Military Review

One of the most violent crimes of the twentieth century was the subject of speculation

Exactly 80 years ago the Japanese army entered the Chinese Nanjing, which resulted in one of the most brutal, sophisticated and unexplained war crimes of the 20th century. Now the events of those years are trying to be audited, and it's hard not to notice parallels with what is happening in Europe with the memory of the Second World War. But who benefits?

Two officers of the Japanese imperial army, Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda, made a bet on the way from Shanghai to Nanjing about who would quickly kill a hundred people with the help of a cold weapons. This dispute was perceived as something that could raise the morale of soldiers after heavy street fighting in Shanghai, and therefore attracted the attention of the press.

In two weeks, eight articles devoted to the original contest appeared in the two largest daily newspapers, Tokyo and Osaka. They were written in the genre of sports reporting. "Incredible record," - said one of the headlines.

Since both lieutenants exceeded the norm almost simultaneously, the winner could not be established. Then they made a new bet, and this time the bar was raised to the level of 150 people.

In both cases, it was not about fights, but about extrajudicial executions. From the point of view of the Japanese, there was nothing illegal in them.

One of the most violent crimes of the twentieth century was the subject of speculationAs early as 6 August, the Ministry of the Army notified troops in Shanghai that international treaties on the treatment of prisoners of war against the Chinese can be considered invalid, and asked the army bureaucrats not to call the Chinese prisoners of war.

And on the eve of the capture of Nanking, an order was issued signed by the uncle of Emperor Hirohito - Prince Yasuhiko Asaki, who commanded the Shanghai Expeditionary Army. It was an order to kill prisoners. A number of historians claim that he was issued by the prince's adjutant - the lieutenant-general who forged Asaki's signature, but it is difficult to believe in it, and responsibility remains on the prince anyway - as a commander.

City of maniacs

As soon as Japanese troops entered Nanjing, raids on Chinese soldiers disguised as civilians began. All men of military age, who had scuffs from the shoulders of knapsacks on their shoulders or bruises in the clavicle area, were suspected. In addition, the Japanese grabbed everyone with calluses on his legs, scars on his face, straight posture or "looked impudently."

The carding took place in a formally protected from this international security zone, the captured were shot from a machine gun on the Yangtze shore.

The most massacre, known as the “straw-channel slaughter”, was on December 18. For three hours, the Japanese tied the Chinese prisoners to each other with ropes, dividing them into four columns, and then shot each of the machine guns. The wounded were subsequently finished off with bayonets, and the corpses were thrown into the Yangtze. According to average estimates, this episode killed 57 thousands of people.

So far it is only about men. In theory, about disguised soldiers. Women in such "tricks" were not suspected, but this did not save them.

The Japanese military broke into houses and raped women found there regardless of their age. At the slightest attempt to resist the victims, they were stabbed with bayonets. There are cases when sons were forced to rape mothers, and fathers - daughters. History retained photographs of dead children and evidence of sophisticated desecration of corpses.

In the Tokyo process, the total number of rapes was estimated at 20 by thousands of people. As in the case of “disguised soldiers”, women who took refuge in the safety zone did not always save her status: the Japanese came there every day, taking young girls with them. The international committee managing the zone filed 450 complaints about the actions of the military, the dry lines of each of which are more similar to the description of the actions of some serial maniac.

Nevertheless, the status of the zone and the efforts of its commandant Yon Rabe (he possessed the Japanese immunity as a member of the NSDAP) allowed to save from 200 to 250 thousands of human lives.

Nazi hero and prince-villain

In February, 1938, after the start of the Chinese collaborationist government, the number of atrocities in the city was significantly reduced. Prince Asaku and the commander of the Central Front, General Ivane Matsui, were recalled to Japan, and the security zone was eliminated.

Eight years later, the government of Chiang Kai-shek established the Nanking War Crimes Tribunal, which resulted in the death sentence of General Hisao Tani, captain Gunkiichi Tanaka, and both lieutenants who competed in killing Chinese with a sword.

General Matsui, who retired immediately after his return to his homeland, was tried in the 1948 year at the Tokyo process - the Japanese equivalent of Nuremberg. The general tried in every way to avoid responsibility, repeatedly changed his testimony, but became one of seven sentenced to death and was hanged in the prison yard. At the same time, it is known that Matsui was not present in the city at the beginning of the massacres, later he was seriously worried about what happened and even tried to bring some cautious, but public words of sympathy.

Prince Asaka, as a member of the imperial family, was granted immunity - he avoided all responsibility for his actions and inaction. The decision was taken by one of the founders and ideologists of the Tokyo Tribunal - the American General Douglas MacArthur, who became the political architect of defeated Japan. The irony is that already in 1947, Asaka lost the title of prince (henceforth only the direct heirs of the emperor were considered as such), but not immunity. This golf lover died only in the 1981 year, and answered questions about the victims of Nanking in the spirit that there were no complaints about him.

Jon Rabe, who saved more than 200 thousands of people by the mere fact of his presence, returned to Germany, where he was arrested by his comrades in the party on suspicion of sympathy for the Communists, but was soon released. In 1945, he was arrested twice - already on suspicion of involvement in Nazi crimes, and released again. Slave died in 1950, a monument was erected at the memorial to the victims of the Nanking Massacre.

Falsification of History

The reasons for such perverted cruelty of Japanese soldiers against the peaceful population of Nanking are not precisely defined and cause heated debates among historians.

The Shanghai battle turned out to be much more difficult than the Japanese command expected: approximately every fourth Japanese soldier died. Against this background, the expeditionary army was severely criticized by the authorities. The transition from Shanghai to Nanking also turned out to be difficult - instead of unconditional surrender, the city had to fight for it for three more days. But this does not explain the brutality of the Japanese, who overstepped in their actions all sorts of ideas about human morality.

The Nanking Massacre still remains one of the most critical moments in relations between China and Japan, and without that - extremely conflict. No wonder: for the PRC, especially since the second half of the 1980's, this is one of the events, the memory of which unites all sectors of society.

A simple and understandable illustration: in Nanjing, on the 13 December, a memorial event is planned for the victims, in which Chairman Xi Jinping will take part. Three weeks before the memorial was closed for reconstruction - especially to prepare for the ceremony. The live broadcast will be conducted by state television and radio stations of the People's Republic of China, as well as on the Xinhua agency website.

As is often the case with national tragedies, estimates of the total number of victims for the entire time of the massacre vary greatly - they call numbers from 40 thousand to 300 thousand people. At recent memorial events in San Francisco, jointly organized by the Chinese, Korean and Philippine diaspora, i. about. Consul General of the People's Republic of China Zha Li'yu insisted on a maximum assessment:

"The Japanese army flagrantly violated international conventions and committed crimes of excessive cruelty in Nanking, where about 300 thousands of Chinese civilians were killed and about a third of houses were burned."

At the same time, the Chinese demand only one thing from the Japanese authorities - public repentance.

The first, back in 1972 year, on the eve of establishing diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Beijing, a similar speech was made by the then Prime Minister of Japan, Kakway Tanaka. In July, 1995, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama made a separate apology for the existence of “consolation stations” (military brothels, where sex slaves were brought from all the territories conquered by the Japanese) and for mass rape during the Nanjing massacre. When in August he again repented for war crimes in China, it seemed that relations between the countries would improve steadily.

But in 2001, the Japanese Society for the Reform of History Textbooks with the approval of the government released the New History Textbook, which silenced almost all Japanese war crimes since 1910, and about the Nanjing Massacre, it was written: “The Japanese Army occupied Nanking in December 1937 of the year". The answer to this was the thousands of demonstrations in the PRC and South Korea.

Subsequently, a number of high-ranking Japanese politicians voiced frankly revisionist theses — to all appearances, to attract the right-wing part of the electorate. Thus, the mayor of Nagoya, Takashi Kawamura, stated that “There may never have been a Nanjing massacre,” and said this not to anyone, but to the Chinese delegation from Nanking.

Four days after that, the governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara shared the opinion that "it is impossible to kill so many people in such a short time."

Six months later, on the eve of the 80 anniversary of the Mukden incident, which started the war between Japan and China, and in the wake of the crisis around the Diaoyu / Senkaku Islands, mass demonstrations took place in China, one of the slogans of which was “Japan must repent”. In those days, the Chinese destroyed Japanese flags, overturned Japanese cars, beat the windows of Japanese restaurants, and even burned the limousine of the American ambassador, confusing it with the Japanese limousine.

Moreover, in the Japanese society as a whole and in the professional historical community in particular, the Nanking massacre is recognized, moreover, the number of recognized victims roughly coincides with the one declared in the Tokyo process. In 2010, even a joint Sino-Japanese military historical study on this topic was published.

Obviously, there is a certain break in consciousness. Prior to the beginning of the zero, the loudest war crimes - the Nanking Massacre, "consolation stations" and the experiments of the 731 squad - in Japan were disputed only by the extreme right. And in 2014, the assertion that there was no Nanking massacre even Naoki Hyakuta, chairman of the NHK television and radio broadcasting corporation (in fact, the main one in the country and one of the largest in the world), of which the state is one of the owners, allowed himself.

With such introductions it is difficult to say how much time must pass before events of 80-year-olds cease to be decisive in the relations between the two countries. At the moment, reconciliation, repentance and forgiveness of the Japanese are not beneficial to Japanese nationalists who regard the memory of Nanjing as an act of national self-flagellation, nor to a Chinese society that instantly rallies in the face of a universally hated enemy, or, for example, South Korea, whose leadership sees the rapprochement of its position with the PRC on historical issues an occasion for soft pressure on Japan, the US and even on the DPRK, which, as it were, intercepts its main ally.

But the fact that China will not forget the Nanking atrocities and will not forgive, can be affirmed as confidently as in the case of Russia and its victims of the Great Patriotic War.

It remains to add that two days before this jubilee at the age of 100 years, the oldest witness of those events died - tinker Guan Guangjin. The family handed over to the victims of the Nanking Massacre his personal belongings - a fan, a clock and a tea jar.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Horst78
    Horst78 16 December 2017 15: 16
    Unfortunately, we pay too little to the history of the tragedy in Yu.V. Asia that began earlier than in Europe.
    1. Tatyana
      Tatyana 16 December 2017 16: 24
      The article is correct! And the author raises a very topical historical problem in general about the war crimes of Japan and members of the imperial house of Japan.
      And why the hell do we - Russia - need these Japanese, heirs of sadistic samurai, in the Russian Far East and the Kuril Islands ?!
      Before Russia, the Japanese must also repent for the crimes of their "731 squad"!
      The Japanese, even modern jokes are abnormal, similar to cutting organs from people!
      1. 1970mk
        1970mk 28 May 2018 23: 17
        Jokes ... crazy ..... you visit Japan .... 80% of institutions have the sign "Only for the Japanese" .... Nazism in its pure form .... correctly, the Americans bombarded them with their atomic bomb!
  2. Bastinda
    Bastinda 16 December 2017 15: 48
    Flowers of War is a Chinese military-historical film made in 2011 by director Zhang Yimou. A film adaptation of Yan Gelin's novel “13 Nanjing Flowers,” written on the basis of the diaries of missionary Minnie Wotrin. The atmosphere conveys great.
    1. 210ox
      210ox 16 December 2017 17: 23
      By the way. Regarding the photo ... And this is the Chinese shooting. The form of the Kuomintang soldier. In the hands of the performer is the Mauser. The Japanese did not have such weapons. However, does it matter who and how the crimes are committed.
      Quote: Bastinda
      Flowers of War is a Chinese military-historical film made in 2011 by director Zhang Yimou. A film adaptation of Yan Gelin's novel “13 Nanjing Flowers,” written on the basis of the diaries of missionary Minnie Wotrin. The atmosphere conveys great.
      1. igordok
        igordok 16 December 2017 23: 08
        Quote: 210ox
        By the way. Regarding the photo ... And this is the Chinese shooting. The form of the Kuomintang soldier.

        The same doubts arose. Although on the internet, this photo has the attribute "Japanese atrocities in China", the uniform, weapons and identification marks indicate that the shooter and soldier to the left of the Kuomintang victim.
        1. Mikado
          Mikado 17 December 2017 12: 06
          I wanted to say the same thing. The German helmet and the Mauser clearly suggest that these are not Mikado fans. As I understand it, the Chinese army was then equipped and armed quite variegatedly.
          1. igordok
            igordok 17 December 2017 14: 06
            The Kuomintang, before the war was a champion of German imperialism. Germany was preferred.
            1. Mikado
              Mikado 17 December 2017 18: 12
              Yes, you’re right, now I have a quick read from your submission. It seems that the Chinese were guided by German weapons. hi
              1. hohol95
                hohol95 17 December 2017 19: 05

                During the collaboration, German military advisers trained 80 foot soldiers from eight Chinese divisions (000rd, 3th, 6th, 9th, 14th, 36th, 87th and Training), which became the elite army.
            2. jjj
              jjj 19 December 2017 15: 59
              Quote: igordok
              The Kuomintang, before the war was a champion of German imperialism. Germany was preferred.

              They put a sign on the manufactured weapons - a swastika, only mirror German. An example in the museum of weapons of Yekaterinburg is the Kuomintang machine gun "Maxim"
  3. Molot1979
    Molot1979 16 December 2017 16: 15
    And what so surprises the author? It is now the Japanese are famous for the big-eyed heroines of animeshki and Pokemon. And in 1937, it was a completely feudal society, outwardly disguising itself as a Western-style democracy, but deep down in its soul it was still wild, archaic-medieval. The behavior of the Japanese in Nanjing is the behavior of any medieval army in any captured city. Out of the ordinary he is singled out only by the scale of atrocities. But the atrocities themselves are quite common for the Middle Ages. In addition, the Japanese themselves have no tradition of surrendering. Lost - die by your own hand, or let the enemy kill you. It is not surprising that they killed prisoners, but that they generally took them in previous years and in previous wars. This does not mean that prisoners could be executed by tens of thousands. But at least this makes it possible to understand why such a thing was considered possible at all. For the Japanese military, a prisoner is not a person at all. This is a corpse that, due to the winner’s oversight, still walks, talks and eats. Recall that the Japanese themselves were very reluctant to surrender, preferring hara-kiri or death in hopeless attacks. Non-combatants also behaved in the same way - on Okinawa, most civilians in Japan preferred suicide because they had no idea what "surrender" was. And in the Japanese central newspapers, the complete suicide of the nation in case of defeat was seriously discussed - after the defeat, according to the Japanese, there was no life at all. Not inclined to give up and not thinking lives after defeat, they treated the enemies in exactly the same way. And not only the Chinese - American and Australian prisoners often chopped their heads to argue, or to demonstrate the sharpening of the sword.
    1. SOF
      SOF 16 December 2017 18: 40
      Do not overestimate the Bushido Code.
      In 1946, only the Red Army in Manchuria captured 1070000 people, of which, of course, not all were Japanese, but this does not mean that all samurai released their guts.
      One of the "debaters" described in the article, it was a samurai himself, very much strongly requested not to take his life before he was pulled up.
      1. zoolu350
        zoolu350 17 December 2017 03: 49
        Quote: SOF
        In 1946, only the Red Army in Manchuria captured 1070000 people, of which, of course, not all were Japanese, but this does not mean that all samurai released their guts.

        Well, that was the order of the lord (Emperor), because the lord ordered to surrender and did not commit seppuku, all in bushido.
      2. albert
        albert 17 December 2017 20: 16
        Quote: SOF
        Do not overestimate the Bushido Codex

        Regarding Bushido, I can say the following. This "code" was written at the turn of the eighteenth century under the Tokugawa shogunate, in a time calm from feudal wars. In fact, the samurai, for example, in the era of the warring kingdoms, slaughtered and betrayed their masters easily and naturally, how General Akechi betrayed and killed him. There are many examples of this. The code itself began to be massively promoted after the shogun’s power fell, the emperors of Japan, achieving loyalty to the samurai.
    2. Weyland
      Weyland 16 December 2017 19: 07
      Only you forget that the Bushido code was mandatory only for the samurai, and the last real samurai heroically fell at the Battle of Shiroyama (so picturesquely shown in the movie "The Last Samurai") 60 years before the Nanking massacre - the Japanese army in 1937 was called up, and 90 % of the composition was ordinary peasants, for whom Bushido was deeply do not care!
      1. Molot1979
        Molot1979 17 December 2017 08: 36
        Samurai fell, and their traditions remained and were absorbed by the imperial army. In addition, during those civil wars, the samurai as a class were divided into two parts. One fought against reform, but the second was for it. The Bushido Code was hardly honored only by those who fell under Shiroyama. It does not happen that some are only white, and the second only black. The winning samurai were mentally no different from the losers and, with their help, the bushido traditions went into the renewed army. Manifesting including the Nanking massacre. And indeed, over many centuries, the samurai spirit and norms of behavior have been absorbed by the rest of Japanese society. So what was the fright of the former peasants was "deeply do not care"? And why did they then go in bayonet to American machine guns with shouts of banzai? Have fun? And they killed themselves on the islands, too, from doing nothing? On Saipan, the Americans did not take almost a single prisoner, because the "former peasants" preferred suicide. What about Okinawa? Who made civilians commit mass suicide?
        1. SOF
          SOF 17 December 2017 09: 55
          Quote: Molot1979
          And why did they then go in bayonet to American machine guns with shouts of banzai?

          And what can you say about the Brest Fortress, for example, or about Lesser Earth, or Sapun Mountain? And how do you comment “For the Homeland, For Stalin” or simply “Hurray!”.
          So where does the code of some samurai?
        2. Weyland
          Weyland 17 December 2017 18: 11
          Quote: Molot1979
          And why did they then go in bayonet to American machine guns with shouts of banzai?

          And you do not know that WADA did not steer then - and the corresponding developments were conducted and actively applied? EMNIP, their entire army was deliberately planted on something cocaine-like (at the same time, dope + analgesic + a disabled sense of fear)
        3. Dalailama
          Dalailama 22 December 2017 18: 29
          This is explained by the fact that American exceptional universal people did not take Japanese prisoners, and did not make a difference between soldiers and civilians. Why give up? In Europe, they calmly did not capture German paratroopers and sovtsev.
          In China, there was a civil war of all against all. In Nanjing, the Japanese executed the "staring" boldly Chinese caught in mass cannibalism (not to be confused with lynching).
          Pay attention to others, they are not just standing, they are waiting for their portion.
          The German Wehrmacht, from a private to a field marshal, was seated on a doping chocolate bar. Still snapped before the attack.
        4. Dalailama
          Dalailama 22 December 2017 18: 58
          American soldiers began to be stimulated with money, ice cream, and several days of dismissal for taking a Japanese prisoner just before the end of the war. For this purpose, a special floating base for ice cream production was even built. Anyway, more than 4/5 of the captured prisoners were destroyed.
          In Manchuria, the Japanese began to give up en masse when they learned that the Russians do not. Everything except kamikaze. In the Pacific Ocean, the Americans only after August 18, 1945, those to whom the order of surrender was brought. The Americans and the British did not usually disarm them and used them to suppress local anti-colonial forces.
  4. parusnik
    parusnik 16 December 2017 16: 42
    At the same time, the Chinese demand only one thing from the Japanese authorities - public repentance.
    ... Yes, of course ... there was no Nanking massacre, but the USSR arranged the atomic bombings of Japan ... That's what modern Japanese know ... And this trend is observed in Russia, the younger generation is already repenting for the killed Germans during the Great Patriotic War
    1. Reptiloid
      Reptiloid 16 December 2017 17: 04
      There was an article by Ilya Polonsky on this subject this year. However, this topic is necessary. The Japs have nowhere to expand, the population is growing, the territory is small, and what it is. The mainland and islands ---- how can they not dream about it, do not build plans?
  5. 32363
    32363 16 December 2017 17: 05
    and who is a German helmet?
    1. long in stock.
      long in stock. 16 December 2017 17: 28
      and the Mauser in your hand didn’t bother you?
    2. Orang
      Orang 16 December 2017 19: 07
      Most likely, the Kuomintang will shoot a communist.
      1. long in stock.
        long in stock. 17 December 2017 10: 27
        By the way it’s very similar ... the quality of the photo is not very but a little like the Japanese. in addition, the cordon is small and stands with its back to the crowd ... most likely the picture has nothing to do with the article.
  6. antivirus
    antivirus 16 December 2017 19: 08
    In addition, the Japanese grabbed everyone with calluses on their feet, scars on their faces, direct posture, or "looking impudently."
  7. Tyulen
    Tyulen 16 December 2017 19: 51

    So since then they live.
  8. Rotmistr
    Rotmistr 17 December 2017 15: 30
    And the Japanese, unlike the Germans, did not even make an attempt to repent
    Although the Nazis are still those
  9. hohol95
    hohol95 17 December 2017 19: 13
    Dear AUTHOR - why do you have the Kuomintang soldier in the first photo?
    In the Japanese army, German steel helmets were not used, as were the MAUSER pistols !!!
    There was no photo with the Japanese? Here you have Japanese soldiers in all its glory ...
  10. Nukesmoke
    Nukesmoke 18 December 2017 02: 27
    The first photo is the shooting of a compatriot by the Kuomintang.