Bataan Death March Facts

Bataan Death March Facts
The Bataan Death March took place in the Philippines after General George MacArthur left the Philippines Islands with most of the American forces, leaving some behind to fight to fight alongside the Filipinos against the Japanese. Most of the resistance took place around the Manila Bay with the Battle of Bataan beginning on January 7, 1942 and lasting until the Americans surrendered on April 9. The Japanese then had to move over 60,000 prisoners of war and more than 300,000 displaced civilians, which they were not prepared to do. The next day, American and Filipino prisoners were forcibly marched from Mariveles and Bagac in the Bataan province to the city of San Fernando where they were loaded onto trains and sent to a camp in the city of Capas, for a total journey of nearly seventy miles. Prisoners were beaten, robbed, and starved during the journey and many died of dehydration on the train ride. Up to 600 Americans died during the march, but the Filipinos fared much worse - some estimates are that up to 20,000 died during the Bataan Death March. After the war, Japanese General Masaharu Homma was convicted of war crimes for his role in the Bataan Death March and executed.
Interesting Bataan Death March Facts:
The Filipino prisoners were generally treated much worse than the American prisoners.
Although there is little doubt that the Japanese treated the American and Filipino prisoners cruelly, much of it had to do with poor logistical planning on their part. They didn't think they would capture as many prisoners as they did were unprepared to move so many.
The Japanese didn't consider the prisoners to be POWs, which meant that officially they were still combatants.
One of the most famous American soldiers in Bataan Death March was Mario Tonelli (1916-2003). Tonelli was a former running back for Notre Dame who played professional football briefly for the Chicago Cardinals. He had his Notre Dame class ring stolen by a Japanese soldier, but in an incredible twist it was returned by a Japanese guard who had attended the University of Southern California.
Alfredo Santos (1905-1990) was one of the most notable Filipino survivors of the Bataan Death March. After World War II, Santos went on to serve in the Philippines Army for most of his life and was the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces from 1962 through 1965.
Once the prisoners arrived at the final destination of Camp O'Donnel, they continued to die at the rate of several hundred per day due to neglect and abuse.
It was nearly two years later, January 27, 1944, when the United States government finally informed the public about the death march.
It was nearly two years later, January 27, 1944, when the United States government finally informed the public about the death march.
Because many of the American soldiers who were forced to march at Bataan were from New Mexico, a monument to the victims and survivors was erected in Las Cruces, New Mexico in 2002. The monument depicts two American soldiers and a Filipino soldier leaning on each other for support as they marched.

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