Primary Historical Sources Reveal the Truth about the Nanjing Incident Chapter 3: “The Nanjing Incident” needed by the American missionary group
By Ikeda Haruka,
Chapter 3: “The Nanjing Incident” needed by the American missionary group
The true situation of support for the Chinese Army within the Safety Zone
As we have observed thus far, the American missionaries decided among themselves to support and protect the Chinese Army through the International Committee for the Safety Zone. Now, let us examine the true nature of their support and protection of the Chinese Army based on records.
Establishing the Zone to support and protect the Chinese Army
Related to the Safety Zone, Mr. Shields stated, “When he asked if the zone to be proposed might not be drawn to include the Chinese poor section he was told simply that the matter of location had already been investigated and determined. (In Shanghai, Shields and the [HMS] Scarab officers agree, the zone was fixed considering the Chinese civilian population (Nantao).)” Shields also stated “The Chinese had a large anti-aircraft gun in it even before it was defined; they continued to use it.”
“We discover a row of antiaircraft batteries within the southwest border of our Zone.”
“The Zone is a long way from being safe; there are still armed soldiers inside, and all our efforts to get them out have thus far been to no avail.”
“All over our Zone, you still see Chinese troops with yellow armbands and armed to the teeth with rifles, pistols, and hand grenades.”
Thus, we learn that since the Safety Committee included in the safety zone a Chinese antiaircraft battery and armed Chinese soldiers. While non-missionary members of the International Committee Mr. Shields and Mr. Rabe criticized Chinese authorities for not keeping their promises, the American missionaries, who established the Safety Zone in the area in question, disseminated what are clearly lies:
”Gen. Tang, recently executed we have been told, charged with the defense of the city, cooperated splendidly on the whole in the very difficult task of clearing the Zone of the military and anti-aircraft.”
Chinese soldiers were allowed to enter the Safety Zone and hide there
Chinese soldiers were allowed to enter the Safety Zone and hide there, which is plainly stated in the Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone:
“At that time [December 13] several hundred soldiers approached or entered the Zone through the northern boundary,” “In the confusion and haste of that evening, the Committee was unable to keep the disarmed soldiers* separate from civilians, particularly because some of the soldiers had abandoned their military clothing.”
*The circumstance, of fully armed soldiers in the Safety Zone, will be explained in the next section.
The Safety Committee said that it was practically impossible to prevent Chinese soldiers from entering and hiding in the Safety Zone. Yet this was not at all unexpected. The Japanese authorities had already informed the International Committee of the likelihood of such a situation:
“…it is considered necessary that sufficient powers material or otherwise have to be vested in the hands of the supporters of the Safety Plan Zone in order to check effectively the entry of Chinese armed troops which may in the event of hostilities breaking out nearby try to take shelter within the zone or utilize it for military purposes. …Taking the foregoing into consideration the Japanese authorities entertain apprehension that even though the Chinese authorities had accepted the proposal under review sufficient guarantee could hardly be obtained in the event of fighting occurring in the city of Nanking for entirely preventing Chinese troops from entering into the zone or utilizing it for military purposes.”
One can say that the circumstances arouse exactly as expected.
As I have pointed out the difference between the Shanghai Safety Zone and the Nanking Safety Zone, the Nanking Safety Zone boundary was merely marked by white flags hoisted over buildings on its border and there were no barricades or equipment to prevent the entry of soldiers. Considering that the true purpose of the Safety Zone was to support and protect the Chinese Army, the Zone was nearly accessible to anyone.
Sheltering Chinese soldiers within the Safety Zone
After the end of hostilities, for some reason, the missionaries claimed that the defeated Chinese have the right to be treated as “Prisoners of War.” However, the Japanese Army simply rejected the claim as legally groundless and after the Japanese entered the walled city, beginning December 14, they began to clear the city of Chinese soldiers in hiding over a period of three days. The Japanese searched within the Safety Zone. At this time, the missionaries asserted that there were no longer any Chinese soldiers in the Safety Zone:
“But now we can safely assure you that there are no groups of disarmed Chinese soldiers in the Zone.”
In fact, Chinese soldiers were hiding within the American missionaries-administered Safety Zone. Furthermore, these soldiers kept their arms. A The New York Times article at the time stated:
“American professors remaining at Ginling College in Nanking as foreign members of the Refugee Welfare Committee were seriously embarrassed to discover that they had been harboring a deserted Chinese Army colonel and six of his subordinate officers. The professors had, in fact, made the colonel second in authority at the refugee camp. The officers, who had doffed their uniforms during the Chinese retreat from Nanking, were discovered living in one of the college buildings. They confessed their identity after Japanese Army searchers found they had hidden six rifles, five revolvers, a dismounted machine gun and ammunition in the building.”
This incident was significant at that time. In fact, there is a record of this in the Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone. Mr. Bates, in charge of the refugee camps, admitted that they discovered soldiers and weapons, but denied that they intentionally protected soldiers in a memorandum circulated within the International Committee:
“Bates said that if this Wang was a former soldier, we could not interfere. That was a military matter. He came to us as a stranger.”
Thus, contrary to their initial assertion, the American missionaries admitted that armed Chinese soldiers were hiding within the Safety Zone.
With this incident in mind, Japanese authorities conducted a sweep of the refugee camps within the Safety Zone. A report of the Japanese Special Service Agency states:
“Entering this year, we have arrested, in a row, Chinese deserted soldiers and insurgents hiding under the protection of the Powers.”
Clearly, American missionaries established the Safety Zone in an area where Chinese Army anti-aircraft batteries stood and therefore it was very difficult to demilitarize the area from the very start. During hostilities, the American missionaries allowed the presence of the batteries and Chinese soldiers within the Zone. After hostilities ceased, they let a huge number of Chinese soldiers enter the Safety Zone and helped deserting soldiers hide within the Safety Zone. The true circumstances within the safety Zone was as Mr. Mills stated: support and protection of the Chinese Army.
The “Nanjing Incident” to justify the unauthorized Safety Zone
The raison d’etre of the Nanking Safety Zone
While the American missionaries allegedly established the Safety Zone and the International Committee for the sake of protection of refugees, their true purpose was to support and protect the Chinese Army and that they acted accordingly.
Now, let us reexamine the definition of the “Safety Zone.” The Safety Zone was originally envisioned as a neutral zone during hostilities. So long as there was conflict, one could reasonably claim the raison d’etre of the Safety Zone, albeit one that was not officially sanctioned. However, when hostilities were over, it was clear that there was no need for a safety zone. When the Japanese authorities pointed out that the Safety Zone was without legal status, the American missionaries at first claimed:
“Vis-à-vis your Japanese authorities we are not claiming any political status whatever.”
“May we again reassure you that we have no interest in continuing any semi-administrative function left to us by the former Nanking City Government. We earnestly hope that you will kindly take up these functions as quickly as possible, [sic] Then we will become simply a relief organization.”
The American missionaries expressed their willingness to hand over administrative functions of the Safety Zone as soon as an administrative organ, any organ, was established. In fact, however, the missionaries refused to hand over such functions to the Chinese people’s Autonomous Government Committee after this committee was established on January 1, 1938. Instead, the American missionaries kept their grip on to the Safety Zone. In short, it seems that the American missionaries’ stated preference to any “administrative organ” was just words.
In fact, the American missionaries needed to maintain administrative power. Chairman Rabe and other non-missionary members of the Committee, who dedicated their efforts to the protection of refugees, had no reason to for the continued functioning of the Committee. After the Autonomous Government Committee was established on January 1, 1938, there was no need for the International Committee, as the International Committee itself stated. Mr. Rabe did not understand why the American missionaries insisted on maintaining the International Committee for the Safety Zone and maintaining the Safety Zone:
“The other Committee members do not agree with my suggestion that the Zone Committee be transformed into an International Relief Committee for Nanking. …And of course I accede to the majority, for we must absolutely remain united.”
“We are seriously considering dissolving the Zone Committee and a creating a Relief Committee that would cooperate with the new Autonomous Government Committee. I keep suggesting that we cooperate with the Japanese, but the Americans are against it.”
The “Nanjing Incident” justifies the existence of the Safety Zone
To maintain the Safety Zone, another reason was necessary, apart from the establishment of an functioning administrative organ.
United States to Ambassador to China Nelson Johnson stated the reason why the American missionaries wanted to keep the Safety Zone under their control:
“Situation at Nanking in regard to safety zone is not of foreigners’ choosing. Work of committee obviously should have ceased on day Japanese troops entered the city and hostilities ceased. But it is believed that Japanese [it has been] equally object to [equally obvious] that situation in Nanking created by Japanese troops [has?] so terrorized population that it has been afraid to leave zone policed and fed by foreigners.” (The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State, Hankow, February 7, 1938)
In summary, the American missionaries meant to say that the Safety Zone and the International Committee for the Safety Zone was needed to protect the civilian population against the reign of terror imposed by the Japanese Army in Nanking.
Ambassador Johnson further explained his thinking:
“American members of committee, notably George Fitch and Mr. Bates, have written and sent out to Nanking detailed accounts of their experiences during the reign of terror in Nanking. In so far as these accounts have been factual statements these men should not be threatened by the Japanese because of a situation created by themselves.”
So we must ask whether the records written by the American members of the Safety Committee (namely, American missionaries) and referred to by Ambassador Johnson as grounds for his assessment of the situation in Nanking are based on facts.
In actuality, the American missionaries neglected the fact that there were Chinese military batteries within the Safety Zone during the hostilities and concealed the fact that armed Chinese deserters were hiding within the Zone after the hostilities. These facts indicate that the records of the American missionaries were patently false.
Regarding cases of disorder filed in the name of the International Committee, led by American missionaries, they stated: “The above cases have been checked upon by foreign members of our Committee or Staff.”
However, they were not fact-checked at all and were merely second-hand stories, as Chancellor Scharffenberg for the German Embassy in Hankow stated:
“And as for all these excesses [of Japanese looters], one hears one side of it, after all.” (Scharffenberg, February 10, 1938)
In the end, the records of the American missionaries referred to by Ambassador Johnson is filled with fallacies and unverified information. As such, they cannot be considered fact-based what so ever.
Now, let us confirm the authenticity of what the American missionaries stated after the Safety Zone was dissolved. Believing that the Safety Zone was the very source of crime, the Japanese Army ordered citizens in the Safety Zone to return to their homes, which led to the dissolution of the Safety Zone on February 4, 1938, despite fierce objection raised by the American missionaries. If the American missionaries were right in their assertions, then Nanking should have been a hell after the closure of the Safety Zone:
“…since 4 February a large number of Chinese have in fact left the camps and found shelter somewhere in the city.” (Memorandum of Chancellor Scharffenberg, February 10, 1938)
“And as sad as things may still be here, one can assume they will improve as soon as the refugees have cleared out of the Safety Zone.” (Scharffenberg, February 10, 1938)
“The garrison commander, Major General Amaya, keeps a tight rein on things, and we no longer hear of atrocities, and order is also being restored in general.” (Chancellor Scharffenberg, March 4, 1938)
German Chancellor Scharffenberg stated that order was restored after the Safety Zone was dissolved. Thus, the result was exactly the opposite of what the American missionaries predicted.
On the other hand, as we clearly saw earlier, the true purpose of the establishment of the Safety Zone and the International Committee by American missionaries was to support and protect the Chinese Army. Therefore, to continue to support the Chinese Army, the American missionaries needed a pretext to maintain the Safety Zone and the International Committee after the Japanese Army entered the walled city.
Now we know the truth. We now know that the statement: “situation in Nanking created by Japanese troops so terrorized population that it has been afraid to leave zone policed and fed by foreigners,” based on American missionaries’ testimonies, is completely groundless. We also know that the missionaries were far from being a third party and had a strong need to maintain the Safety Zone and the International Committee under their administration to support and protect Chinese soldiers. Thus, we see that the American missionaries created “Japanese Army’s reign of terror over the Nanking citizens” as a pretext for continuation of the Safety Zone and the International Committee.
This was the real reason that the American missionaries disseminated the “Nanjing Incident” to the rest of the world.
The “Nanjing Incident” excuses crimes committed by Chinese soldiers
Fabricating a Japanese “reign of terror” indirectly supported the Chinese Army and at the same time helped conceal crimes committed by Chinese soldiers. Let me quote the latter part of the afore-quoted The New York Times article dated January 4, 1938, which reported that a Chinese deserter, a former colonel, and his armed subordinates were found within the Safety Zone:
“The ex-Chinese officers in the presence of Americans and other foreigners confessed looting in Nanking and also that one night they dragged girls from the refugee camp into the darkness and the next day blamed Japanese soldiers for the attacks.”
Although this incident allegedly occurred in Ginling College, Miss Vautrin, who was supposedly protecting women there, did not mention anything about this incident in her diary. Instead, Miss Vautrin’s diary is filled with every day occurrences of alleged Japanese crime.
Apart from Miss Vautrin, missionary McCallum admitted that Chinese citizens reported crimes committed by Chinese soldiers but denied anyway that Chinese soldiers committed crimes. He said Chinese citizens were forced by Japanese soldiers say such things.
“Now the Japanese are trying to discredit our efforts in the Safety Zone. They threaten and intimidate the poor Chinese into repudiating what we have said. Some of the Chinese are even ready to prove that the looting, raping and burning was done by the Chinese and not the Japanese. I feel sometimes that we have been dealing with maniacs and idiots and I marvel that all of us foreigners have come through this ordeal alive.” (McCallum, January 9, 1938)
If these missionaries were there protect Chinese citizens, it is hard to understand why they called Chinese who claimed that Chinese military committed crimes “maniacs and idiots.” For Chinese citizens, they have a right to speak freely about crimes committed against them. All they want is to have the criminals punished, whoever the perpetrators may be. Mr. McCallum’s comment can be understood only when one realizes that the true purpose of the American missionaries was to protect not Chinese citizens but the Chinese Army.
Thus, the records of the American missionaries rarely mentioned crimes committed by Chinese soldiers. Instead, they made a huge fuss about alleged crimes committed by the Japanese Army.
Collaborated to maintain the Safety Zone by hiding deserters and the American missionaries
I have previously mentioned that order was restored after the Safety Zone was dissolved. Contrary to assertions by the missionaries, if Chinese deserters were in fact hiding in the Safety Zone and committing crimes, the ensuing series of events would have been:
Chinese soldiers committing crimes as they hid in the Safety Zone,
The American missionaries blaming the Japanese Army for perpetrating these crimes,
And, at the same time, the American missionaries proclaiming the importance of maintaining the Safety Zone under the administration of the missionaries in order to prevent the Japanese Army from committing crimes.
As a result, the Safety Zone is maintained, Chinese soldiers hide in the Safety Zone, commit crimes and so on.
This vicious circle was finally cut in February 1938 after the Japanese Army requested that citizens leave the Safety Zone and return to their homes, virtually dissolving the Safety Zone.
Thus, by dissolution of the Safety Zone, Chinese soldiers could no longer hide in the Safety Zone, and crimes committed by Chinese soldiers ceased. At the same time, American missionaries no longer had Chinese soldiers to protect and support, and no longer needed to make wild claims about Japanese atrocities, thus ending the “Nanjing Incident.”
This would be the only reasonable accounting of events, since the dissolution of the Safety Zone and International Committee coincided with end of the so-called Nanjing Incident.
As evidence, we can mention two Chinese officers under General Tang Sheng-Chih (Commander of the Chinese Nanking Defense Force), who stayed at Mr. Rabe’s house, within the Safety Zone:
“Shortly before eight o’clock Colonels Lung and Chow [General Tang’s messengers] arrive and ask if they can take shelter in my house. I agree.” “At the same time Lung told me that he and Chow have been left behind to care for the wounded. He pleaded with me to help him.”
“Lung and Chow left my house yesterday evening; they intend to leave the city today. I don’t know how. They haven’t volunteered their plans to me and I haven’t asked. Our friendship has in fact been ruptured.”
They remained at Rabe’s house on the pretext of caring for wounded Chinese soldiers, but there is no record anywhere that refers to their activities. And suddenly, on February 15, after the Safety Zone was dissolved, they left Rabe’s house without telling him the reason for their abrupt departure. It is unimaginable that, by this time, all the wounded were made better. Most likely was that it was difficult for them to remain in hiding while carrying out secret operations within the Safety Zone.
Examination based on records of the Japanese side
The Japanese Special Service Agency also recorded the situation:
“The International Committee established the Nanking refugee zone at the end of November  despite the disapproval on the part of the Japanese authorities and sheltered all the remaining refugees in the zone. Even after the Imperial Army entered the walled city, the International Committee continued to provide medical treatment and rice and other supportive activities to the refugees. At the same time the Committee watched actions of our Imperial Army within the refugee zone and tried to actively disseminate harmful propaganda against us to the international community. … It is crystal clear that to allow the International Committee’s activities to linger would do no good but a lot of harm. Up until this time, we have taken every opportunity to check the Committee’s covert activities and as a result we have found that the activities of the International Committee have almost ceased by now.”
To sum up, since the International Committee, which established the refugee zone (the Safety Zone) without the approval of Japanese authorities, conducted venomous propaganda activities against the Japanese Army after the Japanese entered Nanjing, the Japanese authorities restrained the Committee’s activities and as a result, the Committee’s activities almost ceased by the end of February.
“Along with restraining the International Committee’s covert activities, we implemented a policy to dissolve the so-called Safety Zone. …As of the end of February, the number of refugees who returned to their homes (in the first through the fifth districts) amounts to 172,502 in total and in each district, the main streets are densely lined with retail shops, looking extremely busy and prosperous.”
The report continues:
“We arrested and punished law-breaking Chinese who rampaged in the refugee zone, taking advantage of the unusual living conditions in the zone (about five hundred cases) and endeavored to restore order and safety. Thanks to our efforts, now, as of the end of February 1938, security here is generally good.”
We can confirm that the above report completely coincides with the statement of Chancellor Scharffenberg as cited earlier.
Cooperation with the American missionaries and its concealment by China
Thus far, we have proved that the original disseminators of the Nanjing Incident were the American missionaries, that they remained in Nanjing to support and protect the Chinese Army, how they carried out their mission and why they fabricated a “Nanjing Incident.” Now, we will examine how the Chinese cooperated with the Americans in Nanjing.
Mr. Mills’ plan to support and protect the Chinese Army was conveyed to the Chinese
When it comes to examining the cooperative relationship between the Chinese Army and the American missionaries, it is of great consequence to know whether the Chinese realized that the American missionaries intended to help them. Without the knowledge of the American intention to help the Chinese Army, the Chinese could not have benefited from the Americans.
I have previously mentioned Miss Vautrin’s dairy entry dated November 18, 1937, which referred to Mr. Mills’ longing to encourage and comfort the Chinese army. Her entry for the same date continues: “Dr. Ma and Dr. Wu were deeply interested in the idea and there followed a long discussion. Later Colonel J. L. Hwang [in fact “Huang”] was called up and he would come over at once—you remember he was in charge of O.M.E.A. [Officers’ Moral Endeavor Association] for a number of years and now has been put in charge of the Social Service work for the army [War Area Service Corp].”
Readers may not at all be familiar with the “Officers’ Moral Endeavor Association,” “War Area Service Corp” or “J. L. Huang.” Let me explain these, referencing insightful literature related to this field, Chiang Kai-shek and his New Life Movement” written by Mr. Dan Zuiso (Keio University Press Inc., 2006) and J. L. Huang’s autobiography, Memoir of Huang Jen Lin (Denki bungaku shuppan-sha, 1984).
First, the “Officers’ Moral Endeavor Association” was established in January 1929 by Chiang Kai-shek, taking after the “Kaikosha,” the Japanese military officers’ club. Any graduate from the Whampoa Military Academy or the Central Military Academy could join the club, but a pledge allegiance to Chiang Kai-shek, the president, was required. This club could be said to have been a military officers’ club directly controlled by the Generalissimo. And from the early time of the Officers’ Moral Endeavor Association onward, Mr. Huang Jen Lin served as general manager, second only to Chiang Kai-shek.
Mr. Huang Jen Lin was born in 1901 in Jiangxi Province. He graduated from an American university, Vanderbilt University, and received a Master’s degree in politics and economics at Columbia University. He was a Protestant, serving as secretary of the Shanghai YMCA. He was not what one would call a military man. Mr. Huang’s father-in-law, Mr. Yu Ri-zhang (David Z.T. Yui), head of the National Association of Chinese Christian Society, served as a witness to the marriage of Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling. Through his father-in-law, Mr. Huang Jen Lin was closely connected with Chiang Kai-shek and Madam Chiang. Whenever Chiang Kai-shek visited various places in China, Mr. Huang Jen Lin took care of everything during the trip, reserving his hotel room and so forth. He was also a very fluent English speaker and took great care of all visiting Western military and political V.I.P.s. He was dubbed “General Inviter” (his final rank was Lieutenant General).
Later, Mr. Huang attended the Cairo Conference with Chiang Kai-shek as his interpreter in November 1943. Mr. Huang Jen Lin’s memoir was published in 2006 in Beijing, subtitled “My Forty Years as Chiang Kai-shek’s Chief of Special Services.” This subtitle eloquently indicates his relationship with Chiang Kai-shek.
The War Area Service Corp was established as a unit to support combat units in the process of uniting various military forces within the hodgepodge Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek and building the Chinese military after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of July 7, 1937. At that time, Chiang Kai-shek assigned this mission to his reliable “Officers’ Moral Endeavor Association.” Naturally, Mr. Huang Jen Lin, director general of the Officers’ Moral Endeavor Association, became the head of the War Area Service Corp. According to Mr. Huang Jen Lin, the War Area Service Corp was, in fact, nothing but the Officers’ Moral Endeavor Association with military status.
In practice, the War Area Service Corp engaged in recruiting soldiers, taking care of wounded soldiers, transportation, propaganda and other covert operations, generally conducting logistical support. For example, this unit was responsible for taking care of 50,000 American volunteers to support the Chinese.
Thus, Mr. Mills’ plan was conveyed to Mr. Hung Jen Ling, Chiang Kai-shek’s right-hand man and in charge of the Social Service. At the meeting with the Americans, Mr. Huang was not responsive to the plan, but Mr. Mills’ plan to support the Chinese Army in the Safety Zone was dutifully reported to Chiang Kai-shek.
Cooperation and utilization of Mills’ plan on the part of the Chinese
Now, the afore-mentioned riddle regarding the difference in Chiang Kai-shek’s responses to the Shanghai Safety zone and the Nanking Safety Zone, is solved. Although Chiang Kai-shek officially recognized both the Shanghai and the Nanking Safety Zones, why did he give food and money only to Nanking? The reason is now clear. Chiang Kai-shek was told that the Nanking Safety Zone was not to be neutral, as it would be supporting and protecting the Chinese Army. Thus, he gave food and money only to the Nanking Safety Zone and the International Committee.
Quite reasonably, Chinese artillery was left within the Safety Zone and after hostilities ceased, many Chinese soldiers took shelter in the Safety Zone because these measures were previously agreed upon through secret agreements with the American missionaries.
In his dairy, Mr. Rabe wrote that he was furious about the situation, protesting numerous times against the Chinese Army’s unwillingness to withdraw from the Safety Zone. On the other hand, in the American missionaries’ records, the Americans did not chastise the Chinese for not withdrawing from the Safety Zone. What’s more, Mr. Fitch said that the Chinese withdrew.
The Chinese Army did not heed Mr. Rabe’s repeated protests. The International Committee was controlled by American missionaries, and they informed the Chinese of their intention to help the Chinese Army. This was the Chinese Army’s natural response.
By the way, Rabe’s diary described strange Japanese soldiers who frequented Rabe’s house and knocked on the door almost every night:
“As I write this, the fists of Japanese soldiers are hammering at the back gate to the garden. Since my boys don’t open up, heads appear along the top of the wall. When I suddenly show up with my flashlight, they beat a hasty retreat.”
Rabe stated that intruders were Japanese soldiers, but this incident could have been a part of a Chinese secret operation. Let me quote a statement from Mr. Guo Qi, chief of the Chinese transportation corps, who hid in Nanking after the Battle of Nanking:
“During night, beasts [Japanese soldiers] had no guts to take actions, whether inside or outside of the refugee zone, except guards protecting the area where soldiers live. So, this was the good time for us to take actions.”
Thus, Japanese soldiers do not act at night. In the dangerous dark, Japanese soldiers did not move into the Safety Zone, where Chinese soldiers hid. Mr. Tomizawa Shigenobu, who covered and analyzed all literature related to the Nanjing Incident writes:
“At night Japanese soldiers were forbidden to go out. It was pitch dark on the Chinese streets at night at that time. A first-time stranger in the huge capital of China is sure to get lost, if he goes out alone at dark night. There was also a danger of being attacked by Chinese deserters in plain clothes. Moreover, Japanese combat units were required to be fully prepared to fight any time and the front-line squads never fail to call the roll. Therefore, hardly any soldier dared to go out at night against the rule.
To conclude, it was presumably Chinese soldiers who came to Rabe’s house at night and knocked on the door. In the darkness, Mr. Rabe thought his dubious visitors were Japanese soldiers. As we have seen, the missionaries talked Mr. Rabe into believing their story.
Concealment of the cooperative relationship
By the way, here is a strange passage in Rabe’s diary:
I had an interesting conversation with Colonel Huang. He is absolutely against the Safety Zone. In his opinion it demoralizes the troops in Nanking. “Every inch of soil that the Japanese conquer should be fertilized with our blood. Nanking must be defended to the last man. If you had not established your Safety Zone, people now fleeing into the Zone could have helped our soldiers.” What can you say to such monstrous views?
As we have seen, the War Area Service Corp led by Mr. Huang Jen Lin was a service unit and not a combat outfit. In addition, in the first place, Mr. Huang Jen Lin was directly informed by Mr. Mills of the plan to support and protect the Chinese Army in the Safety Zone, and Chiang Kai-shek had already given food and monetary aid as recognition of Mills’ plan. Mr. Huang Jen Lin was the very person concerned with the entire process of the plan. It is hardly plausible that the Chinese authorities condemn the Safety Zone after Chiang Kai-shek gave his approval to it and to Mr. Mills’ plan. Therefore, Mr. Huang Jen Lin’s statement could have been given to camouflage the scheme.
His attitude was not favorable for a safety zone. Readers know that Mr. Huang Jen Lin was general manager of Officers’ Moral Endeavor Association, an officers’ club. He was not a professional military man. As such, dyed-in-the-wool military groups around him, especially those from Whampoa Military Academy, were very tough toward Mr. Huang.
Since Mr. Huang’s statement was meant for Mr. Rabe, its main purpose was to camouflage and conceal the secret agreement between the Chinese Army and the American missionaries from Mr. Rabe, the chairman of the International Committee.
Naturally, the International Committee was supposed to be neutral to protect civilians and needed to keep a certain distance from both the Japanese and Chinese Armies. In particular, Chairman Rabe, representing the International Committee, needed to think neutral and act accordingly. Mr. Mills’ plan to protect and support the Chinese Army within the Safety Zone, specifically, the Safety Zone existed solely to protect and support the Chinese Army, was never to be known by Mr. Rabe. Thus, Mr. Huang’s views cast doubt over the whole premise of the Safety Zone and the International Committee.
After understanding that missionary Mills’ offer of support and protection for the Chinese army within the Safety Zone was conveyed to Mr. Huang Jen Lin, Chiang Kai-shek’s right-hand man, to read Rabe’s diary now, Mr. Rabe was made to look all the more ridiculous, like an innocent “Pierrot”. We can see how successfully the American missionaries and the Chinese collaborated in deceiving Mr. Rabe.
What did evangelical work by a religious body mean?
So far, we have demonstrated the American missionaries’ support for the Chinese Army in Nanjing and their cooperative relationship with the Chinese. However, it would be wrong to assert that only the 14 American missionaries who remained in Nanjing were involved in supporting the Chinese Army or in creating the “Nanjing Incident.”
They were Protestant missionaries and they had many Protestant followers. There were about 500,000 Chinese Protestants among about 500 million Chinese at the time. The number of Chinese Protestants varied regionally. Suppose that there were about 200,000 Chinese in Nanjing at that time, simple arithmetic would estimate that there were around 200 Chinese Protestants. Mr. Mills stated that they should support and protect the Chinese Army in Nanjing as evangelical work. It is very likely that Chinese Protestants were also engaged in evangelical work under the American missionaries.
In fact, a Chinese pastor claimed that the “Nanjing Incident” did happen. American missionaries acknowledged imaginary cases reported by Chinese Protestants as fact without verifying them and went on to blame the Japanese Army for wrongdoings. Such a scenario likely played out within the religious community.
The missionaries were not individuals, but a religious body and their mission was simply a religious one. This means that their actions tend to be organized by strongly bound members of the religious body. Naturally, they performed passionate and enormous acts. In analyzing activities by a religious body, we must not overlook this.