The Nanjing Massacre, 1937-38



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After the war, the International Military Tribunal of the Far cited "indicat[ions] that the total number of civilians and prisoners-of-war murdered in Nanking and its immediate vicinity during the first six weeks of the Japanese occupation was over 200,000. That these estimates are not exaggerated is borne out by the fact that burial societies and other organizations counted more than 155,000 bodies which they buried ... these figures do not take into account those persons whose bodies were destroyed by burning or by throwing them into the Yangtze River or otherwise disposed of by [the] Japanese." As well, "According to Japanese Lieutenant colonel Toshio Ohta's statement, between December 14 and December 18 the Japanese commanding headquarters of Nanjing Port disposed of 100,000 bodies while other troops disposed of 50,000." (Yin and YoungThe Rape of Nanking, pp. 78, 90.) With the sole exception of the Nazi gendercide against Soviet POWs, this was the most concentrated massacre of prisoners-of-war in recorded history. The rapes and rape-murders of women were also of staggering proportions. "Certainly it was one of the greatest mass rapes in world history," writes Iris Chang. She notes that "it is impossible to determine the exact number of women raped in Nanking. Estimates range from as low as twenty thousand to as high as eighty thousand." (Chang, The Rape of Nanking, p. 89)




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