World War II - Australian Prisoners of War in Japan Essay

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In 1937, Japan started a war against China, in search of more resources to expand its empire. In 1941, during World War II, Japan attacked America which is when the Allies (Australia, Britain etc.) then declared war on Japan. Before long the Japanese started extending their territory closer and closer to Australia and started taking surrendering troops into concentration camps where they were starved, diseased and beaten. When they were captured, one survivor reports that they were told
‘You are the guest of the Japanese you will be spared but not your country. We are going to conquer the world, annihilate your people, and every household will have a white slave.’ (www.riv.conz).
In 1942, groups of people were taken from all of the camps
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The worst place that Japanese POWs could be sent was the Burma-Thailand railway, where approximately 61,000 prisoners were sent; out of that number about 13,000 were Australian.

The Burma-Thailand railway was a 421 kilometre track with 1 metre gauge and took about 12 months to complete by hand starting in 1942. About 61,000 citizens and soldiers captured by the Japanese during World War II were forced to construct the railway. The railway would be essential in the invasion of India as well as a supply route. It ran between Bangkok, Thailand and Rangoon, Burma over very rough terrain that had originally been surveyed twice by the British Government in Burma, before the Japanese took control. This route was considered too difficult to build and complete due to the terrain, mountains and rivers that it crossed over. Prisoners that were confined there suffered the most in the way of lack of food, medical supplies and horrific living conditions.

The prisoner’s accommodation mostly consisted of barracks with thin mats to sleep on. The toilets were a bucket at the end of each dorm and got emptied once a week. As for food, everyone starved as they were on a diet of 600 calories a day which was mostly green stew and barley, rice and some vegetables. They were occasionally given meat or fish once a month if they were lucky. Red Cross parcels contained more meat but were not distributed amongst the prisoners. There were very few doctors at the camp and they claimed that 1

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