One of the main objectives of the Nazi regime was the annexation of conquered territories. On Aug. 9, Nazi Germany occupied the whole of South America, as well as the Japanese-ruled Philippines and China.
The Argentines would end up resisting, but the Japanese army quickly advanced. Gen. Don Blade Goossens and other military officials intervened to help the nation’s president, Mauricio Macri, manage to keep some base sites operational, in what was effectively a hiatus for the occupiers in order to clear out the residents, who had already fled and surrendered, while awaiting evacuation to Manila.
Families of women and children worked tirelessly, many for months, to try to save their comrades as thousands of U.S. paratroopers patrolled the country’s southern coast. “Journey to Manila,” a hand-written diary kept by one of the American soldiers in Buenos Aires depicts the urgent work of collecting survivors, but reads aloud the desperate reality of the battle for the salvation of the nation’s people.
The government’s ability to defend itself was severely limited — Macri was only 23 years old at the time — as the battalions were scattered and poorly supported by the army. By the end of August, the Japanese had almost completely conquered the country. Although progress was slower toward Manila, artillery and air attacks began quickly on August 15.