Military forces of the Japanese Empire appeared unstoppable in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor, invading first Thailand, then the British possessions of Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong, as well as American military bases in Wake Island, Guam and the Philippines.
The United States was grotesquely unprepared to fight a World War in 1942, and dedicated itself to beating Adolf Hitler. General Douglas MacArthur abandoned the “Alamo of the Pacific” on March 11 saying “I shall return”, leaving 90,000 American and Filipino troops without food, supplies or support with which to fight off the Japanese offensive.
Some 75,000 American and Filipino troops surrendered on April 9, abandoning the Bataan peninsula to begin a 65-mile, five-day slog into captivity. Starving and sick with any number of tropical diseases, Japanese guards were sadistic in the 100-degree tropical sun. Marchers were beaten, decapitated or shot at random and bayoneted, if too…
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