Essay about The Death Railway of World War II

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Abstract The saying of, "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it" is one that deserves more focus. One might ask, "Why?" The answer is the fact that countless events in history have been overlooked and forgotten. Such is the case of the Thai- Burma Railway also known as the "Death Railway", a line between Bang Pong and Thanbyuzayat. This, in and of itself is a tragedy. The inhuman conditions of thousands of POW's as they labored in the Thai-Burma jungle during World War II is something that should never be forgotten. Those who survived and those who did not deserve commendation for their strength, and reverence as heroes. Thus, why does no one know their story, their suffering, and their past? This past, this history, needs to…show more content…
What was to be done with them? In the eyes of the Japanese, they were a disgrace to mankind. A Japanese man would rather die than be humiliated with the charge of giving up. They were taught to never surrender and fight until death for their Emperor (Lee, 1998). This concept baffled the Japanese. The idea of prisoners had not occurred to them. These men were dishonorable, and the thought of feeding and taking care of the dishonorable repulsed the Japanese (Pitt & Mason, 1993). For a while, the issue was not dealt with, and the POW's were left alone. Unfortunately, that was not to be their permanent state of being. Soon, an "inspiration" gave light to the issue. The Japanese discovered they held in their hands a free work force. In these dishonorable men, lay the path to accomplishing the new goals being set for a nation at war (La Forte & Marcello, 1993). The Death Railway was one of these "new goals". Its intent was to join two pre-existing railroads; one, running from Singapore to Ban Pong and Bangkok, the other from Ye on the Andaman coast to Rangoon. The plan was to unite these two railroads by building a line from Ban Pong to Thanbyuzayat, a small village 50 miles north of Ye (La Forte & Marcello, 1993). The Railway had three major purposes and desirable attributes for Japan. First, the Railway was to provide supplies and reinforcements as Japan was fighting the British in northern Burma at the time. The Japanese were also
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