The Experiences of Australians Serving in WWII
The war had a huge impact on all people, from every corner of the Earth. It is estimated that as many as 55 million men, women and children died in World War II, with most of the deaths occuring among civilians. Millions of Chinese were brutally slaughtered and murdered by the Japanese. Many prisoners were treated brutally, including the most well known genocide, that Hitler and the Nazis inflicted on the Jews. Jews were deported to many different extermination camps, where thousands of Jews were gassed, daily. Approximately 6 million Jews were brutally murdered by the Nazis of Germany. Almost 34 000 Australian men and women were killed in World War II, leaving more than 189 000 wounded. More than 30 000 Australians became Prisoners of War (POWs). Germans captured around 8 and a half thousand Australians, causing them to become POWs, but rarely treated them with the kind of brutality they used with the Jews. Because of the way the Germans treated Australians, 97 percent of the Australian POWs survived the war. However, the Japanese did all sorts of awful things to their Prisoners of War, not just to the Australians. They brutally beat them, forced them to work in factories and mines, forced them to work in jungles for up to 12 hours a day and sometimes longer. These prisoners of war had to suffer years of starvation, disease, brutal treatment and forced labour, and suffered diseases like tropical ulcers, dysentry, malaria, cholera, and malnutrition. One particular Aboriginal man was forced (as punishment) to kneel on a piece of bamboo for several days. The bamboo then cut into his knees, and caused gangrene, and later caused for both his legs to be amputated.