The collection contains photographs divided into two groups: those documenting the construction of the Ledo Road and those documenting Burmese life and people during World War II. The majority of the photographs contain handwritten descriptions on the back.
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Items in this collection are protected by applicable copyright laws.
One of the largest engineering projects of World War II was the construction of a 400-mile military highway, the Ledo Road. It was built so the Western Allies could supply the Chinese as an alternative to the Burma Road which had been cut by the Japanese in 1942. The Ledo Road ran from Ledo, India to Muse, Burma where it joined an existing 717-mile highway, the Burma Road, which ran from Lashio, Burma to K'un-ming, China. The Ledo Road project started in October 1942, but it made little progress during 1943. After Chinese troops under Stilwell captured Myitkyina, Burma ("Mitch" to American GI's), on August 3, 1944, the Ledo and Burma Roads could be joined. Opened January 27, 1945, the combined highways were officially named the Stilwell Road (after General Vinegar Joe Stilwell of the U.S. Army) at the suggestion of Chiang Kai-shek, a political and military leader of China. The Ledo Road was built by 17, 000 Americans, and cost 1, 133 fatalities, 625 from combat.
Records report that of the 15,000 troops sent to construct the road, over 60% were African Americans. The soldiers were road construction builders, doctors, nurses, truck drivers as well as pipe layers and communication line workers. The soldiers all served in segregated units with white officers. Some research shows that the work of the African American soldiers contributed directly to the desegregation of the Army.
Part of the Special Collections, Gee Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce Repository
Please cite as: The Ledo Road Photograph Collection, collection 2008.18, James G. Gee Library Special Collections, Texas A&M University-Commerce. http://archives.tamuc.edu/repositories/2/resources/25 Accessed September 20, 2017.
Special Collections Department
James G. Gee Library Texas A&M University-Commerce