Philippines: Return to the Philippines

Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries

As an American Commonwealth, the Philippines held special meaning for US forces: this was American territory in enemy hands. It was also the land of a people to whom the United States had promised independence, and MacArthur saw its liberation from the Japanese as a moral imperative. Strategically, it was a necessity: the Philippines were perfectly positioned to control shipping lanes, and the flow of oil and other supplies to Japan. The fight to wrest this advantageously important stronghold from Japanese control was costly and vast: It included the war’s largest naval battle at Leyte Gulf and the decimation of the Japanese navy (represented here by artifacts from the battleship Nagato), MacArthur’s return and determination to overcome his previous defeat, and rumored executions of American prisoners, which spurred a daring rescue operation by the US Rangers. Fighting for control of the capitol city, Manila, once known as “the pearl of the Orient,” included guerilla tactics by Filipino natives, heavy artillery barrages by the Allies, and kamikaze attacks by Japanese pilots, resulting in the urban ruins depicted in this immersive gallery.

Made possible through a gift from The Charlie and Janette Kornman Charitable Fund

Additional support by Mr. and Mrs. Harry A. Donovan, Thomas C Terrell lll in Honor of Lt Col Thomas C Terrell WWll AC B-24; In honor of Lt. George R. Cannon and his shipments aboard the USS DuPage; Madlyn and Paul Hilliard; Papson & Little Doc Wilkerson; Grandaddy & Grandmommy Hyne; and Commodore and Mrs. Thomas J. Lupo