The soldier reading these pages would do well to reflect on the wisdom of the statement exhibited in a Japanese shrine: "Woe unto him who has not tasted defeat." Victory too often leads to overconfidence and erases the memory of mistakes. Defeat brings into sharp focus the causes that led to failure and provides a fruitful field of study for those soldiers and laymen who seek in the past lessons for the future.

The statesman and the unformed citizen reading these pages will realize that our military means as well as our estimates and plans must always be in balance with our long-range national policy. This lesson--signposted by the Battle of Manila Bay; the Treaty of Paris, signed in December 1898 when we decided to keep the Philippines; the Washington Conference of 1921-22; and the Manchurian Crisis of 1931--we ignored before Pearl Harbor. The result was defeat on the field of battle and the loss of the Philippine Islands.

The author of The Fall of the Philippines,  Louis Morton, served overseas as a historical officer in the South Pacific area and in the Philippines during World War II. Since 1945 he has been chief of the Pacific Section, Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Duke University, is the author of a volume on American colonial history, and has written a number of articles dealing with military affairs.

Work on the volume was begun in early 1947. The reader may gain some idea of the size of the task of writing this history by an appraisal of The Sources.

Maj. Gen., U.S.A.
Chief of Military History

Washington, D.C.
26 June 1952


The author's debts for aid in preparing this volume are numerous and heavy. The largest is to those officers who survived the campaign and the ordeal of prison camp. Their memories, and the precious notes they had hidden so carefully during the bitter days of Japanese imprisonment, provided material without which the record of this campaign would have been forever lost. These officers gave freely of their time and their contribution is apparent on every page and in almost every footnote. In a sense, they are as much the authors as the writer of this preface.

Special acknowledgments must be made to Mr. Stanley L. Falk and Dr. George C. Groce who, with ingenuity and perseverance, aided the author in his search for the materials needed for this work. The search was an exciting and rewarding adventure and is described in full at the end of the book. Both men also labored long and mightily to mold the fragmentary materials thus assembled into a form which greatly eased the author's work and performed cheerfully the many other arduous and time-consuming tasks which are the lot of every author. Without Mr. Falk's special knowledge of the enemy's records and operations, reinforced by information willingly furnished by the enemy himself, this volume would have been less precise and far longer in preparation.

The author owes a large debt also to many individuals who directly and indirectly gave him much valuable assistance: to Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, Chief Historian and General Editor of this series, for his wise counsel and guidance, for encouragement and never-failing support; to Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff and his staff who spent many months at the drafting boards to provide the maps to guide the reader through the jungles and mountains of the Philippines; to Miss Margaret E. Tackley who searched diligently and in remote corners for the pictures with which to illustrate this volume; to Miss Ruth Stout, the editor, and Mr. Ronald Sher, the copy editor, who edited the manuscript and guided it through the printers; to Mr. Leonard B. Lincoln, the indexer; to Mr. Israel Wice and his aides who patiently filled the author's numerous requests for aid in securing records; and to those of his colleagues, in and out of uniform, who read this volume in manuscript and made numerous and helpful suggestions. All these and other placed their special knowledge and skill freely and generously at the disposal of the author, but he alone is responsible for any shortcomings this volume may possess.

Washington, D.C.
26 June 1952

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