Phillipine-American War in Photographs
February 11, 2010 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Sweet, I'm going to geek out with this for a while, better put the kettle on!
posted by ghharr at 5:04 PM on February 11, 2010

Filipinos : 20,000 soldiers killed in action; 200,000 civilians died
Americans : 4,390 dead (1,053 killed in action; 3,337 other deaths)

This disproportionate body count sounds quite familiar.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:08 PM on February 11, 2010

"I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better it will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States.” General Jacob H. Smith said.

Since it was a popular belief among the Americans serving in the Philippines that native males were born with bolos in their hands, Major Littleton "Tony" Waller asked "I would like to know the limit of age to respect, sir?."

"Ten years," Smith said.

"Persons of ten years and older are those designated as being capable of bearing arms?"

"Yes." Smith confirmed his instructions a second time.
posted by micketymoc at 5:17 PM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

"Kill every male above the age of 10."

Funny how fuzzy the line is between civilian and enemy combatant.
posted by yeloson at 5:18 PM on February 11, 2010

Micketymoc beat me to it!
posted by yeloson at 5:18 PM on February 11, 2010

Mark Twain (via wikipedia):
“I thought we should act as their protector — not try to get them under our heel. We were to relieve them from Spanish tyranny to enable them to set up a government of their own, and we were to stand by and see that it got a fair trial. It was not to be a government according to our ideas, but a government that represented the feeling of the majority of the Filipinos, a government according to Filipino ideas. That would have been a worthy mission for the United States. But now — why, we have got into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I'm sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation.”
This also sounds quite familiar.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 5:24 PM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

This is spooky, but a fantastic link. How did you find this site?
posted by Think_Long at 5:35 PM on February 11, 2010

I was spurred to find a photo from one of the World Wars due to the post a few spots down about the Soviet flag being planted on the Reichstag. By chance I stumbled on this site in Google Images and got sucked into it. Never did find the photo I'd been looking for.
posted by Atreides at 6:08 PM on February 11, 2010

A powerful piece of literature entitled Po-on (Dusk: A Novel) by Filipino author F. Sinonil Jose that really captures this war well, with much heartbreak, from the Filipino side.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:17 PM on February 11, 2010

President McKinley:
When I next realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I confess I did not know what to do with them.
And one night late it came to me this way—I don’t know how it was, but it came: (1) That we could not give them back to Spain—that would be cowardly and dishonorable; (2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany—our commercial rivals in the Orient—that would be bad business and discreditable; (3) that we could not leave them to themselves—they were unfit for self-government—and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and (4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died.
The Philippines had been a Spanish colony since 1521 and had been Catholic for hundreds of years.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:11 PM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Feb. 5, 1899: 1st Nebraska Volunteers battling the Filipinos in the San Juan del Monte-Santa Mesa area. Sgt. Arthur H. Vickers, 1st Nebraska Regiment: "I am not afraid, and am always ready to do my duty, but I would like some one to tell me what we are fighting for."

Where have I heard that before?

Very detailed and interesting. I'm still scrolling through.
posted by deacon_blues at 7:23 PM on February 11, 2010

kirkaracha - that comes a close second to then-veep George HW Bush's toast to Ferdinand Marcos - "We love your adherence to democratic principles and to the democratic process."
posted by micketymoc at 7:39 PM on February 11, 2010

Wow, this is a great site indeed. As a high school history teacher, I sadly feel like I never give the Phillipine-American war proper treatment, but I hope to improve my students understanding with this website. Really many thanks for sharing this.

Also, did anyone else see this photo with this caption:

"Spanish military and civil officials in front of Puerta de Isabel II. The huge man, 2nd from right, is unidentified."

All very interesting indeed.
posted by dealing away at 7:42 PM on February 11, 2010

Rather disturbing how US soldiers widely used a variation of water-boarding on Filipinos, with high casualty rates. In the section called "The Last Holdouts"you can see, and read about how this "water cure"was rather vigorously applied. Teddy Roosevelt said it was OK.

The photos and diagrams look all too familiar. The US "water-cure" torture song is unique.
posted by Partial Panel at 8:55 PM on February 11, 2010

Previously: John Sayles, writer and director of critically acclaimed and socially conscious films like Passion Fish and Lone Star, writer of trashier fare including Piranha and Battle Beyond the Stars, director of a couple music videos you might remember, and award-winning short-story writer and novelist, is working on a new project about the beginnings of the Philippine-American War. His long-time partner and producer Maggie Renzie and other crew are blogging the project as it is in progress.

Check out the blog, it's pretty great.
posted by intermod at 9:46 PM on February 11, 2010

This war, and the subsequent occupation, is where we got the near-ubiquitous M1911 .45 pistol, which was the standard US military sidearm up until the mid-80s, still used by a lot of police forces, and very likely the gun you think of if someone says "automatic pistol."

When fighting the Moro, the Army had entirely too many instances of onrushing Filipinos being shot with the prevailing .38 revolvers and taking the shooter's head off with a bolo before succumbing to their wounds. The Army wanted a pistol with enough stopping power to put a man down on the spot.
posted by Naberius at 6:10 AM on February 12, 2010

Great post. I spent a weekend recently at one of Guro Inosanto's seminars on Kali. He talked extensively about this war and the Philippine Constabulary.

Vic Hurley's Jungle Patrol and Swish of the Kris are must reads for anyone interested in this era.
posted by the cuban at 6:29 AM on February 12, 2010

Was this the war/counterinsurgency wherein we used pig fat as the grease in shell casings and advertised that fact widely when fighting Muslims, or was that the British somewhere else in SE Asia?
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:41 AM on February 12, 2010

That was the British in 1857.
posted by Atreides at 12:09 PM on February 12, 2010

My mother had a great uncle who came back from the Philippines with lifelong mental problems. The sight of infants made him break down because he saw children swung by the feet to dash their heads and kill them more than once.

For years, I didn't really believe her stories because the war didn't show up in my history books.
posted by Megafly at 12:04 PM on February 13, 2010

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