Manila massacre

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Manila walled city destruction, May 1945

The Manila massacre was a war crime that involved the killings of Filipino civilians in the city of Manilla, Philippines by Japanese troops in the Battle of Manila during World War II.


To preserve as large a force as possible to continue defensive operations in rural Luzon, Imperial Japanese Army General Tomoyuki Yamashita had insisted on a complete withdrawal of Japanese troops from Manila. However, this was not realized because of objections from Imperial headquarters. 10,000 marines under Vice Admiral Iwabuchi Sanji 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] tallying to around 10% of the population of the city. The massacre was at its worst in the Battle of Manila, in which the Allies shelled the city of Manila to drive out the Japanese. In this shelling, the city of Manila was totally destroyed. By the time the Japanese were driven out, the city was in ruins, becoming the second most severely damaged Allied capital city during the war, the first being Warsaw in Poland.[2] It is said that 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. A total of 100,000 civilian deaths was estimated after the battle, but the proportions of casualties due to Allied artillery versus Japanese troops is not known.

The Manila massacre was said to be one of several major war crimes committed by the Imperial Japanese Army, as judged by the postwar military tribunal. Although General Yamashita didn't have any control over the troops in the city during the Battle of Manila, he was nonetheless judged to be responsible and executed. The Yamashita standard — regarding a commander's responsibility for action taken by anyone under his command — is based upon his trial.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ White, Matthew. "Death Tolls for the Man-made Megadeaths of the 20th Century". Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  2. ^ Quezon, Taylor (7 February 2007). "The Warsaw of Asia: How Manila Was Flattened in WWII". Arab News. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 


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