Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Death Railway (The Borneo Railway)

The Death Railway

Sorry I haven’t been posting much lately. The homework is really piling up. I’ve got a lots of test papers from every subject and there is a 作文 exam next week on Wednesday.

Ok, so I did the Death Railway on a request by Loh Hon Chun, and discovered that it was actually a very interesting topic.

Its name was actually the Burma Railway and it was meant to link Burma (now known as Yangon, Myanmar) and Thailand. It was built so the Japanese could attack Burma. This railway was 415km long. Now this may not seem like much, but keep in mind that the people were starving and tired, and the bridge would be constantly smashed up by Allies. Also, the bridges would have to cross several rivers which meant that they had to build supports for the railway. Unfortunately, the Axis Powers did not send their own soldiers to build the Railway. They sent people from the other countries that they captured. They were treated harshly, and were given very little food and water. Even when they died, there wasn’t even a proper burial. These people were known as the P.O.Ws.

P.O.Ws stood for Prisoners of War, and they were sent for many things, especially for building stuff, and Singapore had lots of P.O.Ws. This was because the main population of Singapore were Chinese, and the Japanese targeted the Chinese because they had campaigned strongly against the Axis Powers.

The bridge started construction on 22nd June 1942. 240,000 laborers and P.O.Ws were sent there to work on the bridge, but it wasn’t completely finished until 17th October 1943. Over the course of the building work, 16,000 people died, either through hunger, thirst or exhaustion. Many P.O.Ws were sent back to their own countries, but some were left to protect the bridges. Even then, they were treated horribly, and many of them still died.

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