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Japanese POW Atrocities. Japanese POW Atrocities Goal of Today Today we will be looking at the atrocities committed by the Japanese army on POW’s. Terms/

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Presentation on theme: "Japanese POW Atrocities. Japanese POW Atrocities Goal of Today Today we will be looking at the atrocities committed by the Japanese army on POW’s. Terms/"— Presentation transcript:

1 Japanese POW Atrocities

2 Japanese POW Atrocities Goal of Today Today we will be looking at the atrocities committed by the Japanese army on POW’s. Terms/ Things To Know Bataan Death March Camp O’Donnell Treatment of POW’s Conditions in camps

3 U.S. Surrenders at Corregidor, the Philippines [March, 1942]

4 Melvin H. Rosen of Gloucester, MA This takes place after the decision has been made to surrender at…. About 0900 I went back to the main road. Then I saw Americans in their trucks coming up the road with large white sheets that they were waving. The Japanese halted them made them get out of the trucks, loaded the trucks with Japanese soldiers, turned them around and headed back south. I went quietly back to my battery and poured sugar in all the gas tanks. We then formed as a battery and marched up the trail to the main road where we turned in to a Japanese captain. He sent us up the road to a large open field already crowded with American and Filipino troops. The Japanese immediately separated the Filipinos from the Americans.

5 Cont… My introduction to the Japanese came soon when I saw an American soldier squat at a huge latrine pit to defecate. A Japanese guard ran his bayonet through this man's chest for no reason but for fun. When the bayonet did not immediately come out, the guard with his foot shoved the American off the bayonet and into the latrine pit where he disappeared into the feces. Another Japanese guard nearby was laughing during this whole episode.

6 From the day of surrender on, the POWs would be harshly beaten and killed for the slightest or no reason at all. Officer status did not provide protection either. First the troops were searched. Any prisoner found with Japanese souvenirs were executed immediately, because the Japanese believed the soldier must have killed a Japanese soldier in order to get it. Many soldiers had found items such as money and shaving mirrors. American soldiers own personal property was usually stolen as well.

7 This picture shows the men just after they were captured. The Japanese kept them in the hot sun with no food or water before putting them on the road to San Fernando

8 Start of the Bataan Death March at Mariveles on the tip of the Bataan Peninsula

9 Bataan Death March

10 65 miles of hell. This is a picture of the prisoners on the Death March. The guards were changed every three hours but the men were allowed little, if any, rest.

11 “If people would fall down and couldn't go any further, the Japanese would either bayonet or shoot them. They also would bayonet prisoners who couldn't keep up.”

12 American POWs on the Death March being given a break. These breaks were often referred to as the "sun treatment" because they were left sitting in the sun, without water or shade, for hours. This march occurred in April, a notoriously hot month in the Philippines

13 From a Survivor “During the day, at some point, the Japanese would call a halt. We would go to an open field and sit down. We just sat there, the hot sun beating down on us like mad. After an hour or so, they would get us up and we would start walking again.”

14 On the march, the men witnessed executions of their fellow American and Filipino soldiers and of Filipino civilians who had offered food or water to the marchers. Bert Bank remembers: One of the POWs had a ring on and the Japanese guard attempted to get the ring off. He couldn't get it off and he took a machete and cut the man's wrist off and when he did that, of course, the man was bleeding profusely. [I tried to help him] but when I looked back I saw a Japanese guard sticking a bayonet through his stomach. On the second day, a fully pregnant Filipino woman threw some food out... this POW in front of me picked up the food and started eating it; and a Japanese guard came... and decapitated that POW... and then he went and cut the stomach out of the Filipino woman. She was screaming "Kill me, Kill me," and they wouldn't do it.

15 “ On the first day, I saw two things I will never forget. A Filipino man had been beheaded. His body lay on the ground with blood everywhere. His head was a short distance away. ”

16 The Bataan Death March. Here fellow prisoners carry those too weak or injured to walk by themselves. To be left by the side of the road was to be shot, bayoneted, or beheaded.

17 Nearing the end of the Bataan Death March, a thinning line of American and Filipino prisoners of war carry casualties in improvised stretchers as they approach Camp O'Donnell, a new Japanese POW camp, in April 1942 during World War II. An estimated 70,000 POWs were forced to march 55 miles to San Fernando, then taken by rail to Capas, from where they walked the final 8 miles to Camp O'Donnell. An estimated 10,000 men died on the Death March from various causes including sickness, beatings, exhaustion and those who fell were bayoneted. Only 54,000 reached the camp.


19 Camp O'Donnell - one of history's biggest death factories. More than 1,600 Americans and 10,000 Filipinos died here in the space of six weeks. There was little food, medicine, or water and sanitation was non- existent

20 Rules and Regulations -- Camp O'Donnell. Fro m the Death March prisoners arrived at Camp O'Donnell. The y were told, first by a Japanese officer and then by an interpreter, what they had to do to survive in the camp.

21 Orders regarding POWs was very clear. Guards "must supervise their charges rigidly, taking care not to become obsessed with mistaken ideas of humanitarianism or swayed by personal feelings toward prisoners that might grow over a long incarceration." Rarely did top government officials visit any Japanese prison camps. Therefore, the local commanders could do as they wished without reprimand. However, considering the indoctrination of Japanese troops, reprimand was highly unlikely. If the commander wished, he could make anything, even whistling, a crime and inflict any type of punishment, including execution.

22 Cruelty in the Camps Former POW Richard Beck remembered: It's a very sinking feeling to know that you are going to be abused for a long period of time, and that's exactly what it was, it was a long period of abuse -- starvation, beatings... Some people were shot for no reason at all, so you never knew how to assess the situation, whether you should try to lead a low profile. It was a case of never knowing how to cope.



25 At Camp O'Donnell one water spigot served the entire camp. POW's carried water to sick comrades who could not get their own. The soldiers strung canteens together on a stick or hollowed out bamboo by poking through the connecting membranes to make water carriers. Soldiers stood in the waterline all day and half the night, waiting their turn. Many collapsed and died before drinking.

26 POWs were allowed to send only a few messages to their families on these pre-made postcards. This one is a copy of the first card William Dyess sent to his wife form Prison Camp No. 2.

27 Disease was a constant in the camp. In the first six months, the primary causes of death were malaria, dysentery and starvation. As time wore on, diet-dependent diseases became more prevalent. The men suffered from all types of vitamin and mineral deficiencies which caused a host of debilitating diseases including beri-beri, pellagra, rickets, and scurvy; and, which caused a ghastly array of bizarre conditions as the men's bodies stopped supplying "unnecessary organs" with nutrients. The men's hair, nails, eyes, feet, teeth, nerves and genitals all suffered

28 Drawing of Zero Ward by an American doctor. The men were brought to this ward to die during their last hours. Very, very few survived Zero Ward. It was called “zero” ward because that was your chance of survival if you were ever in there.

29 Toward the end of 1944, a possible reentry into the Philippines by the US was becoming a reality. The battle of Leyte Gulf in October was one of the initial steps taken toward an American victory over Japan. The POWs in the Philippines could see the American planes and hoped liberation would be coming soon. The Japanese realized the same thing and decided to move the POWs. The result of their actions would cause thousands more POWs to die, this time, by the hands of America. The POWs were put on hell-ships.

30 On December 14, 1944, Japanese soldiers forced 150 American prisoners of war at a compound on Palawan into an air-raid shelter. Then they doused them with gasoline and threw in a match.prisoners of war

31 A Survivor's Story at Palawan The trench smelled very strongly of gas. There was an explosion and flames shot throughout the place. Some of the guys were moaning. I realized this was it -- either I had to break for it or die. Luckily I was in the trench closest to the fence. So I jumped and dove through the barbed wire. I fell over the cliff and somehow grabbed hold of a small tree... There were Japanese soldiers down on the beach. I buried myself in a pile of garbage and coconut husks. I kept working my way under until I got fairly covered up....

32 The Japanese were bayoneting [prisoners on the beach]. They shot or stabbed twelve Americans and then dug a shallow grave in the sand and threw them in. I hid in the garbage until the Japanese left. I then made a break for it but the Japanese saw me and started firing. I jumped into the sea and was shot several times. Miraculously, Nielsen lived and managed to escape -- swimming for nine hours and eventually finding his way through the Philippine jungle to American guerrilla forces. It was Nielsen's story that helped convince the American Command to rescue the prisoners at Cabanatuan prison camp.Nielsen's story


34 After the war, it became clear that there existed a high command order-- issued from the War Ministry in Tokyo -- to kill all remaining POWs. This order, read in part: Whether they are destroyed individually or in groups, and whether it is accomplished by means of mass bombing, poisonous smoke, poisons, drowning, or decapitation, dispose of them as the situation dictates. It is the aim not to allow the escape of a single one, to annihilate them all, and not to leave any traces.

35 It is an astounding fact that while POWs died at a rate of 1.2% in Germany, they died at a rate of 37% across the Pacific.

36 Living Skeletons - these prisoners have just been rescued from Bilibid Prison in Manila in Feb. 1945 - average weight was 85 - 95 pounds



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40 How Could They Do This? While the rationale behind such horrendous behavior is inconceivable to many, it is explained by the mindset of the Japanese military. To their beliefs, to surrender was the ultimate shame and dishonor; therefore, POWs did not deserve humane treatment.

41 pleevents/e_atrocities.html pleevents/e_atrocities.html

42 Unit 731 l5XMU

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