Battle for Nanking

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Thorlifter, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I must start this thread with a note to anyone who decides to participate. I am in NO WAY flaming a country or religion. This thread is simply for me, and us, to learn of an event that happened 73 years ago and how it still is an extremely hot issue to this day.

    I just finished reading the book "The Rape of Nanking". The author of the book brought up many facts, thoughts, and theories that made me think in new and broader terms on the affects of war on both the victorious and defeated country. I decided to ask Shinpachi his perspective on the modern aspect of Japanese/Chinese relations as well as WW2 in general from the Japanese eyes and he suggested I start an open thread to the group.

    Shinpachi, I may be speaking out of turn so please correct me if I'm wrong, but from your message to me, it sounds like you have extremely strong feelings about this issue. If you wish to share them here, I would love to hear your opinions of this issue. If you choose to stay silent, I respect your decision to do so.

    To start, I wanted to share my message that I sent to Shinpachi with the forum.

    I was wondering if you could answer a question for me as I'm trying to get a better grasp on a book I'm reading.

    I am currently reading a book called "The Rape of Nanking" and towards the end of the book, the author goes on to explain how even the modern Japanese culture barely makes mention of WWII in schools. Extremist groups have gone as far as death attempts and threats against authors and veterans that speak against Emperor Hirohito and the IJA's involvement and approval of war crimes. It seems these revisionist and extremist are attempting to change (or forget) about history.

    Now I understand this was a dark time in Japanese history, just like the slave trading days of the early U.S. colonies and states and the Nazi party in Germany. All cultures and countries have had times like these.

    Why do you believe there has been such an extreme attempt to hide the fact of Japan's involvement in WWII?

    Why do you feel the extremist go to such violent attempts to keep people quiet about the events of WWII.

    I'm just hoping you could help me understand a little better.


    After re-reading my message, I feel I should explain my use of the words extremists and revisionists. I do NOT mean to categorize the Japanese nation under these two types and nothing else, but simply call these two groups out for this discussion.

    After reading the book, I began to develop some thoughts and opinions about the events that happened in Nanking. I could even expand these to include Singapore, the Asian war, and as far as that goes, the Pacific War as a whole. However, I do not want my opinions to be based on just one book, one persons words, and one point of view. I truly wish to learn and appreciate any type of knowledge that anyone would like to share.
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I read some about it in Lord Russell's book Knights of Bushido. Another interesting thing to look into is the writings of John Rabe, which formed the basis for the movie John Rabe.

    There was a great deal of de-humanizing of the enemy, on both Japanese and American sides. When one de-humanizes the enemy, it makes it "easier" to kill them, sometimes in ways that would make most folks shudder.
     
  3. tail end charlie

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    The Geneva convention was a western convention which Japan didnt sign they had a different code of honour and behaviour. Having invented all sorts of ways of killing people indiscriminantly we now spend our time discussing right and wrong ways to kill people and what are legitimate targets.
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    If you read Flyboys, it really gives you a better understanding of the Japanese Army psyche - at least it did for me.

    I never understood what happened to the Japanese Army between the Russo-Japanese War where the Chinese preferred them much more to the Russians and what they became in WW2 until I read that book.
     
  5. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    There are countless examples of brutal, barbaric and inhuman behavior by all branches of the Japanese military as well as non military during WW2( which may have actually begun with Japan's invasion of China.) There are also recorded instances where members of the Japanese military showed human compassion. The key word for compassion shown by Japanese and atrocities committed by the Allies is individual. There were indiviual acts of barbarous behavior by Allied military personnel as well as individual acts of compassion behavior by Japanese.

    The Bushido code of the warrior has been used as an excuse for the behavior of Japanese military. They were allegedly supposed to never surrender and people who did surrender were beneath contempt, which supposedly explains the uniformly bad treatment of Allied POWs. Compare the fate of Allied POWs in Japanese prison camps with those POWs in German prison camps. The death rate was around 40% in Japanese camps and around 6% in German camps.

    I wonder how the warrior code of Bushido explains the behavior of Japanese personnel toward civilians as in Nanking since the civilians were non combatants.
     
  6. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    On a related note, the author of that book, Iris Chang I believe her name was, commited suicide a few years back... Sad.

    Also while reading this book, I became aware of a "companion" book written by another author that could be considered a picture book to Chang's book, thought it was written prior to hers being published. I have never seen it however... Again, very sad...
     
  7. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I didn't know that, Vick. Just read the Wiki page on her and it's truly sad.

    Iris Chang - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It leaves me to wonder if all her repeated research into so many acts of human evil led her down her path of depression.
     
  8. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Who knows really...too late to ask I guess...

    Though I must admit to having a morbid facination with people who take their own lives... :oops:
     
  9. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Thor, i admire your courage for taking this on. i too mentioned this to Shinpachi in another thread I've also tried to make it very clear that he was not responsible in any way shape or form but i know it still hurts him.
    I think that evan made my earlier point about "dehumanizing" the enemy, plus i think a lot of hostility simmered just below the surface and this was a chance to "get even" and lastly the presence of Prince Yasuhiko Asaka also gave the atrocities committed by ordinary troops an imperial blessing.
    I'm also surprised that no one has mentioned the Japanese Unit 731 commanded by general Shiro Ishii code name Maruta
    estimates are that 580,000 were killed by bacteriological experiments and 200,000 by chemical warfare experiments. this was not even by troops but by civilian "scientists"
     
  10. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    There is a world of difference between the individual acts of bastardry that occurred by all sides, and those cases of state sponsored murder that countries like Germany, Japan and the USSR were guilty of. To try and make comparisons between the allies and these nations is monstrous and offensive to be honest.

    Having said that, it is well known that many Japanese prisoners ended up dead in the jungle, simply because they could not be guarded or escorted back to friendly bases. Sometimes it was even more flimsy than that. Sometimes allied soldiers were just plain racist.

    However, the japanese took racism to a whole new level in China. it was not just the Bushido Code driving them. For a generation Japanese were taught that the Chinese were morally bankrupt and barely human. Their soldiers were already de-sensititized from heavy casualties, but there is also clear evidence of orders to the effct of taking no preisoners in Nanking.

    It was a crime against humanity, and the Chinese are justified to feel affronted by the Japanese apparent unwillingness to admit war guilt and demonstyrate suitable state attonement for their actions
     
  11. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    IMO. its one of the great mysteries of the war why they were never prosecuted. I never could follow MacAruthers logic on this.

    I find it interesting you have two main groups in the Axis corner - both brainwashing their public and doing horrific things - but judged and treat them seperatly.

    In regards to the Bushido code, the powers that be corrupted the meaning of it. From Flyboys by James Bradley pages 37-38:


    "Samurai were shrewd strategists and tacticians. Samurai fought to win, to protect their lives and the lives of their compatriots. There was no concept that death in battle was a sound strategy. Mass suicide was never part of Bushido. A true Samurai would agree with the U.S. Army General George Patton that 'no one ever won a war by dying for their country. They won by making the other son-of-a-bitch die for his!'

    In an effort to make warriors out of the entire male populace, the Spirit Warriors distorted the essence of Bushido and began to peddle a bastardized version that taught a cult of death. This twisted version focused not on the sublime personal standards of honor among samurai, but one based on blood and guts of death.

    The Japanese Army field regulations of 1912 systematically stated the Spirit Warriors' strategic doctrine for the first time...

    In the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars, many Japanese troops had surrendered , served as POWs, and later been welcomed back to Japan with open arms. But as the Meiji leaders passed, the new crop of Yamato damashi boys decreed that it was absolutely forbidden to withdraw, surrender, or become prisoner of war..."
     
  12. tail end charlie

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    At the end of the war Japanese who commited attricities against allied prisoners were tried as criminals while those who commited attrocities and experiments on Chinese which cost lives running into millions were offered jobs, that is the way the Chinese see it anyway and they havnt wont/forget..

    The USA has recently appologised for deliberately infecting the mentally ill and prisoners in Guatamala 1946-48
    while the British deliberately exposed their own servicemen to radiation in Australia, no ones hands are clean here.
     
  13. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Wow, Thor. Who asked YOU to start an open thread to the group?
    My last message to you was as follows -

    "Thank you, Thorlifter, for your private message and question.
    I understand you are very serious about the historical issue and your sense of justice is strong. That always looks favorable to me.

    However, being only one member from Japan in the forum who posts one's opinion, I am frankly tired of this kind of criticism about the Nanjing incident because I have understood that this issue is always coupled with the Hiroshima/Nagasaki dispute like the Japanese cannot blame the Americans because they commited historical war crime in China.

    I would like to launch new thread to answer if you, and Mods, may admit as I always want my opinion to be known widely.

    Thank you very much for you attention.
    Best wishes,
    Shinpachi"


    If you may want my opinion, that is OK but it may sound offensive to you against my will here because, sorry, I may have to refer to your nation's war crimes in Asia too to keep the fairness.

    I am not going to offend anyone in this forum at all but I am afraid of being asked to delete/edit my post or to resign as a member of this forum as a result though my opinion is simply different from yours.

    If our honorable moderators should admit my free talk here with no future blames, I would be pleased to state my opinion.
     
  14. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Shinpachi, speaking just for myself, this is a FORUM which, means to me, open and honest DISCUSSION of differing opinions no matter how diametrically opposed those views are. we all see the world a different way which is why i treasure your posts i wish we could sit down together and talk. So again, just from me, please state your opinions freely and if someone is offended by what you say maybe it is because their minds are closed and need to be opened. i don't believe that anyone here ever means to directly offend anyone
     
  15. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    I really appreciate your kindness, mikewint but you don't know what happened on my posts during these few months.
    So I am more careful now.
     
  16. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    One of the reasons Japan was treated differently than Germany was the U.S. needed another Asian ally against the communist that began to take over China and Korea after the war.

    There are many things said here that I want to respond to, but I need my book to say it correctly and I left it at our ranch so I'll have to wait until I get it back.
     
  17. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I thought you did.

    Shinpachi, you will not offend me. I contacted you because you are from Japan and I truly want your opinion. If you want to send it to me privately to avoid any feelings from getting hurt, that is fine. I find the whole discussion of this matter fascinating and very informative. Believe me, I'm not here to offend. I'm here to learn so I find nothing wrong with asking questions as long as they are done tastefully, which I believe I have done.

    If I knew a member here from China, I would want their opinion as well. Again, not to anger, but to learn.
     
  18. tail end charlie

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    Shinpachi, this is a forum for Aircraft of World War 2 and while there are many threads on many subjects I personally think it is extremely impolite to aim a very loaded thread at one particular poster. There are many questions we all could ask about each others history and as a British national I probably have more to answer than most, but personally I dont feel responsible for Amritsar or the Opium wars The Boer war or any of the rest. If i were you i would stick to subjects you enjoy discussing you are not legally bound to answer or answer for anything.
     
  19. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    TEC, well said as always. Shinpachi said that i do not know the history of his posts, which is true. and he is only one person who happens to be Japanese. he speaks for himself and not Japan. as Thor said he is asking to learn not offend. and i like Thor wish we had more japanese and chinese on this forum so it does seem like we are putting Shinpachi on the spot that being said how else can we obtain anything even remotely resembling a Japanese opinion without asking him? and I don't feel that anyone here or anywhere else has a right to be offended by someone else's OPINION. like butts, we all have one
     
  20. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Who has asked you to resign from this forum?
     
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