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Slain woman and children in the ruins of Manila
Manila walled city destruction, May 1945

The Manila massacre refers to the February 1945 atrocities conducted against Filipino civilians in Manila, Philippines by the Japanese troops during World War II.

To avoid needless violence and civilian deaths, and also to preserve as large a force as possible to continue defensive operations in rural Luzon, Imperial Japanese Army General Tomoyuki Yamashita had ordered a complete withdrawal of Japanese troops from Manila. However, 10,000 marines under Vice Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi disobeyed Yamashita's orders and remained in Manila along with some IJA stragglers.

Various credible Western and Eastern sources agree that the death toll was at least 100,000.[1] The massacre was at its worst in the Battle of Manila. During lulls in the battle for control of the city, Japanese troops took out their anger and frustration on the civilians caught in the crossfire. Japanese troops looted and burned, and brutally executed, decapitated and abused women, men and children alike, including priests, Red Cross personnel, prisoners of war and hospital patients.

The Manila massacre was one of the several major war crimes committed by the Imperial Japanese Army, as judged by the postwar military tribunal. Although General Yamashita had ordered all Japanese forces under his command to withdraw from Manila, and had no control over those who chose to disobey his orders, he was nonetheless judged to be responsible and executed. This decision is controversial even today. (See the entry on Tomoyuki Yamashita for details.)

See also


  • Taylor, Lawrence, A Trial of Generals, Icarus Press, South Bend IN, 1981

External links



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