Although it tends to get lost in the annals of history, Pearl Harbor was not the only place the Japanese attacked on that ‘Day of Infamy' back on Dec. 7, 1941.
While most people know about Pearl Harbor, because it was the historic event that caused America into World War II, they also attacked several other places, including Guam, Wake Island, and the Philippine Islands, which at the time was under control of the United States.
Japanese forces also attacked, on that same day, the British colony of Hong Kong resulting in its occupation, as well as Thailand and Malaysia.
While the attack on the Phillipines happened just 10 hours after the one on Pearl Harbor, it gets somewhat confusing because it was actually Dec. 8 there due to the island's location to the west of the International Dateline.
Just as they did at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese launched a surprise air attack. However, in the case of the Philippines, this initial strike was followed by a full-scale invasion of the main island of Luzon three days later, with troops landing north and south of the city of Manila.
By early January, however, the American soldiers and Filipino defenders were forced to retreat and set up a narrow defensive position along the island's western Bataan Peninsula. The fighting was ferocious and continued for the next five months before they finally had to surrender to the Japanese on April 9, 1942.
Chuck Wullenjohn, of the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, will be giving a presentation called “Help Never Came” about this dramatic period of the island's defense at 1 p.m. Friday at the Yuma Main Library, 2951 S. 21st Drive.
Wullenjohn said America was stunned when learning in 1942 of the Bataan Death March, in which 80,000 American and Filipino prisoners were forced by victorious Japanese troops to travel by foot with little food or water to a prisoner-of-war camp 60 miles away. Over 10,000 died during the march, many due to horrific atrocities and torture.
America's stout defense of Bataan and Corregidor in the early days of World War II was one of the few bright spots in a bleak landscape of early war defeat. Wullenjohn said the defenders of Bataan were promised reinforcements, but they never came, which resulted in the bitterly fought campaign ending in calamity, with the largest surrender of American troops in our nation's history.
Admission to Wullenjohn's presentation is free and open to the public. The presentation will include many original photos taken at that time.
For further information, contact Chuck Wullenjohn at the YPG Public Affairs Office at 328-6533 or Mimi Duncan at the library at 314-2452. You can also contact the YPG Public Affairs Office by email at: email@example.com