A Brief History
On December 13, 1937, the blood-lust of a number of Japanese soldiers reached unprecedented proportions when they massacred over 250,000 Chinese in Nanking!
Digging deeper, we find Japan waging a war against their huge but militarily weak neighbor, China, during the lead up to World War II.
Resentful of western spheres of influence in China and western colonies throughout Asia, Japan was ready for their own piece of the pie. In their arrogance, they considered themselves the master race and as such deserved to rule all of Asia. This ethnocentric and nationalistic feeling set the stage for such a slaughter, as of course they thought the Chinese were inferior beings not deserving of respect as humans.
Nanking (various spellings) had been serving as the Chinese capital and as such was a prime target. Although the Chinese government fled, the Japanese still enthusiastically desired the subjugation of the erstwhile capital and took the city on December 13, 1937 and commenced a “rape” of the city with a massacre of enormous proportions. Raping and pillaging the people and the city, the attackers made huge sport of killing civilians, engaging in personal contests to see which Japanese soldier could individually kill the most Chinese!
The raping, murdering, looting and arson went on for six weeks. The raping (20,000 rapes estimated!) was not limited to young women, but included old women, girls, and girls so young the soldiers cut them to make rape possible! Likewise, the murders covered all ages, even babies were bayoneted and fetuses cut from bellies. Rape victims were also frequently mutilated, especially sexually.
In spite of there being thousands of guilty Japanese soldiers, only 7 were hanged after the war for these war crimes, and 18 men were sent to prison. The Japanese emperor, Hirohito, escaped any trial for war crimes after the war although he personally had approved treating the Chinese with no regard to international law or norms and that Chinese soldiers would not even be considered prisoners of war if captured. Despite denials and excuse making after the war, one must think such horrors could not have occurred without the tacit approval of the government and military leaders.
Question for students (and subscribers): How could anyone possibly be motivated to commit or go along with others committing such atrocities? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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The Rape of Nanking is considered “the second most vile and disturbing historic example of rape” in a list featured in Banned from the Internet?!: “Controversial” Top 10 Lists and it has been covered extensively in numerous other scholarly works.
Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. Basic Books, 2012.
Chang, Ying-Ying. The Woman Who Could Not Forget. Pegasus Books, 2012.
Qi, Shouhua. Purple Mountain: A Story of the Rape of Nanking: English Chinese Bilingual Edition. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2009.
Zarzeczny FINS, Dr. Matthew Donald. Banned from the Internet?!: “Controversial” Top 10 Lists. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013.