Bataan Death March

APRIL 1942

Background

The following day after the Pearl Harbor attack from the Japanese, the Japanese began to invade the Philippines. The Japanese captured the capital of the Philippines within just a month. The American and Filipino defenders of the island were forced to retreat to the Bataan Peninsula. American forces suffered from starvation and disease, which caused them to surrender on April 9th.

Bataan Death March

April 1942 - Post Surrender

Japanese forces rounded up the surrendered Filipinos and Americans and forced them to march around 65 miles. The men were forced to divide into groups of around 100, and the Bataan Death March took each group approximately five days to complete. It is believed that up to thousands of troops died because of the brutality that was forced upon them by their captors. The ones that survived were taken to prisoner-of-war camps. Within these camps, many more died because of disease, starvation, and mistreatment.

Significance in WWII

The Bataan Death March shaped US attitudes towards how the war should be fought. Some researchers argue that the march contributed to the decision whether to drop the atomic bomb as an act of revenge. Although the march didn't really have much of an impact on the total outcome of the war, the events like the march changes the way we remember WWII.