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The Rape of Nanking

The History and Legacy of the Notorious Massacre During the Second Sino-Japanese War
Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 23 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

Three days of plundering traditionally befell cities taken by storm, a fate usually avoided by those surrendering before the first attacking soldier penetrated beyond the outer walls. In Europe and areas influenced by Enlightenment thinkers, this practice faded rapidly after the Napoleonic Wars. In 1937, however, as the Imperial Army of Japan invaded China, this custom returned in a horrifying new form - the Rape of Nanking or the Nanking Massacre, a bloodbath lasting more than six weeks and possibly claiming more than a quarter of a million lives.

Even the Japanese participating in the Nanking Massacre provided no rationale for their actions. They made no effort to explain it as a measure to terrorize other Chinese cities into surrender, or even to extract the location of hidden valuables. Instead, the rape appears in history as a psychopathic orgy of sadism for sadism's sake. Insatiably driven by hatred and, apparently, an unabashed relish for cruelty, the Japanese soldiery abandoned any semblance of restraint.

Even Third Reich personnel in the city interceded in a sometimes futile effort to rescue victims from their tormentors. At the end of the city's long harrowing, the world knew clearly, if it did not before, that the Japanese of Tojo and Hirohito showed a very different spirit than the exquisitely genteel and chivalric men of the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. The fight against Imperial Japan represented not merely an effort to avoid being conquered, but for survival itself.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors

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Profile Image for Shaun Van Beverhoudt
  • Shaun Van Beverhoudt
  • 03-02-19

Disappointing

I listened to this for a historical account of Nanking but instead found an author who inserted his own opinion on various topics and acted as if they were fact with no further explanation.

For one example economists today dispute the causes of the great depression the author claims as a point of fact with no further discussion that it was caused by an "antiquated gold standard"

Another point if contention, (there are still more) blames this massacre on bushido and even goes as far to explain western civility on chivalric code. This shows not only a deep misunderstanding of bushido but also a complete disregard for the myriad of western atrocities.

After seeing this book was recorded as a part of an educational series I was disgusted. Next time how about a little more historical fact and a little less blatant opinion mixed with cheap sensationalism?