The Army’s official history of the recapture of the Philippines (after Leyte, which was dealt with in an earlier volume), Robert Ross Smith, Triumph in the Philippines (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1963), shows just how important the Filipino resistance was in aiding the US reconquest of Luzon and the southern Philippines. The Philippine resistance was certainly more important overall, and more effective, than most European resistance movements and almost all Asian ones except China. There have been lots of memoirs about this, mostly from Americans who didn’t surrender in 1942 and stayed behind to lead guerrilla organizations, but there has never been a really detailed, comprehensive American study of the entire Filipino resistance movement. Too bad. The story deserves to be told.
The guerrilla movement had the strategic effect of tying down in the islands scores of Japanese infantry divisions that otherwise would have been used to invade other territory. How the Filipino resistance movement helped win World War II for the Allies has not been fully measured, but doubtless it was crucial to the Allied cause. It may have been decisive to ultimate victory.
How decisive it was for the Filipino mind has not been fully measured either, for the guerrilla fighter became a permanent fixture on the Philippine scene. World War II came to an end, but the guerrilla war in the Philippines has raged to the present, although the fighters may now be fighting for or against certain causes the nature of which might confuse many Filipinos.
The fact remains that the resistance against the Japanese during World War II united the Filipino people as no other factor would. It was the common cause that homogenized the nation as José Rizal could only dream of when he organized the Liga Filipina in 1892. No other cause brought the fragmented archipelago together as the resentment against the interloper did. Mountain dweller and city-bred, society scion and slum bum, Muslim and Christian, from Batanes to Sulu, they presented a united Filipino front, although they may have operated separately and independently of each other.
This was the legacy of the holocaust. It created a new sense of Filipinohood.V/R
The lasting effect on the Filipino people
By Alfonso J. Aluit
FOR a people without experience of war, World War II came as the crucible for Filipinos, the ultimate test for the individual and the nation, a test of the effectiveness of the institutions of government and religion, a test of faith in truth, justice, and freedom, in fact a test of all the beliefs Filipinos subscribed to.
The occupation of the Philippines by Japanese forces in World War II led to at least two conditions that would have a permanent effect on the Filipino people.