Rape Of Nanking Essay, Research Paper
I have read the book titled The Rape of Nanking . This book is appropriately titled due to the
subject matter it covers. It covers an incident during World War II known as The Rape of
Nanking . The book was written by Iris Chang and is two hundred and thirty pages long with an
additional twenty four pages of pictures.
The Rape of Nanking was an incident that occurred in December of 1937. Nanking at this
time was the capital city of Nationalist China. During this incident Japanese soldiers raped,
tortured, and killed Chinese soldiers and civilians totaling nearly three hundred thousand people.
The official date that is credited to the day when Nanking fell is December 13, 1937. The
Chinese government was forced to regroup elsewhere as the Japanese controlled this city until
the war ended eight years later in 1945.
Nanking wasn t the only part of China the Japanese controlled. It was where the worst
atrocities took place and where the Chinese people were hurt the most. It all started with Japan
taking the city of Manchuria. Quickly to be taken over after that were Chahar, Hopeh, Peking,
Tiensin, Shangai, and then Nanking. The reasons for the Japanese attempt to takeover China
were Japan had its own master race theory and they wanted to rule Asia.
The reasons Nanking is remembered are the massive amounts of deaths in a short period
of time and the manners in which these deaths and brutalities were committed. Statistics show
that Certain countries had less civilian casualties in the entire war then the city of Nanking had in
a few weeks. For example: Great Britain(61,000 civilian casualties), France(108,000 civilian
casualties), and Belgium(242,000 civilian casualties). Some of the atrocities included thousands
of men being dragged out to fields to be used as machine gun practice targets, people being
buried alive, husbands being forced to rape their wives, sons being forced to rape their mothers,
women s organs being cut off, and much more.
The event was also known as Nanjing Datusha . Another name for this is The
Forgotten Holocaust of World War II . Most Chinese people still have strong feelings toward the
Japanese because they have not to this day apologized for what went on. Instead the Japanese
have made themselves out to look like the victims due to the bombings of Hiroshima and
A war with China was in the Japanese s eye inevitable. Japanese population was
increasing alot faster then they could be fed. The maximum amount of food that could be grown
on the amount of land available was grown. Unfortunately hunger still lingered about. Do to
immigration laws hungry Japanese could not get to other countries that had more room. The only
option left seemed to be to expand and gain more territory. China was an obvious target.
Nanking was a city surrounded by water on two sides. The strategy was to have troops on
the other two sides of Nanking thus enabling Japan to use nature to circle the citizens in. This
made it seem as Nanking would be easy to takeover. The people however new that the invasion
was coming and prepared for defense. Preparations included gathering soldiers, digging trenches,
and camulflouging houses and buildings.
When the invasion began the Chinese had an airforce of 300 compared to that of the
Japanese s which was 3,000. That was the first disadvantage. Another problem was the fact that
most stuff including radio equipment had been removed from the city. This made it so parts of
the army couldn t even communicate with other divisions. Other problems included lack of nerve
and lack of cohesiveness among the army.
On December 9 leaflets were dropped on the city. They read the best way to protect
innocent civilians and cultural relics in the city was to capitulate. They also contained a message
reading the Japanese would be harsh and relentless to those who resist, but kind and generous to
non combatants and Chinese troops who entertain no emminity to Japan. It was also stated that
if the city did not surrender within twenty-four hours all the horrors of war would be let
loose . Initially the Chinese were outraged and were prepared to defend themselves. It was
eventually ordered that the Chinese surrender by the Chinese government. By this time the
Japanese were not willing to negotiate. The people had to escape through the northern part of the
Yangtze river. Most people didn t making it but died trying to cross.
Before the war the cities population had been over a million people. By the time the
Japaneese made their way throughout the cities gates the population had shrunken to under half
of a million people. The people who remained were mostly defenseless. This list included
elderly, handicapped, poor, women, children, and anyone else who probably wasn t a soldier.
Their only hopes were that either the Japanese treated them kindly or that the Japanese would be
better rulers anyway.
Many citizens hung Japanese flags from their windows and some even rushed out to
welcome the oncoming troops. Eyewitnesses have been documented as saying when they entered
they shot at most anyone in sight. This was very shocking to the people. It also served as a wake
up call to the fact that their fate had been decided. The atrocities were set to begin.
Prisoner after prisoner was taken. The prisoners were not feed or even given water. After
the prisoners became to hungry and dehydrated to revolt or even think of anything they were tied
by the wrists and led to the places were they were to be executed. They were shot at with
machine guns, beheaded, and stabbed with bayonets. Other people didn t have the fortune of
sudden death. They got tortured and rapped. Many games they involuntarily partook in were
games such as: mutilation, freezing to death, being set to fire, death by dogs, live burial, and the
ever terrible get nailed to something somewhere in this city.
Multination could be anything. Ruthless soldiers cut off body parts, severed heads, and
just about anything gross that could be thought of. Freezing to death consisted of getting naked,
breaking the ice on the frozen pond, and the jumping in. Being set to fire set to fire sometimes
meant being set on fire, being put out, and then set on fire again. Death by dogs included live
torture victims being thrown to dogs. Another form of this activity was burying people to their
waists and watching them get ripped apart by German Shepherds.
Between 20,000 and 80,000 females were rapped. There was no place that rapes didn t
happen. A church was acceptable. Nuns were raped at church.There was no age barriers. Girls
as young as twelve were raped and so were elderly grandmothers. After the victims were raped
most died from being gang raped and others died from torture. Even after raping the females the
soldiers didn t think twice about torture.
After the war a few Japanese officers were caught and tried. They were all found guilty.
Everyone of them was sentenced to death. This was somewhat satisfying. Unfortunately this
could not bring back the thousands of lives that these men and their associates were responsible
for. Many people today remain distraught about this incident being kind of overseen by the rest
of the war. Most people who are upset justify this feeling by saying everyone learns about the gas
chambers and about Auschwitz but not much is taught about The Rape of Nanking . Also some
people have the belief that history is condemned to repeat itself .