Sunday, 13 April 2008


The ‘Death Railway’ was built to facilitate the Japanese conquest of British India. The invasion of India , ‘the jewel in the crown’ of Britain’s eastern colonies , would be the death blow to Britain’s Asian Empire .To do this ,the Japanese had to move men and munitions from Singapore to the Indian frontier with Burma.By mid-1942 , they had lost control of the sea , so it had to be done by land.. They planned a railway to run through 415 km. (258 miles) of mainly dense jungle and rugged terrain , from Nong Pladuk near Bangkok to Thanbyuzayat in Burma This line could link up with the Malayan and Burmese rail systems to form a continuous rail link from India to Singapore.The Japanese were working to a tight schedule.The sooner the railway was completed,the sooner the invasion of India could start.The work was started in June,1942 and completed in October,1943.After the fall of Singapore and Indonesia,they had many prisoners of war. Let them build it! According to the Japanese Bushido military code ,the Allied soldiers had behaved dishonourably and shamefully , by choosing to surrender rather than fighting to the death. Therefore they were not worthy of respect and could be treated like animals..The Japanese were not signatories of the Geneva Convention and thus did not feel bound by its terms.The Japanese watchword was “Speedo” This meant completing the bridge as quickly as possible, regardless of the cost in human life.

I have recently watched Lean’s film again , and regard it as a classic.