24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre

24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre

Jacob Miller - August 9, 2017

The Nanking Massacre was an episode of mass rape and murder committed by the Japanese troops against the residents of Nanking, then the capital of the Republic of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

The massacre occurred over a six-week period starting on December 13, 1937, the day the Japanese captured Nanking. The soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army murdered an estimated 40,000 to over 300,000 and perpetrated widespread looting and rape. Because Japanese military records on the killings were kept secret or destroyed after the surrender in 1945, historians have not been able to accurately estimate the death toll. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo estimated in 1946 that 200,000 Chinese were killed in the incident. China’s official estimate is more than 300,000 dead based on the evaluation of the Nanking War Crimes Tribunal in 1947.

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East estimated that, in an addition to children and the elderly, 20,000 women were raped. On 19 December 1937, the Reverend James M. McCallum wrote in his diary: “I know not where to end. Never I have heard or read such brutality. Rape! Rape! Rape! We estimate at least 1,000 cases a night and many by day. In case of resistance or anything that seems like disapproval, there is a bayonet stab or a bullet … People are hysterical … Women are being carried off every morning, afternoon and evening. The whole Japanese army seems to be free to go and come as it pleases, and to do whatever it pleases.”

The Chinese government has been accused of exaggerating aspects of the massacre, while historical negationists and Japanese nationalists go as far as claiming the massacre was fabricated for propaganda purposes. Denial of the massacre and revisionist accounts of the killings have become a staple of Japanese nationalism. In Japan, public opinion of the massacres varies, but few deny that the conflict occurred.

24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
CHINA – DECEMBER 01: War Between China And Japan: Occupation And Invasion Of Nankin In December 1937. Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
14 Dec 1937, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China — Original caption: Made a day after they had captured the former Chinese capital city on December 13, this picture shows victorious Japanese infantrymen patrolling the building that had previously housed the Finance Ministry of the Nanking government. They found precious little money left by the retreating Chinese. Note the camouflaged war tank in the courtyard of the structure. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
Destruction in Nanking, China, by Japanese attack, Jan. 4, 1938. AP Photo
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
Japanese invaders found this portion of Nanking deserted when they forced their way into the city, but the work of the Chinese in setting fire to the city can be noted in the background, Dec. 28, 1937. The flames which were widespread were just getting underway. Note Japanese soldiers in the street. AP Photo

24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
1937, China. Confident Japanese troops raise their rifles into the air somewhere near the Chinese capital of Nanjing, 1937. | Location: near Nanjing, China. Image by © CORBIS
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
CHINA – JANUARY 01: Chinese Puppet Government Set Up By Japan In Nankin. Photographed At Pekin On January 1938. Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
CHINA – JANUARY 04: Mounted Japanese Troops Passing Under The Chungshan Gate While Entering Nanking, China, On January 4, 1938. Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
An official Japanese picture of a captured Chinese soldier, Nanking, China, December 1937. With or without uniforms, thousands of Chinese soldiers at Nanking were brutally executed. Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
A Japanese bugle symbolically sounds the victory ceasefire from his position on top of Purple Mountain during the Second Sino-Japanese occupation in Nanking, China, in Jan. 1938. AP Photo
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
05 Jan 1938, Tokyo, Japan. Japanese Schoolboys Celebrating Fall of Nanking. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
The Second Sino-Japanese War occurred as a full blown war between the years of 1937 and 1945. While China was in a civil dispute between the nationalists and communists, Japan entered and a war was started. Before the massacre, Nanking only had around 250,000 residents. However, due to Japanese/Chinese fighting since 1931, the Chinese government moved the capital from Peking to Nanking. This raised the population well over a million people; many of them were refugees. Imgur
24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre
Japanese forces storm a barricade during the fighting in Nanking. ABC

 

Sources For Further Reading:

History Channel – Nanking Massacre

Encyclopedia Britannica – Second Sino-Japanese War

Medium – The Tragic Story of the Rape of Nanjing

BBC News – Nanjing Massacre: Denmark Honors Hero Who Rescued Chinese

Medium – The Nanking Massacre: 80,000 Gang-Rapes and Millions Were Killed

The Japan Times – Japan Complains After China Says 300,000 Died in Nanking Massacre

Facing History – “I Will Never Forget”: Voices of Survivors

BBC News – Japan Hotelier’s Nanjing Massacre Denial Angers China

CNN – Fury Over Japanese Politician’s Nanjing Massacre Denial

The Washington Post – A Short History of Japan’s War Apologies

All That’s Interesting – “The Forgotten Holocaust”: 27 Tragic Photos From The Rape Of Nanking

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