The Rape of Nanking

The Genocide...The Story

The Rape of Nanking was a devastating massacre.  The Japanese Imperial Army charged into China in December of 1937, and murdered over a quarter of a million innocent civilians and soldiers in the city of Nanking.  The Rape of Nanking was six whole weeks of destruction and murder.  Being drilled since childhood never to surrender because it was against the Japanese military code, the Japanese looked at the Chinese POWs as less than human and unworthy of life.  The elimination of the Chinese POWs began after they were transported to remote locations on the outskirts of Nanking.   Young Japanese soldiers were encouraged by their superiors to inflict as much pain as possible and suffering upon the POWs as a way of toughening and strengthening themselves for future battles.  It also rid any civilized notions of mercy.   Soldiers smiled as conducting bayonet practice on live prisoners. They decapitating them and would display the severed heads as souvenirs.  They proudly stood among the mutilated corpses.  Some of the Chinese POWs were simply mowed down by machine-gun fire while others were tied-up, soaked with gasoline and burned alive.  These people were murdered and tortured in the most horrifying ways. 

After the destruction of the POWs, the soldiers turned their personal attention to the Nanking women.  Women of all ages were dragged off to be sexually abused by the Japanese soldiers. More than 20,000 females (with some estimates as high as 80,000) were gang-raped by Japanese soldiers. They were then stabbed to death with bayonets or shot so that they could never bear witness.  In several instances pregnant women were even raped, and then had their stomachs cut open and the fetuses ripped out.  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.  The Japanese took pleasure in torturing and watching the Chinese suffer in pain. 

The carnage consisted of citywide burnings, stabbings, drownings, strangulations, rapes, thefts, and massive property destruction. Corpses were prevalent throughout the streets of Nanking.  The streets were literally covered in red blood.  The Chinese were forced to the outskirts of town where they were told to dig their own graves. Some were even forced to bury their fellow people alive.  After the devastation to pacify the people narcotics including opium and heroin were given out.  50,000 Chinese people died of opium alone, while thousands more became addicted of heroin.  The “Comfort Women” system was also introduced.  This was where Chinese women became sex-slaves and prostitutes, surviving only for the Japanese soldiers’ personal pleasure. The Rape of Nanking was one of the worst events of the WWII era, but it was for the most part discarded by others because of the other problems occurring at the same time.  Unfortunately most Americans of the time had only a passing knowledge or a little interest in Asia.  Leaders of the United States and Britain were focused on the situation in Europe with the holocaust and Hitler’s regime constantly gaining more power and land.  The Rape of Nanking was one of the most brutal, devastating massacres in all of modern times.