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Japanese atrocities in Manila (Read 3435 times)
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Japanese atrocities in Manila
Dec 9th, 2008, 4:54pm
 
The following is commentary from Peter Parsons, son of legendary WWII intelligence operative Chick Parsons, concerning Yamashita and the Japanese atrocities in Manila in the closing phase of the liberation of the Philippines.   The frequently-heard defense of Yamashita, challenged by Parsons, was repeated in the Jerusalem Post article entitled “The little known story of Manila’s Jews”.  Newsletter Editor


I cannot judge most of what Carl Hoffman writes in his article...but what he says about Gen. Yamashita's withdrawing all his troops from Manila in order to leave it an "Open City" is hogwash. He did say to the puppet government that he was going to make Manila an open city. But he left 5,000 of his troops to assist in the defense of the northern portion--and set that part of the city on fire the day that American troops liberated Santo Tomas Internment Camp. In addition, as early as December, 1944, when Yamashita went to Baguio, city defense plans went into overdrive: pillboxes, machinegun outposts, sniper holes, barbed wire, land mines, tank traps--all these and worse appeared very quickly in this "open" city, Japanese style. In addition, important public buildings, including many schools and all the bridges over the Pasig Rivers were planted with explosives.

I just did not want the old myth of poor old Yamashita trying to do his best for Manila to get started again.

Banzai,

Peter Parsons


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« Last Edit: Dec 09th, 2008, 10:39pm by Editor-at-Large »  

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Re: Japanese atrocities in Manila
Reply #1 - Dec 9th, 2008, 5:06pm
 
[Peter Parsons comments are] interesting. The issue with Yamashita was never whether he intended to make Manila an open city. He told his commanders he did not want it defended (quite different from declaring it an open city) because, tactically, it had no value for the kind of defense in depth that he planned in northern Luzon. And that's quite clear from the Yamashita trial transcripts and the many studies that have been done about the trial and the evidence presented there. The issue for historians has always been this: who bears the command responsibility for what happened in Manila -- Admiral Iwabuchi, Yamanshita, the Imperial General Staff in Tokyo, all of the above? Then, of course, there is the issue of "victor's justice," which is to say the military commissions that convicted Yamashita and Homma. Again, Lael et al have done some fine work on this in several books. These are not "revisionist" histories, but sober and thoughtful examinations of the major issues -- command responsibility, war crimes trials, the politics of post-war Japan and America, the questionable justice dispensed by military commissions, the legal protection known as habeas corpus, finally the ideals we fought for that some (especially justices Murphy and Rutledge) claim were soiled in the post-war climate of revenge and retribution. Most interesting to us, to Beth and me, are the echoes of some of this that are now coming out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Michael Norman

PS. Carl Hoffman is right about the Japanese fortifying the city, but those "preparations" were in fact more malevolent that just pill boxes and machine guns nests. It's clear from the trial that some Japanese officers in Manila prepared many buildings as executions sites, mass execution sites.

PSS: Tears In The Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath, will be published June 1, 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

For several years Michael and Elizabeth Norman have been writing Tears in the Darkness, an examination of the Bataan Death March and its aftermath.  The book examines this period in WWII history from the viewpoint of Americans, Filipinos and Japanese.  Elizabeth Norman also wrote We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese.  

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« Last Edit: Dec 12th, 2008, 7:20am by Editor-at-Large »  

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