Burma Railway

by K-Berens

Over 90,000 Asian slave workers and 16,000 POWs died while working on a railway from Burma to Bangkok, giving it the name "Death Railway".

The Burma Railway, also known as The Death Railway, is a 258 mile long stretch of track between Bangkok, Thailand and Yangon, Myanmar. It was built under Japanese control during World War Two by prisoners of war and laborers.

The railway is known as Death Railway because of the incredible amount of people who died while working on the project – 90,000 Asian workers and 16,000 POWs – mostly from the United Kingdom, Australia, Netherlands, the United States and Canada. The initial construction took roughly nine months to complete, when most POWs were shipped back to Japan. Some of them did stay to maintain and repair the railway while under allied fire. Most of the workers died of injuries due to beatings or blasting, starvation, exhaustion, cholera and dysentery.

Japan was convicted of war crimes for the construction of the Burma railway. Memorials and cemeteries for the dead are in Myanmar, notably in the city of Kanchanaburi – roughly seven thousand POWs are buried there. Several museums along the track are devoted to the construction and the workers on the line.
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