Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “philippines”

From Shanghai to Corregidor: Marines in the Defense of the Philippines

From Shanghai to Corregidor: Marines in the Defense of the Philippines. J. Michael Miller. 1997. 44 pp.

(Paper: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/38211430)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How did US forces in the Philippines react to the news of Pearl Harbor?
  • When did the Japanese first attack positions in the Philippines?
  • Where can I find photos and images of the Japanese bombing of the Cavite Navy Yard?
  • How did radar contribute to the defense of the Philippines? How did secrecy about radar contribute to US setbacks?
  • What was it like to be overrun by enemy forces?
  • Where can I find a summary of the Bataan Death March?


A well illustrated 48 page pamphlet lacking either table of contents or index describing operations and Marine units in the Philippines prior the occupation by Japanese forces in World War II. It may offer some inspiration for similar battles in other times and other worlds.

Coast Guard Oral Histories (World War II section)

Coast Guard Oral Histories (World War II section) – http://www.uscg.mil/history/oralhistoryindex.asp

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was it like to be a member of the Filipino Resistance under Japanese occupation?
  • What was it like to be on Coast Guard Picket Duty during World War II?
  • How would a Coast Guardsman react to finding Nazi saboteurs on American soil?
  • How were bed-wetters treated on some Coast Guard vessels?


This page links to histories from a number of eras. Scroll down to World War II to find over four dozen oral histories from the men and women who served in the Coast Guard in a number of different capacities during World War II. Some of the histories are illustrated with photographs and/or drawings.

Search Tip:

To search for an oral history that matches topics that you are interested in, visit your favorite search engine and do a search in the form of:
[your search terms] inurl:history/weboralhistory
If you use [”bed wetters” inurl:history/weboralhistory], you will retrieve the one oral history that deals with this topic. Note that searching will bring up any oral history that matches your terms, not just oral histories from World War II.

The above search on retrieved items from the Coast Guard Oral history site as of December 2013. If results from other sites appear in your search, do the search again and add site:uscg.mil to the end of it.

Researching Service in the U.S. Army During the Philippine Insurrection

Researching Service in the U.S. Army During the Philippine Insurrection – http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2000/summer/philippine-insurrection.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How many US soldiers served during the Insurrection?
  • Who was the main leader of the Filipino Independence movement?
  • Where can I locate records on nurses and volunteers who served during the Insurrection?


Mostly a guide to located offline records relating to the Philippine Insurrection. First part of the article is a brief account of the conflict and examples of available records are offered. Accessing the records themselves will require a visit to a National Archives office.

Spanish American War (Navy Department Library)

Spanish American War (Navy Department Library) – http://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/wars-conflicts-and-operations/spanish-american-war.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was the state of the US Navy in 1898?
  • What are some theories as to the destruction of the USS Maine?
  • Where can I learn more about the Cuban Insurrection?


List of resources related to naval operations during the Spanish American War. Some material in this collection of special interest include:

  • Battle of Manila Bay
  • USS Maine, destruction of
  • “War Plans and Preparation and Their Impact on the U.S. Naval Operation in Spanish American War”

The material on the USS Maine describes the several investigations done over the years and links to images of the ship, the Maine’s casualty list and list of survivors. The “War Plans” article provides a good overview of the ups and downs of Navy strength from the Civil War to the time with the War With Spain, including specific force breakdowns.

Annual Reports of the Secretary of War

Annual Reports of the Secretary of War – http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000078451

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How did US authorities deal with an outbreak of Bubonic Plague in Manila in 1899?
  • How many US soldiers were there in China in 1923?
  • Where can I locate specifications and test results for late 19th weapons such as the Skoda 5-Pounder Rabid-Fire Gun?


Spanning from 1863 – 1949, these reports cover a variety of topics. Sometimes they have details about conflicts the United States was engaged in at the time. For example, volume one, part 10 of the 1900 report (http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.b2980393) provides a US view of civil affairs under its occupation government in the Philippines.

Sometimes they cover other matters. For example, the 1923 report (http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015024071535) concerned itself chiefly with the economics of national defense and included comparisons of US military spending to those of other countries.

Nearly all of the annual reports will have statistics on the size, composition, and rough deployment of the armed forces. Most years also have an helpful index that might generate story ideas, such as the Bubonic Plague outbreak detailed in the 1900 report. The volumes from Hathitrust are also fully searchable.

In the digitized copies linked here, there is a gap from 1941 to 1947.  As of this writing, I’m unsure whether this means the volumes were not published or simply not digitized.

Post Navigation