Retreat in the Pacific Following the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese turned their attention to the Southwest Pacific. For the next five months they were to sweep the Allies before them with alarming ease. Their first objective was the Philippine Islands, which they attacked from the air on Dec. 8, 1941 (Philippines time) and invaded the following day. In the face of overwhelming odds, U.S. and Filipino forces gradually withdrew over a period of weeks to the peninsula of Bataan and to Corregidor Island in Manila Bay. The defenders of Bataan were forced to surrender on April 9, 1942, whereas troops on Corregidor, although encircled and isolated, held out until May 6. Click on the following links to learn more about this period of World War II. Corregidor Java Royce Special Mission to Mindanao Click here to return to the World War II Gallery. Find Out More Related Fact Sheets Day of Infamy: The Pearl Harbor Attack Imperial Brutality: Bataan Death March Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.