Review of Battle of Manila – Nadir of Japanese barbarism, 3 February- 3 March 1945. Author: Miguel Miranda.
Miguel’s book, part of the series called “History of Terror” about the battle of Manila has been an opportunity for him to confront a very dark period in Philippine history, one that is still misunderstood today. To amass the wealth of research and insight for his latest work he pored over volumes of official histories and archives, assembling a detailed narrative on the topic.
Comprised of 128 pages, this research and book details the Japanese dominance over the region and invasion of the Philippines during World War II. Japanese Forces were strong force but like most strong, dominant forces but it had issues with disciplines. Those issues evolved into atrocities and what is labeled “Nadir”, the low point of the Japanese Forces. The atrocities committed will not be repeated here but cold blooded murder, multiples rapes, raping children in front to their parents, raping parents in front of their children, bayoneting unarmed women and children. Horrible examples of inhumanity! As the American and allied forces were closing in on Manila and re-establishing normal life the Japanese Forces were conducted a scorched earth policy as they retreated. Evil personnel and the Rikusentai were to blame. They became unhinged and uncontrollable by their own forces. MacArthur was coming. The 11th Airborne, Swing’s Angels were coming. At places like Tagaytay where they went up against desperate Japanese resistance. Moving from Tagaytay to the southern outskirts of Manila to retake two vital military installations held by the Japanese best equipped units. The Angels also raided Los Banos where thousands of civilian POWS were being held. With the momentum swinging the allied way, the forces retook Manila adding to MacArthur’s ego by fulfilling his promise of returning and defeated the Japanese.
After two weeks of combat between XIV Corps and Iwabuchi’s MNDF the local population was devastated. The city would be locked down for months. The Filipinos survived three years of Japanese Tyranny. They were resilient. At the end the Japanese leader, Yamashita, surrendered his sword. His trail lasted eight weeks and then he was hanged. Held responsible and accountable for the Japanese atrocities committed by his forces. The Battle of Manila would prove to be the in doing of the Japanese forces and would ultimately lead to the release of the atomic bomb as the end game to the war.
About the author; Miguel Miranda, formerly a regional reporter, is an author from the Philippines and writes for several Pen & Sword military history series including ‘Cold War 1945–1991’ and ‘History of Terror’.