Did America Betray MacArthur and the Filipinos?

At the beginning of World War II, every Filipino hated America intensely. Never in our history has a friendly nation turned so bitterly against us. Why did it happen? And was that condition a symptom of a deeper problem in America? A problem that plagues us even more today?

General Douglas MacArthur was one of America’s most outstanding generals in World War II. One of his biographers, William Manchester, said, “Unquestionably he was the most gifted man-at-arms this nation has produced.” In 1941, the Philippine Islands were a possession of America. MacArthur was in charge of America’s military protection of the Philippines.

Ten hours after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Japan began warring against the Philippines. Undoubtedly this happened so soon because they were a U.S. possession.

After the Philippines were attacked, America began one of the

cruelest deceptions in World War II. We deceived the Filipinos, MacArthur and our own American troops.

It is abundantly documented that President Franklin Roosevelt led the Filipinos to believe that America was quickly coming to their aid. What’s more, Roosevelt continued to deceive General MacArthur, the Filipinos and our American soldiers for months—while they were being slaughtered!

Never before was the U.S. hated more intensely by every citizen of a friendly nation!

Every Filipino Deceived

Courtney Whitney served under MacArthur in the Philippines. Here is a quote from his biography, MacArthur (pp. 27-29, emphasis mine throughout): “On December 28, after three weeks of World War II, President Roosevelt issued a message addressed and broadcast to the people of the Philippines. ‘News of your gallant struggle against the Japanese aggressors,’ it said, ‘has elicited the profound admiration of every American. As President of the United States, I know that I speak for all our people on this solemn occasion…. I give to the people of the Philippines my solemn pledge that their freedom will be redeemed and their independence established and protected. The entire resources in men and materials of the United States stand behind that pledge….

“‘I give you this message from the Navy,’ the broadcast went on. ‘…The United States Navy is following an intensive and well-planned campaign against Japanese forces which will result in positive assistance to the defense of the Philippine Islands.’

“MacArthur accepted the message at face value. It said simply and plainly that the U.S. Navy was following a campaign that would ‘result in positive assistance to the defense of the Philippine Islands.’

“If MacArthur was misled by this message, he was far from alone. When President Quezon read it in his quarters in Corregidor’s Malinta Tunnel, where he fought against his tuberculosis, he came to the same conclusion. His elation at the news is recorded in his memoirs, The Good Fight. ‘On reading the message,’ he writes, ‘I was instantly electrified and thrilled. The dungeon, where my sick body was lying, lost its depressing gloom. I asked to be taken out to the open space, for the world was too small to contain the emotions that almost burst my heart…. I held a cabinet meeting and read it to them. Giving vent to my feelings, I told my colleagues that the sacrifices our country was making were not in vain…. The Philippines would not only be independent and free, but its independence and freedom were to be protected and safeguarded by the “entire resources in men and materials of the United States.”‘

“In order to reassure the worrying Filipino people, Quezon issued a proclamation: ‘The President of the United States…solemnly pledged that the freedom of our country will be preserved…. You are therefore fighting with America because America is fighting for our freedom…. America will not abandon us. Her help will not be delayed…. We must resist further advance of the enemy until assistance arrives, which will be soon.’ The significance of this proclamation could not possibly have been lost on Washington. Had the message intended to hedge on this vital point, had President Roosevelt meant even to suggest that help might be delayed, someone in the government should have informed MacArthur or Quezon that the message had been misinterpreted. No one did.

“Even if this was an oversight, the administration had enough further opportunity to correct any misinterpretation. U.S. High Commissioner Sayre, in a statement broadcast from Manila by the National Broadcasting Company and carried in the American press, made the same positive declaration that the government had promised reinforcements. ‘Help is surely coming,’ Commissioner Sayre announced, ‘help of sufficient adequacy and power that the invader will be driven from our midst and he will be rendered powerless to ever threaten us again.’ This was the statement of the official representative of President Roosevelt in the Philippines. But no one in Washington indicated that Commissioner Sayre had been misled.

“If this was a misinterpretation of the President’s message, it was repeated right at home, in the New York Times of December 29. The Times story ran under a banner headline that read: ‘All aid promised. President pledges protection. Navy says our fleet is not destroyed and will help defense.’”

Fighting for Time

Everybody fighting the Japanese in the Philippines was elated. Then General MacArthur implemented a strategic “masterpiece” that had a devastating impact on Japan.

“On the first day of 1942, MacArthur announced that the sideslip into Bataan had been successfully completed. He had outsmarted—and moved faster than—the enemy, and the entire defense force had slipped out of the great Japanese pincers. From Washington, General Pershing, MacArthur’s old commander in World War I, congratulated his comrade-in-arms for ‘one of the greatest moves in all military history. It was a masterpiece.’ His view was confirmed later by captured Japanese records. The Imperial Japanese Headquarters called the maneuver ‘a great strategic move.’ The attackers ‘never planned for or expected a withdrawal to Bataan. The decisive battle had been expected in Manila. The Japanese commanders could not adjust to the new situation.’ MacArthur’s move also weakened Japanese morale. ‘Politically,’ the captured records revealed, ‘it stood as a symbol—there was a spiritual influence exerted by the American resistance on Bataan.’

“More than a week after their initial landings, the only prize the Japanese had to show for their marching and fighting was the city of Manila. And, as MacArthur pointed out in his announcement, the city, ‘because of complete evacuation of our forces previously, has no practical military value’” (ibid., pp. 19-20).

They were fighting for time, trying to hang on until American troops and supplies came. All of their planning was based on American aid being sent. But U.S. assistance was not coming. No such plans were even made.

It was a blood-filled hoax that became etched in the mind of every Filipino!

President Quezon Pleads

Near the end of January, 1942, there still was no help from America. By that point, the hopelessly outmanned Filipinos and American soldiers stationed there were being butchered. President Manuel Quezon sent a message directly to President Roosevelt. Here is that message and the response (American Caesar, by William Manchester, p. 245): “‘This war is not of our making,’ he reminded Roosevelt. No government, he said, ‘has the right to demand loyalty from its citizens beyond its willingness or ability to render actual protection.’ He said, ‘It seems that Washington does not fully realize our situation nor the feelings which the apparent neglect of our safety and welfare have engendered in the hearts of the people here,’ and he pleaded for help.

“[President Roosevelt’s] answer to this eloquent appeal is hard to comprehend, let alone defend. Roosevelt said: ‘Although I cannot at this time state the day that help will arrive in the Philippines…vessels…have been filled with cargo of necessary supplies and have been dispatched to Manila. Our arms, together with those of our allies, have dealt heavy blows to enemy transports and naval vessels…. A continuous stream of fighter and pursuit planes is traversing the Pacific…. Extensive arrivals of troops are being guarded by adequate protective elements of our Navy.’ It would be difficult to frame a statement more at odds with the truth, or one surer to boomerang.”

William Manchester continued by discussing Winston Churchill’s memoirs: “…as early as Christmas of 1941, before he assured the Filipinos that ‘every vessel available’ was bearing down on the islands, Roosevelt and Stimson had privately told the British Prime Minister that they had written off the Philippines as a lost cause. (‘There are times,’ Stimson said, ‘when men have to die.’)”

Not only did our President lie, he continued to lie as American soldiers and Filipinos suffered and died, because of that protracted lie. So it went beyond a lie. It was a treacherous, monstrous betrayal!

What makes it even more grotesque is that the soldiers made their plans contingent upon the soon-coming help arriving from the U.S. That meant thousands of soldiers died needlessly because of the grisly betrayal!

Double Standards

General MacArthur said at the time (emphasis mine): “The temper of the Filipinos is one of almost violent resentment against the United States. Every one of them expected help, and…they believe they have been betrayed in favor of others….”

The United States flag was on Filipino soil as a pledge of America’s duty to defend and protect the Philippines. They were not a state, but the closest tie next to statehood.

America’s honor was at stake. How would our close allies trust America in the future, knowing of this cruel deceit?

Some people have said it would have been too hard for the U.S. to get supplies through the Japanese lines. But, at the same time, we were sending many supplies to Stalin’s Soviet Union to aid him against Hitler, and up to 80 percent of those ships, loaded with supplies, were destroyed by the Germans.

That was done in spite of Russia betraying America and Britain in World War I. And we must not forget that Stalin made a pact with Hitler before World War II. Russia allied itself with Hitler and Germany. Those two nations captured and shared Poland’s territory. Stalin also attacked little peace-loving Finland at the beginning of World War II. But that didn’t stop us from closely allying ourselves with Stalin.

Then, after the war, Russia used all the power we helped them amass to gobble up Eastern Europe!

So we helped this evil empire, but couldn’t help the peace-loving Filipinos, who were almost like one of our own states! Such treacherous policies have caused America to be one of the most hated nations in the world.

Because of weakness, America continues to treat our friends that way today. For example, we have pressured Israel to return all its territory conquered since 1967. Yet we make almost no demands on the radical Islamic movement or the unfriendly Arabs.

Thankfully, about two years later, General MacArthur was able to redeem some of America’s honor. But the Filipinos’ faith in America had been tarnished beyond repair.

Did politics influence America’s decision to stay out of the Philippines? MacArthur, like Eisenhower, could have become a political force for the opposing party. Whatever the reasons, it is one of the ugliest chapters in our military history. It revealed a deadly weakness that continues in America today.

Lost World View

We are fast losing our world dominance. That is mainly because we no longer have a world overview. That is why we often work against our friendly allies, like the Shah of Iran. The U.S. helped to force him from power. His departure opened the door to the radical Islamic movement all over the world—led by Iran.

That force alone has greatly destabilized the world. This violent power has led to world unrest! It is the major cause of a violent Middle East! And it is directly tied to America’s weakness. We have the power but lack the will to use it.

America no longer has the will to lead the world with its power. “And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass” (Lev. 26:19). Breaking our will is only one of many curses now coming upon Britain and America.

A great prophecy was already being fulfilled even in World War II. The Churchills and MacArthurs were used to save America and Britain. But Churchill was an outcast before the war, and MacArthur was fired after it was over. Even then we didn’t have much respect for strong leaders.

General MacArthur had the big overview perhaps more than any other American leader. “He had come to the Philippines because he, almost alone, had foreseen that a strong defensive position there was vital to the preservation of peace in the Pacific. He, almost alone, had fully realized and assessed the U.S.’s moral and legal obligations to protect the Philippines. [This gets into the issue of the importance of character in our leaders.] He, almost alone, had fully comprehended the importance of a friendly Philippine government and people to the security of the continental United States. He, almost alone, had fully understood the vulnerability of our Western seaboard should our outpost of friendly islands in the Pacific fall into enemy hands. In short, he, almost alone, then saw that U.S. security was as much a Pacific as an Atlantic problem.

“Because he had been unable to convince the Europe-first policy-planners in Washington, MacArthur had accepted the earnest invitation of President Manuel Quezon to go to the Philippines and do what he could—again almost alone, as far as official Washington was concerned—to prepare the Islands for military self-reliance. By law, the Philippines were to be separated from the sovereign protection of the U.S. on July 4, 1946.

“It was a heart-breaking task, especially since some of the biggest obstacles were thrown in his path by his own government. In Washington the administration and the Congress only listlessly considered the need for defenses in the Pacific” (Whitney, op. cit., p. 4).

God promised to break the pride of our power. Israel today is primarily America and Britain—once called Great Britain, when they had pride in their power! (Write for our booklet, The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

This is an end-time prophecy (Dan. 9:13-14; 12:4, 9). God prophesied that He would break our will to fight and win. That weak condition is a curse from God! That is because we are so engrossed in ourselves and sin. The big global overview escapes us.

The famous commentator Edward R. Murrow said, “The U.S. didn’t enter the war, we were bombed into it.” It took more than Hitler to get us involved. It took Pearl Harbor. And a dangerous weakness has continued to plague us ever since. It was prophesied to happen.

Churchill tried to get America into World War II sooner. It looked as if Germany was going to conquer Europe just after the war started. Still we stayed out. We should have been in at the beginning. Hitler was one of the greatest tyrants of all time. Would we have ever gotten into World War II, if Japan hadn’t bombed Pearl Harbor? It is conceivable that Hitler could have conquered the whole world if the U.S. hadn’t gotten into the war when we did.

Morally there is no way to defend our failure to get into the war sooner. And morally there is no way we can defend our failure to aid our Filipino friends, when you consider all our options. We had made a covenant to defend them. It was our contractual duty to do so.

World War II was the last war that America has won, and we are never going to win another war, because of our blatant rebellion against God!

We didn’t win in Korea, Vietnam or the Persian Gulf. If we defeated Saddam Hussein, why is he still such a terror in the Middle East?

Great Leaders Removed

Great generals like MacArthur were great because they had a world view and the courage to fight for a world of free men. Tyrants like Hitler and Tojo feared such leaders. But those great leaders were prophesied to be removed. “For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water, The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them” (Isa. 3:1-4). We no longer have Churchills or MacArthurs on the world scene. Many of us know it, but we don’t know why!

We are fulfilling these prophecies and are too evil to even see what God is doing. Just the absence of these leaders should, of itself, strike fear in our minds!

How can self-willed, sinful gluttons be convinced about how important the Pacific Islands are to our protection? They can’t. We are too degenerate for God to even save us!

We should notice carefully that God said He would take away the strong leaders and our food and water in the same time period! You and I should deeply ponder this end-time prophecy (write for our free booklet on Isaiah).

Why would God do such a thing? Because our sins revolve around the destruction of the family—a God-plane relationship. “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths” (v. 12). We have upside-down families. Women lead and children oppress. God hates most of all what we have done to the family! (Write for our free booklet, God IS a Family.)

General Douglas MacArthur and his father are the only father and son who each have won the Medal of Honor—America’s highest honor.

“The MacArthur name had long shone like a beacon in the Philippines. General Arthur MacArthur, Douglas’s father, had served there not only with distinction in freeing the Islands from the Spaniard, but also with such justice and compassion in the peace which followed that he had earned the love of all the Filipinos. His son followed in this tradition” (ibid., p. 5).

A great father trained his son to be great. This process is destroyed in a family where the woman rules and the children oppress!

Did you ever consider that God would take away our food and water because of our family sins? God condemns us because we are failing to produce great leaders. That is a cardinal sin!

What leader today would speak like Douglas MacArthur about “the soldier”? “MacArthur accomplished this mostly through his unique ability to evoke in Filipino hearts the nobility of the soldier’s mission. They remembered best his eloquence on this subject when he accepted the baton of Field Marshal from President Quezon at Malacanan Palace. ‘The military code,’ he said on that occasion, ‘has come down to us from even before the age of knighthood and chivalry…. The soldier,above all men, is required to perform the highest act of religious teaching—sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when He created man in His own image. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.

“Moved by such eloquence, Filipinos began to respond to his call for military service” (ibid., p. 6).

When was the last time you heard language like that from one of our leaders? Probably not since World War II. And we haven’t won a war since!

There is cause and effect, but our leaders today refuse to see the truth.

Without strong leaders, nations die!

Here is what Courtney Whitney wrote about the Philippines disaster: “Had we elected to stop Japan’s advance at the outset, when MacArthur wanted us to (and had a plan for doing it), we would have avoided the costly tragedy of the long-drawn-out Pacific war. Japan’s Axis partners, stymied at that time in the Middle East and on the eastern front, would have suffered a psychological setback of major proportions. And we would have preserved Asia from the ravages of Communist imperialism. Thus, even apart from the cruel deception practiced on our defending forces and the Philippine people, our decision to start the Pacific war by losing it was one of the most tragic ever made in the history of the nation” (ibid., p. 37).

Some historians will disagree with this evaluation. But the Chinese Communists gained control of mainland China shortly after World War II. Then they exploited our weakness in Korea and disgraced us before the world. The same scenario occurred in Vietnam.

Now the Chinese are isolating free Taiwan before the whole world, and America is shamefully going along. At the same time, the Chinese are helping our major enemies develop conventional and nuclear power. America does little or nothing to stop such abuse of the world’s freedom! It also appears that we have given China our most sophisticated missile technology unlawfully. These disastrous policies flow from our broken will and tragic national weakness.

It’s the same problem we demonstrated toward the Filipinos in the beginning of World War II.

“I Shall Return”

General MacArthur later learned that America was sending no help to the Philippines. He sent a message to President Roosevelt. “I plan to fight to the complete destruction of our forces on Bataan and then do the same in Corregidor….” He was going to die with his troops.

Our President had agreed with that decision. However, when Australia knew Japan was going to attack them, decisions changed. The Australians asked that their troops fighting with Britain in Africa be returned. But these were some of Winston Churchill’s best soldiers. Churchill and President Roosevelt decided to send MacArthur and some American troops to Australia.

General MacArthur was finally going to get his American troops, but not to save the 18 million Filipinos at that time. He was made supreme commander in that theater of the war, with his headquarters to be in Australia.

General MacArthur left Corregidor and got through the Japanese lines safely to Australia. He said, “I came through, and I shall return.

Never has there been a more famous battle cry in history! And never did a battle cry have such meaning! They were not empty words. Three years later he fought his way back to the Philippines and drove the Japanese from the Islands.

Many Filipinos to this day have the deepest love and respect for General Douglas MacArthur. It’s quite another story about America.

General MacArthur showed us how to endear a people to America. Unfortunately, we have never learned the lesson. We keep doing almost the opposite of his example, as we race toward the greatest disaster this world has ever seen!