Skip to comments.HOW THE WORLD'S RICHEST MAN TRIED TO SAVE THE PHILIPPINES
Posted on 08/15/2016 7:31:39 AM PDT by knarf
Carnegie was against the annexation of the Philippines. But he didnt just put his opinion on paper. In 1898, while the Treaty of Paris was underway, he went to see U.S. President William McKinley to talk him out of that agreement.
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If the US hadn’t been in the Philippines, we might not have confronted Japan in the Pacific; and hence, our entry into WWII might have been delayed, if it happened at all.
Ergo, we might be living in a world with a Reich and an Imperial East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
It was, on the whole, a bad idea.
I did know about Carnegie, and he certainly wasnt the only one warning against it.
McKinley didnt think it through, and it wasnt a very popular policy. And it was McKinleys decision alone, which does not seem proper for such things. I think he was deceived by the emotional high of the recent victory.
The US repented of the whole thing within a decade and spent the next thirty years trying to get rid of the place as cheaply as it could be managed. It was by that time though entangled in Filipino politics.
The story is fascinating. There are several good books on it, Stanley Karnows being flawed but well written.
Americans betrayed the Filipinos. The Filipinos had placed the Spanish under siege in Manila while our navy had them blockaded. We led the Filipinos to believe we were supporting their independence from Spain. The Spanish, when they finally surrendered, were saved the humiliation of surrendering to the locals. Marines came in and the Filipinos were told they could not march on the city. Some time later, we “caught” Filipinos trying to attack us one night. With a well orchestrated artillery barrage, in self defense of course, we hit the Filipino army outside of Manila. If we were caught by surprise, how did we light up the Filipino army as if it was a well coordinated attack? A British observer at the time noted and reported as such.
In regards to the Japanese, Teddy Roosevelt encouraged the Japanese to conquer Korea. He thought the world would be a better place if the Japs were in charge of Asia.
The other way of looking at it is the US would not have presented an implied threat to Japan, which would not have had occasion for a naval expansion.
A US-Japanese alliance was a reasonable idea in its time, had the US stayed within implied spheres of influence.
Russia was going to defeat Germany regardless.
For me ... it is history I never knew.
I'm happy to read the replies of FReepers ... yuze guys are the BEST !
The isolationists of the time would have been given a lot of ammunition for their argument had that choice been made. Also, all this required was what was already government policy of ignoring various bits of barbarism in the name of imperial conquest in China and exterminating undesirables in Europe.
Just quibbles -
- Dewey and the generals played a cagey game with Aguinaldo, making implied promises without commitment.
- Taking Manila was as stated a token act, a pretense on both sides. This was arranged between the US and the Spanish commanders. Neither was willing to have the Filipino armies enter Manila. The Spanish above all were fearful of a general massacre.
- It was the US Regular Army and the state regiments of US Volunteers that entered Manila, not the Marines. Many Manila streets were, even in my day, still named after the US Volunteer regimenrs - Colorado, Dakota, etc.
- The US- Filipino battles outside Manila, a huge fight that shattered the Philippine Army, were tactically very interesting, and moreso as examples of battles late in the age of rifles, before artillery dominated. This is very under-researched and there really isnt a good treatment of it, though there is a huge lot of material on it. It certainly wasnt won by an artillery bombardment, the US hadn’t the artillery for that, but the US certainly did use artillery effectively in supporting infantry attacks.
They also copied a lot from America. The Chinese and Koreans were still basically factions at war with each other at this time. Ditto for the Filipinos. So his thinking was based on reality.
Remember also that after our reluctant acquisition of the Philippines at the end of the Spanish American War, Democrats wanted to do what they've wanted to do in most wars since-- bug out and leave the consequences for the locals. The Philippines was not ready for independence and had many factions at war. It would have been a long a bloody civil war with the strong possibility of a rump Muslim state emerging.
McKinley sent William Howard Taft to be colonial governor and he did such a great job, that the vast majority of the Filipinos genuinely loved him by the time the last of the independence factions had collapsed. Taft also worked tirelessly to lower tariffs so the Philippines would have something to sell to the United States, mostly footwear and clothing, as it turned out.
Unfortunately, this and the rift with TR during his four year presidency, paved the way for the misrule of Woodrow Wilson and the income tax.
There would likely have been a Philippine civil war, or more likely yet an Aguinaldo dictatorship plus independence of various regions, notably the Visayas .
Possibly also the Germans would have acquired various islands, though I doubt they would have been up to fighting the Filipinos for Luzon. If they had tried that expensive proposition it may have soaked up large resources from their European military.
The Muslims were already semi-independent, kept down by Spanish garrisons, but their actual independence wouldn’t have been anything new. I suspect they would have ended up under British Malaya, as the possessions of the Sultan of Sulu encompassed territories on both sides. Most likely said Sultan would have been one of those in the collective monarchy of Malaya, along with the other Malay Sultans.
In many ways, Taft's job was even more difficult than that of General MacArthur in postwar Japan. I always felt that Taft was one of the more underrated presidents even though his administration had nowhere near the difficulties (nor accomplishments) of his governorship of the Philippines.
Yeah if we weren’t in the Philippines the Japanese might have attacked Hawaii first.
I’m not disputing Taft’s abilities.
He “pacified” a hostile people and at least started the policy of making friends out of them. This was not a bit easy. He was a much better statesman than a politician as it happened.
Still, very shortly after the US government consensus was to leave, that is why the US stopped military expansion, stopped fortifying Manila Bay (these were frozen in their 1914 state, which explains a lot about subsequent events), started “Filipinization” of the civil service, and in general “preparing” the country for independence.
If anything, the most effective delayers of independence were the Filipinos themselves. The US government in the 1920’s-30’s couldn’t wait to be rid of the place. This was certainly Manuel Quezons semi-secret policy (which he did reveal to some of his friends), of keeping the US in there as long as possible, while making it appear that he wanted them out yesterday. By 1940-41 of course her really, truly did want them out yesterday. He wanted no part of a a war with Japan. He knew very well what that meant.
Heh. They did, by about 8 hours.
please read the comment i was replying too. I am intimately familiar with the history of the Philippines I sleep with it every night and her uncles were Ba’taan and killed by the Japanese the day before they evacuated ahead of MacArthur’s return.
All those years in the Philippines didm’;t stop the Japs from heading straight for pearl.
True, it’s one of the great “what if” options of the 20th century.
However, even without involvement in the Philipines we probably would have developed a powerful Pacific naval presence and Japan still would have considered it a strategic threat which had to be removed for their expansion plans to succeed.
I think the point is that without the Philipines bases and commitment, the US would have been a lot less involved in the western Pacific strategically. Japan and the US might not have been in such strategic tension if the US didn’t consider our foreign policy interests to extend so strongly to the far side of the Pacific. IF Japan could have done it southward expansion without inevitable war with the US, then they would not have attacked Pearl Harbor, is one line of speculation.
It is the Philippines which now suffer from our expulsion. They would be swallowed by China if this was the 1800s.
I like our chances with subs and missiles. I read awhile back that the marines aren’t really thinking amphibian assault applies anym ore. And when’s the last time we dod a blockade, not that we don’t need one. The middle eats is my focus. We should blockade Iran until they stop the development and dismantal their ICBM program. I don’t feel the need to be in the eastern pacific.
I would make all mains the infantry and combine branches. In San Diego we need a regional airport and 20 miles away is a marine air base. The base and it’s mission should be inside pendleton another 20 miles away.
When I’m king, I’m going to streamline the military. Have 50,000 marines ready to go to four places at the same time in 30 hours and combine as many redundant forces as possible.
I envision 1,000 Israeli drones attacking the Iran in my sleep.
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