"The Japanese entered Nanking on December 12th, as Chinese troops and civilians were still trying to withdraw to the north bank of the Yangtze River, debouching through the one remaining gate. Scenes of utmost confusion ensued. Hundreds of people were machine-gunned by Japanese planes or drowned while trying to cross the river; hundreds more were caught in the bottleneck which developed at Hsiakuan gate, where bodies piled up four feet high...
Anything female between the ages of 10 and 70 was raped. Discards were often bayoneted by drunken soldiers. Frequently mothers had to watch their babies beheaded, and then submit to raping. One mother told of being raped by a soldier who, becoming annoyed at the cries of her baby, put a quilt over its head, and smothered it to death, finishing his performance in peace. Some officers, who led these forays, turned their quarters into harems and fell into bed each night with a new captive. Open-air copulation was not uncommon. Some 50,000 troops in the city were let loose for over a month in an orgy of rape, murder, looting and general debauchery which has nowhere been equalled in modern times.
Twelve thousand stores and houses were stripped of all their stocks and furnishings, and then set ablaze. Civilians were relieved of all personal belongings, and individual Japanese soldiers and officers stole motor-cars and rickshaws and other conveyances in which to haul their loot to Shanghai. The homes of foreign diplomats were entered and their servants murdered...
"Practically every building in the city", wrote one of the foreign observers, "has been robbed repeatedly by soldiers, including the American, British and German Embassies... Most of the shops, after-free-for-all breaking and pilfering, were systematically stripped by gangs of soldiers working with trucks, often under the observed direction of officers."
International "Safety Zone" became in reality a danger zone for non-combatants and a boomerang for its well-meaning organizers ... Day after day Japanese entered the zone to seize women for the pacification of the lusty heroes. Young girls were dragged from American and British missionary schools, installed in brothels for the troops, and heard from no more. One day in a letter written by one of the missionaries in the Zone I read about a strange act of patriotism, concerning a number of singing-girls who had sought refuge with their virtuous sisters. Knowing of their presence in the camp, and urged on by some of the matrons, the missionary asked them if any would volunteer to serve the Japanese, so that non-professional women might be spared. They despised the enemy as much as the rest; but after some deliberation nearly all of them stepped forth. Surely they must have redeemed whatever virtue such women may be held to have lost, and some of them gave their lives in this way, but as far as I know they never received posthumous recognition or even the Order of the Brilliant Jade.
In Shanghai a few Japanese deeply felt the shame and the humiliation. I remember, for example, talking one evening to a Japanese friend, a liberal-minded newspaper man who survived by keeping his views to himself, and whose name I withhold for his own protection. "Yes, they are all true," he unexpectedly admitted when I asked him about some atrocity reports, "only the facts are actually worse than any story yet published." There were tears in his eyes and I took his sorrow to be genuine." -Edgar Snow Scorched Earth, London (1941)
LETTERS AND JOURNAL ENTRIES
Ernest H. Forster
Dec. 28, 1937. Letter to wife.
They are still scared as stray soldiers are still looting and raping, and men suspected of having been soldiers are still being executed. But it is still much better in many respects than it has been and we are no end thankful.... The problem of finding food for so many is getting very acute. We hare that farmers outside the city are destitute, too, since their grain, farm animals and implements are largely gone. Fires are still being set in some sections of the city, so the southern part is mostly ruin. No plea on the ground of humanity seems to be of any avail. Don't worry about us. We are O.K.
January 24 - February 13, 1938 "Mr. Forster"s Letters"
James Henry McCallum
Dec. 19, 1937. Letter to family
It is a horrible story to relate; I know not where to begin nor to end. Never have I heard or read of such brutality. Rape: Rape: Rape: We estimate at least 1,000 cases a night and many by day. In case of resistance or anything that seems like disapproval there is a bayonet stab or a bullet. We could write up hundreds of cases a day; people are hysterical; they get down on their knees and "Kowtow" any time we foreigners appear; they beg for aid. Those who are suspected of being soldiers as well as others, have been led outside the city and shot down by hundreds, yes, thousands.
Dec. 29, 1937. Letter to family
We have met some very pleasant Japanese who have treated us with courtesy and respects. Others have been very fierce and threatened us, striking or slapping some. Mr. Riggs has suffered most at their hands. Occasionally have I seen a Japanese helping some Chinese or pick up a Chinese baby and play with it. More than one Japanese soldier told me he did not like war and wished he were back home. Altho' the Japanese Embassy staff has been cordial and tried to help us out, they have been helpless. But soldiers with a conscience are few and far between.
Jan. 3, 1937. Letter to family.
I must report a good deed done by some Japanese. Recently several very nice Japanese have visited the hospital. We told them of our lack of food supplies for the patients. Today they brought in 100 chin of beans along with some beef. We have had no meat at the hospital for a month and these gifts were mighty welcome. They asked what else we would like to have. But each day has a long list of bad reports. A man was killed near the relief headquarters yesterday afternoon. In the afternoon a Japanese soldier attempted to rape a woman; her husband interfered and helped her resist. But in the afternoon the soldier returned to shoot the husband.
John Gillespie Magee
Dec. 19, 1937. Letter to wife.
The Horror of the last week is beyond anything I have ever experienced. I never dreamed that the Japanese soldiers were such savages. It has been a week of murder and rape, worse, I imagine, than has happened for a very long time unless the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks was comparable. They not only killed every prisoner they could find but also a vast number of ordinary citizens of all ages.... Just day before yesterday we saw a poor wretch killed very near the house where we are living.
Miner Searle Bates
Dec. 21, 1937. Letter to Mr. Fukuda.
Dec. 27, 1937. Letter to Japanese Embassy
The life of the whole people is filled with suffering and fear - all caused by soldiers. Your officers have promised them protection, but the soldiers every day injure hundreds of persons most seriously. A few policemen help certain places, and we are grateful for them. But that does not bring peace and order. Often it merely shifts the bad acts of the soldiers to nearby buildings where there are no policemen. Does not the Japanese Army care for its reputation? Do not Japanese officers wish to keep their public promises that they do not injure the common people? While I have been writing this letter, a soldier has forcibly taken a woman from one of our teachers' houses, and with his revolver refused to let an American enter. Is this order?
Robert O. Wilson
Dec. 14, 1937. Letter to folks.
On Monday morning the 13th, exactly four months after the trouble started in Shanghai, the Japanese entered the city by several gates at one. Some came in Hoping Men [Gate] in the north and some in Hansi and Kwanghua Mens in the west and south-east respectively. By night they had complete control of the city and numerous Japanese flags flew from various places including their former embassy. The entire remaining population of Nanking, some 150,000 or 200,000 thousand individuals, were crowded into the zone....
A civilian who shows no sign of fear and goes about his business in the daytime seems relatively safe. No one is safe at night... any civilian that shows signs of fear or tries to run away is promptly bayoneted. I sewed up one severed trachea this afternoon and we have had several dozen cases of bayoneting.
Dec. 18, 1937. Letter to folks.
Today marks the sixth day of the modern Dante's Inferno, written in huge letters with blood and rape. Murder by the wholesale and rape by the thousands of cases. There seems to be no stop to the ferocity, lust and atavism of the brutes.... Last night the house of one of the Chinese staff members of the university was broken into and two of the women, his relatives, were raped. Two girls about 15 were raped to death in one of the refugee camps.... They [Japanese soldiers] bayoneted one little boy, killing him, and I spent an hour and a half this morning patching up another little boy of eight who had five bayonet wounds including one that penetrated his stomach, a portion of omentum was outside the abdomen. I think he will live.
Dec. 24, 1937. Letter to folks.
This seems anything but Christmas Eve. It is sort of tough to sit in a small X-ray room to keep Japanese soldiers from looting a hospital in the center of what was a few weeks ago a great city while the rest of my family is scattered all over the globe. My baby will be six months old in four days and I have only seen her for seven weeks of that time....
One of the two burned wretches died this morning but the other is still hanging on fro a while. Bates went over this afternoon to a place described as the scene of the burning and found the charred bodies of the poor devils. And now they tell us that there are twenty thousand soldiers still in the Zone, (where they get their figures no one knows), and that they are going to hunt them out and shoot them all. That will mean every able-bodied male between the ages of 18 and 50 that is now in the city. How can they ever look anybody in the face again?
Dec. 13, 1937. Diary Entry.
The city is strangely silent - after all the bombing and shelling. Three dangers are past - that of looting [Chinese] soldiers, bombing from aeroplanes and shelling from big guns, but the forth is still before us - our fate at the hands of a victorious army. People are very anxious tonight and do not know what to expect.... Tonight [13th] Nanking has no lights, no water, no telephone, no telegraph, no city paper, no radio.
Dec. 15, 1937. Diary Entry
The Japanese have looted widely yesterday and today, have destroyed schools, have killed citizens, and raped women. One thousand disarmed Chinese soldiers, whom the International Committee hoped to save, were taken from them and by this time are probably shot or bayoneted. In our South Hill House Japanese broke the panel of the storeroom and took out some old fruit juice and a few other things. (Open door policy!)
Dec. 26, 1937. Diary Entry.
All the refugees on University campus registered today. We shall probably go through the same process in a day or two, so tonight I started Mr. Chen making a list. Weather still clear and warm during the day. We still have no news of outside world, and, as far as we know, they have no news of us excepting that furnished by Domei. This will be a year without Christmas. Did not even have time to think of my friends.
Jan. 2, 1937. Diary Entry.
Warm, bright sunshine day. What a blessing for those whose homes have been burned and those whose building has been looted. As rice was being served this morning a car drove in with three elderly Japanese women, who were representatives of a Women's National Defense Organization. They did not make many comments but seemed interested in looking about. How I wish I could speak Japanese in order to explain something of what these refugees have suffered.
John H.D. Rabe
Dec. 15, 1937. Diary Entry.
No sooner am I back in my office at Committee Headquarters, than my boy arrives with bad news - the Japanese have returned and now have 1,300 refugees tied up. Along with Smythe and Mills I try to get these people released, but to no avail. They are surrounded by about 100 Japanese soldiers and, still tied up, are led off to be shot.... It's hard to see people driven off like animals. But they say that Chinese shot 2,000 Japanese prisoners in Tsinanfu, too. We hear by way of the Japanese Navy that the gunboat U.S.S. Pany, on which the officials of the American embassy had sought safety, has been accidentally bombed and sunk by the Japanese.
Dec. 28, 1937. Diary Entry.
He [Fukui Kiyoshi of the Japanese embassy] also informs me that our Zone has now been surrounded by Japanese guards, who will see to it that no prowling soldiers are allowed into the Zone. I've now had a better look at these guards and discovered that they did not stop and interrogate a single Japanese soldier. I even saw soldiers carrying looted items out of the Zone, and with absolutely no questions asked by the guards. What sort of protection is that?