The Nanking Massacre
Evaluate and discuss the significance of the Nanking Massacre atrocity.
During World War II there were many atrocities committed that eventuated in the casualties of millions of innocent people, it’s also apparent that there were many atrocities and that Nanking was one of the most gruesome, not just in East Asia, but the whole world. The concentration camp in Auschwitz resulted in the deaths of over 1.1 million Jews whereas the Nanking Massacre was only a fraction of that, 300,000. But what sets apart the Nanking Massacre from Auschwitz is the way it was conducted. Westerners that were in Nanking at the time as aid described it as “hell on earth” . Making it one of the most significant atrocities in World War II
On the December of 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA), after finally overcoming the Chinese at Shanghai in November, 50,000 Japanese soldiers moved on Nanking and launched their attack on Nanking that lasted 6 weeks. The Chinese soldiers stationed at Nanking were poorly trained and did not have the necessary organisation to withstand against the might of the IJA. After 4 days of hopeless fighting the Chinese surrender, but the IJA had a ‘Three All’s Policy’ which was kill all, loot all, destroy all; which meant for the 90,000 Chinese soldiers surrendering was pointless, especially since forfeiting is considered one of the most dishonourable acts in Japanese culture. IJA soldiers were encouraged by their superiors to practice grotesque forms of punishment on the prisoners of war (POW’s) such as mutilation, target practice, bayonet practice and even burning them alive all in order to toughen the soldiers up. The IJA soldiers than continue to slaughter over 300,000 civilians which was half the population of Nanking.
Unlike most massacres that occurred during World War II this one was far more devastating due to the animalistic behaviour of the Japanese. Japanese soldiers would sexual abuse any woman despite age and would then execute them so that there would be no evidence. Even pregnant women fell victims to the IJA as there were some reported acts that Japanese soldiers cutting open their stomachs and removing the foetus, all this was documented by the Japanese. The actual numbers of the women affected vary but according to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, over 20,000 women were raped but some believe that the number is somewhere as high as 80,000. Another recorded incident was the ‘Contest to kill 100 people using a sword’, which was a wartime account of two IJA officers Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda to see which one of them could kill 100 people first with their swords . General Iwane Matsui was in command of the IJA sent to China up until Nanking before he fell ill. He was described as a practicing Buddhist and a frail old, even today it is unknown whether he knew about the IJA’s intentions prior to the massacre. He also remains as the only high...