Departures Podcast with Christopher Capozzola

Since the United States touched base in the Philippines in 1898, the relationship between the Philippines and the U.S. has endured with war and military service forging a continuing but contentious relationship between the two countries. But has it been a productive relationship for both members?

While Filipinos have served in the American military since the early 20th century, they were prevented from receiving equitable benefits for their service during World War II until 2009. Historically speaking, they were employed as porters and servers, soldiers and sailors, and their role in the U.S. armed forces simultaneously combated and perpetuated racism and hierarchies within and out of the institution of the military.

During World War II, as Japanese occupation of the Philippines became more violent, the relationship between the US and the Philippines solidified despite the fact that many Filipinos had strongly preferred to ally with Japan.

MIT history professor Christopher Capozzola joins the podcast to discuss his latest work, Bound by War: How the United States and the Philippines Built America’s First Pacific Century, which investigates the forgotten alliance between Americans and Filipinos in war and in peace. From the Philippine–American War at the turn of the 20th century to the post-9/11 conflicts in the Middle East, the two countries have been strategic partners in the consolidation and maintenance of influence over the Pacific region.

Following the alliance-breaking debacle of the US war in Iraq, Capozzola was inspired to dive into the tenuous but seemingly unbreaking relationship between the US and the Philippines, its dynamics, its history, and the seemingly unique features which have allowed it to endure.