Philippine War / Filipino Genocide 1899 – 1902

The Filipino genocide 1899-1902 simply called the Philippine War 1899-1902 was America’s first Vietnam. In one estimate, some 34,000 Filipino soldiers died against only 4,000 American troops. However estimates for civilian deaths go as high as 1.2 MILLION men, women and children who died of famine and disease mostly in concentration camps.

I have yet to read an official admission and apology for the genocide of Native Americans including those in the Philippines. 

Between January and April of 1902, there were 8,350 deaths out of 298,000. Some camps lost as many as 20% of the population. There was one camp that was two miles by one mile (3.2 by 1.6 km) in area. It was “home” to some 8,000 Filipinos. Men were rounded up for questioning, tortured and summarily executed.

Reverend W. H. Walker received a letter from his son and showed it to the Boston Journal, which reported about it on May 5, 1902. The letter described how 1,300 prisoners were executed over a few weeks. A Filipino priest heard their confessions for several days and then he was  hanged in front of them. Twenty prisoners at a time were made to dig their mass graves and then were shot. The young Walker wrote, “To keep them prisoners would necessitate the placing of the soldiers on short rations if not starving them. There was nothing to do but kill them.”

Manila burns:  US soldiers firing at Filipinos, Feb. 23, 1899
Manila burns: US soldiers firing at Filipinos, Feb. 23, 1899
U.S. Army photo: "Insurgent dead just as they fell in the trench near Santa Ana, February 5th 1899. The trench was circular, and the picture shows but a small portion."
U.S. Army photo: “Insurgent dead just as they fell in the trench near Santa Ana, February 5th 1899. The trench was circular, and the picture shows but a small portion.”
Original caption: "Taking of Pasig --- In the distance to the left the city is seen, and in front the puffs of smoke from the insurgents' rifles, while half way down the open field the American line is returning the fire, being reenforced by others who are hurrying from the boat on the other side of the river. In the background are the reserve troops who have been protecting the advance."
Original caption: “Taking of Pasig — In the distance to the left the city is seen, and in front the puffs of smoke from the insurgents’ rifles, while half way down the open field the American line is returning the fire, being reenforced by others who are hurrying from the boat on the other side of the river. In the background are the reserve troops who have been protecting the advance.”
Philippine War 1899-1902 - Skirmish line of 1st Washington Volunteers at Pasig Mar. 1899
Philippine War 1899-1902 – Skirmish line of 1st Washington Volunteers at Pasig Mar. 1899
Philippine War 1899-1902 - Dead Filipino soldiers near Pasig River Mar. 1899
Philippine War 1899-1902 – Dead Filipino soldiers near Pasig River Mar. 1899
Philippine War 1899-1902 - Dead Filipino soldiers at Pasig.
Philippine War 1899-1902 – Dead Filipino soldiers at Pasig.

Americans discovered in the Philippines a form of torture what is now called “water boarding”.  Notice the U.S. military headgear, the Campaign Hat or the Sun Helmet is made of soft twill cotton. It was also in the Philippines that the U.S. military found the need for a helmet. A new weapon they have never seen before, the yo-yo was effective against the soft Campaign Hat or what we would now call a “bush hat.” Albert Gardner, in Troop B of the 1st U.S. Cavalry, composed a would-be comic song dedicated to “water-cure” torture, sung to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic:

1st Verse

Get the good old syringe boys and fill it to the brim

We’ve caught another nigger and we’ll operate on him

Let someone take the handle who can work it with a vim

Shouting the battle cry of freedom  

CHORUS

Hurrah Hurrah We bring the Jubilee

Hurrah Hurrah The flag that makes him free

Shove in the nozzel deep and let him taste of liberty

Shouting the battle cry of freedom”

US soldiers administering the "water cure" to a Filipino  "insurgent".  This cure was repeated until the prisoner talked or died. Roughly half the Filipinos given the cure did not survive. How many Filipinos were killed by torture is not known, but the extent of the practice is documented by a letter sent home by a soldier who bragged of inflicting the water cure on 160 Filipinos, 134 of whom died. A Harvard-educated officer, 1st Lt. Grover Flint, testified before the US Senate on the routine torture of Filipino combatants and civilians. He described the “water cure” as standard US Army torture.
US soldiers administering the “water cure” to a Filipino “insurgent”.                                This cure was repeated until the prisoner talked or died. Roughly half the Filipinos given the cure did not survive. How many Filipinos were killed by torture is not known, but the extent of the practice is documented by a letter sent home by a soldier who bragged of inflicting the water cure on 160 Filipinos, 134 of whom died. A Harvard-educated officer, 1st Lt. Grover Flint, testified before the US Senate on the routine torture of Filipino combatants and civilians. He described the “water cure” as standard US Army torture.

Original caption:  “Philippine Islands—A Harmless Method of Torture Alleged to Have Been Occasionally Used by Soldiers in the Philippines as one of the Necessary Accom- paniments of War.”   The men belonged to the 35th U.S. Volunteer Infantry Regiment commanded by Col. Edward H. Plummer, West Point Class 1877. The regiment, which mainly operated in Bulacan Province, Luzon Island, arrived in the Philippines on Nov. 6, 1899 and departed on March 15, 1901.

(LEFT), US soldiers and a native collaborator applying the "water cure" to a Filipino  "insurgent".  (RIGHT), Life Cartoon: European colonial powers mock the US.
(LEFT), US soldiers and a native collaborator applying the “water cure” to a Filipino “insurgent”. (RIGHT), Life Cartoon: European colonial powers mock the US. Background chorus: “THOSE PIOUS YANKEES CAN’T THROW STONES AT US ANYMORE.” – 
US soldiers administering the "water cure" to a Filipino  "insurgent".  This cure was repeated until the prisoner talked or died. Roughly half the Filipinos given the cure did not survive. How many Filipinos were killed by torture is not known, but the extent of the practice is documented by a letter sent home by a soldier who bragged of inflicting the water cure on 160 Filipinos, 134 of whom died. A Harvard-educated officer, 1st Lt. Grover Flint, testified before the US Senate on the routine torture of Filipino combatants and civilians. He described the “water cure” as standard US Army torture.
US soldiers administering the “water cure” to a Filipino “insurgent”.
This cure was repeated until the prisoner talked or died. Roughly half the Filipinos given the cure did not survive. How many Filipinos were killed by torture is not known, but the extent of the practice is documented by a letter sent home by a soldier who bragged of inflicting the water cure on 160 Filipinos, 134 of whom died. A Harvard-educated officer, 1st Lt. Grover Flint, testified before the US Senate on the routine torture of Filipino combatants and civilians. He described the “water cure” as standard US Army torture.
American soldiers "water cure" a Filipino. Maj. Gen. Adna R. Chaffee, military governor of the "unpacified areas" of the Philippines, 1901-1902,  ordered the US Army to "Obtain information from natives no matter what measures have to be adopted."
American soldiers “water cure” a Filipino. Maj. Gen. Adna R. Chaffee, military governor of the “unpacified areas” of the Philippines, 1901-1902, ordered the US Army to “Obtain information from natives no matter what measures have to be adopted.”

One famous American who opposed the Philippine War was billionaire Andrew Carnegie

"I would gladly pay twenty million today to restore our republic to its first principles."-- - Andrew Carnegie, American Billionaire & Steel Magnate, explaining why he would buy the Philippines from the United States in order to give the islands their independence.
“I would gladly pay twenty million today to restore our republic to its first principles.”– – Andrew Carnegie, American Billionaire & Steel Magnate, explaining why he would buy the Philippines from the United States in order to give the islands their independence.

“The severity with which the inhabitants have been dealt would not look well if a complete history of it were written out”  –Governor-General of the Philippines, William Howard Taft

US Soldiers pose with Filipino Moro dead after the First Battle of Bud Dajo, March 7, 1906, Jolo, Philippines.US Soldiers pose with dead Filipino men women & children victims of the Bud Dajo Massacre, March 7, 1906, Jolo, Philippines.

Earlier on Dec. 29, 1890, it was the Massacre of Lakotas at Wounded Knee where 84 men 44 women and 18 children were killed with  51 wounded (7 fatally).U.S. soldiers pose for a picture near a mass grave of dead Lakotas following the Wounded Knee Massacre of December 29, 1890Above: U.S. soldiers pose for a picture near a mass grave of dead Lakotas following the Massacre at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890.

Original caption:  "Gov'mt. issuing rice to poor people in Bauan during the concentration." Photo was taken in 1901 at Bauan, Batangas Province. The town was garrisoned by Troop K of the 1st US Cavalry Regiment.
Original caption: “Gov’mt. issuing rice to poor people in Bauan during the concentration.” Photo was taken in 1901 at Bauan, Batangas Province. The town was garrisoned by Troop K of the 1st US Cavalry Regiment.
A concentration camp in Tanauan, Batangas
A concentration camp in Tanauan, Batangas

General Bell insisted that he built these camps to “protect friendly natives from the insurgents, assure them an adequate food supply” while teaching them “proper sanitary standards.” The commandant of one of the camps referred to them as the “suburbs of Hell.” Starvation and disease took the lives of thousands. Between January and April of 1902, there were 8,350 deaths out of 298,000. Some camps lost as many as 20% of the population. There was one camp that was two miles by one mile (3.2 by 1.6 km) in area. It was “home” to some 8,000 Filipinos. Men were rounded up for questioning, tortured and summarily executed.

A roundup of Filipino civilians.
A roundup of Filipino civilians.

Above: A ROUNDUP OF FILIPINO CIVILIANS. Undated photo and location not specified. A correspondent to the Philadelphia Ledger  wrote, “Our soldiers…have taken prisoner people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down as an example to those who found their bullet riddled corpses.”

American soldiers hang two Filipinos. (LEFT) The prisoners are forced up on the scaffold at gunpoint; (RIGHT) The nooses are adjusted and the Filipinos' hands are tied behind their backs.  Undated photo, location not specified.
American soldiers hang two Filipinos. (LEFT) The prisoners are forced up on the scaffold at gunpoint; (RIGHT) The nooses are adjusted and the Filipinos’ hands are tied behind their backs. Undated photo, location not specified.

Reverend W. H. Walker received a letter from his son and showed it to the Boston Journal, which reported about it on May 5, 1902. The letter described how 1,300 prisoners were executed over a few weeks. A Filipino priest heard their confessions for several days and then he was  hanged in front of them. Twenty prisoners at a time were made to dig their mass graves and then were shot. The young Walker wrote, “To keep them prisoners would necessitate the placing of the soldiers on short rations if not starving them. There was nothing to do but kill them.”

Filipino POWs in Nasugbu, Batangas Province When an American was "murdered" in Batangas,  Bell ordered his men to "by lot select a POW--preferably one from the village in which the assassination took place--and execute him."
Filipino POWs in Nasugbu, Batangas Province
When an American was “murdered” in Batangas, Bell ordered his men to “by lot select a POW–preferably one from the village in which the assassination took place–and execute him.”
He also rounded up the wealthy and influential residents of Batangas (ABOVE). They were packed like sardines in small rooms, measuring 15-by-30-by-6 feet, into which up to 50 of them were crammed for months. They were pressed into work gangs to burn their own homes, until they agreed to aid American forces.
He also rounded up the wealthy and influential residents of Batangas (ABOVE). They were packed like sardines in small rooms, measuring 15-by-30-by-6 feet, into which up to 50 of them were crammed for months. They were pressed into work gangs to burn their own homes, until they agreed to aid American forces.
Female prisoners in Batangas
Female prisoners in Batangas

Maj. Gen. J. Franklin Bell said, "It is an inevitable consequence of war that the innocent must generally suffer with the guilty".  He reasoned that since all natives were treacherous, it was impossible to recognize "the actively bad from only the passively so." Maj. Gen. J. Franklin Bell said, “It is an inevitable consequence of war that the innocent must generally suffer with the guilty”.  He reasoned that since all natives were treacherous, it was impossible to recognize “the actively bad from only the passively so.” Some estimates of civilian deaths on Luzon are as high as 100,000. Many of Malvar’s officers and men gave up and collaborated with the Americans. Malvar realized that continuing the war would harm the people more.

Filipino POWs in Batangas Province. A report in the Army and Navy Journal  told of 600 Filipinos penned in a building 70-by-20 feet, suffocating, starving, dying of dysentery and thirst in the brutal tropical sun.
Filipino POWs in Batangas Province. A report in the Army and Navy Journal told of 600 Filipinos penned in a building 70-by-20 feet, suffocating, starving, dying of dysentery and thirst in the brutal tropical sun.

 On April 16, 1902, Malvar and his entire command surrendered to the Americans, who treated him honorably. General Bell reported that during the campaign against Malvar, US forces secured 3,561 guns and 625 revolvers, captured, or forced to surrender some eight or ten thousand “insurgents”.  Malvar’s surrender marked the end of organized resistance in the Philippines against American occupation.  To deal with other rebels and insurrectionists, the Philippine Commission passed the Brigandage Act of 1902 which interpreted all acts of armed resistance to American rule as banditry. 

Three "Ladrones" (bandits) are about to be hanged in Tayabas Province (now Quezon). The Brigandage Act of 1902 passed on November 12, 1902 interpreted all acts of armed resistance to American rule as banditry. PHOTO was taken in the early 1900s.
Three “Ladrones” (bandits) are about to be hanged in Tayabas Province (now Quezon). The Brigandage Act of 1902 passed on November 12, 1902 interpreted all acts of armed resistance to American rule as banditry. PHOTO was taken in the early 1900s.

My great grandfather Nicolas Aldana, a husband to a landowner was executed on Dec. 12, 1901 eleven months prior to the enactment of the Brigandage Act of 1902. It should be noted that during the Spanish Regime and before the Americans came, only full-blooded Spaniards were allowed to own land in the Philippines. Mestizos or half-Spanish and usually half-Chinese could only lease the lands from the Dominican Order.

The severity with which the inhabitants have been dealt would not look well if a complete history of it were written out”  –Governor-General of the Philippines, William Howard Taft
“The severity with which the inhabitants have been dealt would not look well if a complete history of it were written out” –Governor-General of the Philippines, William Howard Taft

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