Nanking Massacre “What connects two thousand years of genocide? Too much power in too few hands,” – Simon Wiesenthal. Genocide is the systematic mass killing of a specific group of people. For an event to be considered genocide, it must have the eight stages of genocide: classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, extermination, and denial. Nanking is an example of genocide because it included the eight stages.
The Nanking Genocide was also known as the Rape of Nanking, which resulted great amount of deaths of people in China due to killing after rape, murder, looting, and many other ways.
Although the Nanking massacre only lasted from 1937-1938, there were many events that led up to this genocide. Before the Nanking massacre, tension already exist between China and Japan due to the struggle for power in Asia. Using the military actions between China and Japan as an excuse, “Japan wage all out war against China” (Viklund, Nanking Massacre, 1).
The main event that led up to this genocide was the Chinese troop’s strong resistance against the Japanese’s attempt to “conquer all of China in just three months,” (The History Place 1).
The strong resistance of the Chinese troops upset the Japanese, making them losing their pride and now their “appetite for revenge was to follow at Nanking,” (The History Place 1). Due to Japan’s desire to get revenge on China, many horrific events occurred. One tragedy that happened was “mass execution of captives,” (Viklund, Nanking Massacre, 2).
This was an event where the Japanese killed anyone man who was suspected to be a Chinese soldier. After a large number of Chinese soldiers were captured to be executed, “other soldiers who had not been discovered disguised themselves as civilians,” hoping not to get caught by the Japanese (Viklund, Nanking Massacre, 2). In many situations, captives were shot by machine guns, bayoneted, or even burned alive. This event was also known as “the genercide against Chinese men,” (Jones, The Nanjing Massacre).
Although there are many more horrific events, the rape in Nanking was the event that catches everyone’s attention. The Nanking Massacre had an “estimate of 300,000 deaths of Chinese soldiers and civilians” (NJ Hong Kong Network 3), but the number of “women raped by the Japanese soldiers during the six weeks of Nanking Massacre were about 20,000” (Viklund, Nanking Massacre, 2). The rape in Nanking was such a tragic event because “old women over the age of 70 as well as little girls under the age of 8 were dragged off to be sexually abused,” (The History Place 1).
This event gave the Nanking Massacre another name known as the Rape of Nanking. All these decisions were made by “Emperor Hirohito, who was in charge of invasion of China in 1937 and majority of the military decisions,” (Jones, Gendercide). Hironito’s uncle, Prince Asaka was the one that ordered the military to “kill all captives” (Jones, Gendercide). Genocide usually happens when a single person or a small group of people with a lot of power feels hatred towards another group of people.
Although the unexpected strong resistance towards Japanese military attack angered Japan; the main reason behind the Nanking genocide was to mainly show China that Japan is superior. To show their power, Japan had done inhuman actions to the people in Nanking, China, without anyone having the ability to stop them. Although the Chinese soldiers “greatly outnumbered the Japanese, soldiers at Nanking were poorly led and loosely organized,” (The History Place 1).
This allowed the Japanese to easily take over Nanking, without the fear of Chinese soldiers fighting back. As if the mass killing of the Chinese civilians was not enough for the Japanese to show their superiority, the “Japanese appear to want the horrors to remain as long as possible, to impress on the Chinese the terrible results of resisting Japan,” (Halsall, Fordham University). To do so, the Japanese had not removed the deads from the streets, causing them to be grind over by military trucks.
This was all allowed to happen because of the weak military in Nanking. Although the Japanese soldiers killed anyone and everyone in sight, about half of the Nanking population managed to survive due to the resistance established by “twenty Americans and Europeans that remained in the city” (The History Place 2). The area that the twenty westerns declared was off limit to the Japanese, known as the “International Safety Zone,” (New World Encyclopedia contributors, Nanking Massacre).
The Japanese government had agreed not to attack that part of the city if only no Chinese soldiers were in there. In many situations, the members of the group had risked their own lives to save the civilians of Nanking. This resistance was successful to a certain extent because “no shells entered that part of the city” (New World Encyclopedia contributors, Nanking Massacre), but during some chaotic moments, people were killed in the safety zone. Genocide is the systematic mass killing of a specific group of people.
This definition perfectly describes the genocide that happened in Nanking. The Japanese had one target, and that was to kill the Chinese people in Nanking. They did not dare to touch the westerners nor did they disobey the official order from the Japanese government; to stay out of the safety zone. The world needs to be aware of these events because large amount genocides are forgotten as time passes. If the world is aware of these events, we can identify them earlier and have a chance to stop them.
I do not think majority of people know that these events ever occur. Some people know and some people don’t, all due to the area of the world they live in. In my opinion, I think larger continents have more awareness to these events because if the large countries know about these events, it has a higher chance of actually stepping and stopping it. On the other hand, I think smaller continents only pay attention to their own place, worrying about their own safety. However, these are all just my opinion.
People can be made more aware by watching more world news. If countries are suffering from these events, they can seek help from others. The Rape of Nanking resulted great amount of deaths of people in China due to killing after rape, murder, looting, and many other ways. Tension between China and Japan during the World War II led to this tragic event. Chinese men and women were the specific target for the Japanese which clearly shows that this was an example of genocide. The Nanking massacre was an unforgettable history for China.
Cite this Nanking Genocide
Nanking Genocide. (2016, Oct 27). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/nanking-genocide/