Chapter One The main point in chapter one was to give us a history of the Japanese people, and to rationalize why the Japanese army went to such extremes in Nanking. She uses examples of training rituals used by the Japanese army like extreme teaching procedures and terrible school conditions in Japan. I don’t think she was trying to make an excuse for the Japanese army but she wanted to site a possible reason for the abuse. She talks about Japanese history and gives us lots of background on the Japanese people before the horrifying occurrence in Nanking. The audience she has tried to communicate to is the intellectual western society who has possibly not heard or knows little about the Nanking massacre.
The purpose of the essays is to educate and make aware of the atrocities here in this area of China. To tell, it seemed to me, is an important part of educating people to what the human species is capable of doing in extreme circumstances. Her tone seems to be one of sympathy to what the Japanese people had to go through before the war between China and Japan. This chapter has done a good job on giving the reader history and background of the country and the people in Japan.
Chapter Two Iris Chang in this chapter details issues that were critical to the rape of Nanking. The Race to Nanking detailed the Japanese strategy to take Nanking from the Chinese. Killing the prisoners of war detailed the orders to kill all the prisoners because of food concerns and rebellion. The Murder of Civilians detailed why the civilians were killed because of a lack of protection from the soldiers of the Chinese army. The Japanese Journalists told us that the Japanese journalists were horrified about what was going on in Nanking. The Rape of Nanking told of the plight of the women in the Chinese capital.
This section told of rapes and atrocities inflicted on the Chinese women, no matter how young or old they could not escape these atrocities. The arrival of Matsui Iwane was the section where the leader of the Japanese army came to inspect Nanking and to make sure the soldiers were doing well. The rapes and atrocities subsided, when he found what was going on he was angry and he even criticized the emperor’s son-in-law, which in Japanese culture was unheard of. She wrote the chapter this way because it is a chronological order of the way things happened in Nanking.
It makes sense because it separates the different events that happened in a certain length of time. Chapter Three The Fall of Nanking is a chronological narrative of the defeat of the Chinese army in Nanking. It details the four-day ordeal and makes us realize what it was like to live there in the time of the fall. The first thing we ask is why the Chinese army fell from power so easily, we realize that when the leaders left the people lost all hope for Nanking.
Rape and torture seemed easy to the Japanese because they could be victimized so easily. Chapter Four Six Weeks of Horror as a descriptive and horrifying chapter which takes us to be the witnesses in the, rape, torture, killing contests, and death toll. The description of rape in this chapter is very detailed, but it serves a purpose to take us to be a witness for people who have no witnesses. Most people have a hard time reading this chapter but I’ve found it very disturbing how people could do that to other people. She excelled in this chapter to make witnesses of us all.
Chapter Five In every horrendous situation there are heroes. This chapter talks about the heroes in the Nanking safety zone. There were twenty-four in total and everyone had a difficult story to tell. Men and women alike had to suffer various forms of physical and mental exhaustion. Doctors took care of the sick; politicians took care of many refugees.
The most prominent politician in Nanking at the time was a man called Rabe. He was a Nazi but was very respected in Nanking. He initiated the start of the safety zone and many people’s lives were saved because of him. He documented about the many men that were killed, women that were raped, and the civilians that were tortured. The only surgeon in Nanking, Robert Wilson worked continuously to try to heal the injured.
He drove himself to exhaustion because of all the atrocities, but he still performed very heroically at this time. Minnie Vautrin was the education department Dean of studies in the college in Nanking. She had many refugees hidden and had to endure extensive interrogation by the Japanese army. The Japanese officials were very irritated by these people who looked after the refugees because they always gotten away with protecting the rights of refugees. Most of their effort was in vain because soldiers would just kidnap the refugees.
Chapter Six What the World Knew was very accurate because of reporters and news recorders. The outside world knew a lot about what was going on, daily reports of battles, fire, evacuation were reported to the western world. Surprisingly in Japan pictures of mass executions made the newspapers. Before the international opinion kicked in these pictures was a source of pride to the Japanese people. The fall of Nanking made the government very proud. Chang cites that there were many western reporters in Nanking at that time.
They protected refugees and became a part of the situation instead of the neutral observers. When news film aired in American movie theaters it outraged the American public. The only problem was the sinking of the ship the Panay caused more anger than the other atrocities in Nanking at the time. Japanese propaganda ran rampant because they didn’t want the global outrage to scorn their victory. The safety zone leaders fought back by writing and reporting everything that they had seen.
To this day even their writings are still read and analyzed. Chapter Seven The occupation of Nanking lasted for months, people knew that the massacre was over but killing is still done for such little things like accusation of theft, or using the toilet. The Chinese workers were treated less than slaves and working conditions were terrible. Japanese soldiers started fires, stole American flags, blew open bank vaults, and vandalized the embassies.
Merchants and other Chinese were victims of extortion and drug abuse. Japanese soldiers even used Chinese people for human Guinea pigs for experiments with poison, Germs, and lethal gases. When the war was over the laboratory and the government offices were blown up to hide all the atrocities that happened. After the Americans bombed Nagasaki people would not come out of their houses to celebrate the defeat of Japan because they were fearful the news was not true. This chapter is narrative and is very descriptive on life during the occupation. Thinking to myself there’s no way I could have ever lived like that.
Chapter Eight This chapter details the Nanking war crimes tribunal and punishment for the Japanese leaders of that time. During the trials evidence that had been hidden came to the surface, and pictures that the Japanese have taken themselves later convicted them. Later on in the chapter we learn that many of the people who were really responsible were never charged with any crimes. Hirohito never faced a full moral accounting for his activities during the war. Iris Chang in this book, as in any good book, will always tell of the punishment of the bad people to illustrate a kind of vindication of the victims.
In the way the punishment was handed out many of the people responsible never were convicted. She wrote this chapter to illustrate her findings and maybe the world would make some of these people responsible. Chapter Nine Most of the survivors of Nanking never really recovered from the ordeal that they encountered. Survivors of rape and torture still live in poverty and any help from the Chinese government or Japanese compensation would greatly help these people. The leaders of the safety zone where expelled from the country and they lived within memories they could not forget. Rabe went through legal battles with the English government and his company Siemans.
Eventually he won his battles yet he lived in poverty until his death. In China he is considered a hero but in Germany he is just a dying man. When news of his troubles in Germany the Chinese people donated two thousand dollars American so that he could eat. The government even offered him a place to live in China with a full pension. His writings on the rape of Nanking have extreme historical importance and are still read today. The only surgeon in Nanking died of exhaustion a few years after the atrocities in Nanking.
And Minnie Vautrin died in an emotional breakdown, with attempted suicides that eventually succeeded. Writing this chapter serves the purpose of showing that even outsiders suffer great amounts of emotional abuse during the occupation. Chapter Ten In the last chapter Iris Chang tells us about ignorance in the events of Nanking. Western civilization knows about the atom bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki but they don’t know anything about the rape of Nanking. This chapter she calls The Forgotten Holocaust: A Second Rape because people are being victimized again because of propaganda, cover up, and censorship.
In textbooks the whole story isn’t told about World War II because the rape of Nanking is not covered. The ministry of Japan interfered with attempts to document the Nanking massacre for school children. In the end, the publicity caused the dismissal of Japan’s education minister, and the massacre in Nanking was something the Japanese government could not ignore. Academics in Japan say that not enough time has gone by to warrant Nanking to be a historical event. Censorship still runs rampant in Japanese culture because any reference to the rape of Nanking is censored in movies and books.
Even if an author tries to write about the topic intimidation from the Japanese government is inevitable. She tells us that she had to endure censorship and intimidation even writing this book. But the tone she takes in writing this book is very informative and takes us into the realm of World War Two China. The research done in this book is unparalleled and the writing style she takes transports us into a world I hope we never have to face.
Her audience, who has an interest in Nanking, will be greatly educated and the time taken to read this book is well worth it.