• Still from War in Guam

    Still from War in Guam

    http://cdn.itvs.org/war_in_guam-01.jpg

The Film

World War II has had an enduring legacy in Guam, a U.S. territory since 1898. In U.S. history books and public culture, World War II is often remembered as the “good war,” but America's war-time and post-war policies produced devastating results in Guam.

The native people of Guam, the Chamorros, remained loyal to the U.S. under a brutal Japanese occupation only to be stripped of much of their ancestral lands to build military facilities after the war. Through rarely seen archival footage, as well as testimonies of survivors and their descendants, War in Guam is told from various points of view. These include war survivors like Antonio Artero whose father was awarded one of the first Medals of Freedom for his heroism protecting American lives, and two key historical figures: Radioman George Tweed and Father Jesús Baza Duenas.

When the war began in Guam on December 8, 1941, Father Jesús Baza Duenas was a 30-year old Chamorro priest who openly defied the Japanese occupiers’ attempts to change their religious beliefs, cultural traditions, and political loyalty to the United States. Radioman George Tweed was a 39-year old American who fled into the jungle to avoid being sent to a prisoner of war camp in Japan. Although unarmed and under constant surveillance for any signs of disaffection, the Chamorros to great risks protect Tweed. Three years into the Japanese occupation, Father Duenas and two other Chamorro men were executed for refusing to give information on the soldier’s whereabouts. Hours later, the U.S. military rescued Tweed before beginning the takeover of Guam.

At first, the Chamorros — who had been interned in a concentration camp and were being massacred — welcomed the U.S. soldiers as saviors. But immediately after Guam’s liberation on July 21, 1944, the U.S. confiscated three quarters of Guam’s total area for military and recreational development. The Chamorros eventually won U.S. citizenship, but it did not win them the right to control the use of their land. A new era of occupation had begun.

The native people of Guam, the Chamorros, remained loyal to the U.S. under a brutal Japanese occupation only to be stripped of much of their ancestral lands to build military facilities after the war. Through rarely seen archival footage, as well as testimonies of survivors and their descendants, War in Guam is told from various points of view. These include war survivors like Antonio Artero whose father was awarded one of the first Medals of Freedom for his heroism protecting American lives, and two key historical figures: Radioman George Tweed and Father Jesús Baza Duenas.

When the war began in Guam on December 8, 1941, Father Jesús Baza Duenas was a 30-year old Chamorro priest who openly defied the Japanese occupiers’ attempts to change their religious beliefs, cultural traditions, and political loyalty to the United States. Radioman George Tweed was a 39-year old American who fled into the jungle to avoid being sent to a prisoner of war camp in Japan. Although unarmed and under constant surveillance for any signs of disaffection, the Chamorros to great risks protect Tweed. Three years into the Japanese occupation, Father Duenas and two other Chamorro men were executed for refusing to give information on the soldier’s whereabouts. Hours later, the U.S. military rescued Tweed before beginning the takeover of Guam.

At first, the Chamorros — who had been interned in a concentration camp and were being massacred — welcomed the U.S. soldiers as saviors. But immediately after Guam’s liberation on July 21, 1944, the U.S. confiscated three quarters of Guam’s total area for military and recreational development. The Chamorros eventually won U.S. citizenship, but it did not win them the right to control the use of their land. A new era of occupation had begun.

The Filmmakers

  1. Frances Negrón-MuntanerProducer/Director
  2. Cris Borja-SumbiProducer