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What If the Allies had Bypassed the Philippines?

3/10/2015 • Ask Mr. History


What would have most likely happened had the Allies by-passed the Philippines and continued with the Navy plans for taking Taiwan and/or the Ryukyu islands?


Jeff Frazier

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Dear Mr. Frazier,

Militarily speaking, by late October 1944, when the Leyte landings took place, the Japanese situation was such that the Philippines could have conceivably been bypassed. Wherever the Japanese navy, with its impotent carrier force, chosen to confront the U.S. Third (or Fifth) Fleet, it would have been defeated—and perhaps even more thoroughly without a lot of islands behind which its movements could have been concealed. A more direct blow to the Home Islands may in fact have shortened the war and a stand-down order like the one Emperor Hirohito issued on August 14, 1945, might have spared Manila its ordeal. Aside from Douglas MacArthur’s vanity in insisting that he keep his promise to “return” to the Philippines, however, the separate American “diversion” to liberate the Philippines had critical political consequences, affecting Filipino-American relations for the better to this day.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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