The Rape Of Nanking: A Brief History Of One Of The Worst Things Ever Done

 On December 13, 1937, the Japanese military committed one of the largest wartime atrocities in history when they launched a systemic slash-and-burn campaign against the Chinese people of Nanking. They killed thousands of people, raping women, torturing children and mutilating anyone who came in their way. How can a man inflict such suffering on his fellow man? What could be the reason for such heinous act?

The Second Sino-Japanese War was a grueling affair

In August 1937, as Japanese forces pushed towards Nanking, they fought a bloody and casualty-heavy battle against the Chinese. The two sides were fighting a battle that often got so heated that weapons were abandoned in the city streets in favor of hand-to-hand combat. In November, Japanese forces captured Shanghai, and on December 1, they were ordered to capture the capital of the Republic of China, Nanking.

To the great misfortune of the Chinese, the Japanese were better prepared for war. His navy quickly took control of China's ports, making it impossible for the Chinese to find relief.

The Japanese army adopted a similar strategy en route to Nanking.

The rape of Nanking officially took place in the six weeks following December 13, but the massacre took place long before the Japanese arrived in the Chinese capital. During the army's march to Nanking, he brutalized anyone only because he was encouraged to do so by his superiors. A Japanese journalist associated with the Imperial forces at the time said that "the reason [10th Army] is advancing rapidly towards Nanking is because of the tacit agreement between the officers and the men to plunder and rape as they wish." can do."

The Chinese army retreated, causing widespread chaos

If the Chinese army had stayed in Nanking, things would not have been very curious. There would still have been mass deaths, but it is possible that the massacre could have been prevented or at least minimized. As Japanese forces advanced towards Nanking on 12 December, however, General Tang Sheung-chi ordered his men to retreat, leaving the civilians to fend for themselves.

When Japanese forces reached Nanking the next day, they immediately brought the city to its knees. They dug pits for local people to bury them up to their waists so that they could be torn apart by dogs, and they hanged civilians with their tongues. The Japanese surrounded whatever Chinese soldiers could find and drove them to the Yangtze River, where they were tied together and machine-gunned to death without any means of escape. Men, women and children suffered brutal sexual assaults and perversions at the hands of royal forces. The number of victims of the attack is impossible to count, but it is believed that by the end of the six-week massacre, 300,000 people had been killed, 20,000 of whom were raped or mutilated in the process.

The Japanese army was doing house-to-house atrocities

Because of the classification of Japanese military records leading up to the end of World War II and the horrific horrors of the massacre, eyewitness accounts are our primary source of what happened in 1937. Several diary entries from the time describe the Chinese military going door to door—pleasing without retribution—raping women. One such account is from the Reverend James M. McCallum on December 19, 1937:

A "murder contest" reportedly took place during the massacre.

At the time of the massacre, the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun reports that two soldiers race to see who can kill 100 people first using only a sword. Since 1967, this report has been disputed by scholars, notably Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, who maintains that the story was fabricated to heighten national fighting spirit. Such competition seems a bit much in an incident that has already earned the title of "genocide," but given everything else we know the Japanese military did, it certainly isn't unbelievable.

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