Defenders of the Philippines

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War Crimes and Trials

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War Crimes and Trials

Deaths from captured prisoners in the European theater and Pacific Theater differed greatly.  Of the over 235 thousand prisoners captured in Europe, 9,348 perished amounting to four percent of the total captured.

In contrast, 27 percent of the 132,134 captured by the Japanese died in captivity.



After General King surrendered on April 9, 1942, he offered trucks to move the men up to the prisoner of war camp.  Instead the men were forced to march over 55 miles in the intense.  Most had been on rations and were weak already.  Others suffered from tropical diseases or had been wounded.  The Japanese shot and bayoneted stragglers.  The prisoners were given little food or water during the nine day march. When they finally received water those crowding around were shot and bayoneted.  About 70,000 started on the march and only 54,000 arrived at Camp O'Donnell.

General Homma was tried in Manila and executed by firing squad for his responsibility in the deaths.

Read more on the Bataan Death March

Other Forced Marches

Other forced marches by the Japanese were inflicted on the Dutch in February, 1942, and Indonesian prisoners in British New Guinea in 1943 and 1944.  The Ranau marches in Borneo in 1945 served to remove prisoners from being liberated.  The march territory wound through 100 miles of hills, mountains and jungle.  Australian prisoners of war were moved along this trail in a series of marches.  Two- thirds of those who began these marches perished.

Illegal Employment, Starvation and Neglect of Prisoners and Internees

The Japanese made the prisoners of war work in production and military labor.  These plans were made in 1942 and specified that the confined needed to work for their "free meals."  They forced the sick, wounded, and malnourished to work.  They employed the prisoners in mining, stevedoring, and on engineering and construction work for the national defense.

Excessive and  Unusual Punishment was Imposed

Prisoners of war were beaten, and mass punishment applied for single offenses.  If a prisoner helped another prisoner escape, the assister often faced the penalty of death.



More coming on war crimes and the subsequent trials.