Yangtze River Massacre
Japanese Aggression in Asia in the 1930s
*Sept. 1931: Japanese troops march into Manchuria.*Set-up puppet government.*Named territory Manchukuo*League of Nations condemns Japan.*U.S. Response? P. 522*1934 Japan withdrawals from Washington Conference agreements.War erupts between Japan & ChinaChina 1937Japans troops invade its weaker neighbor, leading to a full scale war between Japan and China.
The USS Panay incident was a Japanese attack on the American gunboat Panay while she was anchored in the Yangtze River outside Nanking, China on 12 December 1937. Japan and the United States were not at war at the time. WikipediaJapans apology for the sinking was quickly accepted by the U.S. government. (p.526)Rape of Nanking
Battle of ShanghaiMilitary invasion of Nanking was preceded by a tough battle at Shanghai that began in the summer of 1937. Chinese forces there put up surprisingly stiff resistance against the Japanese Army which had expected an easy victory in China.After finally defeating the Chinese at Shanghai in November, 50,000 Japanese soldiers then marched on toward Nanking
Nanking, ChinaIn December of 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army marched into China's capital city of Nanking.Unlike the troops at Shanghai, Chinese soldiers at Nanking were poorly led and loosely organized. Although they greatly outnumbered the Japanese and had plenty of ammunition, they withered under the ferocity of the Japanese attack, then engaged in a chaotic retreat. After just four days of fighting, Japanese troops smashed into the city on December 13, 1937, with orders issued to "kill all captives."
An impressive picture made as Japanese infantry and cavalry troops marched through the triple arched chungsun gate that leads to Nanking, capital of China. The capture of the city was one of the principal objectives of the invading Japanese forces following the fall of Shanghi.
Yangtze River Massacre
On December 13th, a large number of refugees who were trying to escape from the Japanese resorted to crossing the Yangtze River. They were trapped on the east bank because no transportation was available; many of them tried to swim across the river but were fired by the Japanese. No one was spared.
A Japanese soldier reported that the next day he saw an uncountable number of dead bodies of adults and children covering the whole river. He estimated that more than 50,000 people were killed at this tragic incident of the Nanking massacre.
Their first concern was to eliminate any threat from the 90,000 Chinese soldiers who surrendered. To the Japanese, surrender was an unthinkable act of cowardice and the ultimate violation of the rigid code of military honor drilled into them from childhood onward. Thus they looked upon Chinese POWs with utter contempt, viewing them as less than human, unworthy of life.
In order to discourage the Chinese defenders, Japanese Army officials are said to have ordered the execution of all prisoners taken. The war in the Orient is now a war of "no quarter." Here are some Chinese captives patiently waiting death at the execution ground where they will be killed by their Japanese captors.The elimination of the Chinese POWs began after they were transported by trucks to remote locations on the outskirts of Nanking. As soon as they were assembled, the savagery began, with young Japanese soldiers encouraged by their superiors to inflict maximum pain and suffering upon individual POWs as a way of toughening themselves up for future battles, and also to eradicate any civilized notions of mercy.
After the destruction of the POWs, the soldiers turned their attention to the women of Nanking and an outright animalistic hunt ensued. Old women over the age of 70 as well as little girls under the age of 8 were dragged off to be sexually abused. More than 20,000 females (with some estimates as high as 80,000) were gang-raped by Japanese soldiers, then stabbed to death with bayonets or shot so they could never bear witness.
Pregnant women were not spared. In several instances, they were raped, then had their bellies slit open and the fetuses torn out. Sometimes, after storming into a house and encountering a whole family, the Japanese forced Chinese men to rape their own daughters, sons to rape their mothers, and brothers their sisters, while the rest of the family was made to watch.
Throughout the city of Nanking, random acts of murder occurred as soldiers frequently fired their rifles into panicked crowds of civilians, killing indiscriminately. Other soldiers killed shopkeepers, looted their stores, then set the buildings on fire after locking people of all ages inside. They took pleasure in the extraordinary suffering that ensued as the people desperately tried to escape the flames by climbing onto rooftops or leaping down onto the street.
The incredible carnage - citywide burnings, stabbings, drowning's, strangulations, rapes, thefts, and massive property destruction - continued unabated for about six weeks, from mid-December 1937 through the beginning of February 1938. Young or old, male or female, anyone could be shot on a whim by any Japanese soldier for any reason. Corpses could be seen everywhere throughout the city. The streets of Nanking were said to literally have run red with blood.Those who were not killed on the spot were taken to the outskirts of the city and forced to dig their own graves, large rectangular pits that would be filled with decapitated corpses resulting from killing contests the Japanese held among themselves. Other times, the Japanese forced the Chinese to bury each other alive in the dirt.
In addition, the notorious Comfort Women system was introduced which forced young Chinese women to become slave-prostitutes, existing solely for the sexual pleasure of Japanese soldiers.
In the United States, reports published in the New York Times, Reader's Digest and Time Magazine, were greeted with skepticism from the American public. The stories smuggled out of Nanking seemed almost too fantastic to be believed. Overall, most Americans had only a passing knowledge or little interest in Asia. Political leaders in both America and Britain remained overwhelmingly focused on the situation in Europe where Adolf Hitler was rapidly re-arming Germany while at the same time expanding the borders of the Nazi Reich through devious political maneuvers.
Killing CompetitionJapanese's killings were so cruel, savage, their ways of killing are beyond human imagination. They took killing people as a game. For instance, once, Japanese invaders tied up more than one thousand refugees from several places in a square, and made them stand in rows. Some of them wore long robes, some wore suits, some were women, some were children, all bare-feeted. Japanese first sprayed gasoline on their body, and then shot them with machine guns, a big fire set off whenever a person was shot. Dying refugees being shot and burnt, their body shivered in pain, it was a field of flickering flames. Japanese invaders laughed wildly, took great pleasure in it.
Killing CompetitionSome Japanese soldiers took scores of refugees to a pond, forced them to take off their clothes and broke the ice to "catch fish", they froze to death immediately. Some resisted and were shot right on the spot, and then thrown into the pond. Japanese soldiers hang a young man for no reason at all with wire, and put dry wood below them, bake him slowly. After half of his body burned black, the Japanese soldiers left, shouting wild. One day, Japanese soldiers set a store on TaiPing avenue on fire and then forced the clerks to fight the fire. When people were fighting the fire, Japanese tied some the clerks and threw them into the fire and burnt them alive. On another day, some Japanese soldiers tied the hands and feet of some refugees and threw them into a shallow pond, then the Japanese threw grenades, blood and flesh flew all over, the Japanese laughed wild. In an other occasion, Japanese forced several hundred POWs to climb to the roof of the Department of Justice building, some knew they would definitely die, jumped off and died. Others climbed to the roof, Japanese then set fire from below, the POWs could not get down and cried painfully in the fire.
In another occasion, several Japanese soldiers broke into a store and captured a young man, they forced him to take off his clothes. Then they poured nitric acid down from the top of his head, his body eroded right away. The young man shouted curses in anger in order to die fast. Japanese soldiers then followed him, shouting and making fun of him, until he died. Some Japanese gathered several hundred POWs together, scooped out their eye balls, cut off their ears and noses and then burned them alive. Even more savage, a group of Japanese soldiers gang raped a middle-aged lady, later they learned that the lady was pregnant, so they cut open the lady and took out the fetus. They took the fetus as a toy and played in the streets, met with a Japanese officer, they wavered the fetus on their bayonets to the officer, the officer returned a smile. The brutal killing game like this, who knows how many happened. Hundreds? Thousands?
Chinese prisoners are used as live targets in a bayonet drill by their Japanese captors during the infamous Rape of Nanjing.
First Hand AccountsEven pregnant women were not spared. "At 7:30 PM of December 19th, two Japanese soldiers gang raped a seventeen year old woman who has been pregnant for 9 months, led to the abortion of the fetus, the woman became insane. (Ref. "Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East" p 451) Outside HongWu gate, Japanese soldiers raped a pregnant woman in a farmer home, and then cut open the abdomen of the woman and took out the fetus. In another case, Japanese soldiers wanted to rape a pregnant woman, her mother-in-law struggled to stop them, the Japanese were brutal than anything, they kicked the old lady, and cut the pregnant woman with knife, a fetus of several month flew out of the body, in a moment two lives ended like this. (Ref. XinHua Daily, Feb 24th, 1951) ] First Hand AccountsChinese who were taken by the Japanese to serve as a cook told the following story after he escaped: "On December 16th, I went to the streets, smoke and fire flames had not yet been extinguished. The number of the dead bodies of my countrymen was terrifyingly large, especially there were many corpses of women... Eight of ten of them had their abdomens being cut open, intestines squeezed out. There were several mothers laid died together with their fetuses covered by blood... the breasts of these female bodies were either cut off or bayoneted into a mixture of flesh and blood ..." (Ref. "Blood debt--- Eye witness of the brutal acts of the enemy in the Capital", DaGong paper, Feb. 7th, 1938 ) First Hand AccountsAnother Chinese who buried bodies in the suburbs told the following: "The bodies in the villages, piled up in tens or hundreds, laid in ditches, ponds, fields or among haystacks. The horror of the scenes is hard to describe. Especially women..., their faces were dark, teeth fell, cheeks broken, blood in their mouth, their breasts had been cut off, chest and abdomen had been pierced through, intestines dragged on the ground, lower abdomens had been kicked at, their bodies had been bayoneted randomly." (Ref. "Photographic history of the atrocities of the Japanese army", DaHua Publishing House, 1946 edition. )
Azuma Shiro recalled one episode: "There were about 37 old men, old women and children. We captured them and gathered them in a square." "There was a woman holding a child on her right arm... and another one on her left." "We stabbed and killed them, all three - like potatoes in a skewer. I thought then, it's been only one month since I left home... and 30 days later I was killing people without remorse." Mr Shiro suffered for his confession: "When there was a war exhibition in Kyoto, I testified. The first person who criticized me was a lady in Tokyo. She said I was damaging those who died in the war." "She called me incessantly for three or four days. More and more letters came and the attack became so severe... that the police had to provide me with protection."
Such testimony, however, has been discounted at the highest levels in Japan. Former Justice Minister Shigeto Nagano denied that the massacre had occurred, claiming it was a Chinese fabrication. Professor Ienaga Saburo spent many years fighting the Japanese government in the courts with only limited success for not allowing true accounts of Japanese war atrocities to be given in school textbooks.
Murdered 300,000 out of 600,000 civilians and soldiers in the city. The six weeks of carnage would become known as the Rape of Nanking.