This film is part of Free

The Philippines

Will war come to the Philippines? This film shows a nation on the brink of crisis: fearful of Japan, reliant on US protection, and now uncertain of the benefits of independence.

1940 19 mins


A vivid tableau of imagery shows a racially diverse country with a rich and complex history, whose citizens - seen here looking happy and prosperous under US rule - are now facing another crisis in the form of the threat of a Japanese invasion. Scenes of thriving industries and businesses; from the Manila Stock Exchange to modern factories, vast mineral deposits and towering crops of sugar-cane, illustrate the nation’s potential to thrive alone - so long as war does not come.

In the uncertainty of the times it is no surprise that this issue of the March of Time should end by admitting that by 1946 - the date set for Philippine independence from American rule - it was impossible to predict what ‘momentous changes’ would have happened. In fact, on December 8th 1941, less than 18 months after the US release of this issue, Japan attacked the islands, only a few hours after the assault on Pearl Harbour. Despite the Philippines’ coastal defences and the presence of General Douglas MacArthur as Military Advisor, an invasion was impossible to prevent: American aircraft were wiped out on the ground and the American Asiatic Fleet fled to Java on December 12, 1941.