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Allied Prisoners Of The Japanese

May 2024
1min read

A recent volume gives the horrifying details

With all the recent discussion about treatment of military prisoners, it is worth remembering what Allied servicemen went through in Japanese prison camps during World War II. Dipping at random into the just-published Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese in the Far East, 1942–45 , by Brian MacArthur (Random House, 480 pages, $35.00), yields the following: “When the medical officers started worrying about the lack of Vitamin B2, they … chopped and rolled grass, percolated it with water, and produced a foul drink which was nonetheless a godsend.” “Morale was sapped by the constant rain, the stench from the overflowing latrines, the growing number of sick (who now included men with plate-sized tropical ulcers that rotted their bones), the piles of bodies awaiting the funeral pyres, and the beatings at work.” “The first issue [of medical supplies] for a hospital destined to hold three thousand patients (parties of about one hundred sick arrived nightly … ) was a few dozen iodine capsules, three bandages, and eight aspirin tablets.” “Men with inflamed and swollen feet were used to haul logs and clear rocks… . Those who could not stand were carried to the lines and ordered to work with hammers or axes from a sitting position.”

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