Japan and the Philippines Entrance into the War
On December 8, 1941, only ten hours after Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor, Japan launched an attack on the Philippines. Japanese forces bombed American aircraft bases, destroying a large portion of the U.S. Airforce in the Philippines. By April of 1942, Japan controlled the bulk of Filipino city and industrial centers, including the capital Manilla.
Japan invaded the Philippines for a variety of reasons. First, the Philippines was a U.S. territory and the United States major foothold in the Pacific. To the Japanese, taking the Philippines was not only a strategic decision in making it harder for the U.S. to launch a counterattack, but also because the Japanese could use the Philippines for resource production.
Japan’s invasion of the Philippines mimicked an earlier pattern of Japanese military movements. In September of 1931, Japanese forces invaded Manchuria, eight years before World War II began in Europe with Germany’s invasion of Poland. Not only that, but Japan also occupied Korea and Taiwan, both of which Japan used for labor hands and resources. In the course of fifty years, Japan had established itself as a colonial power in the Pacific, and the Philippines was another addition to Japan’s holdings.