COLUMBIA, S.C. – When General Douglas MacArthur gave up the city of Manila in the Philippines to the Japanese in 1942, he famously vowed to return.
When he did just that in 1945, he thought he’d be able to walk right in and have a victory parade down Dewey Boulevard. The enemy did not cooperate. The Japanese dug in, determined to fight to the death. What followed was a brutal 29-day battle that laid waste to the city, and resulted in 100,000 civilian deaths.
On Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m., historian James M. Scott will deliver a free lecture at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum on the subject of that bloody battle. Afterwards, he will sign copies of his new book, Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila.
Scott has spoken previously as part of the museum’s Lunch and Learn series. Last year, he gave a presentation on the subject of a previous book, Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid that Avenged Pearl Harbor, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
The story Scott will tell at the museum is a horrific one. City landmarks were destroyed, homes were burned, women were raped, and men and children murdered. The fighting was room by room through schools, hospitals and other structures through the city. The battle has been compared to the Rape of Nanking.
It was a little-known nightmare that happened in what should have been a moment of triumph for the Philippine people and American forces.
About the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum
Founded in 1896, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is an accredited museum focusing on South Carolina’s distinguished martial tradition through the Revolutionary War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the War on Terror, and other American conflicts. It serves as the state’s military history museum by collecting, preserving, and exhibiting South Carolina’s military heritage from the colonial era to the present, and by providing superior educational experiences and programming. It is located at 301 Gervais St. in Columbia, sharing the Columbia Mills building with the State Museum. For more information, go to https://crr.sc.gov/.