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War Atrocities In China : The Nanking Massacre

Updated on August 21, 2016

War atrocities in China : Introduction

How the Chinese people had suffered! The most terrible suffering was from wars, both civil wars and foreign invasions. War atrocities in China seem to be a recurring curse on the Chinese people. The most extreme of all war atrocities in China were committed by the Japanese invaders in the 1930s and early 1940s.

The Chinese people have a very long continuous history dating back to thousands of years. It is amazing to note that they have numerous dialects but one written language spreading across thousands of kilometers, north to south and east to west. I always wonder how this was logistically possible when the fastest means of transport then was on horseback.

It was inevitable that wars broke out periodically, if not from foreign invaders, they would be fought amongst themselves. Ancient warfares were often swift and short. And each time war atrocities in China raised its ugly head. The victors took all the spoils and ruled over the vanquished; until another cycle of clashes decide who would rule supreme again. China being so large that it would be true to say that at any one time certain areas would have battles fought, while the rest would live in peace. This vastness of space was the main savior of the Chinese race.

The Chinese regarded outsiders as barbarians. They were mostly from the north. The most famous being the Mongols. To protect themselves from these barbarians of the north, the Chinese built the infamous Great Wall in 220 BC, the only man-made structure that could be seen from the moon. To the Chinese people, the Great Wall symbolizes the spirit of the Chinese, their history, their heritage, their sacrifice, their resilience, and their sufferings.

A new wave of threats and invasions emerged with the coming of the “modern” era. The Chinese first saw the Europeans in the 16th century with the coming of the Portuguese, and as they said the rest was history.

War atrocities in China

Below is a set of 7 videos (“information films”) produced by the US War Department on the Japanese invasion of China, entitled “The Battle of China”. These films were produced in 1944. They explained a bit about the history of China and the Chinese people and went on to document the invasions of the Japanese into Chinese territories, and the terrible atrocities that the Japanese systemically inflicted on the helpless civilian population, culminating in the horrific atrocities committed in Nanking over a 6-week period from December 13. 1937.

These Nanking atrocities were so grotesque and horrible that it is called “The Rape Of Nanking”. The extend and sheer brutality of these atrocities is beyond human imagination. It was deliberately inflicted on the Chinese people with the intention to shock and destroy the will power of the Chinese population. How human beings could inflict such despicable and horrific pain and utter suffering to fellow humans is beyond belief! Different sources gave different statistics on casualties. The Chinese source estimated a figure of 430,000 while the Japanese source about 40,000. Who do you choose to believe?

My daughter bought me a book , many years back, titled “The Rape of Nanking” by Iris Chang. I could not continue reading after a few pages. Even today I dare not look at it. Iris Chang later committed suicide.

This is a quote from Wikipedia @


“In the US, a Chinese garden in Norfolk, Virginia, which contains a memorial to Minnie Vautrin, added a memorial dedicated to Chang, including her as the latest victim of the Nanking Massacre, and drawing parallels between Chang and Vautrin, who also took her own life. Vautrin exhausted herself trying to protect women and children during the Nanking Massacre and subsequently during the Japanese occupation of Nanjing, finally suffering a nervous breakdown in 1940. She returned to the US for medical treatment, committing suicide a year later.”

Presenting the videos.

These films were produced by the Office of War Information and directed by Frank Capra and Anatole Litvak. Original running time was 65 minutes. With the wonders of the internet and You Tube, we are able to have access to these films.

At first I thought I would not look at these videos, but after the first one, I didn't stop until the 7th video.

Viewers discretion needed, as some parts may be hard to swallow.

After viewing all these 7 videos, you may like to view two other related videos :

Rape of Nanking:

Unit 731 Japanese Torture & Human Medical Experiments


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    • Good Guy profile image

      Justin Choo 6 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Venuspop,

      You are welcome.

    • profile image

      venuspop 6 years ago

      Thanks for bringing these videos to my attention, Good Guy. I never used to understand Japanese atrocities or the worldwide outcry over their biased history and having seen these videos I am glad I was born much, much later. At least, I can now say I understood.

    • Good Guy profile image

      Justin Choo 6 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Fucsia,

      Thanks for visiting and comment. It is never easy to write such article. It eats into one's conscience. Take the tragedy of the authoress Iris Chang.

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this video and for your informative Hub. I hope that history can teach us, sometimes it seems not at all, but if we see the events in a broadest vision we can discover that the events maybe have today a sense, the sense of a slowly but important change in our society. At least I like to think it, otherwise these terrible things become in my mind most terrible and even most incomprehensible than they already are.

      I will watch the video when I will feel ready to do it. In the meantime I bookmark your Hub not to forget it.

      Thank you.