desde o início do ano, e muitos deles estavam doentes e morrendo de fome. Infelizmente, seu pedido caiu em ouvidos surdos, e assim começou a longa e agonizante marcha para o inferno.

As forças japonesas primeiro conduziram uma busca agressiva nos prisioneiros. Se os descobrissem com alguma lembrança ou equipamento, o prisioneiro era morto na hora. Eles então partiram da base em 10 de abril e continuaram até seu destino por sete dias consecutivos. Soldados japoneses espancam os cativos famintos e doentes para se divertir ao longo do caminho.

Americanos ou filipinos que pediram uma bebida foram alvejados, e aqueles que desmaiaram com o calor foram mortos ali mesmo, a menos que um camarada os levasse adiante. Os prisioneiros recebiam algumas xícaras de arroz contaminado como comida e, à noite, descansavam em cercados apertados que impediam o menor movimento.

À medida que avançavam, a fila de prisioneiros tornou-se mais fina e a trilha de corpos ficou mais longa.


The Davao Dozen: Como os americanos aprenderam sobre a marcha da morte de Bataan

Em 9 de abril de 1942, 75.000 soldados americanos e filipinos que se renderam ao Exército Imperial Japonês nas Filipinas foram forçados a marchar mais de 60 milhas no calor extremo das Filipinas. Centenas de americanos e milhares de filipinos morreram na jornada.

A recompensa para os sobreviventes foi o tratamento brutal em um campo de prisioneiros de guerra japonês pelos próximos três anos - se eles tivessem a sorte de viver tanto tempo.

Os americanos de volta para casa poderiam nunca ter sabido das duras condições para os prisioneiros de guerra nas Filipinas se não fosse pelos 12 homens que escaparam do campo de prisioneiros inimigo e fizeram uma árdua expedição pelo país para contar ao mundo.

O Japão invadiu as Filipinas poucas horas depois de atingir a frota do Pacífico em Pearl Harbor. Com o Japão no controle do Pacífico, o Departamento de Guerra americano se concentrou no Atlântico e na perda de aeronaves dos EUA nas Filipinas, a nação insular tinha poucas esperanças de repelir os invasores.

Os defensores americanos e filipinos fizeram tudo o que puderam, mas cerca de 75.000 defensores se renderam em 9 de abril de 1942. O grande número de prisioneiros oprimiu os japoneses, que precisavam mover os prisioneiros de guerra para o norte, mas não tinham transporte para fazê-lo. O Exército japonês forçou esses prisioneiros a caminhar 55 milhas até San Fernando, embarcar em um trem para Capas e, em seguida, caminhar os 13 quilômetros restantes até o Camp O'Donnell.

Os japoneses não só não tinham transporte para os prisioneiros de guerra, como também não tinham comida, suprimentos ou remédios. Enquanto caminhavam pelo intenso calor das Filipinas, os japoneses também impediam seus prisioneiros de beber água de poços próximos, matando qualquer um que tentasse beber deles. Às vezes, eles faziam os prisioneiros sentarem ao sol por horas.

Se alguém saísse da linha durante a marcha por causa da exaustão pelo calor, desnutrição ou sede, seria baleado ou baionado. Às vezes, eles torturavam, esfaqueavam ou matavam prisioneiros sem motivo.

Apenas 54.000 prisioneiros conseguiram chegar ao acampamento O'Donnell, o que pode ser tão brutal quanto a caminhada até lá. Havia uma torneira de água para todos os 7.000 americanos no campo, e os japoneses frequentemente a fechavam para torturar os prisioneiros. Eles recebiam uma xícara de mingau de arroz por dia para se manterem, médicos americanos sem suprimentos e frequentemente tinham que dormir ao ar livre.

Alguns foram transferidos para outros campos para uso como trabalho escravo, como os 969 prisioneiros de guerra enviados a Davao, na ilha Mindanao, para trabalhar em uma plantação de segurança máxima chamada Dapecol. Dez desses homens, representando o Exército, a Marinha, o Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais e as Forças Aéreas do Exército, estavam determinados a escapar da prisão “à prova de fuga” por qualquer meio necessário.

Eles queriam contar ao mundo o que aconteceu aos prisioneiros que se renderam nas Filipinas.

Os prisioneiros de guerra primeiro recrutaram outros prisioneiros que eram nativos das ilhas. Como o campo era uma prisão antes da guerra, havia muito por onde escolher. Os americanos selecionaram dois filipinos que cumpriam prisão perpétua por assassinato, Benigno de la Cruz e Victor Jumarong. Eles ajudariam como guias e tradutores.

O que tornava a prisão uma prova de fuga aos olhos de seus captores era que ninguém jamais o fizera. Sair da cerca de arame farpado foi apenas o começo. O acampamento era cercado por um pântano profundo infestado de crocodilos e, em seguida, uma selva densa e escura, supostamente repleta de tribos nativas canibais.

Ao longo do caminho, os fugitivos teriam que enfrentar os insetos, animais e plantas mortais que vêm com a geografia da ilha.

Eles começaram monitorando os movimentos e hábitos de seus guardas japoneses e, em seguida, reuniram suprimentos fornecidos pelos civis filipinos que trabalhavam nos campos. Eles fugiram em um domingo - seu dia de folga - para que não fossem percebidos como desaparecidos até segunda-feira.

No domingo, 4 de abril de 1943, depois que os prisioneiros foram enviados para trabalhar em um arrozal, os 12 homens recolheram os suprimentos acumulados e partiram para os pântanos. Depois de três dias se movendo pelo pântano com a altura do peito e selva densa, evitando patrulhas japonesas e grupos de busca por todo o caminho, eles estavam livres.

Foi a única vez que um grande grupo de prisioneiros de guerra escapou de um campo de prisioneiros japonês na Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Mas eles não apenas escaparam da prisão, eles se uniram aos guerrilheiros filipinos e fizeram contato com o quartel-general do Exército dos EUA na Austrália por rádio.

O contato por rádio permitiu que três deles se conectassem com o submarino USS Trout e voltassem para Brisbane, onde o Exército ficou sabendo da Marcha da Morte de Bataan, das condições em Camp O'Donnell e dos campos de trabalhos forçados nas ilhas.

Apenas um dos homens, o tenente das Forças Aéreas do Exército Leo A. Boelens, foi morto pelos japoneses. Os outros 11 homens foram devolvidos aos Estados Unidos. O governo dos EUA manteve a informação em segredo até janeiro de 1944, a tempo de despertar a indignação pública antes da invasão das Ilhas Gilbert e Marshall.

A história do “Davao Dozen” surpreendeu os americanos em um momento em que eles estavam começando a se cansar da guerra, sem muitas notícias boas em nenhuma das frentes. As vendas de títulos de guerra foram impulsionadas, assim como novos alistamentos.

A invasão das Ilhas Gilbert e Marshall tornou-se o primeiro esforço em uma campanha de salto de ilhas em duas frentes que destruiu a capacidade do Japão de defender ou reabastecer ilhas e colocar os bombardeiros B-29 americanos cada vez mais perto do continente.


História triste: milhares de americanos se renderam nesta batalha

Aqui está o que você precisa lembrar: Entre a crueldade da Marcha da Morte de Bataan e, para os sobreviventes, a brutalidade dos campos de prisioneiros japoneses, 40% dos americanos nunca conseguiram voltar para casa.

“Diga ao Joe, onde quer que ele esteja, para mandar no inferno por nós”, dizia o sinal de rádio. "Meu amor a todos vocês. Deus te abençoe e te guarde. Assine meu nome e diga à mãe como você ouviu falar de mim. Espera."

E então houve silêncio.

Na manhã de 6 de maio de 1942, o Sargento do Exército dos EUA Irving Strobing enviou a última mensagem - para a América, sua família e seu irmão Joe - da fortaleza de Corregidor, uma ilha na foz da baía de Manila. Poucas horas depois, sob as câmeras de fotógrafos japoneses e o olhar de desprezo dos oficiais japoneses, o general Jonathan Wainwright entregou a última guarnição dos EUA nas Filipinas.

Dos túneis do Corregidor emergiram onze mil prisioneiros americanos e filipinos famintos, feridos e exaustos, incluindo várias enfermeiras americanas. Eles aumentaram as fileiras dos defensores da península de Bataan, que se renderam em 9 de abril. No início de maio de 1942, os japoneses haviam capturado setenta e seis mil soldados americanos e filipinos na maior rendição da história dos Estados Unidos.

No septuagésimo quinto aniversário da queda do Corregidor, a questão ainda permanece: o que deu errado?

A resposta é praticamente tudo. Os problemas começaram com uma situação estratégica impossível. Manila fica a apenas três mil quilômetros do Japão, mas a cinco mil quilômetros de Pearl Harbor. Na década de 1930, era óbvio que, em caso de guerra, as Filipinas estariam isoladas pela Marinha japonesa, sem reforços e reabastecimento. O Plano de Guerra Orange exigia que a Marinha dos Estados Unidos conduzisse um ataque de cavalaria naval através do Pacífico para aliviar a guarnição. Na melhor das hipóteses, isso seria arriscado, na pior das hipóteses, aeronaves e submarinos japoneses reduziriam a frota dos EUA e, na realidade, o desastre de Pearl Harbor não deixou nenhuma frota para resgatar.

Nada disso foi culpa do comandante das Filipinas, general Douglas MacArthur, mas muito mais foi. Sob sua supervisão, os preparativos essenciais da defesa foram deixados de lado (exacerbados por orçamentos apertados antes da guerra). Em 7 de dezembro de 1941, o Exército dos EUA e a força das tropas filipinas mobilizadas subiram de 31 mil para 130.000 soldados. Mas os filipinos, em particular, eram mal treinados e armados, e os defensores estavam espalhados pelas ilhas das Filipinas. A Força Aérea do Extremo Oriente tinha talvez trezentas aeronaves, mas isso incluía apenas trinta e cinco B-17 e outros cem caças P-40 modernos, com o restante modelos obsoletos. A Frota Asiática baseada em Manila tinha apenas um punhado de navios, alguns submarinos, além do Quarto Regimento de Fuzileiros Navais.

Notícias de Pearl Harbor despertaram MacArthur às 3 horas da manhã em 8 de dezembro. A aeronave em Clark Field deveria ter sido dispersada e então lançada para bombardear aeródromos japoneses em Taiwan. Com o mau tempo atrasando o ataque japonês por nove horas, os americanos poderiam ter pego aviões japoneses no solo - se MacArthur o tivesse autorizado. Em vez disso, os japoneses pegaram a frota aérea americana no solo e a dizimaram, privando assim os defensores de sua única chance de interromper o iminente pouso anfíbio.

Mais tarde, em dezembro, as tropas japonesas desembarcaram no norte de Luzon, sem serem molestadas por um punhado de aeronaves dos EUA (que ainda conseguiram afundar ou danificar vários navios). Mas este foi apenas um soco antes do desembarque principal: em 22 de dezembro, o 14º Exército japonês pousou no Golfo de Lingayen, no centro de Luzon e perto de Manila e Clark Field. Isso foi seguido por um desembarque menor no sul de Luzon.

Flanqueado e manobrado, MacArthur ordenou o Plano Laranja, retardando a ação da retaguarda enquanto o grosso de suas forças movia-se para as defesas da Península de Bataan, perto de Manila. Coberto por destacamentos de tropas americanas e filipinas, incluindo alguns tanques leves M3 Stuart, oitenta mil soldados e vinte mil civis, conseguiu chegar a Bataan. Infelizmente, o Plano Orange exigia suprimentos suficientes para apenas 43 mil soldados para cavar em Bataan.

No entanto, as tropas Bataan lutaram bravamente e infligiram pesadas perdas. Mas, a menos que a Marinha dos EUA pudesse ressuscitar instantaneamente os navios de guerra afundados em Pearl Harbor, as Filipinas estavam condenadas. Apoiados por forte apoio aéreo, os japoneses finalmente romperam as linhas de defensores famintos e doentes. A maioria acabou se rendendo, mas alguns conseguiram chegar ao Corregidor, defendidos por uma variedade heterogênea de tropas do Exército, da Marinha e das Filipinas. Sem comida e remédios, eles também foram bombardeados e bombardeados até se renderem em 6 de maio.

E MacArthur? As tropas Bataan compuseram uma canção sobre ele ao som de “O Hino de Batalha da República”:

Dugout Doug MacArthur jaz na rocha

A salvo de todos os bombardeiros e de qualquer choque repentino

Dugout Doug está comendo a melhor comida de Bataan

E suas tropas continuam morrendo de fome.

Dugout Doug não é tímido, ele é apenas cauteloso, não tem medo

Ele está protegendo cuidadosamente as estrelas que Franklin fez

Generais quatro estrelas são tão raros quanto boa comida em Bataan

E suas tropas continuam morrendo de fome.

Dugout Doug está pronto em seu Kris Craft para fugir

Acima das ondas e do mar selvagemente

Pois os japoneses estão batendo nos portões da Velha Bataan

E suas tropas continuam morrendo de fome. . .

Mas MacArthur estava ocupado com outras coisas. Ele recebeu US $ 500.000 do presidente filipino Manuel Quezon por seus serviços antes da guerra, e sua equipe também recebeu dinheiro (Eisenhower recebeu uma oferta, mas recusou). Para ser justo, ele recebeu ordens do presidente Roosevelt para voar com sua família a bordo de um B-17 para a Austrália. Seguindo ordens, com certeza, mas suas tropas não tiveram tanta sorte. Entre a crueldade da Marcha da Morte de Bataan e, para os sobreviventes, a brutalidade dos campos de prisioneiros japoneses, 40% dos americanos nunca conseguiram voltar para casa.

“Eu voltarei,” MacArthur jurou. E ele o fez - em 20 de outubro de 1944, e na presença de fotógrafos.

Michael Peck é um escritor colaborador do Interesse nacional. Ele pode ser encontrado em Twitter e Facebook.


Marcha da Morte de Bataan - História

De acordo com as disposições da Lei Morrill de 1862, o Departamento de Ciência e Tática Militar foi ativado no Estado do Novo México durante o ano escolar de 1902-03. O primeiro PMS & amp T foi o Professor Alfred S. Frost, Major, Exército dos EUA, aposentado (ex-coronel, 1ª Infantaria de Dakota do Sul), que continuou nesta posição até o ano letivo de 1904-05.

O Corpo de Cadetes original consistia em 36 cadetes formados em um batalhão de duas companhias. Cadet Major William Pelphrey was the Battalion Commander, Cadet Captain Earl A. Graham was lion Adjutant, and Cadet Sergeant Major Bolling Hall was Battalion Sergeant Major. Drill was conducted four days each week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:15 to 12:00. Ten lectures were given each year on military subjects.

In 1989, with concurrence of the Corps of Cadets, the “Desperado Battalion” changed its name to the “Bataan Battalion” to pay tribute to the survivors of Bataan and serve as a living memorial. In addition, the salute greeting of “Remember Bataan” and reply “Always. ” was adopted so the memory of those who died at Bataan would never be forgotten. The formal ceremony unveiling the new Bataan Battalion colors took place at Ft. Selden, New Mexico, with surviving Death March veterans, NMSU President Halligan, the Corps of Cadets, and the State Lieutenant-Govenor present.

Our Origins

On December 8, 1941, nine and one-half hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese began bombing Clark Field and Manila in the Philippines. One unit that offered substantial defense of the Philippines was the 200th Coast Artillery, New Mexico National Guard. Later that day, about 500 men of the 200th were dispatched to Manila and organized with Filipino soldiers into a provisional anti-aircraft regiment, later designated the 515th AAA.

On December 10th, the Japanese landed invasion forces on Luzon and the battle for the Philippines began. The poorly trained and equipped American and Filipino soldiers could not contain the Japanese. On December 23rd, GEN. McArthur notified commanders to retreat to the Bataan peninsula.

The Defense of Bataan began officially on January 7th, 1942. The supply situation was serious from the start. There was a lack of food, medicine, clothing and ammunition. Rations were cut to one-half and the troops were fatigued from a month of constant fighting.

The Japanese launched a major offensive to take Bataan on January 9. This included land attacks, sea invasions and constant artillery and air bombardment. By February, not only had the Bataan defenders repelled these attacks, they even forced the Japanese to withdraw and reorganize.

No army can survive without food. In February, rations were cut to 27 ounces per day and by the end of March, the amount was barely sufficient to sustain life. The Americans soon learned that hunger was a great leveler. Two hundred fifty horses and forty-seven mules from the 26th Calvary were slaughtered. In the wake of starvation came diseases, such as malaria, dengue, scurvy, beriberi and amebic dysentery. The average American soldier lost 15-25 pounds. Malaria was as high as 35% among front line units. Lack of sanitation also fueled disease. Barefoot soldiers would get hookworm from stepping on human waste. In some places, one could not lie down without lying on human dung. These conditions had never been experienced and have never been experienced since by any American army.

No words could ever describe with justice the ungodly nightmare the “Battling Bastards of Bataan” lived from January to April of 1942. Tragically, more horror awaited the Bataan defenders. The Japanese started the final offensive of Bataan on Good Friday, April 3rd. By April 8th, MG King, Commander of the forces on Bataan, was convinced his troops could not physically resist any more and decided to surrender to prevent further loss of life, On April 9, 1942, MG King surrendered.

American and Filipino POWs marched the infamous Death March, 63 miles from Mariveles to Camp O’Donnell. They were starved and mistreated, often kicked and beaten on the way. Many who fell were bayoneted. Only 54,000 reached the camp. When the Bataan prisoners finally reached Camp O’Donnell, the mistreatment continued. In fact, hundreds would die at O’Donnell as result of the incredibly cruel Death March! Only one-third of the prisoners taken at Bataan would survive to see freedom. Many became alcoholics, most had nightmares and the VA even refused to believe stories told by survivors. If it were not for the Bataan defenders, Japan would have advanced farther in the Southeast Pacific and no doubt would have prolonged the war and jeopardized Australia.

Bataan Memorial Death March

The Cadet Class of 1988 started the event and the first March was in April 1988. The march route started from the Horseshoe on the NMSU Campus to Baylor Canyon Pass on the Organ Mountains east of Las Cruces, NM.

In 1989, the March was moved to White Sands Missile Range. A challenging 26.2 mile march through the high desert terrain of White Sands Missile Range, N.M. This memorial march is conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives.

The event is open to military (active duty, reserve, National Guard, ROTC, JROTC or retired military) and civilian teams and individuals in either heavy or light divisions. Military personnel marching in any military category must wear full field gear. Civilian marchers in any category should wear appropriate attire for a road march through desert terrain. All marchers entered in heavy division categories must also carry a 35-pound rucksack.

Teams may consist of five to seven people five people must cross the finish line together. Team categories are male light, male military light, male military heavy, female light, female military light, female military heavy, coed military light, coed military heavy, coed light, National Guard light, National Guard heavy, ROTC light, ROTC heavy and JROTC light. Individual categories are male military light, male military over 40 light, male light, male over 40 light, male military heavy, male heavy, female military light, female military over 40 light, female light, female over 40 light, female military heavy and female heavy.


The Bataan Death March and the 66-Year Struggle for Justice

April 9, 2008 marks the 66th anniversary of the fall of Bataan which resulted in the largest surrender by the United States Army in its history. Over 77,000 American and Filipino troops were to become victims of one of the most brutal episodes in the Pacific War&mdashthe Bataan Death March.

The March: Beginning of the Ordeal

In 1941, the Filipino people were already promised independence from the United States, which had seized the islands nation from Spain during the Spanish-American War. But with the Japanese expansion to Southeast Asia beginning to pose a threat, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was recalled to active duty to prepare for a possible Japanese attack. When the attack did come, MacArthur&rsquos initial plan to halt the Japanese invasion at the beaches failed. As a result, tens of thousands of US troops who retreated to Bataan, the peninsula in central Luzon, did not have enough food or medicine to sustain their fight. MacArthur, who moved his headquarters from Manila to the island of Corregidor across Bataan, continued to send orders: never surrender.

Then on March 12, 1942, he escaped to Australia. This left the men in Bataan to keep fighting until their ammunition, food, and medicine ran out, upsetting the Japanese timetable for victory and giving the United States precious time to recover from the Pearl Harbor attack. By the time more than 11,000 American and 66,000 Filipino soldiers surrendered on April 9, 1942, they were starving and most were stricken with malaria, beriberi or dysentery. &ldquoThousands of troops and hundreds of planes&rdquo that MacArthur had assured them were on the way to rescue them never arrived.

Bataan Death March survivor Lester Tenney of the 192nd Tank Battalion wrote years later:

Then began the March. The Japanese military had no plan to systematically torture and murder the POWs. But it sought to move American and Filipino soldiers out of Bataan quickly so that it could immediately launch attacks on Corregidor. The Japanese soldiers also despised POWs who chose to surrender instead of fighting to death.

Bataan Death March survivor Glenn Frazier testified in the recently aired PBS documentary The War, &ldquoIf we had known what was ahead of us at the beginning of the Bataan Death March, I would have taken death.&rdquo He described what happened next:

And they immediately started beating guys if they didn&rsquot stand right or if they were sitting down. We didn&rsquot know where we were going. And all our possessions were taken away from us. Some of them had rings that they just cut the fingers off, and take the rings. They poured the water out of my canteen to be sure that I didn&rsquot have any, any water. I saw them buried alive. When a guy was bayoneted or shot, laying in the road and the convoys were coming along, I saw trucks that would just go out of their way to run over the guy in the middle of the road. And when by the time you have fifteen or twenty trucks run over you, look like a smashed tomato or something. And I saw people that had their throats cut because they would take their bayonets and stick it out through the corner of the truck at night and it would just be high enough to cut their throats. And beating with a rifle butt until there just was no more life in them.

Glenn Frazier in PBS documentary &ldquoThe War&rdquo

Harold Poole of Army Air Corps also remembered:

Some of the guys would just faint, they were that weak. This guy was no more than five feet away. He was lying facedown. The guard poked him and he didn&rsquot move fast enough, so he got the bayonet right through his back&hellip.

I could hardly believe what I saw&hellip.

I wanted to jump that guard and grab his rifle and wrap it around his neck, and I could have in those days. I was still in pretty good shape and those guys were a lot smaller than us. I could have jumped up and wrapped that gun around his neck and he&rsquod never have known what hit him. But you know, there was another guard behind him and he would have shot me and that would have been the end of me, see. [2]

Louis Read of the 31st Infantry Regiment witnessed a killing of his fellow POW:

One incident at Lubao shook me up. I spent all my time during the day standing in line for the one water hydrant to fill my canteen. I was almost up to the hydrant when a Japanese officer came up, looked us over, and selected a rather tall, good-looking soldier, who was just in front of me, out of the line. The officer, for no apparent reason, turned over this man to a group of soldiers who took him across the road, tied to a tree and used him for bayonet practice. From my place in line, I saw the whole thing. After he was dead they took his body and threw it into a large bamboo clump. Then, just as I got to the hydrant, the Japanese soldiers pushed me aside and washed the blood off of their bayonets. [3]

After trudging for four to seven days and reaching to the town of San Fernando, Filipino and American POWs were herded into boxcars. They were packed so tight that they could hardly move. Doors were shut and the temperature inside the boxcars quickly rose. Men gasped for air and some died while standing. Those who survived four-hour ride in the boxcar prison had to walk another few miles from Capas to reach their destination, Camp O&rsquoDonnell.

No one knows exactly how many died on the Bataan Death March, but even by the most conservative estimate approximately 6,000 Filipinos and 650 Americans lost their lives.

Carrying the dead to gravesites, April, 1942

The death toll rose even higher after they arrived at Camp O&rsquoDonnell. Captain John Olson was Adjutant of the American Group at Camp O&rsquoDonnell and kept records on the deaths that took place there. He later wrote:

The ordeal continued for American POWs who survived the Bataan Death March and Camp O&rsquoDonnell. Most of them, together with the POWs who were captured after the fall of Corregidor, were eventually sent to Japan to become forced laborers. The ships whose holds POWs were crammed into were aptly called &ldquoHellships.&rdquo

The late Col. Melvin Rosen who survived the Bataan Death March described what it was like on a Hellship:

Over 600 men crowded in a metal hold with no ventilation other than one hatch. There were no sanitary facilities. We did use some empty food buckets, but they were soon overflowing&hellipBy nightfall the hold was pitch black, and men went mad from lack of water and food. They were completely crazed and were drinking urine. Although I did not personally see any, I believe there were murders and drinking of blood. The conditions in the hold and of the people were beyond belief&hellip.

The daily death rate on the Brazil Maru escalated from about 20 to 40. Now we were sailing in the East China Sea with snow coming in our open hatch. Men froze to death, died of starvation, died of thirst, and died of a myriad of diseases. Again there were no sanitary facilities, and so the hold was ankle deep in feces, urine, and vomit. [5]

Although many died from diseases during the voyages, the majority of deaths on Hellships occurred when American submarines and bombers attacked and sank these unmarked ships. Thousands of POWs perished. One Hellship, the Arisan Maru, lost all but eight of its entire human cargo of 1,800 American POWs when it was sunk by a US submarine.

Forced Labor in Japan

POWs who survived Hellship voyages were then forced to work in mines, factories and docks owned by Japanese companies such as Mitsui, Mitsubishi, and Nippon Steel. Beating and other abuse continued while food and medicine were never adequate.

Bataan Death March survivor James Murphy of Army Air Corps described how 500 American POWs were brutally treated at Mitsubishi Osarizawa copper mine in northern Japan.

Lester Tenney, who was forced to work at Mitsui coalmine in Kyushu, remembered that brutality of Japanese guards increased as American bombings of Japanese cities intensified in the winter of 1944.

By the end of the war, 1,115 American POWs died in Japan from abuse, diseases, and even executions.

After the War

The US government and its military leaders first learned about the Bataan Death March and the atrocities inflicted on American soldiers in the summer of 1943 from one of the officers who had survived the Bataan Death March and later escaped from the prison camp in Mindanao. But the media were not allowed to publicize it until January of 1944. Once they learned about it, the American public was shocked and outraged by the Japanese brutality. The outrage was shown in President Truman&rsquos address after the dropping of the Atomic bombs:

General Masaharu Homma, the commanding general of the Japanese Army in the Philippines during the Bataan Death March, was tried and executed on April 3, 1946. Hundreds of prison guards who abused POWs would meet the same fate.

But in a mere six years, the outrage was to be replaced by geopolitics prevailing in the Far East. In 1951, the US government signed the Peace Treaty with Japan, which included a provision waiving claims of former POWs against Japan. The United States needed Japan within its camp against the Communist Soviet bloc and chose not to seek compensation from Japan. Former POWs of the Japanese felt that they were sacrificed by their own government again.

During those days, however, former POWs were busy rebuilding their lives while struggling to come to terms with their wartime sufferings.

Bataan Death March survivor Carlos Montoya of the 200th Coast Artillery described his post-war struggle:

Each survivor had to find his own way to deal with the painful memory of being a POW of the Japanese. Not many people understood &ldquopost traumatic stress disorder&rdquo in those days.

Robert Brown of Army Air Corps was only 17 years old when he walked the Bataan Death March. He weighed 82 pounds when he was sent to a POW camp in Mukden, Manchuria. He was liberated by Soviet forces in August 1945. When he came home, he did not know how to readjust to normal life:

I came home, but I was still in jail&hellip I couldn&rsquot sleep&hellip I couldn&rsquot converse with anybody. I spoke some Japanese and knew some Chinese cuss words. But I couldn&rsquot talk to anyone&hellipThere were no jobs. I was uneducated, for all purposes. I knew I could survive in a prisoner-of-war camp, but what else could I do? The only thing I could do was to drink.

One time, I was sleeping and was having flashbacks. My mother came in to shake me and wake me up. I came out of the bed and held her by the throat. I woke up and said, "What in the hell am I doing!" I told her, "Mother, don't ever come in and touch me when I am sleeping because I don't know what I am going to do." [10]

Bataan Death March survivor Abie Abraham of the 31st Infantry decided to stay in the Philippines after General McArthur personally ordered him to exhume bodies of American soldiers who died on the Bataan Death March. He discovered hundreds of remains along the route of the Bataan Death March, some of them belonged to his friends:

I went for the body of my old friend, Luther Everson, whom I had known well before the war. I recalled that as we were wavering and staggering out of Balanga, we crossed a bridge and I saw Luther fall. He tried to get up and fell again. I saw a Japanese soldier club him to death.

From under a bamboo thicket we disinterred his grave. The diggers handed me a skull. I shuddered and showed them the deep crack left by the Japanese club. All eyes stared as though awe-stricken.

&ldquoSergeant Everson and I used to drink at the NCO Club before the war,&rdquo I told them. &ldquoNow I'm holding his skull! A good and kind human being killed because he was sick, hungry, and thirsty, and tired&hellip.&rdquo [11]

Very few were lucky to find a medium with which to express their POW experience. Ben Steele of Army Air Corps is a survivor of the Bataan Death March and nearly a year of forced labor in a Japanese coalmine. But he is most famous for his drawings and paintings depicting his experiences as a POW of the Japanese. He began to draw while in a prison camp in the Philippines, but all but two original drawings were lost. He would recreate many of those drawings after he came back home. Eventually, his artwork became one of the most comprehensive and expressively powerful visual records of the prisoner-of-war experience under the Japanese.

Ben Steele &ldquoThe Water Line&rdquo [12]

Seeking an Honorable Closure

It was not until 54 years after their liberation that survivors of the Bataan Death March and other former POWs of the Japanese filed lawsuits against the Japanese companies that enslaved them. Such lawsuits became possible under a California law enacted in 1999. The applicable portion of the law reads:

Lester Tenney was the first plaintiff to file a lawsuit against Mitsui. Soon, more than thirty lawsuits were filed against almost sixty Japanese companies. The governments of both the United States and Japan sided with the Japanese defendant companies and strongly urged the court to dismiss the cases based on the Peace Treaty.

On September 25, 2001, three former Ambassadors to Japan, Walter Mondale, Thomas Foley, and Michael Armacost, wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post. Arguing against bills pending in Congress to support POW lawsuits, they wrote that such measures, &ldquowould undermine our relations with Japan, a key ally. It would have serious, and negative, effects on our national security&hellip.Why would Congress consider passing a law that could abrogate a treaty [the San Francisco Peace Treaty] so fundamental to our security at a time the president and his administration are trying so hard to forge a coalition to combat terrorism?"

After more than four years of pre-trial maneuverings, POW forced labor lawsuits were all dismissed. The court found the California law to be unconstitutional because it would interfere with the federal law (treaty). But one could not blame the POWs for filling these lawsuits. They simply tried to exercise the right they had under the California law. The author of this law, former California Senator Tom Hayden, wrote to this author when she asked him if he was aware that his law might be in conflict with the Peace Treaty:

Yet his law was found unconstitutional and placed aging former POWs on an emotional rollercoaster for four years.

That their own government tried to block their day in court at every step of the way hurt former POWs more than anything else. They could imagine that the Bush administration would not want to see anything that upset the valuable ally, Japan, in its war against terror and later its war in Iraq. Still, knowing that the US government could have facilitated a settlement, as it did for the German slave labor victims, they again felt that they were sacrificed. The poem they used to recite in Bataan evoked renewed emotion among the Death March survivors:

Because the goal for the lawsuits was to bring an honorable closure to their wartime sufferings, former POWs did not consider the dismissal of their lawsuits to be the end of their fight. They hoped that the legally exonerated Japanese companies and the Japanese government would come forward, acknowledge the POW abuse during WWII, and offer a sincere apology without concerns about compensation. That never happened.

In April of 2007, about 70 members of American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (ADBC), the national organization of former POWs of the Japanese, gathered in the nation&rsquos capital to attend their annual convention. Most of them were in their late 80s and 90s and knew that this would be the last time that such a large number of former POWs of the Japanese would be in Washington DC together.
They passed a resolution that sought an official apology from the Japanese government. Lester Tenney, the Vice Commander of ADBC, had drafted the resolution and planned to personally deliver it to the Japanese Embassy. Although he had asked the Embassy weeks in advance for a brief meeting with Ambassador Kato Ryozo or anyone who would receive the resolution, his request was ignored. On the day Tenney and the longtime leader of ADBC, Edward Jackfert, intended to visit the Embassy, they called the Embassy asking if they could deliver their resolution. They were told that no one would be available to meet them.

A few weeks later, President Bush accepted Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo&rsquos apology for the &ldquoComfort Women&rdquo issue when they met in Washington DC.

Children&rsquos Effort to Honor POW Fathers

Although there has been very little governmental effort in the United States or Japan to remember and honor those who walked the Bataan Death March, some Americans are finally realizing that these special veterans deserve much better than they have been treated so far. The most dedicated among them are children of POWs.

In January of 2006, the &ldquoHellships Memorial&rdquo was dedicated in Subic Bay in the Philippines. The late Navy Captain Duane Heisinger, whose father died on a Hellship, spearheaded the effort to build this memorial. The inscription he wrote ends with the following sentences:

This memorial will offer a place of quiet reflection to future generations who must discover the extraordinary sacrifice of these heroes, not only that they may draw inspiration from their example but also to reaffirm the enduring hope of a world set free from war.

The Hellships Memorial will forever speak of this hope, serving as an anchor holding fast against the slow currents of complacency and forgotten loss.

This memorial was established and is supported by former prisoners of war of the Japanese, family and friends of those who died, and those who survived the endless nightmare of being a POW.

Hellships Memorial (Subic Bay) Inscription

Federico Baldassarre, whose father survived the Bataan Death March, has been working with members of the Filipino Bataan veteran&rsquos organization and descendants of marchers to preserve one of the boxcars that carried POWs in the last part of the Death March. Their tireless efforts came to fruition in October of 2007 when they successfully placed the boxcar in the Capas National Shrine, which houses both the American and Filipino Memorials for those died in Camp O'Donnell.

Boxcar in which Bataan Death Marchers were carried to Camp O&rsquoDonnell

Baldassarre, who has been helping &ldquoBattling Bastards of Bataan&rdquo for many years, wrote to this author:

We can only imagine how it must have felt after marching for four to five days on Bataan's East Road, while being purposely dehydrated, starved, beaten, watching those around you being shot, bayoneted, decapitated, buried alive at the rest stops, having the intense tropical sun and it's relentless heat anesthetize their senses, and experiencing the macabre, and taunting, cruelty of their guards, to be suddenly thrust into the boxcars, jammed so tightly together that those who died had no room to fall.

It now sits amongst the spirits of its former passengers. There it sits for all of us to visit.

Retired Army Colonel Gerald Schurtz&rsquos father survived the Bataan Death March, but died on a Hellship. Today, Col. Schurtz is one of the organizers of the Bataan Memorial Death March held annually at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The event that was started by the Army ROTC Department at New Mexico State University in 1989 with just 100 participants has grown into an enormously popular event. On March 30, 2008, more than 4,400 participated in the 19th annual Bataan Memorial Death March. They ran or walked either the full 26.2 miles or the honorary course of15.2 miles to honor those brave heroes who fought in the defense of the Philippines during WWII.

Each year, survivors of the Bataan Death March are invited as special guests. One of the participants described his feeling upon meeting them:

Death March survivor Robert Brown shakes hands with participants

Among the marchers in recent years were &ldquowounded warriors&rdquo who lost their limbs in the war in Afghanistan or Iraq and parents of the soldiers who died fighting there. They paid tribute to the original
Bataan Marchers by walking with their artificial legs or wearing a shirt with a picture of their fallen son printed on it.

Col. Schurtz hopes to have participants from Japan in the future.

Bataan Death March on TV and Screen

In the fall of 2007, PBS aired a documentary on World War II, &ldquoThe War,&rdquo produced by Ken Burns. It was reported that 37.8 million people watched it during the initial broadcast premiere. [16]
The episodes of American military POWs and civilian POWs of the Japanese were prominently featured in this documentary. Bataan Death March survivor Glenn Frazier said that he was at the right place at the right moment to be selected to appear in the documentary. When he spoke about his POW experience and his post war struggle with hatred towards the Japanese, Ken Burns said that was what he wanted him to say on the camera. In the last episode of this 15-hour documentary, Frazier recounted his struggle with the hatred that had consumed him nearly 30 years after the war.

When I left Japan I had all kinds of hatred for these people. And it was so imbedded into me, I felt like I was justified to have hate. But I had to get rid of that hate, and it took me 29 years to realize that that's why my health was going bad. That's why my whole life was miserable, because of the hate.

And they, and my preacher ask, the preacher I was going to asked me to, I had to give, forgive myself and had to forgive them. I said, 'Forgive the Japanese? You're kidding. How in the world can I do that?' I said, 'They've never apologized to me. Or anybody else. They never made any effort to, to smooth over what they did to us. So why shouldn't I hate 'em. I hafta.' He said, 'Well, you not gonna make it that way.' .

Encouraged by the general population&rsquos renewed interest in the Bataan Death March and the success of a movie like &ldquoLetters from Iwo Jima,&rdquo Hollywood is now making a film on the Bataan Death March. The story will focus on the trial of General Homma. The promotional website shows a synopsis of the film:

1945 Tokyo/Philippines. Four young military lawyers receive the least desirable assignment in the entire postwar occupation of Japan from Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur &ndash they are to represent a Japanese General who has been accused of being responsible for the notorious Bataan Death March.
At first they do their best to evade their new career-destroying assignment. Then they begin to discover that General Homma, known as the &ldquoBeast of Bataan,&rdquo is a good and honorable man who was not, in fact, involved with the crimes for which he was accused. But MacArthur bears a secret grudge against Homma, who was the only Japanese officer to ever defeat him in battle.

The young American military lawyers endeavor to save Homma from his obvious fate, fighting not only their own commanding officers but also Homma himself, who knows he is destined to die.

This is a story in which villains turn out to be heroes, heroes turn out to be villains, and a group of young soldiers, along with an imprisoned alleged war criminal, provide a lesson in courage. [17]

The producer of this film, Jonathan Sanger, wrote to this author:

There is no attempt, in the film, to underplay the atrocities committed on the Bataan Death March, nor to dishonor, in any way, the memories of Bataan survivors. The movie clearly establishes events that occurred as told by participants in the trial of General Masaharu Homma. Issues of command responsibility are treated in what I hope will be an evenhanded way.

This is a story of war at its worst and we hope it will be viewed by both Americans and Japanese in that light. [18]

Sixty-Six Years Later

&ldquoAmerican Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor&rdquo has been holding an annual convention since 1946. Young ex-POWs in the immediate post war years are now in their late 80s and 90s and their numbers are dwindling. They have decided that they will disband their organization in the spring of 2009. Lester Tenney will be sworn in as their last National Commander in May, 2008. He is determined to obtaining an apology from Japan before the 63-year-old organization of former POWs of the Japanese ceases to exist.

Tenney has been invited by the Chief of Operations of the USS Arizona Memorial to sit on a panel on Memorial Day to discuss and review events of the war in the South Pacific. He decided to extend his trip to Japan to make one more, and likely his final, effort to obtain an apology from the Japanese government and those companies that enslaved American POWs. In his letter to Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo he wrote:

Col. Melvin Rosen passed away on August 1, 2007, at the age of 89 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Other Bataan survivors are busy.

Tenney (88) recently received an offer from a well known Chinese reporter and major Chinese publisher to have his story of WWII and his life as a POW of the Japanese translated and published in China. His book, "My Hitch in Hell" would be retitled to "My Time in Hell." It would be the first first-person account, to be published in China of the horror of the Bataan Death March and the three and a half years spent as a POW of the Japanese.

Glenn Frazier (84) has just published a book, &ldquoHell&rsquos Guest,&rdquo and is giving speeches across the country. Harold Poole (88) will be featured in a documentary now being made by James Parkinson whose book, &ldquoSoldier Slaves,&rdquo chronicled Poole&rsquos POW experience and his lawsuit. Louis Read (87) is active in the American EX-Prisoners of War organization and in the local Purple Heart Chapter. John Olson (90) is a historian for the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society. James Murphy (87) recently finished writing his POW memoir with his wife Nancy. Carlos Montoya (92)&rsquos biography, &ldquoCarlos,&rdquo was published by his nephew J. L. Kunkle last year. Robert Brown (83) recently went back to Mukden (now Shenyang), China where the Chinese government restored the Japanese POW camp and turned it into a museum. He was also awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star just recently. Abie Abraham (94) still volunteers at VA hospital. Ben Steele (90) just made a presentation on his POW artwork during the Bataan Memorial Death March in New Mexico.

The Bataan Death March survivors and the children of Bataan marchers, whose stories I have introduced in this essay, have been helping me understand the history of American POWs of the Japanese for many years. I thank them all for sharing their stories, their feelings and their hope for a lasting friendship.

Bataan Death March survivors then and now

Kinue Tokudome is a Japanese writer. She has contributed articles to Japan Focus on the Japanese military comfort women and on US POWs.
She maintains the bilingual website, &ldquoUS-Japan Dialogue on POWs.&rdquo

She wrote this article for Japan Focus. Posted on April 8, 2006.

Notas

[1] Lester Tenney, My Hitch in Hell: The Bataan Death March (Washington, 1995) XV.
[2] James W. Parkinson and Lee Benson, Soldier Slaves: Abandoned by the Whiteã&euro&euroHouse, Courts, and Congress (Annapolis, MD, 2006), p. 68.
[3] Interview by the author, 2004.
[4] John E. Olson, O&rsquoDonnell: Andersonville of the Pacific (1985), p. 177.
[5] Interview by the author, 2002.
[6] Interview by the author, 2004.
[7] Tenney, p. 163.
[8] President Truman&rsquos radio address on August 9, 1945.
[9] Interview by the author, 2005.
[10] Donald Knox, Death March: The Survivors of Bataan (New York, 1981), p. 463, and interview by the author.
[11] Abie Abraham, Ghost of Bataan Speaks (PA, 1971), p. 163.
[12] Ben Steele, Prisoners of War (Billings, MT, 1986), Cover Illustration.
[13] California Code of Civil Procedure Section 354.6
[14] Email from Tom Hayden to the author, Nov. 27, 2003
[15] From the official website of BMDM.
[16] From PBS website.
[17] See website.
[18] Email from Jonathan Sanger to the author, March 14,2008.


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