These images are from the WW2 RADIO Facebook Website run by Peter De Forest. He reproduces them in a larger size, and the site is definitely worth a visit because you are sure to be diverted for hours.
I was surprised at the extent of the bombing, as was Karl, and I was wondering why so few of the images ever made it into the public consciousness? Was it that America couldn't cope with more disaster and defeat? Did the photos not suit the narrative? Had the facts overtaken the story? ("The most important news is never to be found in the newspapers, its the stories that the newspapers don't print that are most important," my father used to say.) Of course, within days, the Japanese were in control of Manila and its newspapers, but these photographs presumably remained in Carl Mydans' possession. Maybe there wasn't enough time to get them published. Maybe Carl Mydans didn't want to make himself unpopular with the Japanese? Indeed, were there newspapers being published at that time? Anyone got any ideas?
MANILLA - DECEMBRE 1941
Bombardement japonais sur Manille en décembre 1941. Photos Carl Mydans - LIFE Collections
My guess is you hit the nail on the head when you asked "Had the facts overtaken the story?".
He and his wife were captured very early in the war and were interred for two years before being released in a prisoner exchange. By then, pictures of the bombing of a city that had fallen two years past was old news, I would think. Especially with the Invasion of Italy in September of 1943 and the Pacific campaigns of the Marshall and Gilbert islands in November of 1943. All this a scant month or two before Mydans' release in December that same year. This is all just a swag mind you, but there certainly was no shortage of fresh war news at that time. In fact, one might think that between December of 1941 to August of 1945, there was no such a thing as a slow news day.
I am currently doing a short presentation and a section covers the bombing of Manila in 1941 and the area where the Japanese bombs fell. (approximately). While Manila was not as destroyed like the 45 liberation, there were stories and reports that the Japanese indiscriminately bomb Manila at will in 41. Got to find out that some of the destruction that was attributed to the Japanese were actually caused by the USAFFE as they were withdrawing the capital for their retreat to Bataan. More later....
Post by joeconnor53 on Mar 19, 2018 21:00:19 GMT 8
Only happy news was being sent out of the Philippines, probably the result of military censorship.
In the first few days of the war, American papers ran front-page stories reporting that the Philippine Army had repelled an attempted landing in Lingayen Gulf. The stories were quite detailed and included things like the precise number of Japanese landing craft sunk. There was only problem. Not a word of it was true.
Carl Mydans, the Life photographer who took those photos of the bombing of Manila, was the only reporter enterprising enough to actually go to Lingayen Gulf, and he learned the story wasn't true. Nevertheless, Life never corrected the record and continued to cite the repelled invasion as fact. When Mydans got back to Manila, he told MacArthur's PR guy that the story wasn't true, but the PR guy shrugged his shoulders and never corrected the false story.
I did an article on this for World War II magazine. If anyone is interested, shoot me a PM and I'll email you a copy.
I too am surprised at the extent of the damage. I had been under the impression that the bombing was quite limited, but these photos would suggest otherwise. I will be very interested in hearing more of Tony's mention about USAAFE caused damage and why. Was the "Open City" not quite as open as thought?
The photos taken by Mydans on Dec. 29 were in the areas vicinities near the estuary (Pasig) river and docks. They were not in the central heart of Manila (Civilian and Main Office and buildings)). The buildings and structures that you see there are located in the port area and parts of Intramuros near or at the river side. Now there were civilian communities in the area but they were not the intended targets.
The Japanese were preventing further supplies or anything of military in value to escape Manila as they know that the retreat to Bataan was in effect. A large part of materiel and supplies were sent via water surface vessels to the peninsula.
Last Edit: Apr 16, 2018 6:59:27 GMT 8 by batteryboy
I now see that these photos were indeed limited to the areas Tony has mentioned. Unlike the Germans, the Japanese tended to be very pragmatic with their expenditure of munitions. The Japanese intent was to win over the Philippine people and indiscriminate bombing would certainly not a part of the plan. So much of the defeat in 1942 has been distorted that such has become the accepted standard of the history of the time.
and remember that is also on this day (Dec. 29) that Corregidor was heavily bombed for the first time so Manila was really not a primary target. Conrad is right about the Japanese use of their munitions as they need to prioritize and be selective in their targets.
This is very interesting, my Grandmother and aunt always told us about the bombings they can hear starting December 10, And I always wondered how damage the City was. They don't live in the port area they are more in the Paco district area all they say is that there were a lot of planes and there seems to be heavy bombing.
we shall defend our island whatever the cost may be - Sir Winston Churchill
Artem: I use to work in that shipyard. Heard of D. Cleland through my uncles who were previous generations that worked there. Saw a photo or two of D.Cleland in the shipyard library. If my memory is correct I saw his grave out in the city's protestant cemetery.
May 11, 2020 8:24:25 GMT 8