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Japanese Occupation

Japanese Occupation

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Published by Hannibal F. Carado
reference: "Collaboration in the Philippines" by Joel Steinberg
reference: "Collaboration in the Philippines" by Joel Steinberg

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Published by: Hannibal F. Carado on Sep 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/09/2013

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THE HEEL OF ACHILLESPrelude to Japanese Occupation of the PhilippinesThe initial euphoria felt by Americans when Admiral Dewey defeated the Spanishwas soon tempered not only by the Insurrection but also by the reality of the changingbalance of power in the Pacific. By 1905 Japan, as a result of victories over China andRussia, emerged as the dominant Asian power. Moreover, the potential Japanesethreat of hegemony increased as the fluid diplomatic configuration of the late 19
th
 century European power froze in the years preceding World War I. Englands anxietyabout Europe led to an Anglo-Japanese alliance in 1902. Englands recognition of Japanese paramountcy and Europes increasing self-absorption caused their retreat from the Asian scene. This turn in affairs, together with Japanese power and Chineseweakness, combined to make American policy planners see Japan alone as the futurerival to the United States in Asia. In addition, America felt that Japan threatened thestability of peace in Asia. In turn, to Japanese planners America became the onlypower capable of and interests in checking Japanese imperialism.Prior to 1941, however, the United States was not willing militarily to opposeJapans drive for hegemony. The traditional isolation of America, its remoteness from Asia, and its primary connections with Europe circumscribed American policy in thePhilippines and the Pacific. To avoid an eventual confrontation with Japan the UnitedStates had to develop a policy of minimizing liabilities which might ensnare America.The possession of the Philippines was one of the most inhibiting elements in the American diplomatic posture in Asia. Strategically, the Philippines were a vulnerablepawn which the Americans were compelled to defend. By 1907 President Roosevelsaw that the Philippines aggravated flaws in American diplomacy in Asia. In a letter toWilliam Howard Taft, then Secretary of War, he noted that the Philippine Islands formour heel of Achilles. They are all that makes the present situation with Japandangerous. Roosevelt argued for Philippine independence as a means of diminishing America military risk, and this theme was repeated with increasing frequency asJapanese imperialism became more blatant through the years.The Japanese action in 1913 in Manchuria encouraged the American Congress toestablish a Philippine Commonwealth. Section Eleven of the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, entitled Neutralization of the Philippine Islands, specifically instructed the American President to enter into negotiations with foreign powersfor the perpetualneutralization of the Philippine Islands in order to absolve the United States of anypostindependence obligations. As Japanese imperialism became more menacing throughout the later 1930sJapan became increasingly the enemy, despite sympathetic interest at both ends of thePhilippine political and economic spectrum. Commitment to Philippine nationalism was

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