The Story of the Death Railway
On the 7th of December 1941 the Japanese launch their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and attacked Dutch and British positions in South East Asia on the same day. This lead to the captures of 140,000 prisoners, including Dutch, British, European, Australian and 36000 Americans from the Philippines.
After the end of the battle of the Philippines (8 May 1942), the Japanese sign an agreement with the thai government, on the 8th of August 1942, to build the railway of 415 km in order to complete the strategic supply line for soldiers and materials up to Burma to fight the British army.
The Hellfire Pass
They used more than 1/4 million workers, and about 200,000 men died.
Commemorative plate at the border between Thailand and Burma
61,700 Prisoners of war – 30,000 British, 18,000 Dutch, 13,000 Australian, 700 Americans – with 250,000 recruited laborers – Burmese, Tamil, Chinese, Malay – worked to finish the railway which was put in service in October 1943.
Nearly 12,000 POWs died. There were no records for Asian deaths, but all in all, more than 150,000 have perished.
72 Years Ago
They keep nearly 30,000 POW and workers to stay near the bridge to repair after the multiple bombings from the RAF and the USA, many prisoners died during the raids. The rest of the prisoners were sent to Japan by ship without any POW sign on it and some were sunk by submarines Allies , others died on the way due to starvation or dehydration.
These brave men have done a remarkable job, working 16hrs/day with heavy materials and tropical climate, under extreme conditions, tortures, malnutrition, food starving as punishment, the monsoon from May to October, wounds infection with humidity, malaria, dengue fever… Many of the men died suffering because of poor medical care.