The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (Part 1 of 3)

The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II by Iris Chang (5 stars)

One of the worst and most infamous atrocities is known as the Rape of Nanking, the full horror of which came to the attention of the United States and the English speaking world in one of the most shocking and disturbing books I have personally ever read: The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II by Iris Chang, published in 1997. Ms. Chang was a first generation Chinese-American from a highly cultivated and educated background. Her parents, who had escaped the Rape of Nanking and emigrated through Taiwan to the United States, were both university professors.

If you have a chance to read it then I urge you to do so. Obviously I give it five stars for it shines a light on the far lesser known genocide in the Far East committed by the Japanese against the Chinese beginning with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and the subsequent breakout of total war between the two countries in 1937.

At that time, Nanking served as the capital of the Republic of China. Upon the Japanese capture of the city in mid-December of 1937, the seven week long Rape of Nanking began. Upwards of 300,000 to 350,000 Chinese men, women, and children were tortured and brutally murdered by Japanese soldiers with the permission and encouragement of Imperial and General Headquarters in Tokyo and the ranking Japanese generals on the scene. Were there not accounts by credible Western eyewitnesses one would be hard pressed to actually believe the scale of brutality.

From the book:

The Rape of Nanking should be remembered not only for the number of people slaughtered but the cruel manner in which many met their deaths. Chinese men were used for bayonet practice and in decapitation contests. An estimated 20,000 to 80,000 Chinese women were raped. Many soldiers went beyond rape to disembowel women, slice off their breasts, nail them alive to walls. Fathers were forced to rape their daughters, and sons their mothers, as other family members watched…So sickening was this spectacle that even the Nazis in the city were horrified…

Lest we forget, I would add that Mao, who took power in 1949, is responsible for the deaths of upwards of 100 million Chinese from starvation.

[Images courtesy of Wikipedia and The Nanking Massacre Project.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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