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The War: Companion Guide for the PBS Documentary Film Series

Episode Five: FUBAR

General Douglas MacArthur and aides wading ashore on Leyte, Philippine Islands.
General Douglas MacArthur and aides wading ashore on Leyte, Philippine Islands. October 20, 1944. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

September 1944 - December 1944

In the heady days after the liberation of Paris, hopes for a speedy end to the war against Germany were dashed by Operation Market Garden, a disastrous attempt by the Allies to secure a bridge over the Rhine River between Holland and Germany. Peleliu, a tiny island east of the Philippines and deemed a strategic launching point for retaking the Philippines, was the site in September and October of intense fighting in tropical heat.

The Liberation of the Philippines took another six months.

Operation Market Garden

Image of Thomas Blakey

"All these guys crying for help and dying up there in Aachen and these guys stop and make tea."

Thomas Blakey's story

Image of Albert M. Hassenzahl

"I thought that I was the only GI to land on the coast of Normandy."

Albert M. Hassenzahl's story


Image of Henry W. Andrasovsky

And we made the landing on Peleliu, which in my opinion was the most ferocious thing I’ve ever been in."

Henry W. Andrasovsky's story

Image of Fred E. Miller

"But at Peleliu you fought 24 hours a day. I mean, it didn’t let up."

Fred E. Miller' story

Image of John H. Sharda

"I felt as if I were finally doing what I should be doing for the war effort."

John H. Sharda's story

Hubert Watt's story

"Peleliu was a mean, very mean situation."

Hubert Watt's story

Liberation of the Philippines

Image of Richard J. Foss

"It was a very noisy night. The loudest sound was my heart pounding."

Richard J. Foss' story

Severo K. Guerrero, Jr.'s story

"We started eating stray dogs, cats, monkeys, snakes, eels ... eventually we started eating sweet potatoes..."

Severo K. Guerrero, Jr.'s story

Richard Wendell Johnson's story

"We lost more to sickness than Japanese bullets on Leyte."

Richard Wendell Johnson's story

Image of Charles Rosario Resrtifo

"This was a very emotional moment for MacArthur and he wanted to let the Filipinos know he had set foot on their land."

Charles Rosario Restifo's story