Contents - Hirohito's War
32 “I Have Returned”: MacArthur Regains the Philippines
[October 1944–August 1945]
[Maps: 32.1, 32.2, 32.3, 32.4, 32.5, 32.6]
Guerrilla War (p 925) The US Presidential Elections and the Dubious Strategic Value of Luzon (p 927) Hirohito’s Reaction to Defeat at Saipan (p 929) Halsey’s Raid on the Central Philippines and a Change in Strategy (p 930) General Yamashita and Hirohito’s Intervention (p 931) “I Have Returned” (p 933) The Battle of Leyte Gulf (p 935) Air Battles over Leyte Island (p 935) The Battles of Breakneck Ridge and Dagami (p 936) The Start of the Kamikaze Campaign (p 939) MacArthur’s Logistical Problems (p 939) ‘Banzai’ Paratroopers Counter-Attack on Leyte (p 942) Formosa and Strategic Concerns (p 944) Mindoro: Stepping Stone to Luzon (p 945) Kamizake and the Bombardment of Lingayen Bay (p 947) Landings on Luzon (p 950) POWs Rescued at Cabanatuan and the Race to Santo Tomas (p 951) The Battle of Manila (p 954) Mopping-Up: The Battle of Luzon and Operation VICTOR (p 956) Judgment on MacArthur’s Quest for Manila (p 957)
Guerrilla War: In the dark days of early 1942 the Allied Intelligence Bureau (AI B) was established to begin the task of setting up an intelligence network to track the movements of Japan’s troops and ships. Previously US operations had, in effect, been flying blind. Born in Germany as Adolph Karl Scheppe-Weidenback, Colonel Charles Willoughby had become one of MacArthur’s key staffers at Bataan and took command of AI B. Under its aegis, Special Operations Australia (SOS) set up and coordinated guerrilla activity throughout the South Pacific to carry out murders and other acts of terrorism. Other departments included ‘Coast-watchers’ and ‘Propaganda’ that aimed to raise the morale of civilian Asian populations. These operations were so secret that even Filipino President Quezon never knew of their existence.
Colonel Courtney Whitney Snr was placed in command of Philippine operations and worked closely with MacArthur who insisted that he have an adjacent office. As part of the propaganda effort, Whitney suggested the distribution of scarce items such as cigarettes, matches and chewing gum amongst the Filipinos. The so-called ‘victory packages’ were printed “with the American and Philippine flags on one side, and the phrase ‘I shall return!’ over General MacArthur’s facsimile signature on the other.”1 The suggestion received MacArthur’s hearty endorsement; he scrawled over the proposal, “No objections. I shall return! MacA.”2 However, sycophantic Whitney’s plan, it proved remarkably effective. By the end of the war Filipinos were daubing ‘I shall return’ over every vacant wall.
US military intelligence even developed relations with the communist guerrillas, ‘Huks’ (short for Hukbalahaps), led by Luis Tarloc for the common cause of ejecting the Japanese. In the jungle-clad hills of northern Luzon American escapees from the POW camp at Santo Tomas University, including Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Moses and Major Arthur Noble, put together a force of 6,000 Filipino guerrillas. As the war progressed MacArthur managed to smuggle weapons to these troops whom he designated as USFIP (United States Forces in the Philippines). They carried out a steady stream of guerrilla raids. Although Moses and Noble were eventually captured, tortured and shot, their place was immediately taken by another American, Lieutenant-Colonel R. W. Volckmann. In addition to these insurgency forces, significant spy networks were established in the major cities. When MacArthur learned that Field Marshal Hisaichi Terauchi, supreme commander of all Japanese forces in the Pacific, had taken over his