By Iris Chang
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Additional resources for The Rape Of Nanking - The Forgotten Holocaust Of WWII
Neither of my parents witnessed it, but as young children they had heard the stories, and these were passed down to me. The Japanese, I learned, sliced babies not just in half but in thirds and fourths, they said; the Yangtze River ran red with blood for days. Their voices quivering with outrage, my parents characterized the Great Nanking Massacre, or Nanjing Datusha, as the single most diabolical incident committed by the Japanese in a war that killed more than 10 million Chinese people. Throughout the book I use either pinyin or Wade-Giles for Chinese names, depending on the preference of the individual (as specified by business cards or correspondence) or the popularity of one name’s transliteration over the other (for instance, “Chiang Kai-shek” instead of “Jiang Jieshi”).
In September 1894, only six weeks after war was declared, the Japanese not only captured Pyongyang but crushed the Chinese northern fleet at sea. The Qing government was forced to sign the humiliating Treaty of Shimonoseki, under which the Chinese were made to pay the Japanese 200 million taels in war indemnities and to cede to Japan Taiwan, the Pescadores, the Liaodong region of Manchuria, and four more treaty ports. This was later called the first Sino-Japanese war. For Japan the triumph would have been complete had it not been later marred by the intrusion of Western powers.
A thorough examination of secondary-school history textbooks in the United States revealed that only a few even mention the Rape of Nanking. And almost none of the comprehensive, or “definitive,” histories of World War II read by the American public discusses the Nanking massacre in great detail. For instance, no photograph of the event, not even one word, appears in The American Heritage Picture History of World War II (1966), which for many years was the best-selling single-volume pictorial history of the war ever published.