Massacre of Nanking

the massacre of Nanking (chin. 南京大屠杀/南京大屠殺 Nánjīng dàtúshā; jap. 南京大虐殺 Nankin daigyakusatsu), also as rape of Nanking designation, was supposed up to 300.000 civilians and prisoners of war murdered a war crime of the Japanese Besatzer at that time , with and 20,000 (some sources: 80.000) Girls and women were raped.

The massacre found after occupation Nankings to 13. December 1937 by Japanese troops in the second Japanese-Chinese war instead of.

Table of contents


Japan intensified its colonial efforts into the 1930er years. Thus the Guandong army 1931 provoked the Mukden incident, which was used as pretext, in order to occupy Manchuria. This succeeded without larger Gegenwehr of the Chinese, since the country was in a civil war. Japan established thereupon Mandschuko as puppet state, in order to administer the occupied areas.

China resisted with trade a boycott Japan and refused deleting Japanese ships. This had the consequence that the Japanese exports decreased/went back on a Sechstel. This heated the tendency up in Japan. Above all an incident, with which 1932 in Shanghai five Japanese monks were flogged (a monk succumbed later to its injuries), became taken up by the Japanese media and stirred up the anger in the Japanese population. To 29. January bombarded Japan thereupon China. It concerns the first surface bombardment, which was directed against the civilian population. And the city in the first battle conquered around Shanghai. Estimations speak of approximately 18,000 killed Chinese and 240,000 homeless people. China saw itself forced to waive the commercial boycott and around Shanghai a demilitarisierte zone was established. In May 1933 an armistice was closed, and China had to recognize the Mandschuko - state.

To 7. July 1937 came it to the incident at the Marco Polo bridge, with which Japanese and Chinese soldiers of fire fights supplied themselves. Whether this incident was provoked by Japan is violently discussed. When the communist party of China, which was in the civil war with the Kuomintang, calls to the resistance against Japan, the second Japanese-Chinese war began. The Japanese counted on a fast end. But the second battle around Shanghai lasted unexpectedly for a long time and demanded unexpectedly many losses. About 200,000 Japanese and a far higher number of Chinese soldiers fought against each other in an embittered house fight. The losses were very high on both sides. Japan could decide the battle only in the middle of November for itself, as the Japanese 10. Army in the Hangzhou bay landed and the Chinese troops like that was threatened by an encircling.

Many historians evaluate the battle around Shanghai and the bad troop moral resulting from the battle as a reason for the massacre. Particularly the circumstance that the Japanese army had recruited many soldiers, who were in the age that they had at home already woman and children, are thereby to consider. Many of these soldiers counted to return fast home. At the time it had given still no declaration of war, and the goal of conquering Shanghai was reached. When the troops received then the movement order toward Nanking, this hope was destroyed.

The Japanese troops reached Nanking around the 8. Decembers and included the city. They let handbills, which requested the defenders for the delivery of the city throw off. Some foreigners remained in the city had created an international committee for the security of Nanking. As a chairman the German businessman John Rabe was selected. Its choice was probably favoured because one figured out that a German and a NSDAP - member more influence on the Japanese to take could, since Japan and Germany 1936 had signed the Antikomintern pact. The committee consisted mostly of businessmen and mission arene. Many journalists and foreigner left enclosed Nanking. The Japanese bombarded Nanking at day and at night. This weakened the moral of the Chinese troops. At 17 o'clock to 12. December instructed the Chinese commander of city the retreat of the troops. The retreat ran unordered. The soldiers got rid of of their weapons and uniforms. Partially they attacked civilians, in order to arrive at civilian clothes. The panic seized also the population, and so soldiers and civilians tried to flee to the Jangtsekiang. They were fired at even by own troops. At the Jangtsekiang means of transport was however hardly available, so that an evacuation of the troops was hardly possible. With the panischen attempts to mount the boats many drowned in the cold river. Many soldiers in civilian clothes were however still in the city and it are accepted that also a reason for the later incidents was.

To 13. Decembers occupied the Japanese troops Nanking.


reducing heads
selforganized funeral from victims

many reporters and western citizens had left Nanking, when the city was included of the Japanese troops. Therefore few messages penetrated from the city. The reporters remained in the city were subject to a strict censorship by the Japanese armed forces. Thus the numerous Japanese reporters particularly concealed the atrocities, even if after the war many broke their silence.

The exact procedures and victim numbers are today disputed until (see the today's evaluation).

It is reported that the Japanese soldiers killed many civilians and prisoners of war. The soldiers particularly looked for young men, since these were suspected, for the Chinese army to have fought. Witnesses reported that many humans on the bank of the Jangtsekiang shot or with bayonets became to erstochen.

To witness reports it came to numerous rapes of women and children. Substantial plunderings and plundering came also to.


message hardly penetrated due to the censorship and the lack at independent reporters from Nanking. But particularly that international committee for the security of Nanking tried to set the western world of the procedures in knowledge. After John Rabe was withdrawn in February 1938 from Siemens from Nanking and again in Germany was, it held some lectures on the massacre and contacted even Adolf Hitler. It thereupon briefly of the Gestapo arrests.

Beside the U.S.S. Panay incident provided the reports over Japanese cruelties for turning in the relations of Japan with the USA. This led to the fact that the USA a commercial embargo against Japan imposed and later with the Flying of tiger, a freiwilligen troop, in the war intervened. Particularly the commercial embargo is regarded today as reason for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

the today's evaluation

the range of the massacre is today still disputed until and a symbolic crisis in Eastern Asia. In the Japanese war crimes trials of „more as 200,000 victims “and of „more than 100,000 victims “one spoke. In nationalistic circles in Japan however from a clearly lower number of victims one proceeds. The different victim numbers lead themselves ago from observations of Japanese soldiers, reporters as well as Chinese and western inhabitant Nankings during the massacre (the all only rough estimations to supply could), recordings over funerals (with those between soldiers and civilians one did not differentiate) and different opinions over it, which area and which period are to be added to the event.

In China a public debate was unwanted over the massacre after the normalization of the Chinese-Japanese relations 1972 for economical-economic reasons. Only after the seizure of power of Jiang Zemin changed this.

In Japan the debate was violently led for the 1970er years. At first revisionists from the nationalistic camp denied the occurrence of a massacre at all and called the reports over it Chinese propaganda. They lost however their reliability, after it turned out that one their prominent representative, who had falsified and had changed historian Tanaka Shōmei, solid recordings. Also recordings of the Japanese army and eye-witness reports of Japanese soldiers proved free of doubts that in Nanking enormous cruelties had occurred. Since beginning of the 1990er years the discussion turns essentially (apart from some incorrigible revisionists) only around the finally unentscheidbare question about the number of the victims and therefore, how much place is to take the event in historical books.

The evaluation of the massacre in Japanese school books again and again gives cause for protests in China. It came last to 9. April 2005 even to excesses against Japanese mechanisms, because the Japanese government had school books certified, the massacre as „incident “played down. There are however reproaches that the protests were directed by the Chinese government. [1]

In August 2005 a published study, accomplished under cooperation of the Tokioter university, found that most Chinese bring the Nanking massacre with Japan at the very front in connection. [2]

Particularly conservative circles in Japan accuse China of to use the massacre as arguments in political negotiations.

resuming information


in Japan was published since the 1970er years numerous books to the topic, with strongly different tendency. As opposite (and) examples available in English translation are mentioned:

  • Katsuichi Honda, The Nanjing measure acre: A Japanese journalist Confronts Japan's national is ashamed, of ISBN 0765603357
  • Tadao Takemoto, Yasuo Ohara, The Alleged “Nanking measure acre”: Japan's rebuttal tons of China's forged claims, ISBN 4944219059

the western world hardly showed long time interest. This changed only 1997 with the publication of the book The Rape OF Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust OF World was II (German: The rape of Nanking (book), ISBN 3-8584-2345-9) by the chinesischstämmige US American iris Chang, which applies however among Japanese historians from both bearings as badly investigated. In the book also history is told by John Rabe, which is compared by iris Chang with Oskar Schindler.

  • Wickert, Erwin (Hrsg.): John Rabe. The good German of Nanking, Stuttgart 1997.
  • Mo Hayder: The novel is concerned likewise with the topic. Tokyo (German: Tokyo) (German: ISBN 3-442-31018-0, English: ISBN 0593049705)
  • Ishida Yuji: The massacre of Nanking and the Japanese public. In: Cornelissen, Christoph, Lutz clinching hammer and Wolfgang Schwentker (Hg.): Memory cultures. Germany, Italy and Japan since 1945. Frankfurt/Main: Fischer, 2003, S.233-242.
  • Makino, Uwe: Terror as conquest and rule technology. To the Japanese crimes in Nanking 1937/38. In: Bet, tungsten and Gerd R.Ueberschaer (Hrsg.), war crimes in the 20-century, Darmstadt 2001, S.343-355.
  • Yang, Daqing: The Challenges OF the Nanjing measure acre: Reflections on Historical Inquiry. In: Fogel, Joshua A. (Hg.): The Nanjing measure acre in History and Historiography. Berkeley: University OF California press, 2000, S. 133-179.


  • 1995 - Black Sun: The Nanking measure acre - direction: Do protect Mou

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