Thursday, December 6, 2012


Name ___________________________________________ Date _______ Period ____


Directions: Read the primary documents and answer the questions below.

Quotes from the Rape of Nanking (1937)

1. The actions described are shocking, but unfortunately not uncommon in the history of humanity and certainly not unique to the Japanese. Why do you think these sorts of things often take place during military conflict?
2. After the war many participants in the Rape of Nanking said that the acts were purely military. Make a list of any actions which seem to be purely military.

All Captives Slain – F. Tillman Durdin (1937)

3. What did the Japanese do with surrendering Chinese soldiers?
4. Based on what you have read up to this quote: “By despoiling the city and population the Japanese have driven deeper into the Chinese a repressed hatred that will smolder through tears as forms of the anti­Japanism that Tokyo professes to be fighting to eradicate from China.” What does it mean? What is the author trying to say?
5. Why does the author suspect that the Japanese were both as brutal as they were, and so slow to clean up after the carnage? Does this make sense to you?
6. What happened to the Ministry of Communications building? Why do you suppose that was?

Reflective Questions

7. What do you think was the goal of the Japanese in Nanking? Do you think that goal was achieved?
8. To paraphrase statements made by people who have been in war, “bad things happen in war”. Do you think the actions of the Japanese can be justified given that they were at war with China?

The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was a mass murder, genocide and war rape that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanjing (Nanking), the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. During this period hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers were murdered and 20,000–80,000 men, women and children were raped by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army. An accurate estimation of the death toll in the massacre has not been achieved because most of the Japanese military records on the killings were deliberately destroyed or kept secret shortly after the surrender of Japan in 1945. The International Military Tribunal of the Far East estimates more than 200,000 casualties in the incident; China's official estimate is about 300,000 casualties, based on the evaluation of the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal. Estimates from Japanese historians vary widely, in the vicinity of 40,000–200,000. Some historical revisionists even deny that a widespread, systematic massacre occurred at all, claiming that any deaths were either justified militarily, accidental or isolated incidents of unauthorized atrocities. These revisionists claim that the characterization of the incident as a large-scale, systematic massacre was fabricated for the purpose of political propaganda. Although the Japanese government has admitted the acts of killing of a large number of noncombatants, looting and other violence committed by the Imperial Japanese Army after the fall of Nanking, a small but vocal minority within both the Japanese government and society have argued that the death toll was military in nature and that no such crimes ever occurred. The following quotes are from people present during the massacre. The Japanese carried out similar actions across Southeast Asia.

“We had fun killing Chinese. We caught some innocent Chinese and either buried them alive, or pushed them into a fire, or beat them to death with clubs. When they were half dead we pushed them into ditches and burned them, torturing them to death. Everyone gets his entertainment this way. It’s like killing dogs and cats.” - Asahi Shimbun, Japanese soldier

"We used barbed wire to bind the captured Chinese into bundles of ten and tied them onto racks. Then we poured gasoline on them and burned them alive. I felt like killing pigs." - Kozo Tadokoro, Japanese soldier

"The Japanese came to the safety zone and demanded volunteers for a labor crew, and gave ‘promises of protection.’ About 50 people were led off, taken to a vacant house, robbed of all their valuables and clothes, and when completely naked, tied up together in groups of five. Then the Japanese built a large bonfire in the courtyard, led the groups out one by one, bayoneted the men and tossed them still alive on the fire." - John Rabe, German Nazi and Chairman of the Nanking Safety Zone, which he established in an attempt to shelter citizens of Nanking from the atrocities being carried out; he saved between 200,000 and 250,000 lives

"You can't breathe for the sheer revulsion when you keep finding bodies of women with bamboo poles thrust up their vaginas. Even old women over 70 are constantly being raped" - John Rabe

"It was about ten in the morning when a dozen Japanese with rifles and fixed bayonets rushed into the house. They shot my father and grabbed my baby sister, being breast-fed by my mother. They bayoneted the baby and stripped my mother and raped her. Then the Japanese killed my grandparents and dragged two of my sisters out and raped them. Then they stabbed me and my 3-year old sister with bayonets. I saw both of my older sisters lying in pools of blood, dead." - Xia Shu-qin, 7-year old resident of Nanking

"No matter how young or old, they could not escape the fate of being raped. Neither old women nor young girls were spared. We sent out coal trucks to the city streets and villages to seize women, and then each was allocated to 15 or 20 soldiers for sex and abuse. Every soldier was issued a Red Ticket - a paper with the seal of his company's commander - and they lined up in their underwear to wait their turn." - Takokoro Kozo, Japanese soldier

"We took turns raping them. We always stabbed and killed them. When we were raping her, we looked at her as a woman. But when we killed her, we just thought of her as something like a pig." - Azuma Shiro, Japanese soldier

"We did everything for the sake of the emperor, raping, killing, everything," - Masayo Enomoto, Japanese soldier


The Japanese occupation of Nanking, the capital of the Republic of China, lead to one of the greatest horrors of the century. This eyewitness report was filed by a New York Times reporter named F. Tillman Durdin and was published on December 18, 1937.

Aboard the U.S.S. Oahu at Shanghai, Dec. 17 [1937].

Through wholesale atrocities and vandalism at Nanking the Japanese Army has thrown away a rare opportunity to gain the respect and confidence of the Chinese inhabitants and of foreign opinion there....
The killing of civilians was widespread. Foreigners who traveled widely through the city Wednesday found civilian dead on every street. Some of the victims were aged men, women and children.
Policemen and firemen were special objects of attack. Many victims were bayoneted and some of the wounds were barbarously cruel.
Any person who ran because of fear or excitement was likely to be killed on the spot as was any one caught by roving patrols in streets or alleys after dark. Many slayings were witnessed by foreigners.
The Japanese looting amounted almost to plundering of the entire city. Nearly every building was entered by Japanese soldiers, often under the eyes of their officers, and the men took whatever they wanted. The Japanese soldiers often impressed Chinese to carry their loot....
The mass executions of war prisoners added to the horrors the Japanese brought to Nanking. After killing the Chinese soldiers who threw down their arms and surrendered, the Japanese combed the city for men in civilian garb who were suspected of being former soldiers.
In one building in the refugee zone 400 men were seized. They were marched off, tied in batches of fifty, between lines of riflemen and machine gunners, to the execution ground.
Just before boarding the ship for Shanghai the writer watched the execution of 200 men on the Bund [a waterfront area similar to a beach]. The killings took ten minutes. The men were lined against a wall and shot. Then a number of Japanese, armed with pistols, trod nonchalantly around the crumpled bodies, pumping bullets into any that were still kicking.
The army men performing the gruesome job had invited navy men from the warships anchored off the Bund to view the scene. A large group of military spectators apparently greatly enjoyed the spectacle.
When the first column of Japanese troops marched from the South Gate up Chungshan Road toward the city's Big Circle, small knots of Chinese civilians broke into scattering cheers, so great was their relief that the siege was over and so high were their hopes that the Japanese would restore peace and order. There are no cheers in Nanking now for the Japanese.
By despoiling the city and population the Japanese have driven deeper into the Chinese a repressed hatred that will smolder through tears as forms of the anti­Japanism that Tokyo professes to be fighting to eradicate from China.
The capture of Nanking was the most overwhelming defeat suffered by the Chinese and one of the most tragic military debacles in the history of modern warfare. In attempting to defend Nanking the Chinese allowed themselves to be surrounded and then systematically slaughtered....
The flight of the many Chinese soldiers was possible by only a few exits. Instead of sticking by their men to hold the invaders at bay with a few strategically placed units while the others withdrew, many army leaders deserted, causing panic among the rank and file.
Those who failed to escape through the gate leading to Hsiakwan and from there across the Yangtze were caught and executed....
When the Japanese captured Hsiakwan gate they cut off all exit from the city while at least a third of the Chinese Army still was within the walls.
Because of the disorganization of the Chinese a number of units continued fighting Tuesday noon, many of these not realizing the Japanese had surrounded them and that their cause was hopeless. Japanese tank patrols systematically eliminated these.
Tuesday morning, while attempting to motor to Hsiakwan, I encountered a desperate group of about twenty­five Chinese soldiers who were still holding the Ningpo Guild Building on Chungahan Road. They later surrendered.
Thousands of prisoners were executed by the Japanese. Most of the Chinese soldiers who had been interned in the safety zone were shot in masses. The city was combed in a systematic house­to­house search for men having knapsack marks on their shoulders or other signs of having been soldiers. They were herded together and executed.
Many were killed where they were found, including men innocent of any army connection and many wounded soldiers and civilians. I witnessed three mass executions of prisoners within a few hours Wednesday. In one slaughter a tank gun was turned on a group of more than 100 soldiers at a bomb shelter near the Ministry of Communications.
A favorite method of execution was to herd groups of a dozen men at entrances of dugout and to shoot them so the bodies toppled inside. Dirt then was shoveled in and the men buried.
Since the beginning of the Japanese assault on Nanking the city presented a frightful appearance. The Chinese facilities for the care of army wounded were tragically inadequate, so as early as a week ago injured men were seen often on the streets, some hobbling, others crawling along seeking treatment.
Civilian casualties also were heavy, amounting to thousands. The only hospital open was the American managed University Hospital and its facilities were inadequate for even a fraction of those hurt.
Nanking's streets were littered with dead. Sometimes bodies had to be moved before automobiles could pass.
The capture of Hsiakwan Gate by the Japanese was accompanied by the mass killing of the defenders, who were piled up among the sandbags, forming a mound six feet high. Late Wednesday the Japanese had not removed the dead, and two days of heavy military traffic had been passing through, grinding over the remains of men, dogs and horses.
The Japanese appear to want the horrors to remain as long as possible, to impress on the Chinese the terrible results of resisting Japan.
Chungahan Road was a long avenue of filth and discarded uniforms, rifles, pistols, machine guns, fieldpieces, knives and knapsacks. In some places the Japanese had to hitch tanks to debris to clear the road.
The Chinese burned nearly all suburbs, including fine buildings and homes in Mausoleum Park. Hsiakwan is a mass of charred ruins. The Japanese seemingly avoided wrecking good buildings. The scarcity of air bombardments in the capture indicated their intention to avoid the destruction of buildings.
The Japanese even avoided bombing Chinese troop concentrations in built-up areas, apparently to preserve the buildings. The fine Ministry of Communications building was the only big government structure destroyed inside the city. It was fired by Chinese.
Nanking today is housing a terrorized population who, under alien domination, live in fear of death, torture, and robbery. The graveyard of tens of thousands of Chinese soldiers may also be the graveyard of all Chinese hopes of resisting conquest by Japan.

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