Kill tally: 200,000-350,000 Chinese killed during the ‘Rape of Nanking’.
Background: The final collapse of the Chinese Imperial Government at the start of the 20th Century brings in a 30-year period of instability to China during which the nationalist Guomindang (Kuomintang or KMT – the National People’s Party, or Nationalist Party), headed by Chiang Kai-shek, battle the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), headed by Mao Tse-Tung, for ultimate control.
Across the East China Sea, Japan becomes progressively more nationalistic and militaristic, seeing in China an opportunity to expand on territory occupied in Manchuria (now Dongbei Pingyuan, north of Korea) and Shandong Province (across the Yellow Sea from Korea) after the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) and during the First World War.
The Japanese military is seeped in the tradition of unquestioning loyalty to the emperor. Commands from superior officers are regarded as equivalent to commands from the emperor himself. Military leaders have direct access to the emperor and the authority to transmit his pronouncements directly to the troops. The emperor is considered divine and the seat of ultimate power.
Mini biography: Born on 2 October 1887 in Kyoto, Japan. He is a member of the Japanese imperial family and uncle-in-law to Emperor Hirohito.
1908 – He graduates from the Japanese military academy and is commissioned into the army as a sub-lieutenant.
1920-23 – He travels to France to further his military studies.
1927-29 – Japanese troops are sent to China to obstruct attempts by the Guomindang to unify the country. In June 1928 officers in the Guandong Army, the Japanese Army unit stationed in Manchuria, begin an unauthorised campaign to secure Japanese interests and precipitate a war with China. Both the Japanese high command and the Chinese refuse to mobilise. Read the rest of this entry »