HomeManilavol. 3 no. 1 (2007)

Manila 1945: The Forgotten Atrocities

Peter C. Parsons

Discipline: History



It occurred to me during the years I devoted to researching the resistance movement in the Philippines (in conjunction with producing a documentary on the work of my father, Comdr. Chick Parsons) that much of the effort to commemorate the civilian deaths during the Battle for Manila was made by elite mestizos and Spaniards. On the other hand, when I went directly to the War Crimes Commission Report on the investigations conducted in February, March, and April 1945, I found that indeed the massacres were perpetrated on a very Filipino community—as well as on the abovementioned mestizos and Spaniards. In further studying this, I also found disturbing the views of certain writers that the massacres were to be blamed on the American forces for having trapped the Japanese in Manila without an escape having been made available to them.


My video simply follows the facts of what happened and to whom it happened. The blame for the atrocities lies fully on the shoulders of the Japanese and it is my conclusion that the defenders of Manila followed orders from higher authorities. Their motivation seems to have been quite simple: anger for and revenge on the Filipino's espousal of American over Japanese rule. By 1945 the Japanese furiously believed every Filipino man, woman and child—regardless of age—to be a "guerrilla." This loyalty and love had to be punished in the most brutal manner. And it was.