The Nanking Massacre, commonly known as “The Rape of Nanking”, refers to the most infamous of the war crimes committed by the Japanese military during World War II—acts carried out by Japanese troops in and around Nanjing, China, after it fell to the Imperial Japanese Army on December 13, 1937. The duration of the massacre is not clearly defined, although the period of carnage lasted well into the next six weeks, until early February 1938.
During the occupation of Nanking, the Japanese army committed numerous atrocities, such as rape, looting, arson and the execution of prisoners of war and civilians. Although the executions began under the pretext of eliminating Chinese soldiers disguised as civilians, a large number of innocent men were wrongfully identified as enemy combatants and killed. A large number of women and children were also killed, as rape and murder became more widespread.
The extent of the atrocities is hotly debated, with numbers ranging from the claim of the Japanese army at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East that the death toll was military in nature and that no such atrocities ever occurred, to the Chinese claim of a non-combatant death toll of 300,000. The West has generally tended to adopt the Chinese point-of-view, with many Western sources now quoting 300,000 dead. This is in no small part due to the commercial success of Iris Chang’s “The Rape of Nanking”, which set the stage for the debate of the issue in the West; and the existence of extensive photographic records of the mutilated bodies of women and children.
The massacre is a major focal point of burgeoning Chinese nationalism, and in China, opinions are relatively homogenous. In Japan, however, public opinion over the severity of the massacre remains divided. The event continues to be a point of contention in Sino-Japanese relations.
- Modern Japan: A Historical Survey, Third Edition
- The Rape Of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II
- The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond The Rape of Nanking
- Revolution and Its Past: Indentities and Change in Modern Chinese History
That was Intect opening up the show again. Today our friend Tom Barker will be doing a guest podcast on the rape of nan jing. Stay tuned after the end of Tom’s contribution because today is the last Thursday of the month which means we will be giving away The Brothers Bulger by Howie Carr. Warner Books was nice enough to donate a book to give away to the awesome listeners of HistoryPodcast. A quick word of caustion. This episodes content may be disturbing to some.
Sorry, no transcript for this guest podcast.
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