Today is the anniversary of one of the worst atrocities in modern history, the so-called “Rape of Nanking.” During the Sino-Japanese War, Japanese troops entering the Chinese city behaved with unparalleled brutality towards its residents. I’ll spare you a super-detailed account of this atrocity by sharing Working Class History’s brief write-up (which itself is a big content warning):
On this day, 13 December 1937, the Nanjing massacre began when Imperial Japanese troops captured the city which was then the capital of China (Content note: graphic descriptions of sexual and physical violence). They then initiated six weeks of murder, looting and rape which left 40,000-300,000 people dead.
Japanese media at the time covered a contest between two army officers to see who could be the first to kill 100 people with a sword. After they surpassed the figure, they began another contest to see who could kill 150.
Tens of thousands of civilians and surrendered soldiers were machine-gunned and thrown in the Yangtze River, blown up with landmines, or burned or buried alive.
In addition to murders, around 20,000 people – children and adult and elderly women – were raped by Japanese soldiers: many of them were gang raped, and assaulted by being penetrated with bayonets, bamboo or other foreign objects.
Despite the fact that Chinese victims widely reported the atrocities, foreign eyewitnesses, Japanese participants and even Japanese generals and other officials, as well as being filmed and extensively photographed, many Japanese politicians and ultra-nationalists today try to deny that the massacre even took place.
I would also strongly suggest that you not google this, the images you can find online are the stuff of nightmares.