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» Economics » Colonial war » Topics begins with P » Philippine-American war

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In the Philippine-American war from 1899 to 1902 the recent Philippine republic of Emilio Aguinaldo and United States the occurred their imperial phase faced each other. The conflict was the direct result of the Spanish-American war (1898), won by the USA, and the Philippine revolution led thereby to the conclusion (1896-1898). Subjecting most islands of the Philippine archipelago and the establishment of colonial rule in a set of single campaigns, which persisted up to the Japanese occupation of the islands in the Second World War, succeeded to the American troops. For the Philippines the war represents the probably einschneidenste event of its recent history.


Starting from 1896 it had come on the Philippines to a collection against the Spanish foreign rule, in whose process for the first time its own Philippine condition had developed and had been formed a provisional government. The insurgent ones could not become generally accepted thereby however militarily against the Spaniards. Their leaders consented at the end of of 1897 after negotiations with the Spaniards to leave the islands. To outbreak of the Spanish-American war in April and the battle in the bay of Manila in May 1898 they returned and began to prepare the country for independence. On 12 June 1898 the young Emilio Aguinaldo explained independence and called up a condition-giving meeting. The USA were represented at this time only with a fleet squadron under Kommodore George Dewey.

In order to break the Spanish rule, in addition, due to the regarded declaration of independence, in the consequence troops were set in march, which defeated in August the Spanish garrison in Manila and from there on the city kept occupied. This was at the same time the last fighting and conclusion of the Spanish-American war.

In June 1898 in the USA the anti-imperialist League was created, which expressed itself against the Annektierung of the Philippines and other areas. To him prominent personalities belonged such as Marks of Twain, Andrew Carnegie and Carl Schurz.

In January 1899 it came to proclaiming the Philippine condition and to the establishment of the Philippine republic. One month before however Spain and the USA that Paris contract had already signed, after that the Philippines, just as Guam and Puerto Rico, which the USA should against payment of 20 million dollar as possession be overwritten. The question of the ratification by congress of US released a violent debate, because the acquisition of colonies contradicted the American self understanding as a nation, which had even only resulted from a rebellion against the motherland.

Mark of Twain wrote in in the press among other things: "" Why, incoming goods have gotten into A measuring, A quagmire from which each fresh steps renders the difficulty OF extrication immensely more greater. I'm sure I wish I could lake what incoming goods were getting out OF it, and all it means tons of US as A nation. "

In the long run the imperialists succeeded with limited majority, whereby the contract was ratified in February. On the Philippines one was conscious of the danger of a possible war with the USA itself due to Paris contract. The troops of the national army were pulled together as a precaution therefore around Manila, where it came several times to mutual provocations with US troops. To the outbreak of the war it came on 4 February, when a US patrol opened the fire on a group of Philippine soldiers.

Process of the fights

In the following battle of Manila the Philippiner which was subject militarily suffered a sensitive defeat and had into the interior to withdraw itself. The fighting of the first war yearly concentrated on the Hauptinsel Luzon. It became fast clear thereby that the number of the US troops was too small, in order to cause a crucial defeat of the Philippine army. It succeeded to this mostly to evade to larger engagements. In addition they could count on the support of the population. Since leaving the resistance was not to be expected, one began on sides of the Americans to proceed also against the civilian population. It a tactics "burned earth" used, by which gradually the basis of the resistance should be drained.

A large-scale action for the conquest of Philippine headquarters in central Luzon failed 1900, since Aguinaldo could escape in time. It resumed after it the fight of the north of the island out. After this miss the American commander Elwell S. Otis delivered his post. New commander became a general Arthur MacArthur, the father of the later commander of Pacific armed forces Douglas MacArthur. In the same year also William H was sent. taffeta on the Philippines. It succeeded to it to win a part of the Oberschicht for an American led civil administration.

Under MacArthurs command and that of its successor Adna R. Chaffee the strategy of the burned earth was intensified. On the smaller islands according to a firm pattern one proceeded: first the population was requested to appear itself in Sammellagern. Who was found at expiration of a fixed period outside of the camps, was considered as hostile Kombattant and one shot. In this way depopulated villages were into fire.

Some atrocities of the US army found its way into the American press. It torture in particular the notorious more water cure used opposite Philippine prisoners, with the water by force by the mouth was in order to produce fear of death of drowning, similarly the Sweden drunkenness. In some villages men, women and children over 10 years were murdered indiscriminately.

Aguinaldo gave also the instruction to 1900 to change over to a Guerillataktik since the preceding fights had shown the hopeless superiority of the Americans regarding armament and training. To a brief offensive of the Philippiner it came at the end of of 1900, briefly before the American presidency elections. The pursued goal of an influence of the election campaign was not achieved thereby, president McKinley was red-elect.

In the spring 1901 Aguinaldo was seized finally, the war was continued however by other generals. Only the new US president Theodore Roosevelt explained the war for terminated on 4 July 1902. About 1 million Philippiner died due to the war, the purely military losses were clearly lower and amounted to approximately 4,000 Americans and 20,000 Philippiner.

In September 1901 some American soldiers on Balangiga, Samar were killed by Philippine Guerillas. For retaliation general and veteran of the Wounded Knee Indianermassakers Jacob H arranged. Smith to transform Samar into a "howling wilderness": "I want NO prisoners. I wish you tons kill and burn; the more you kill and burn the more better it wants please ME." The atrocities of general Smiths troops became only in March 1902 in the USA admit, led however there to large indignation and to the military justice procedure against general Smith.

From January to June 1902 Henry Cabot Lodge a senate investigation took place to the crimes of the Philippine American war under the presidency of the republican senator. The investigation led to no result, apart from several extensive reports.


Starting from approximately 1901 far parts of the islands stood under American administration. Isolated still over one decade long resistance was offered, by the Moros in the south of the islands even until 1916. In this year the Regierungsgewalt was handed over to the Philippiner, the country remained, with the interruption by Japanese occupation in the Second World War, to 1946 American colony.


  • Elizabeth glazier Schmidt: The Philippines the Filipinos. The American debate over the economic and administrative politics on the Philippines, 1898-1906. Frankfurt/Main 1986.
  • Brian McAllister Linn: The Philippine was. 1899-1902. Kansas 2000.
  • Dieter Ruloff: As wars begin. Causes and forms. Munich 2004.
  • Mark of Twain: Anti- Imperialism
  • Philippine Investigating Committee

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