Conditions in Japanese Prisoner of War Camps In World War II Essay

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Conditions in Japanese Prisoner of War Camps In World War II

The Japanese viewed those who surrendered as inferior and subject to the mercy of their captures. Tojo, the Japanese war minister, informed the commandants of prisoners of war camps the Japanese government had not signed the Geneva Convention and they were not bound to it. The Japanese field code for soldiers required soldiers to commit suicide rather than surrender. Because of the time schedule set for conquest by Japanese high command, Japanese soldiers slaughtered surrendering Allied soldiers routinely. On Dutch Timor, 800 Australians surrendered only to be tied together and used for bayonet practice. “The Japanese commander explained
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Prisoners fortunate to have their canteens ran out of water quickly in the 120-degree heat. Prisoners fell by the roadside. The Japanese killed all that did not get up. Marching eight abreast, the two inside positions proved to be the safest and the most coveted. Prisoners on the perimeter of the columns received the most blows from Japanese guards. A Japanese guard noted one prisoner staggering on the perimeter of the column and pulled the man in front of a convoy of passing tanks. The prisoner’s clothes remained etched in the dirt; a grim reminder to the other prisoners to keep in step.

When the prisoners reached San Fernando, they loaded railroad boxcars. The Japanese forced over one hundred men into the boxcars that could accommodate forty men comfortably. Packed in so tightly, no one knew when another died because no one could fall over. Men died of asphyxiation because of the thin air. With no sanitary facilities and dysentery rampant, the floor and men soon became covered with blood, mucus and excrement. The floor became slippery, the stench overwhelming. The trains stopped, the prisoners unloaded, leaving the dead behind. They marched another ten to twelve miles to Camp O’Donnell.

At Camp O’Donnell, two small water spigots served initially 45000 Filipinos and 8000 Americans. Men waited in line 12-14 hours to fill their canteens. To supplement the water supply,

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