Philippines and the Great War

This is the typical First World
War poster we still see today,
which features old Uncle Sam
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia 
Textbooks in the Philippines usually allot one or two chapters when it comes to Philippine history during World War II, the most destructive war in recorded history. Some would agree though that without World War I, there would be no World War II. There even was a book saying that World War II was fought by mistake (that of Pat Buchanan). It is fairly true that without the first, there would be no second. Why are cardinal numbers even invented if it is otherwise?

The less popular
Navy poster may have
more appeal to male recruits
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia 
What most people may not know is how the Philippines participated in World War I, though it is not as active as she would be during World War II.

The Philippines was dragged to World War I, the Great War as it was known before 1939, simply because United States joined the war (in 1917). Since the Philippines was American territory, it is obliged to help her so-called Uncle Sam. If America's contribution in the war is small, the Philippine contribution is, logically, smaller. Still, it disproves the idea that only Vietnam (a French colony at the time) and Siam (now Thailand, which even provided pilots for Allied planes) had any significant contribution in the European theater (the main theater of the First World War) from Southeast Asian nations.

USS Rizal, a Wickes-class destroyer. It is noticeable that
USS Rizal is the only Wickes-class destroyer that was named
from anything or anyone Filipino
Photo courtesy of NavSource Naval History
The Philippines actually funded, and built, for the United States one destroyer (USS Rizal) and one submarine. USS Rizal is the first and only American warship named after a Filipino, Jose Rizal. At the time, America did not need many submarines since submarine warfare was then in its infancy, so this single sub made in the Philippines is definitely significant for the US Navy. America would soon decide to integrate her navy to the British Grand Fleet.

One more thing the Philippines did for America during the Great War was the drafting of Filipinos for the US National Army. The colonial government had the quota set to 15,000. The Philippines provided 25,000. This became known as the Philippine National Guard (PNG). However, the PNG never saw action. Filipinos who did set foot in Europe during the war were enlisted in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). The most famous of these Filipino soldiers was Tomas Mateo Claudio, who died at the Battle of Chateau-Thierry in June 1918. He was the first Filipino casualty of the war, followed by around 50 more Filipino deaths until the First World War ended in the same year.

The Philippines also captured for the Allies 22 German merchant ships, of which seven was later used by Filipinos for internal sea trade and the rest was given to America as gifts.

Thus, this so proves that the Philippines was also part of the so-called Great War, or World War I.

See the references here.

Philippines and the Great War Philippines and the Great War Reviewed by Al Raposas on Thursday, January 03, 2013 Rating: 5

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