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World War II
The First Battle of the Philippines



The First Battle of the Philippines
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.34

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    halted, determined, invasion, launched, wounded, disgraceful, fleet, resistance, torture, invaders, military, command, lasted, prisoner, peninsula, direct
     content words:    Pearl Harbor, Pacific Ocean, Philippine Islands, Hong Kong, Wake Island, By Christmas, General Douglas MacArthur, General MacArthur, Japanese General Homma, General Homma


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The First Battle of the Philippines
By Jane Runyon
  

1     The surprise attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor had been devastating. The loss of men, ships, and planes on December 7 crippled a large part of the American military. It also left the islands in the Pacific Ocean open to attack by the Japanese. Just three days after Pearl Harbor, on December 10, the Japanese invaded the Philippine Islands. American military leaders had anticipated an attack on these islands much earlier. But the Japanese had fooled them by going for a direct attack on the American military.
 
2     The Japanese launched invasions on Hong Kong, Guam, Wake Island, and Thailand on their return from Hawaii. By Christmas, the Japanese were in control of the Pacific. They moved on to Burma and Malaysia. The British had expected these locations to be attacked from the sea. The Japanese again surprised their enemy by marching through the jungles of Thailand. Close to 85,000 British soldiers were captured by the Japanese invaders.
 
3     The invasion of the Philippines began on December 10. American soldiers were already in place on the Islands. Military leaders had known that these islands would be a prime Japanese target. General Douglas MacArthur was in charge. Both sides fought fiercely for three weeks. MacArthur made the mistake of spreading the American soldiers in too many directions. The line of resistance was broken. General MacArthur pressed every ambulance and taxi cab in Manila into service. These vehicles were used to transport nearly 100,000 troops and Philippine citizens to the Bataan peninsula. The General hoped that the Japanese charge could be halted there.

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