Real victory belonged to the brave Filipinos, Americans of WW II

Published April 8, 2018, 5:13 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Roy Mabasa

Did you know that at the height of World War II in the Philippines, Nazi’s chief propagandist Dr. Joseph Goebbels relishes the Fall of Bataan and even blames Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the Jews?

The 19 surviving World War II veterans from Leyte were duly honored and recognized during the 73rd anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings last Friday at the MacArthur Landing Memorial in Palo, Leyte. (Nestor L. Abrematea|Manila Bulletin)
(Nestor L. Abrematea|Manila Bulletin)

Director Gerry Suliguin, director of the Office of Public Diplomacy, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), made this discovery on the eve of the country’s observance of the 76th year of Araw ng Kagitingan, while he was conducting an extensive research for his dissertation on the use of propaganda in the 20th century.

“Actually I was at the library yesterday working on my dissertation on the use of propaganda in the 20th century when I chanced upon the diary of Goebbels and opened the pages on April 1942,” Suliguin said in a text message.

Goebbels was Adolf Hitler’s minister for enlightenment and propaganda – the same man who fostered anti-Semitism and prepared the ground well for Hitler’s war.

“As we celebrate the bravery and heroism of the Filipino and American troops who stood side by side resisting the Japanese forces, I decided to see if that turning point in the Pacific theater of World War II had an effect in the European side of the war. By looking at the diary of Joseph Goebbels, I found out that the Nazi propaganda chief delighted in the result and immediately incorporated the same in his anti-Semitic narrative,” Suliguin said in his research notes, copies of which was obtained by the Manila Bulletin.

“It was the complete physical exhaustion of the troops that led to the fall of Bataan in 9 April 1942. When the Japanese troops succeeded in enveloping the east flank of the Americans held by the II corps, it was the attempt to relieve it by the I corps that failed. This sums up the content of the communiqué’ sent by General (Jonathan) Wainwright to the War Department that fateful day 76 years ago.”

“Following five days of ‘terrific,’ as American newspapers described it, bombardment coupled with shortage of rations and ravages of disease, some 36,800 American and Filipino soldiers were reported trapped. Then Secretary of War Stimson in a press conference later stated that the brave defenders of Bataan will be avenged and that the fall was a temporary loss,” Suliguin further wrote.

Suliguin said that based on the entries of the diary, the news of the defeat of the Americans in the Pacific theater reached Europe and did not escape the attention of Goebbels.

“Goebbels was the head of the Nazi Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Entries in Goebbels’ 1942 diary show the propaganda minister taking note of the fall of Bataan and quickly blaming MacArthur, and the Jews behind him, saying the “genius of the century” shall be unmasked completely by German propaganda. Goebbels, naturally, castigated the Jews for “inflating” MacArthur as a “great general” and appeared to rejoice in the news from Australia concerning MacArthur’s jurisdiction,” the DFA officer noted.

Below are some of the entries in Goebbels’ diary dated April 11, 13, 15 and 19 respectively, translated and edited by Louis Lochner:

April 11, 1942

A black day for the enemy. The Americans must admit they have evacuated Bataan. They now have nothing more to defend in the Philippines except Corregidor…

The whole United States is in turmoil. The halo they gave MacArthur is fading. We are naturally going to seize upon this opportunity. This much-overrated character, whom New York only a few days ago was still trying to sell as the outstanding genius of the century, will now be unmasked completely by our propaganda.

April 13, 1942

In the United States, they still haven’t recovered from the heavy loss of equipment and prestige occasioned by the fall of Bataan. American pride and national sensitiveness received a heavy blow. The Jews acted prematurely when they inflated that movie hero MacArthur into a great general. You don’t become a great general by letting members of the public wear your picture in their buttonholes – you have to achieve at least a couple of victories. MacArthur hardly seems able to produce one.

April 15, 1942

Almost no hopes are entertained for Corregidor. Even the Americans admit they can hold out for only a few days more. The situation there must be simply horrible. Meanwhile, General MacArthur sits in Australia and issues fervent appeals to his troops – a thing that is possible only in America. We should by now be throwing stones at a general of that sort.

April 19, 1942

A merry fight has broken out in Australia about MacArthur’s jurisdiction. The Americans would like to give him the supreme command without any strings attached, but the Australians don’t seem very much inclined to approve.

In his research, Suliguin noted that while the fall of Bataan became a part of the Nazi narrative of its early triumph, he said the real victory belonged to the brave Filipinos and Americans who proved Sec. Stimson right that the loss was temporary by winning the war.

“Our veterans did more proving the Philippines is indeed a ‘duyan ng magiting, sa manlulupig di pasisiil’,” the young DFA diplomat said in his closing narrative

Suliguin is a product of the University of the Philippines in Diliman with Bachelor of Arts and Masters in History. He is currently doing his postgraduate studies in Historical Studies at the prestigious Oxford University.