What is the Death Railway in Thailand?

The Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway, the Siam–Burma Railway, the Thai–Burma Railway and similar names, is a 415 km (258 mi) railway between Ban Pong, Thailand and Thanbyuzayat, Burma, built by prisoners of war of the Japanese from 1940–1944 to supply troops and weapons in the Burma campaign of World War …

Why is it called the Death Railway?

It originated in Thailand and cut across to the Burmese war front to aid in the Japanese invasion of India. Originally called the Thailand-Burma Railway, it earned the nickname “Death Railway” because over one hundred thousand laborers died during its 16 month construction between 1942 and 1943.

What happened on the Death Railway?

Tens of thousands of labourers died, all for a railway that wouldn’t survive for much longer after the war was over. To this day, there’s a distinct lack of recognition for those who took part in and died during the construction of the railway, and it’s thought that mass graves are still out there.

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Why was the Death Railway built?

The rail line was built along the Khwae Noi (Kwai) River valley to support the Japanese armed forces during the Burma Campaign. More than 12,000 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and tens of thousands of forced labourers perished during its construction.

What happened at Hellfire Pass?

Kanchanaburi, Thailand (CNN) — The steep rock walls of Thailand’s Hellfire Pass symbolize the slavery, starvation, torture and lost lives of thousands of POWs and Asian civilians during World War II, when Japan forced them to build the infamous Death Railway to boost its invasion of Burma.

Is the death railway still in use?

The Thai portion of the railway continues to exist, with three trains crossing the original bridge twice daily bound from Bangkok to the current terminus at Nam Tok. … During the railway’s construction, around 90,000 Southeast Asian civilian forced laborers died, along with more than 12,000 Allied prisoners.

Why did the Japanese treat POWs so badly?

Many of the Japanese captors were cruel toward the POWs because they were viewed as contemptible for the very act of surrendering. … But the high death toll was also due to the POWs’ susceptibility to tropical diseases due to malnutrition and immune systems adapted to temperate climates.

How many Australian POWs died working on the Burma Thailand Railway?

Legacy. The railway was completed in October 1943. The Japanese were able to use it to supply their troops in Burma despite the repeated destruction of bridges by Allied bombing. More than 90,000 Asian civilians died on the railway, as well as 16,000 POWs, of whom about 2800 were Australian.

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Is the original bridge over the River Kwai still standing?

The real bridge on the River Kwai was never destroyed, not even damaged. It still stands on the edge of the Thai jungle about three miles from this peaceful town and it has become something of a tourist attraction. The bridge was erected by Allied pris oners during the Japanese occupation of Thailand in World War II.

What is the significance of the Burma Thailand Railway to Australian history?

The Burma-Thailand railway (known also as the Thailand-Burma or Burma–Siam railway) was built in 1942–43. Its purpose was to supply the Japanese forces in Burma, bypassing the sea routes which had become vulnerable when Japanese naval strength was reduced in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway in May and June 1942.

How many soldiers died building the bridge over the River Kwai?

The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway.

Where is The Bridge on the River Kwai?

Although the film was shot in Sri Lanka, the Bridge on the River Kwai is real, and is still used by local passenger trains from Bangkok to Nam Tok. For anyone interested in 20th century history, a visit to Kanchanaburi and the infamous Death Railway is a must.

How many Thai died in ww2?

Thailand suffered around 5,569 military deaths during the war, almost entirely due to disease. Deaths in combat included 150 in the Shan States, 180 on December 8, 1941 (the day of both the brief Japanese invasion and the failed British assault on the Ledge), and 100 during the brief Franco-Thai War.

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Who built Hellfire Pass?

Although it was not easy to locate, they found Hellfire Pass, full of tangled undergrowth. One ex-prisoner, Tom Morris, became committed in 1983 to developing the Pass as a commemorative site honouring the allied prisoners of war and the Thais who risked their lives to supply them with food and medicines.

How long is Hellfire Pass?

What is now known as ‘Hellfire Pass’ is a dramatic cutting some 75 metres long and 25 metres deep.

How many Australian POWs were captured by the Japanese?

Over 22,000 Australian servicemen and almost forty nurses were captured by the Japanese. Most were captured early in 1942 when Japanese forces captured Malaya, Singapore, New Britain, and the Netherlands East Indies. Hundreds of Australian civilians were also interned.