The Japanese occupation of the Philippines occurred between 1942 and 1945, when the Empire of Japan occupied the Commonwealth of the Philippines during World War II. The invasion of the Philippines started on 8 December 1941, ten hours after the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbour.
Earlier in preparation for war, on July 26, 1941, General Douglas MacArthur had brought the 12,000 strong Philippine Scouts under his command with the 16,000 American soldiers stationed in the Philippines. Even these combined forces were poorly trained and equipped for an adequate defence of the islands against a Japanese invasion.
The attack on the Philippines was coordinated ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. As the American aircrafts were entirely destroyed on the ground, lacking air cover, the American Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines withdrew to Java on December 12, 1941.
Japanese troops landed at the Lingayen Gulf on December 22, 1941 and advanced across central Luzon towards Manila. On the advice of President Quezon, General MacArthur declared Manila an open city on December 25, 1941 and removed the Commonwealth government to Corregidor. The Japanese occupied Manila on January 2, 1942.
The final Battle of Manila commenced on 3rd February 1945 and was a major event in the Philippine campaign of 1944-45 during World War II, fought by the American and Filipino forces against the Empire of Japan in Manila. This one-month battle culminated in the massacre of over 100,000 civilians and complete devastation of the city. In the process of ending the three years of Japanese military occupation in Philippines (1942–1945) battle destroyed architectural and cultural heritage of the city dating back to its foundation. General Douglas MacArthur emerged as the victor in the campaign to re-take Philippines.