In my research and throughout my years as a history buff, I have stumbled across countless incidents of genocide. I am quite familiar with the Holocaust, where some six million Jews were killed in concentration camps throughout Europe. The atrocities that took place in Bosnia, Rwanda, Congo, and Syria also sadden me, but I am encouraged when I read stories from survivors about resilience. However, I recently delved further into the horrifying events of December 13, 1937, which was the beginning of "The Rape of Nanking" or the "Nanking Massacre".
Nanking, once the capital of China and now called "Nanjing", was a large metropolitan city that was decimated by Japanese Soldiers during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Japanese General Matsui ordered his troops to destroy the city; what happened over the course of six weeks would end up shocking the world. Both Chinese soldiers and civilians were massacred. The previous invasion of the city of Shanghai angered the Japanese General because of Chinese resistance. As a matter of revenge the annihilation policy of killing, looting, burning, and sexual violence was implemented.
What happened in December of 1937 was called "Rape of Nanking". It is also known as the "Nanking Massacre". After the Japanese soldiers invaded the city with little resistance, the Chinese soldiers surrendered. The Chinese soldiers as POWS were not placed into POW camps. Instead, Japanese soldiers committed a litany of heinous acts such as placing bound Chinese soldiers in front of firing squads, shooting them in their backs while they were fleeing, and "bayoneting" them.
It was a rather sick and morbid competition to see who could decapitate as many Chinese soldiers as possible. In photos, Japanese soldiers stood next to corpses smiling and displaying severed heads. The sheer callousness reminded me of Southern racists who attended lynchings of Blacks, and smiled as if they were at a sporting event next to dead bodies.
The Japanese soldiers were taught that surrendering was a sign of weakness and a violation of their indoctrinated warrior code. General Matsui and other leaders thought that heinous acts would toughen them up and turn them into relentless, superior Japanese fighters. Consequently, Chinese soldiers were also doused with gasoline and set on fire.
Civilian Chinese were not spared from monstrosities. Eyewitness accounts describe how Chinese residents were bound, shot, and bodies mutilated as well. Their businesses were looted and then promptly burned to the ground.
Chinese women were then victims of rape on a major level. Women from the age of eight through seventy were victimized. Female citizens were raped in front of their family members and gang raped by Japanese soldiers. Additionally, Japanese soldiers forced Chinese men to participate in incestuous acts with their own kin. Chinese were subjected to this cruel practice. Not even pregnant women were exempt from rape. They were sexually assaulted and their abdomens' were cut open, and fetuses killed. A segment of the female population were made into "comfort women", an euphemism for prostitutes, for Japanese soldiers.
Moreover, Chinese men were also victims of sexual crimes. They were instructed to commit sexual acts with each other. Nanking males were also forced to engage in necrophilia. Necrophilia is the act of copulation with dead bodies. All rape victims were then killed after being brutalized.
Chinese men were forced to dig graves for the growing amount of dead bodies. Men were also buried alive. Civilians that survived were given the narcotic opium, a highly addictive drug. Survivors were left with burned edifices, injuries, and severe trauma. Thousands were left homeless, widowed, or orphaned.
The war free zones that were set up by Western relief organizations reported these horrifying events, events that originally were discredited and not believed. Confessions from former Imperial Japanese soldiers, survivor accounts, and historical research have verified "Nanking Massacre" events. It has been explored in books and documentaries. "The Nanking Massacre" was indeed a deplorable chapter of genocide in twentieth century history.
Shanghai infant photo shocked the world.
Total casualties: range of 80,000-300,00 range