ARMY CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON DC United States
In 1950, the Philippine government was pushed to the verge of collapse by a well-organized, popularly supported, communist insurgency known as the Hukbalahap. No stranger to internal rebellion, the nation again faced a direct challenge to democratic government. The United States, already at war in Korea, was threatened with the loss of a strategic stronghold in the Pacific, and the subversion of a longtime friend and ally. This study analyzes the Hukbalahap Huk Insurrection to determine what conditions led to the near disaster of 1950 and to discover what steps were taken by the governments of the Philippines and the United States to bring the uprising to stop the revolt by 1955. It examines the insurgent movement its origins, evolution, goals, tactics, and personality in order to shed new light on a successful anti-insurgency operation. Philippine governments in power during this time are also examined to determine why their anti-Huk policies failed until the appointment of Ramon Magsaysay as Secretary of National Defense in September 1950. As this unique and extremely talented individual began to change the course of the rebellion, American military and economic assistance became vital to his success. This study also includes an analysis of the functions and roles played by the Joint United States Military Assistance Group-Philippines JUSMAG and of a key U.S. advisor, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Edward G. Lansdale. Without American aid and assistance, the Magsaysay government would not have been able to defeat the Huk but aid alone did not stop the insurgency. It required a unique melding of personalities, a revitalization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines AFP, dedicated efforts by the Philippine government to win back the peoples allegiance, and the right combination of American military advice and economic aid. Lacking any of these essential ingredients, the anti-Huk campaign might well have failed.