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Burma Road Map
A Hellish Lifeline

By 1937 Japan was set to cut off China's trade with the world. To supply his army, Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek built a highway to Burma (Myanmar) to reach a rail line from the port of Rangoon. After the Japanese invaded Burma and closed the highway in 1942, the U.S. built a 500-mile (800-kilometer) spur from Ledo, India, and seized the highway from the Japanese. Until the entire route was complete, supplies were airlifted from the Ledo region to Kunming over the Hump—a perilous flight across windy mountains that claimed 607 aircraft.

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