20 Horrific Details about Japanese POW Camps During World War II
20 Horrific Details about Japanese POW Camps During World War II

20 Horrific Details about Japanese POW Camps During World War II

Steve - December 30, 2018

20 Horrific Details about Japanese POW Camps During World War II
Two prisoners of war, under the control of Unit 731, tied to a stake about to be killed. Wikimedia Commons.

1. Allied POWs were used as human subjects of weapons tests, both for conventional armaments and for biological weaponry

As with all weaponry, tests must be conducted to determine their efficacy and during World War II the Japanese military opted for using Allied prisoners as human guinea pigs for these new technologies. POWs were tied to stakes whilst jars of cyanide were thrown at them, recorded in November 1944 in the Kai Islands, set alight with flamethrowers, targeted with tank cannons, and to test the range of grenade explosions. Most horrifically, prisoners were consciously exposed to diseases, such as typhoid and plague, and monitored to determine the effects of prolonged exposure and observe the deterioration of the afflicted.

The use of biological weapons by the Japanese was confirmed, with Chinese and South Asian targets bombarded with plague-infected fleas dispersed over populations by planes. An estimated 580,000 people were killed by the Imperial Japanese Army’s deliberate spread of plagues during the Second World War. In fact, during the concluding months of the war, Japan planned to unleashed biological weapons upon the mainland United States. Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night, using diseases concocted by Unit 731 using prisoner research, was intended to release plagues against the civilian inhabitants of San Diego, California, starting on September 22, 1945.

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Disturbing Photographs from Inside the Japanese Internment Camps”. Jacob Miller. History Collection. September 30, 2017

“Anomalous manifestations of malnutrition in Japanese prison camps”, R.G. Whitfield, British Journal of Medicine (1947)

“Unit 731: Japan’s Secret Biological Warfare in World War II”, Peter Williams, Free Press (1989)

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“Japanese Atrocities on Nauru during the Pacific War: The Murder of Australians, the Massacre of Lepers, and the Ethnocide of Nauruans”, Yuki Tanaka, Japan Focus (2010)

“World War II Ended 70 Years Ago – While The Forgotten ‘Death Railway’ Was Completed”. Lizzie Oliver. The Conversation. August 16, 2015

“Island Exiles”, Jemima Garrett, ABC Books (1996)

“Unmasking Horror”, Nicholas Kristof, New York Times (March 17, 1995)

“A Plague upon Humanity: The Secret Genocide of Axis Japan’s Warfare Operation”, Daniel Barenblatt, Souvenir Press (2004)

“The Fallen: A True Story of American POWs and Japanese Wartime Atrocities”, Marc Landas, John Wiley Publishing (2004)

“Murderous Medicine: Nazi Doctors, Human Experimentation, and Typhus”, Naomi Baumslag, Praegar Publishing (2005)

“The Trial of Unit 731”, Russell Working, The Japan Times (June 5, 2001)

“Vivisectionist recalls his day of reckoning”, The Japan Times (October 24, 2007)

“Dissect them alive: order not to be disobeyed”, Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times (February 25, 2007)

“China Remembers Dead of Nanjing”, Michael Bristow, BBC News (December 13, 2007)

“Japanese Atrocities Marked Fall of Nanking After Chinese Command Fled”, F. Tilman Durdin, The New York Times (January 9, 1938)

“Unit 731 Testimony”, Hal Gold, Tuttle Publishing (2004)

“The Knights of Bushido: A Short History of Japanese War Crimes”, Edward Frederick Langley Russell, Greenhill Books (1958)

“Japan at War: An Oral History”, Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore Cook, The New Press (1993)

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“Hidden Horrors”, Yuki Tanaka, Westview Press (1996)

“Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission”, Hampton Sides, Doubleday Publishing (2001)

“Why Japanese Doctors Performed Human Experiments in China, 1933-1945”, Takashi Tsuchiya, Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics (2000)

“Bataan: The March of Death”, Stanley Falk, W.W. Norton & Company (1962)

“Borneo Death March: Of 2,700 Prisoners, 6 Survived: An Old Soldiers Remembers a Wartime Atrocity”, Thomas Fuller, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, (March 23, 1999)

“Japan tested chemical weapons on Aussie POW: New Evidence”, The Japan Times (July 27, 2004)

“Japan’s Biological Warfare”. Ben Kageyama. History of Yesterday.

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