Between December 1937 and March 1938 one of the worst massacres in modern times took place. Japanese troops captured the Chinese city of Nanjing and embarked on a campaign of murder, rape and looting. (Pictured right: General Iwane Matsui leads Japanese troops into Nanjing).
Based on estimates made by historians and charity organisations in the city at the time, between 250,000 and 300,000 people were killed, many of them women and children. The number of women raped was said by Westerners who were there to be 20,000 and there were widespread accounts of civilians being hacked to death.
Yet many Japanese officials and historians deny there was a massacre on such a scale. They admit that deaths and rapes did occur, but say they were on a much smaller scale than reported. And in case, they argue, these things happen in times of war.
(Pictured left: Japanese execution by sword.)
In 1931, Japan invaded Chinese Manchuria The following years saw Japan consolidate its hold, while China suffered civil war between communists and Kuomontang. The latter were led by General Chiang Kai-shek, whose capital was Nanjing. Despite a period of Chinese resistance the Japanese army eventually broke through at Shanghai and swiftly moved on to Nanjing.
Chiang Kai-shek's troops had already left the city and the Japanese army occupied it without difficulty.
At the time the Japanese army did not have a reputation for brutality. In the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5, the Japanese commanders had behaved with great courtesy towards their defeated opponents, but this was different. Japanese papers reported competitions among junior officers to kill the most Chinese.
Tim Durdin of the New York Times reported the early stages of the massacre before being forced to leave. He later wrote "I was 29 and it was my first big story for the New York Times. So I drove down to the waterfront in my car. And to get to the gate I had to climb over masses of bodies accumulated there. The car had to drive over these dead bodies and the scene on the waterfront, as I waited for the launch ... was of a group of smoking, chattering Japanese officers overseeing the massacring of a battalion of Chinese captured troops. They were marching about in groups of about 15, machine-gunning them"
As he departed he saw 200 men being executed in 10 minutes to the apparent enjoyment of Japanese military spectators.
He concluded that the rape of Nanjing was "one of the great atrocities of modern terms.
Monday, 28 September 2009
The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
The brainteaser on Sunday asked you where you would find certain keys on your key pad. You had to decide whether the letters you were given were to the left or to the right of the F5 key. Obviously you could immediately check your answers yourselves, and they would have been as follows:
Perhaps you were surprised how unfamiliar you are with your key pad!