Bataan Death March Essay, Research Paper
The Bataan Death March: A brutal, barbaric journey through malnutrition, disease, torture, and death. Documentaries try to explain the history of these horrible events, but only those who survived the march actually know how awful and cruel it really was.
December 7, 1941: The renowned bombing of Pearl Harbor stunned the United States and the whole world. The Japanese had been dominating many territories, and were continuing to spread throughout South East Asia. The President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had then devised a plan of action and sent American Troops to defend Corregidor Island, located in the Philippines. After fighting through many small battles, they finally arrived in 1942, in the Manila Bay. There, the American and Filipino Troops teamed up to resist the forces of the Japanese Soldiers. However, the United States had not expected to remain there for more than one month, and was not very well prepared. They had believed that help would be coming for them, but unfortunately, it was impossible to send more assistance into Corregidor. The US and Filipino s battled for five months against the fierce Japanese, who invaded May 5, 1942. The Japs shot one shell every five seconds for 24 hours straight. The Americans were under the command of General Jonathan Wainwright, who had led a gallant, but hopeless fight, and finally in May of 1942, 76,000 troops surrendered to Japan.
This resignation had begun one of the worst marches in the history of any war. When the survivors of the Battle of Corregidor became POW s, they were forced to endure a 90-mile trek, called the Bataan Death March. The Prisoner s were denied food, water, and medical treatment throughout most of this time. Their personal possessions and equipment was taken from them, and they had to march in the blazing sun without any basic sanitary facilities. Along the way their Japanese escorts beat, clubbed, and bayoneted them. If any soldiers were seen taking a rest, they were killed. More than 10,000 died during the frightful march. Those that died were left by the side of the road, and were to be disposed of at a later time.
After a long period of suffering and pain, the American bombers invaded the Philippines in 1944. The United States Soldiers were shipped out of the country. They had been so hungry and thirsty that they killed each other for water, blood, and urine, and anything else that was in liquid form. After 5,000 American soldiers died during Japanese prison ship attacks, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The war was over and the American Soldiers were sent home to $1 per day for every day that they had been a prisoner of war. 57 percent of all the American Prisoners (36,000) had died in the Pacific, fighting for our country. They willfully sacrificed their minds and bodies to keeping our country a safe and free place to live. They also helped gain the Philippines back from Japanese rule.
American Soldiers should be regarded as one of the most courageous, fearless people in the world. From watching documentaries and doing research on war, I have a grown respect for every soldier that has ever fought for their country. After watching what the Bataan Death March was all about, I am now beginning to see what a sacrifice it was for all who served in that battle. For four years, all the American Soldiers knew of was hunger, disease, torture, and death. They had been surrounded by these things for such a long time that they forgot what it was like to have a luxurious life in the United States. One man said that it wasn t until one of his good friends died that he finally realized that it was okay to cry. Before that time, he did not know how to express sorrow because he was so used to seeing death and pain. However, when he saw the death of him, he saw that he was still human.
The American Troops gave up their families, friends, and sumptuous lives to save the free will of our country. They left every item and every person that they loved to fight for the United States. Many lost their arms and legs, while others lost their lives. To die for one s country is the most honorable deed that a person can do.
Those who survived the Battle of Corregidor and the Bataan Death March went through unthinkable things. They went without food or water for days, were beaten and harassed by the Japanese, and worst of all, saw the deaths of thousands of soldiers that were just like them. Many of the Americans that returned from the war were so shaken up by it that to this day they cannot speak about their experience. It is too hard for them to remember the past, and they want to leave it in the history.
With much respect and gratitude for all Americans who fought for our country, here is a quote from General Wainwright of his men: They were the first to fire and the last to lay down their arm, and only reluctantly doing so after being given a direct order.
All soldiers should be greatly commemorated for their heroic acts and I am very honored to live in a country that has such courageous people in it.
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