December 2021 marks the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the American entry into the Second World War. In fact, this interview was recorded on 12 December: the 80th anniversary of Japanese troops landing on the Philippine island of Luzon.
That invasion marked the four-year war over the Philippines: the surrender of American forces on 8 May 1942; the invasion of Leyte by MacArthur on 20 October 1944; and the surrender of Japan on 15 August 1945.
But what happens in between these major dates? How did Filipinos live their lives under the occupation—and how did some choose to fight back? What did resistance, whether carried out by Americans who stayed behind, or Filipinos seizing their country’s future for themselves, look like?
War and Resistance in the Philippines, 1942–1944 by James Kelly Morningstar is one of the first attempts to repair our understanding of the war in the Philippines, showing how American, Filipino and Japanese actions influenced each other.
James Kelly Morningstar is a retired US Army armor officer and decorated combat veteran with degrees from West Point and Kansas State University, a master’s degree from Georgetown University, and a PhD from the University of Maryland. He currently teaches military history at Georgetown. He is also the author of Patton’s Way: A Radical Theory of War (Naval Institute Press, 2017).
Today, we talk about the Philippines: the Japanese invasion and occupation, the nature of resistance, and American grand strategy. We’ll also discuss what makes the resistance movement important to our understanding of today’s geopolitics.