When I say holocaust most people will automatically assume that I am about to discuss the Holocaust of the Jews in Europe. I am not writing this article to downplay the importance of that holocaust, but instead I’m trying to shed light on another event that we also need to be aware of. I learned of the Rape of Nanking (also seen as Nanjing) in only the last few years. So the first question to answer: What is it?
The Rape of Nanking is the name give to a large holocaust of the Chinese by the Japanese during World War II. It may also be seen as the Nanking (Nanjing) Massacre. Nanking was the capital of China at that time so after the Japanese captured Shanghai they moved on to that city (historyplace.com) So, what exactly happening in Nanking?
Prince Asaka of Japan supposedly gave the order to kill all captives, which is what led to the horrors that would soon surmount those remaining in Nanking. The main body of the events that followed the fall of Nanking lasted for approximately six weeks.
Some of the things that happened include a contest between two generals having a contest over who could kill the most Chinese, and the rape and mutilation of thousands of women (young and old) and infants and children. Even pregnant women were not spared. (historyplace.com) Civilians were not spared in the slightest. There was also some reference to cannibalism, and tortures of forces the Chinese to watch each other die. Prisoners were buried alive, and nearly a third of the city was burned in arson. (http://www.nanking-massacre.com/)
So why do so many people not know about what happened at Nanking? Well, first it is not a pretty part of history so no one likes to talk about it. Also, there are some who deny it happened, not unlike the small group of people who deny the European Holocaust happened. It also lasted approximately 6 weeks as compared to the years of holocaust in Europe. It is no less important though, because huge amounts of people died. Another unfortunate truth is that the winners write the history books, and neither Japan or China won, so who was going to tell what happened? Certainly the Japanese don’t want that blemish on their history. We do know about it because there were outsiders in Nanking and they were spared and told what they saw and their diaries as well as others read. This massacre wasn’t in Europe so we don’t hear about it as much. We move forward from here with the knowledge and try to prevent it from falling into history, forgotten, again.