Monday, June 2, 2014

The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II

The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II is Iris Chang’s bestselling book about the atrocities committed by Japanese troops after they captured the capital of the Chinese Republic at the beginning of World War II in Asia.

The Rape of Nanking was published in 1997.  Iris Chang wrote some more books, and then sadly killed herself in 2004. 

Chang’s book is largely credited with bringing world attention to the massacres and rapes in Nanking.  In the years following this book, more books have been written, documentaries have been made, and a gripping Chinese film, The City of Life and Death has received world attention.

Chang’s book had the great benefit of approaching the material with a fresh voice.  She is out to show the world the absolute horror committed by Japanese troops during their occupation of Nanking, the world’s predictable indifference to it, and following the war, Japan’s collective amnesia about Nanking.

Since Chang’s book, the all too inevitable radical revision of Nanking has taken place.  Many believe the atrocities at Nanking did not happen, or at least not on the scale documented by people who witnessed the event, and reputable scholars who have studied it.

Japan still has not fessed up to many, if not most, of its abhorrent actions during World War II.  Sadly, there prevails in Japan a model of victimization; many Japanese accentuate the horror and depredations they suffered during the war, and conveniently forget the crimes their soldiers and leaders committed against others.

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