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Bataan Death March, Philippines, 1942


It is not clear whether General Masaharu Homma ordered the atrocities that occurred during the march, but it is clear that his lack of administrative expertise and his inability to adequately delegate authority and control his men helped to enable the atrocities.[10] After American-Filipino forces surrendered the Bataan Peninsula, Homma turned the logistics of handling the estimated 25,000 prisoners to Major-General Yoshitake Kawane. Homma publicly stated that the POWs would be treated fairly. A plan was formulated, approved by Homma, to transport and march the prisoners to Camp O’Donnell. However, the plan was severely flawed, as the American and Filipino POWs were starving, were weak with malaria, and numbered not 25,000 but 76,000 men, far more than any Japanese plan had anticipated So approximately 75,000 Filipino and US soldiers, commanded by Major General Edward Postelle King Jr. 

   formally surrendered to the Japanese, under General Masaharu Homma,  on April 9, 1942. Captives were forced to march, beginning the next day, about 100 kilometers north to Nueva Ecija to Camp O’Donnell,  a prison camp. Prisoners of war were beaten randomly and denied food and water for several days.

  Those who fell behind were executed through various means: shot, beheaded or bayoneted. Deaths estimated at 650-1,500 U.S. and 2,000 to over 5,000 Filipinos,

General Masaharu Homma was convicted by an Allied commission of war crimes, including the atrocities of the death march out of Bataan, and the atrocities at Camp O’Donnell and Cabanatuan that followed. He was executed on April 3, 1946, age 58, outside Manila.

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