The Battle of Manila

US #2981b – from the World War II – 1945: Victory at Last Sheet

On February 3, 1945, the Allies launched the Battle of Manila during World War II. 

Manila is the capital, largest city, and leading port of the Philippines.  The Japanese seized this city, located on the island of Luzon, just four weeks after World War II began in the Pacific.

US #2981b – Mystic First Day Cover

On January 9, 1945, the Allies landed on the island with the largest landing force used in the Pacific campaign, and began fighting their way to Manila.  The Japanese were ready with an impressive army of 250,000 men.  Despite their size however, the Japanese had been weakened by Filipino guerrilla attacks and steady bombings by US aircraft.  US forces defeated the Japanese in the north and east, then prepared for their final drive on Manila, which coincided with the 8th Army’s drive across the base of the Bataan Peninsula.

US #2981b – Classic First Day Cover

The first US troops reached the outskirts of Manila on February 3, seized a strategically important bridge, and then captured the Malacanang Palace.  The next wave of US soldiers targeted the University of Santo Tomas, which had been turned into a 4,255-prisoner internment camp.  After exchanging fire, the Japanese negotiated to release the prisoners if they were allowed to join their own troops at the Malacanang Palace (which they did not know had been taken). 

US #2981b – Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover

Though General MacArthur announced the fall of Manila on February 6, the fighting continued for nearly a month.  Little by little, US troops captured bridges, buildings, and other locations.  Despite American attempts to protect the city’s people and historic buildings, the Japanese took their frustrations out on both.  This nearly destroyed Intramuros (the city’s oldest section) and led to the deaths of 100,000 civilians. Defeated Japanese commanders committed ritual suicide on February 26.

US #1424 was issued on MacArthur’s 91st birthday in 1971.

It took 29 days to clear the city, and in the desperate house-to-house struggle much of Manila was destroyed.  On March 3rd, the city was liberated.  US troops freed more than 5,000 Allied prisoners.  Although small bands of Japanese remained and continued to fight, MacArthur was able to establish a base from which to invade Japan itself.  The month-long Battle of Manila was the first and most violent urban fighting of the war in the Pacific.  The Filipinos began rebuilding Manila almost immediately.  Today Manila is again the country’s chief cultural, social, and commercial city.

You asked, and we listened…  FREE printable This Day in History album pages are now available!

Click here to download a PDF of today’s article.  

It’s two pages.  The first page has a border so you can print it on whatever paper you want.  The second page doesn’t have a border so you can print it on Mystic’s blank supplement pages.  

And click here if you need a binder, or other supplies to create your This Day in History album.  You’ll find handy mount grab bags, or you can get the mounts you need on each individual US stamp page.  

Let us know if you like these pages and want us to keep creating them.  

And remember – you can purchase any of the stamps, covers, or coins in these articles.  Just click on the pictures and add them to your cart.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

Did you like this article? Click here to rate:
[Total: 54 Average: 4.8]

Share this article

3 responses to "The Battle of Manila"

3 thoughts on “The Battle of Manila”

  1. I have visited Manila a number of times since 1991, when I was there for my future parents-in-law 50th Wedding Anniversary. I have been to The University Of Santo Tomas (UST) Saint Thomas University, which is older than Harvard and Yale, as well as other leading centers of higher learning. I have also visited Intramuros, where Jose Rizal was killed by the Spanish. And I have visited churches which are also cemeteries, containing the remains of the Spanish soldiers that fought Filipinos for independence from Spain.


Leave a Comment

Love history?

Discover events in American history – plus the stamps that make them come alive.

Subscribe to get This Day in History stories straight to your inbox every day!