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"The Rape Of Nanking," By Iris Chang.

2663 words - 11 pages

"Maps can really point to places where life is evil now: Nanking; Dachau." History is based on perspective. World War II started on December 7, 1941, the Japanese Imperial Army attacked Pearl Harbor. Europeans go back a couple years to September 1, 1939, when Germany attacked Poland. Africans see it earlier on the invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. However, Asians trace the beginnings of the war way back during the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. Hitler and Germany use a train of thought that they are the superior race and use this to rule their neighbors. The Japanese use this also. The fourteen years of military dominance of China by the Japanese were in no doubt, marked by countless incidents of ruthlessness. This is a story of one of these incidents.On December 7, as the Japanese troops marched their way into the Capital of China, the Japanese General Matsui grew increasingly ill. This was due to his chronic illness of tuberculosis. The illness took place right his power shifted to that of a member of the imperial family. Prince Asaka Yasukiko, uncle of the Emperor Hirohito was ordered to replace Matsui at the front line. Being a member of the royal family, Asaka had powers that would override all other authority on the Nanking front. Many do not know why Hirohito gave Asaka this position at this critical moment. This may have seemed a trivial, non-important change, later however, it would prove to be a critical one to the lives of hundreds of thousands Chinese. Prince Asaka spoke with General Nakajima, who was a colleague from his years in Paris. Nakajima reported that the Chinese had negotiated with Japan and revealed that China was ready to surrender. After hearing this, Asaka sent a set of orders, which read, "KILL ALL CAPTIVES."The Japanese Imperial Army feared that, even though the Chinese agreed to surrender peacefully, the massive population was still a threat to the outnumbered Japanese forces. Resistance was nonexistent. Chinese threw away their arms when attempting to flee the city as the Japanese closed in. Many of the Chinese soldiers even turned themselves in thinking that they would be treated better. One of the Japanese soldier's named Azuma Shiro, described one of the captures. Azuma and his countrymen walked around for miles to search of prisoners. As night fell, the Japanese finally found what they had been looking for. They saw many Chinese soldiers' cigarette lights blinking. The reluctance of the Chinese army to fight back stunned many of the Japanese soldiers. Many of the soldiers came from a military culture that handed swords to pilots instead of parachutes. Suicide was more preferable than capture. This stunned Azuma and the other soldiers even more because had the Chinese soldiers fought to the death, the Japanese would have surely lost because they were outnumbered. The Chinese that Azuma had captured were to be led to a nearby village where they were to have slept. Azuma the next day was ordered again to search...

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