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Bataan Death March and The Trail of Tears

Comparing Two Events In US History
by

Kieran Pilling

on 21 May 2013

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Transcript of Bataan Death March and The Trail of Tears

Was Mark Twain correct? Bataan Death March and Trail of Tears Mark Twain said "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." Is he right? I will be comparing two events in American history - the Bataan Death March and the Trail of Tears - and seeing how true his quote is. The Bataan Death March started with the Battle of Bataan. In American-held Philippines, on December 8, 1941, the Japanese attacked with a surprise air attack. Then the Japanese invaded on ground. As the Japanese headed towards the Filipino capital of Manila, American and Filipino troops retreated on December 22 to the Bataan Peninsula. They were cut off from food and supplies by the Japanese blockade, and had to survive on rations. By April 1942, they had been living in the jungles of Bataan for three months. They were starving and suffering from disease. The only thing they could do was surrender.
So on the 9th of April 1942, U.S. General Edward P. King signed a surrender document. The 72,000 American and Filipino soldiers were taken by the Japanese as prisoners of war. The Bataan Death March began. The POWs were to be marched from Mariveles in the southern end of the Bataan Peninsula to Camp O'Donnell in the north. The prisoners were to be marched 55 miles from Mariveles to San Fernando, and then travel by train to Capas. From there the prisoners had to march again for the last eight miles to Camp O'Donnell.
The prisoners were separated into groups of one hundred and then sent to march. It would take about five days. Five days of cruel and starving conditions. The Japanese strongly believed surrender was weak, and they thought the Americans and Filipinos did not deserve respect. They tortured the POWs throughout the march. They were given no water and barely any food. If any of the prisoners tried to drink clean water while they passed it, they were shot. They walked in intense heat and many became ill. If any prisoner seemed slow or fell behind while marching, they were either shot or bayoneted. Random cruelty came often, including being hit with a rifle, bayoneting, and beheadings. When they reached San Fernando, the American and Filipino POWs were forced into boxcars. So many were put into the boxcars there was only standing room. The conditions and heat in there caused more deaths.
When they arrived in Capas, they prisoners were marched another eight miles to Camp O’Donnell.
It is estimated that about seven to ten thousand died. Now the Trail of Tears. It started with the Indian Removal Act, signed in 1830, which gave the government power to move Native Americans from their homes in the Southern United States to territories west of the Mississippi River. In 1836, the US government forced the Muscogees from their land for the last time. 3,500 to 15,000 Muscogees who set out for Oklahoma did not survive the trip. By 1838, only about two thousand Cherokees had left Georgia for Indian Territory. President Van Buren sent General Winfield Scott and 7,000 soldiers to remove them. General Scott and the soldiers forced the Cherokees at bayonet point. Then, they marched the Natives 1,200 miles to Indian Territory. Whooping cough, typhus, dysentery, cholera, harsh weather and starvation ailed them. It has been estimated 5,000 Cherokees died on the journey. By 1840, tens of thousands of Native Americans had been forced to Indian Territory. Both the Bataan Death March and the Trail of Tears were horrific events in history, and they both had similarities.

They were both started because of land and resources. The Battle of Bataan was during World War II, and Japan wanted to control the Southwest Pacific for oil and other resources. The American government wanted the area the Native Americans were living in because they wanted the land for crops.

They both led to tens of thousands of deaths, and even though the Bataan Death March had more casualties, they were both huge impacts in American history. In conclusion, I believe Mark Twain was correct when he said, “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” The Bataan Death March and the Trail of Tears were both very similar, but they were not the same. So I think history does "rhyme." By Kieran Pilling 7th Period http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/qt/Bataan-Death-March.htm


http://www.history.com/topics/trail-of-tears


http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/T/Tr003.html


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Removal_Act


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bataan


http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_did_Japan_want_the_islands_in_the_Pacific_and_why_did_the_US_want_them#page3 Works Cited
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