America's Broken Promise to the Philippines
1892 – Present
The Untold Story
Two nations—the United States and the Philippines—fighting under one flag.
Filipinos struggle for independence, first against the Spanish, then the United States.
1892 – 1898
Building a Nation
After centuries as colonial subjects of the Spanish Empire, Filipinos began to challenge that authority during the nineteenth century.
1898 – 1913
Fililpinos' hopes for independence were dashed when the United States claimed the Philippines as its own.
1902 – 1930s
The U.S. colonial presence in the Philippines is shifted to a civilian colonization.
Filipinos and Americans fight together against the Japanese. When U.S. forces surrender, Filipino guerrillas risk everything to liberate their homeland.
1934 – 1941
The Road to War
With the global Great Depression and military tensions rising, war was coming.
December 7, 1941 – January, 1942
Attack and Invasion
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was followed by another on U.S. bases in the Philippines.
January – May, 1942
Bataan and Corregidor
After a fierce battle to hold off the invasion, the Philippines falls and forces surrender.
1941 – 1945
Occupation transformed daily life, with Japanese forces keeping a close eye on civilians.
From grassroots efforts to large, well-organized forces, guerrilla groups formed to resist Japanese rule.
MacArthur and his forces returned to liberate his former home.
October, 1944 – September, 1945
Devastation and Victory
Filipino guerrillas joined U.S. soldiers to defeat Japan and liberate the U.S. colony of the Philippines.
After the war, promises made by the U.S. government to Filipino veterans were rescinded, denying their service.
July 6, 1946
The promise of independence first made by the U.S. in 1916 was finally fulfilled.
1945 – 1946
Like soldiers and sailors everywhere who fought under the American flag, Filipinos earned the benefits they were promised. Or so they believed.
While servicemembers from 60+ nations fought under the U.S. flag in WWII, Filipinos alone were singled out to be denied benefits.
Filipino Veterans fight in the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress for recognition, benefits, and citizenship denied.
1946 – 1985
An Ongoing Struggle
In the decades after the Philippines won its independence, the two countries remained close allies, while veterans’ issue remained “unfinished business.”
1965 – 1980s
A New Community
Emerging Filipino American communities gathered power, found allies, and educated the public about the ongoing denial of citizenship and veterans benefits.
Early Legislative Efforts
Filipino Americans took their fight to Congress, ensuring that immigration laws reflected veterans’ rights.
1997 – 2008
Taking to the Streets
The battle for equity continued, with Filipino veterans and their supporters taking action through protests and demonstration.
An Equity Fund would provide some benefits for thousands of living veterans, but it left the Rescission Act on the books.
Congressional Gold Medal
A new national effort was launched to award Filipino veterans with the highest civilian honor bestowed by the U.S. government.
As the last living veterans of World War II pass away, their sacrifice and struggles must not be forgotten.
The Fight Continues
Experience the stories of veterans and activists brought to life through short animations, ranging from firefights in the jungle to protests in Congress.
Learn the roles played by key people in this story by browsing their profile cards, featuring illustrated portraits and short biographies.
Witness significant moments across this history brought to life through the richly detailed illustrations crafted by artist Aria Villafranca.
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Almost a half century after World War II Veterans continue to demonstrate across the country as they finally begin to see legislative victories.
From the Under One Flag Online Exhibition
Chapter Four: The Long Road to Equity