Hitler and the “Nanking Massacre” Exposed in Rabe’s Diary
By Furuso Koichi,
Hitler and the “Nanking Massacre”
Exposed in Rabe’s Diary
Furuso Koichi, Freelance Journalist
The so-called Nanking Massacre was something that the Chiang Kai-shek administration manufactured using foreigners. Afterward, however, the Chinese Communist Party dramatized it how ever they wanted, painting a fictitious portrait of hell. Buying into the story, 70 years after the fall of Nanking a documentary film called Nanking, directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, was screened in America in 2007.
Furthermore, in the US House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Honda (who has received considerable political donations from citizens with Chinese ties) and others have put forward a resolution seeking an apology from Japan over the issue of “comfort women.” The resolution was passed handily, and this fact aggravated the situation for Japan all the more.
This is a development at which we can not merely be spectators. At this opportunity, I would like to present evidence on the “Nanking Massacre” the Chinese Communist Party was involved with, and clarify the intention behind their deceptive methods.
As is well known, The Rape of Nanking, written by Iris Chang, an American woman of Chinese extraction, became a best-seller 10 years ago. There was no Japanese translation of the book. Countless errors in the book were pointed out, but Chang refused to allow them to be removed or corrected, so the publication was halted by the publishers. Therefore, it has come to be seen in Japan as containing nothing but the charge of “barbarism” on the part of the Japanse army.
This is a mistaken perspective, however. The point that must be noted is the fact that of all the countries participating in the Second World War, even Germany has been given absolution for her crimes — only Japan has not been accorded that forgiveness.
War Crimes of America and Europe Ignored
“The chronicle of humankind’s cruelty to fellow humans is a long and sorry tale. But if it is true that even in such horror tales there are degrees of ruthlessness, then few atrocities in world history compare in intensity and scale to the Rape of Nanking during World War II.” (Chang’s The Rape of Nanking, p. 3)
“It is certainly true that in this century, when the tools of mass murder were fully refined, Hitler killed about 6 million Jews, and Stalin more than 40 million Russians, but these deaths were brought about over some few years. In the Rape of Nanking, the killing was concentrated within a few weeks.” (p. 5)
“The death toll of Nanking — one Chinese city alone — exceeds the number of civilian casualties of some European countries for the entire war. (Great Briatain lost a
total of 61,000 civilians, France lost 108,000, Belgium 101,000, and the Netherlands 242,000.)” (p. 5)
“It is likely that more people died in Nanking than in the British raids on Dresden and the firestorm that followed…. Indeed, whether we use the most conservative number — 260,000 — or the highest — 350,000 — it is shocking to contemplate that the deaths at Nanking far exceeded the deaths from the American raids on Tokyo (an estimated 80,000 – 120,000 deaths) and even the combined death toll of the two atomic blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the end of 1945 (estimated at 140,000 and 70,000 respectively).” (p. 6)
“Nothing the Nazis under Hitler would do to disgrace their own victories could rival the atrocities of Japanese soldiers under Gen. Iwane Matsui.” (p. 7)
Setting aside for a moment Chang’s feigning ignorance that Mao Zedong killed 70 million and Chiang Kai-shek killed several million of their own countrymen, Europeans and Americans coming across accounts in the opening of her book that there were incidents of war crimes exceeding their own countries’ can read on in comfort.
Moreover, Chang changes the story to praise of Germans. American and European readers are completely caught up in Chang’s pacing.
Rabe, the Merchant of Death
Before going into details of this trick, we must trace the changes in the so-called Nanking Massacre. Generally speaking, this fabrication has passed through three phases up till now. The first phase was from the time it all began, with 20,000 dead, to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo Tribunal) held in Tokyo.
John Rabe. He is the main character in a Chinese–German co-production being filmed about the Nanking Massacre.
Chiang Kai-shek’s government’s claim in court was that 300,000 had died, but this was unacceptable.
In the next phase, the Japanese stepped up. It was Asahi Newspaper journalist Honda Katsuichi who started the ball rolling with his article “Travels in China,” but about the same time Hora Tomio (then a professor at Waseda University) wrote a crude book in defense of the article.
Eventually, Hora got together with some friends to form the “Nanking Incident Investigation Committee.” The scope of the “incident” grew with their continued contact with the Chinese, even concealing actual evidence.
In the third phase, people living in America and acting as catspaws of the Chinese Communist Party began taking action. After over 10 years of preparation, three books were published in 1997 and 1998.
The first was Chang’s book. The second was the so-called Rabe’s Diary, and the third was The Rape of Nanking: An Undeniable History in Photographs by Yin James and Shi Young. “The Rape of Nanking” as presented by all the different countries’ mass media is based on these three books.
These three books complement each other, but the foundation is Rabe’s Diary.
Rabe was an employee of Siemans Co. and a member of the Nazi Party. At the time, he was the chairman of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone. This committee was on its face responsible for the security of the refugees in Nanking, but in truth they hardly did anything along those lines — instead, they were devoting their time to writing a work of lies.
Rabe typed away daily from several months before the fall of Nanking to early February of 1928, knocking out two different works. One was a “Secret Report” for Hitler and the other was his diary.
The “Secret Report” intended for Hitler was sent to Berlin via the German ambassador, Oscar Trautman, who had fled to Hankou. The diary Rabe carried home with him.
Chang’s Rape of Nanking begins with the bogus story that Chang discovered Rabe’s diary, which was in the possession of Rabe’s relatives.
Chang went to Nanking in 1995 to interview residents, but by this time she already knew about Rabe. A year later, however, she set out to find out if his diary still existed. With the help of friends and acquaintances, she says, she got into contact with Rabe’s granddaughter, Ursula Reinhardt.
In response to Chang’s persuasion, Reinhardt spent 15 hours photocopying the diary that the family had kept in its possession and took the copy to donate to the Yale Divinity School library. Then, in December, Chang announced at a press conference in New York its “discovery.”
The story of Chang discovering the diary, however, is a lie.
First, this hadn’t been a press conference called quickly after her “discovery” of the diary. Its planning had been a long time in coming. As evidence of this, the diary, which had been written in German, had to have its contents digested and condensed and an English translation prepared to be distributed to the press corps.
The person in charge of the English translation was Jeff Heynen, a journalist with the Asahi Shinbun in Los Angeles. Preparations for the announcement of Rabe’s Diary
seem to have been made a year before Chang said she began investigating Rabe’s life in 1996.
│ │Chinese edition │German edition │ Japanese edition │English edition│
│Publication date │Aug. 1997 │Oct. 1997 │ Oct. 1997 │ 1998 │
│No. of translators│7 │ │1 │ 1 │
│No. of photos │80 │30 │38 │60 │
Directed by Communist China
The Japanese translation of Rabe’s diary was published as The Truth about Nanking. According to the translator, Hirano Kyôko, the start was Courage and Pride, the autobiography written by former Foreign Ministry official turned author Erwin Wickert in the early 1990s. In the book, Wickert touched on Rabe’s activities in Nanking.
As a student, Wickert had stayed in Rabe’s home. Around the time of Nanking’s fall, he was working at the consulate in Shanghai, and then he was transferred to the German embassy in Tokyo. After that, he worked in the German embassy in Communist China. After retirement, he took up literary pursuits.
Reinhardt, having read Wickert’s autobiography, got in contact with him in 1995. This was the beginning of Rabe’s Diary’s appearance to the world — it was not Chang’s discovery.
In fact, Chang even writes (on page 195) that before her New York press conference announcing the “discovery,” a reporter from China’s Renmin Zibao (People’s Daily) had called on Reinhardt.
What’s more, it was not actually Chang who planned for the publication of Rabe’s Diary. Under a “comrades’ interests” of the Chinese Communist Party Jiangsu Province Committee and the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government, China’s Jiangsu Provincial People’s Publishing Co. and Jiangsu Provincial Education Publication Co. negotiated to push forward publication of a German-language edition while acquiring rights to publish a Chinese-language edition.
That Communist Chinese money was paid out is very clear if one looks at the difference in the times of publication of the other countries’ editions. The Chinese translation was published first, and then the German language edition came out. In translated works, it is normally the other way around.
In addition, there are considerable differences in the content of the two editions.
First, the Chinese edition was not a proper translation of the [original] German language edition. In the Chinese edition, entries unrelated to Nanking were expunged.
The number of photographs used was much higher as well. Photographs not in the German edition were included alongside explanations not in the German edition.
These photographs had been taken by the American missionary John Magee (a member of the International Safety Zone Committee) and a German named Christian Kröger (of course, also a committee member); their captions were suppressed by Magee.
Photographs Offered by the People’s Publishing Co.
From what I have been able to uncover, contrary to the widely circulated story, Magee did not take any movies. The photographs depicting the Japanese army’s brutality were all spurious. This was verified by Analyzing the “Photographic Evidence” of the Nanking Incident,” a collaborative work by Higashinakano Shudô, Kobayashi Susumu, and Fukunaga Shinjirô.
I suppose one could quibble that these are the Chinese edition’s only differences with the German edition, and that the Chinese edition was not connected to the German, English, and Japanese editions.
That will not hold water, though. First, all editions in common include Wickert’s commentary.
Additionally, the photographs published in the English edition are stated as having been obtained from the Jiangsu Province People’s Publishing Co. The Japanese edition, too, uses photos offered by Jiangsu; and on top of that, during the translation process, the translator was given a copy of the Chinese edition. These facts are clear evidence that — to restate the point — the Chinese Communists contributed to the book.
To summarize, Communist Chinese connected agents prepared Rabe’s Diary, and Chang obtained that book and wrote The Rape of Nanking. To conceal the truth of this, Chang claimed that she had discovered Rabe’s diary.
Rabe’s diary, translated into Japanese with the title “The Truth of Nanking” (left), and The Rape of Nanking, which were published about the same time.
Yes, Chang Was Part of It
The three books previously covered that were connected to The Rape of Nanking appeared on schedule in 1997. This was exactly 60 years after the fall of Nanking — if speaking of a person’s life, that would be a momentous year. The Chinese Communist Party had been looking for this opportunity to use Rabe’s Diary to manufacture “the Nanking incident.”
The things that make the Diary particularly significant are set down on page 196 of The Rape of Nanking.
(1) It is evidence showing there actually was a Rape of Nanking
(2) That it was a Nazi Party member (Rabe) who described his point of view was important. A Nazi Party member would have no motive to make up such an incident.
(3) Rabe’s text includes German translations of journal-like elements written by Americans, and the American reports gain authority from the diary. The originals and the text are in agreement.
I haven’t verified number 3, but number 1 was torn apart as Chang herself acknowledged some days later as nothing but begging the question.
What follows is the gist of it.
After the English edition of Rabe’s diary (The Good Man of Nanking) was published, a review by Sheryl WuDunn appeared in the Dec 13, 1998, edition of the New York Times. WuDunn and her husband, Nicholas D. Kristof, are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists for their reportage about the large numbers of demonstrators crushed under the treads of Chinese tanks during the Tiananmen Uprising.
To quote from the review:
One of the most intriguing aspects of these diaries is that while Rabe recounts tortures, rapes and mass murders by the Japanese, he appears not to have seen many of the atrocities that are commonly described by the Chinese themselves. There are no accounts of live burials, mass disembowelments, deaths by freezing or death by being eaten alive by dogs.
Japanese soldiers would naturally have tried to avoid torturing Chinese in front of foreign witnesses, but Rabe was also getting reports of atrocities from his Chinese assistants. It is unlikely that the book’s editor, Erwin Wickert, who had known Rabe and obtained the diaries from his granddaughter, would have left such stories out. So it is probable that Rabe, who did not speak Chinese, simply did not see these particular atrocities, or did not dare to record them for some reason. It is also possible that these crimes were committed in extreme secrecy. Or perhaps they did not occur at all.
WuDunn was pointing out that Rabe was not a witness at all.
Were 50–60,000 Killed?
The following lines in Chang’s book are problematic.
Not only did live burials, castration, the carving of organs, and the roasting of people become routine, but more diabolical tortures were practiced, such as hanging people by their tongues on iron hooks or burying people to their wastes and watching them get torn apart by German shepherds. So sickening was the spectacle that even the Nazis in the city were horrified, one proclaiming the massacre to be the work of “bestial machinery.” (p. 6)
This is what Chang wrote, but WuDunn points out that such accounts in Rabe’s diary were not directly seen by him.
Moreover, she touches on the issue of the number of people killed.
Even now, an emotional debate rages over how many people actually lost their lives at the hands of the Japanese. Some Chinese estimates go as high as 200,000 to 300,000, a number that was recently popularized by Iris Chang in her book, The Rape of Nanking. In his diary, Rabe says that out of an initial population of 1.2 million people, about 800,000 fled before Nanjing was captured. He writes that about 250,000 ended up in his safety zone, and though many were killed there, most survived. That would leave about 150,000 people unaccounted for by Rabe.
Basing his numbers on reports from one of the humanitarian groups involved in burying the dead, Rabe estimates that a total of 50,000 to 60,000 people were actually killed, and those are the numbers that he used when he returned to Germany and lectured on his experiences in China. (WuDunn)
It is as if she is saying that Chang’s Rape of Nanking is nonsense.
On Jan. 10, 1999, Chang, backed into a corner, replied to WuDunn’s review with a letter to the newspaper.
(1) Regarding the brutal methods of killing:
Unfortunately, they did occur. As the author of The Rape of Nanking and as the first American to locate John Rabe’s family and diaries, I interviewed people who had actually clawed their way out of mass graves in Nanking (now known as Nanjing) in 1937. I also met survivors in the city who had watched Japanese soldiers disembowel their neighbors and tear fetuses from the wombs of pregnant women.
(2) Regarding the number of the slain:
While we will never know exactly how many people died during this blood bath, I do believe that Rabe’s estimate of 50,000 to 60,000 deaths is much too low to be accurate. For one thing, he never had time to conduct a systematic body count because his primary concern was to protect the thousands of Chinese refugees who sought shelter in the Nanking safety zone. Moreover, he left Nanking before the massacre was over.
A more reliable figure comes from Chinese burial records, which were compiled after Rabe’s departure from the city. Based on these records, the judges of the International Military Tribunal of the Far East concluded that the Japanese killed at least 260,000 people in Nanking — a figure the judges deemed conservative because it did not include the Chinese dead whose bodies the Japanese disposed of. If the confession of a Japanese major can be believed, the Imperial Japanese Army disposed of an additional 150,000 corpses in the Nanking area either by burning them or by dumping them into the Yangtze River.
If this is so, there is no need to so purposefully drag out Rabe’s diary. She could have written The Rape of Nanking as result of her interviews, the record of the Tokyo Tribunal, and the confessions of a Japanese major alone.
Chang herself denies the value of Rabe’s diary as evidence.
Apologetic Germany; Unapologetic Japan
The real goal for dragging out Rabe was something else. That is, presenting the fabrication that “German is good; Japanese is bad.”
Rabe was a German, and he was also a member of the Nazi Party, which has a reputation for atrocities. Also, in dimetrical opposition to the Japanese army which indulged in “barbarism,” Rabe was praised by locals as a “living Buddah” for saving the lives of several hundred thousand Chinese in his capacity as the chairman of the committee for the International Safety Zone.
Chang proclaimed that the Germans apologized for the Holocaust perpetrated by Hitler and paid reparations, but that Japan neither apologized nor paid reparations after the war, and moreover Japan’s right wing squelched any debate.*
In a point particularly upsetting to Chang:
[I]t is not just the fact that while Germans have made repeated apologies to their Holocaust victims, the Japanese have enshrined their war criminals in Tokyo — an act that one American wartime victim of the Japanese has labeled “the political equivalent of erecting a cathedral to Hitler in the middle of Berlin.” (Chang, p. 12)
These lines refer to the Yasukuni Shrine issue, which Chinese Communist government leaders and anti-Japan Japanese constantly harp on about.
The German edition of Rabe’s diary was titled John Rabe: The Good German of Nanking. The American edition was The Good Man of Nanking. The British Edition was The Good German of Nanking.
The Angry Merchants of Death
In point of truth, however, Rabe was neither a good man nor a truthful narrator. He was posted in Nanking as an employee of Seimens Co. to do business with Chiang Kai-shek’s government.
As an electronics manufacturer, Siemens was involved in selling electronic goods for power stations, etc., but they also sometimes were known as a “merchant of death” for selling machine guns and the like. The reason Rabe was there was to conduct business.
* In fact, Japan had undertaken negotiations with all the belligerents concerning reparations, and paid compensation. Conversely, for their crimes against the humanity of Jews and others, the Germans paid compensation only personally; they paid no compensation to the belligerent nations. Japan, at the Tokyo Tribunal, was not proclaimed guilty of “crimes against humanity,” so she bore no burden of payment of personal compensation for such crimes.
At that time, Chiang Kai-shek’s government, determined to fight Japan, was engaged in rapid improvement on its social infrastructure (such as roads and railroad lines) and planning the production of munitions and military uniforms. German industries were swarming to meet the demands of the Chiang government.
Making inroads in the background were German businessmen with governmental ties, there as military advisors. About the time of the Chinese Incident, some 40 German military officers were in China. The most important among them was Alexander von Falkenhausen. He reached Chiang Kai-shek in 1934 and was quickly embroiled in writing scenarios for fighting the Japanese.
Transactions made by Rabe (and the others) required Falkenhausen’s approval, and the two had an on-going relationship. Rabe also spent time with Falkenhausen and his family.
A segment of the German defense forces and the German industrial world proposed a major business deal with Chiang Kai-shek’s administration. This was a grand project — a long-term plan — the base of which was the establishment of war plants to supply high-speed torpedo boats for the defense of Hong Kong, and moving forward with short-term plans for rapid construction of gun emplacements for harbor defense. A contract was soon entered into.
It was Japan who threw a spanner into these plans. Japan moved forward with the Anti-Comintern Pact with Germany (and later, Italy). At that time, the Soviet Union had an organization called the Comintern whose duty was to promote Communism all over the world. The Pact was concluded first between Japan and Germany in November of 1936 to oppose the Comintern and cooperate with intelligence concerning the Soviet Union. Italy joined the Pact the next year.
Right in the middle of these negotiations, the Japanese found out about this project and protested to Germany. Hitler, upon receiving the complaint, ordered the project (which had only reached the contract phase) halted. It was like applying the brakes to Germany’s general trade with China.
Still, it was the German economic world that was outraged. The German businessmen who had traveled to Shanghai and Nanking voiced their displeasure as one. Rabe had to have been one of them. The situation up to this point was made clear in 1978 in a work titled The Sino–German Connection: Alexander von Falkenhausen Between China and Germany 1900–1941, by Vassar College professor Hsi-Huey Liang.1
Falkenhausen, as head of the group of military advisors, was also placed in a difficult position. He had come to incite Chiang Kai-shek into fighting a war against Japan, but one prerequisite to that was the German industrial world supplying weapons and other necessities. Now those plans were in tatters.
Had this program been realized, Chiang Kai-shek’s government would have been outfitted as a first-rate military power and the course of history would have been
1 Liang, Hsi-Huey. The Sino-German connection: Alexander von Falkenhausen between China and Germany 1900 – 1941. Assen: van Gorcum, 1978.
drastically altered, and it is quite probable that the world today would be a very different place.
Chiang Kai-shek, deprived of an opportunity that would not come again, was also angry. Soong May-Ling, Chiang’s wife, was an open book; she laid bare her displeasure at this. In his diary on Oct. 3, 1937, Rabe wrote this:
It’s said that people at the highest levels, especially Madame Chiang, have no great sympathy for Germany because we have concluded a pact with Japan against the Soviets and have refused to take part in the [Nine Power] Conference in Brussels, since we don’t want to sit at the same table as the Soviets.
He who is not for us is against us, Madame Chiang is reported to have said. (Rabe, p. 9)
If Chiang Kai-shek and Fitch joined hands…
The Germans were forced to have to curry favor with Chiang Kai-shek.
Faced with the setback caused by Hitler, Chiang and the German military advisors and German businessmen began working on gaining George Fitch and other American missionaries in China to be proactive “supporters” in their fight.
For the Germans, however, carrying out activities in defiance of the Führer put their lives in danger. They therefore avoided direct criticism of Hitler. Instead, they began to make up stories out of thin air about the Japanese — who had chosen Hitler as a partner — painting them as brutal barbarians.
In the course of negotiating the Anti-Comintern Pact, Japanese bushidô was brought forward to produce a favorable sentiment from Hitler, who was racist toward Orientals. At this, the Germans in Nanking turned to Hitler and said that bushidô was a lie. Of course, the Americans did the same.
There isn’t space to go into detail here, but there are lines in the opus Fitch wrote that make light of bushidô.
The thing that bluntly expressed this intention was Special Undeclared War, written in 1938 in Beijing by British journalist Frank Oliver of Reuters (published by Jonathan Cape in London in 1939), who was a confidant of Chiang Kai-shek’s government, and published the next year in London.
Chapter Nine was mostly about the depiction of the “Nanking Incident” as based on the manuscript by Fitch and others, but was titled “Bushidô Goes Overboard.” He was sarcastically saying that slaughter is the actuality of bushidô.
We must look at the plan made up by the Germans and Americans who aided Chiang Kai-shek’s propaganda machine, which started shortly after the signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact and just before the outbreak of the Chinese Incident. To disparage the treaty, their idea was to rebuke Hitler and Mussolini by belittling bushidô.
As evidence, we have the book Secret Agent of Japan, written by Italian Amleto Vespa.2 In this work, the author makes claims about the “brutality” of Japanese soldiers in Manchukuo. The manuscript was completed in the fall of 1937 — just before the fall of Nanking.
Howard J. Timperley, an underling of propaganda master Dong Xianguang, wrote an introduction for this book dated June, 1938. According to the introduction, Timperley, who was in Shanghai, showed Vespa’s manuscript to “a foreign government official.” In other words, to Dong Xianguang. This “foreign government official” replied to Timperley, “This is a harsh rebuke to Hitler and Mussolini, who have appointed themselves defenders of Western culture. If they read this book, surely they will realize the true nature of the ones they’ve erroneously agreed to back.” Those “ones they’ve erroneously agreed to back” were none other than the Japanese.
What War Means, edited by Timperley and published in London in June, 1938, was the first work in the so-called Nanking Incident debate to achieve fame.
My argument is that this book’s content is at odds concerning the truth, and it therefore ignores the role of Germans living in Nanking. In addition, it has been overlooked and remains unrecognized as an anti-Japanese book manufactured by the propaganda organization of Chiang Kai-shek’s government, the second of its kind.
The book expected to have been first was Vespa’s, but for some reason it was delayed and didn’t appear until its publication in Garden City, New York, in 1941. Today there are few who have ever even heard of it.
To briefly digress, in the foreward to Secret Agent of Japan, Vespa wrote, “The Japanese people are not to blame for the crimes of their ruling military and financial class; they are, indeed, in the final analysis, as much the victims of it as are people of China themselves.” (Vespa, p. xi) This is a line currently used by Communist China for domestic Japanese consumption. It is also a set phrase used by anti-Japan Japanese.
2 Vespa, Amleto. Secret Agent of Japan. NYC: Little, Brown & Co., 1938.
Timperley’s superior, Dong Xianguang.
Reasons for Sticking to 300,000 Victims
The reason Rabe stayed behind in Nanking wasn’t to save refugees. It was to write a report for Hitler on the “brutality” of the Japanese army. Once he had finished the report and obtained a copy of the film claimed to have been shot by missionary John Magee “at the site of the massacre,” he got out of his duties as chairman of the committee overseeing the Safety Zone, wrapped up his affairs, and went back to Germany.
Falkenhausen, who had fled to Hankou, also wrote a report, saying the Japanese army belonged “alongside the army of Imperial Russia.” He put down one lie after another as evidence exposing the lack of control, the cruelty, and the criminal character of the Japanese army. Falkenhausen also boasted that, “Japan could be kicked out of China by just two or three German divisions.”
This report was rounded out with Rabe’s report and the copy of the Magee film and sent to Germany via Ambassador Trautman; but with no result. Though their contents were intended to put an end to the cooperation with Japan, there was no reproof.
On the contrary; Rabe, having returned to Germany, was taken in by the Gestapo for interrogation. Rabe, however, was no common man; in anticipation of the investigation, he had prepared a written justification. This was his diary.
It was more than just “evidence” of the Japanese army’s “barbarity” — Rabe had sprinkled the text with lines showing him to be a faithful member of the Nazi Party.
He repeatedly wrote accounts in the diary of Japanese soldiers who, upon seeing his Party armband with the swastika, turned tail and ran. This was an expression of his position supporting the Anti-Comintern Pact and it served to emphasize that he was a loyal Party man.
Worse than the Holocaust
Rabe was doing no more than giving the impression of being in a neutral position, internationally speaking. As indicated before with Chang’s number 2, a Nazi Party member would have no motive to make up incidents — but Rabe had a huge motive.
For the Chinese Communist Party, who intended to make use of Rabe’s diary, however, these facts were irrelevant. What was important was the ignorance of people all over the world, and especially Americans. It would probably be unthinkable to Americans that Rabe, as one of the businessmen with governmental connections working with the German military advisors, would have gotten such a benefit from the situation. Taking advantage of that ignorance, what Chang presented was Rabe’s “good deeds” and his exposure of the “barbarity” of the Japanese.
With this, she made up a tale about how Japan had paid no reparations to China although Germany had paid money to the Jews to apologize for the Holocaust,.
What Chang and others would not budge from was the number of the dead and the period of time. On a wall in Nanking’s Memorial Hall is engraved the number 300,000; but if one denies that “300,000 were slain in a few weeks,” the falsehood that “the Nanking Incident” was worse than the Holocaust is demolished.
There are those in the world who would claim that there is no difference if it was 200,000 or 300,000 massacred, but that is a simple-minded argument. If it is not 300,000, it is bad for Communist China. Fleshing out that number was Chang’s mission. She writes, “[a]t the time  no one had yet written a full-length, narrative nonfiction book on the Rape of Nanking in English.” (pp. 10–11)
In other words, there were no nonfiction books written on the premise of 300,000 dead. But Chang had been given a range of numbers to work with: “[E]xperts at the International Military Tribunal of the Far East (IMTFE) estimated that more than 260,000 noncombatants died at the hands of Japanese soldiers at Nanking in late 1937 and early 1938, though some experts have placed the figure at well over 350,000.” (p. 4)
The reason she didn’t definitively write 300,000 was probably to conceal any connection to activities previously undertaken related to Chinese–American groups and their connections to the number used by the Memorial Hall in Nanking.
It Started with Pictures
If we set aside the types of episodes represented, there is nothing novel in the main points of Chang’s Rape of Nanking. This fact, too, is surprisingly not well known. Comparisons of “the Rape of Nanking” to “the Holocaust,” as well as saying “300,000 were slain,” did not start with Chang.
Chinese–Americans started making over the “Nanking Incident” in 1987, 10 years before Chang’s work began. That was the 50th year after the fall of Nanking.
On Dec. 20 of that year, the New York Times reported an art exhibit held at a Broadway gallery from Dec. 13–20 by a Chinese–American group of artists for the “Chinese Alliance of Memorial and Justice.”
The article says it was an exhibition of the works of 64 artists living abroad who were originally from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, depicting the death and suffering of Chinese at the hands of the Japanese army in 1937. At that point in time, all the photographs that people were to later bring forward were still unavailable.
The article explained that the organizer had said the incentive to hold the exhibit was that Japan had had changed its attitude toward history and rewritten textbooks so the word “invade” was changed to “enter” instead.
This refers to an incident of mistaken reportage from the Japanese mass media in 1982. In June of that year, it was reported that high school history textbooks had been changed from “when Japan invaded China…” to read “when Japan entered China…”. It was later clarified that the report had been in error.
This was nothing more than a pretext, however. Starting around 1984, Communist China took a strikingly anti-Japanese turn and decided to establish the Memorial Hall of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (which opened in July of 1987) at the Marco Polo Bridge. On Aug. 15, 1985, China opened the Nanking Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanking and the Unit 731 Crime Evidence Exhibition Hall in Harbin. After that, there was no dropping the anti-Japanese propaganda.
Over 80,000 Women Raped
In keeping with these trends, a book was published in America in 1987.
The title was The Other Nuremberg: The Untold Story of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. The author was a UP correspondent named Arnold C. Brackman, who said he attended the Tokyo Tribunal at the age of 23. It is a work that follows the tribunal from its opening to its closing, so it records exchanges that concern the “Nanking Incident.”
The book quickly exchanges “Nanking Incident” for “Rape of Nanking,” and compares it to the Holocaust. In the introduction, Brackman writes of the “Rape of Nanking” that “no less than a quarter of a million men, women, and children were slaughtered over a six-week period. (By the time the war on the Chinese mainland ended in 1945, 6 million civilians had been killed by the Japanese — the forgotten holocaust.)” (p. 17) Chang was doing nothing more than following suit.
At present there is no direct evidence of this book’s ties to Communist China. However, thinking that there was no participation by the Chinese Communist Party is unnatural after having shone the light on the activities of Chinese–Americans and Chinese living overseas in the United States and then-current trends shortly after the establishment of the Nanking Memorial Hall.
As for the use of the number 300,000, one fact must be considered. In 1996, the year Chang held her press conference to lie about finding Rabe’s diary, there was an exhibition at the library of Yale Divinity School in New Bedford, Connecticut, on the theme, “American Missionary Eyewitnesses to the Nanjing [sic.] Massacre.” Central to organizing the exhibition was a Chinese–American group calling itself the “Committee for the Study of Japan’s Invasion of China.” The exhibition went on for some time — from August of 1996 to the next January.
On sale at the site of the exhibition was a pamphlet called “American Missionary Eyewitnesses to the Nanjing [sic.] Massacre.” In it were presented pertinent and moving
parts of writings left behind by American missionaries. A Chinese man named Tien-wei Wu, who lived in America, wrote the following in the preface:
The Nanking Massacre is doubtless one of the greatest horrors in the annals of mankind. By some estimations, within three months (December 13, 1937 – March 1938) the Japanese army killed more than 300,000 innocent Chinese and raped up to 80,000 women in the city of Nanking. Not only was the number of victims so high, the manner in which these victims met their death was extremely cruel and diverse (beheading, bayoneting, burying alive, burning, gang-raping, etc.), so ghastly in fact that it made the Auschwitz gas chamber appear humane. (p. iii)
This preface bears a date of June, 1996. This was half a year before Chang’s press conference.
Chang tying Rabe’s diary to the Chinese claims to that point like that in her Rape of Nanking was nothing but rubbish.
The Chinese Were Also Barbarians
The book, however, is strategically placed for the future. One can say that usage of “rape” indiscriminately throughout it was foreshadowing of the question of “comfort women” that so angered the Japanese in 2007. Accounts of vivisection on prisoners appearing on page 164 are probably putting the pieces in place to shake up things with “Unit 731.”
Communist China to this day continues to disparage Chiang Kai-shek. They shrewdly countered Chiang’s legacy. Yet, there was someone who knew full well the Chinese people’s heavy-handed methods. This was Wickert, who edited Rabe’s diary.
Wickert inserted into Rabe’s diary a document by Paul Scharffenberg, who worked as chancellor of the German embassy’s detached office in Nanking in 1937. In it, the following lines appear:
Rabe realizes as much himself, and is trying to get Japanese permission to go to Shanghai, but he is still actively trying to counter the bloody excesses of Japanese looters, which have unfortunately increased of late. To my mind, this should not concern us Germans, particularly since one can clearly see that the Chinese, once left to depend solely on the Japanese, immediately fraternize. And as for all these excesses, one hears only one side of it, after all. (Rabe, p. 190)
This is a first-rate piece of contemporary evidence that the “Nanking Incident” was nothing but one-sided hearsay. With nothing but this, the evidentiary force of Rabe’s diary is denied.
Moreover, elsewhere in another of Scharffenberg’s memoranda, he leaves the following sentiments:
It is easy to say that the troops got out of hand. But I don’t believe that, because Asian warfare is in fact different from war among us. If the sides were reversed, it would probably not have gone any better, especially not with a little incitement. (Rabe, p. 132)
In other words, he is stating that the Chinese, too, are barbarians. Scharffenberg was probably thinking about the Tongzhou Incident that occurred about half a year before Nanking’s fall, when a large number of Japanese civilians had been butchered by the Chinese.
These lines were omitted from the Chinese-language edition of Rabe’s diary, but the reason Westerners are comfortable calling it the “Nanking Massacre” becomes clear. Westerners have not as yet rejected the view that “Oriental” equals “barbarian.”
The Chinese Communist Party, taking such Western psychology into account, has been systematically building up works plastered with lies; but they haven’t realized that, like a boomerang, it could at some point come back and hit them.
Note: First published in monthly magazine WiLL , special issue for December, 2007 in Japanese. English translation was made on the Society’s responsibility.