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Primary Historical Sources Reveal the Truth about the Nanjing Incident Chapter 5: Verdicts at the Tokyo Trials induced by neutral, third-party American missionaries

By Ikeda Haruka,

Chapter 5: Verdicts at the Tokyo Trials induced by neutral,
third-party American missionaries

1. Fictitious view of history held by American missionaries

(1) Examination of “credible, neutral witnesses”
Currently, the popular view of the Nanjing Incident can be called “the American missionaries’ view of history.” This view is based on the accounts of American missionaries who were regarded as neutral, third-party witnesses and as such constituted the core of statements for the prosecutors at the Tokyo Trials. The view justifies their activities during the period surrounding the Nanjing Incident and their statements were blindly swallowed up as fact without verification. Thus, China’s propaganda after the War and “newly discovered” documents by a handful of Japanese of cases of disorderly conduct during the postwar years were created along the American missionaries’ view.

At the Tokyo Trials, as General Matsui Iwane, commander during the Battle of Nanking, was tried for war crimes, the most influential and powerful statements given were those by “multi-national and totally credible neutral witnesses.”

So, let us reexamine those statements. There were statements made in person, by Mr. Wilson, Mr. Bates and Mr. Magee, at the Tokyo Trials. There were diaries, statements and other papers submitted under oath by Mr. Smythe, Mr. Fitch and Mr. McCallum. All of these were from American missionaries who were in Nanjing at that time.

There were also reports made by American Embassy officials, Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone prepared by the International Committee, reports to the German Embassy by the German Mr. Rabe, and a “Report of a German Eyewitness” submitted by German Lieutenant General von Falkenhausen to Ambassador Trautmann. These are all the documents.

Now, let us examine each of these documents. The “Report of a German Eyewitness,” presented by German Lieutenant General von Falkenhausen to Ambassador Trautmann, did not specify who was the eyewitness, but the fact that the report came from Lieutenant General von Falkenhausen gives it an air of legitimacy. However, as Mr. Ara Kenichi made clear in his book, Nicchu senso wa doitsu ga shikaketa—shanhai sen to doitsu gunjin komondan no nazo [The Sino-Japanese War Was Staged by Germany—the riddle about the Battle of Shanghai and the German military advisors] (Shogakukan, 2008), Lieutenant General von Falkenhausen was a military advisor to Chiang Kai-shek, Therefore, it cannot be said that Lieutenant General von Falkenhausen was a neutral third-party observer.

In Mr. Rabe’s records, he does not mention any eyewitnesses to a massacre but instead reports of hearsay from American missionaries. Furthermore, we have already seen that Mr. Rabe himself ended up as a puppet, manipulated by the American missionaries. Mr. Rabe, though, had honest intentions to help refugees. In summary, Mr. Rabe’s report was nothing more than a rehashing of the American missionaries’ statements.

Moreover, the International Committee was the American missionaries’ committee and, as we have already seen, Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone, compiled by the International Committee was virtually composed by the American missionaries.

In an American Embassy officials’ report, there was no record of eyewitnesses to a massacre or violence committed by the Japanese Army and we have already seen that massacre claims and claims to atrocities were reported by American missionaries. Thus, the statements of the American missionaries are critical in discussing this issue.

Regarding the American missionaries, we have seen that they had declared their support and protection of the Chinese Army and did exactly that. Even after hostilities ceased, they needed to spread their “Japanese military’s reign of terror” propaganda in order to maintain their safety zone, in turn, to continue supporting and protecting the Chinese Army. I have also pointed out that the American missionaries’ intention to support and protect the Chinese Army within the Safety Zone was clearly conveyed to China, which revealed the cooperative relationship between the Chinese and the American missionaries. Thus, claims of “multi-national and totally credible neutral witnesses,” such as the American missionaries, are utterly fantastic.

(2) A view of Mr. Shields, a member of the International Committee
Now, listen to a truly neutral, third-party individual who did not appear at the Tokyo Trials. As previously described, Mr. Shields was listed as a member of the International Committee but, in fact, he was not much influenced by the American missionaries. Mr. Shields, an English businessman, regarded the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone as “something in fact quite partisan.”
Here, “partisan” means “a member of the irregular army.” Therefore, the Committee was far from neutral. The source continues to say:

“He [Shields] feels that the Japanese were fully warranted in rejecting the zone, and his opinion is that the proposal was a dishonorable one, meriting the Japanese scorn which he believes it received. He regrets that his name was in any way associated with the project.”

The Safety Zone had no legitimacy and the proposal to establish such a safety zone by the International Committee should have been denounced. Mr. Shields regretted that he was listed as a member.

This was the assessment of the International Committee by a third party, independent of both China and Japan. We have already seen that the International Committee was nothing more than a group of American missionaries. Mr. Shields’ statements show that the historical view held by the American missionaries, who claimed to be a neutral third party, was entirely fictitious.

2. Existence of forged papers

By the way, “A Report of a German Eyewitness,” which we have noted that was allegedly presented to Ambassador Trautmann by Lieutenant General Falkenhausen, is very interesting material. Let us examine this book.

Mr. Ishida Yuji, who translated and compiled the book, assumed that the eyewitness report was written by Mr. Rabe, based on the book’s contents. In fact, the report is a well-made forgery. Evidence to demonstrate this is quite simple.

The report states that, “There were merely 22 Europeans remaining in the walled city and they were to administer the Safety Zone, which was under preparation for establishment in the middle of November as the Nanking International Committee.” The fact is that Mr. Rabe and other Europeans who were invited to join the International Committee by American missionaries were fully aware that they were members of the Committee. This is clearly seen from Mr. Rabe’s diary. The 22 remaining Westerners (5 Germans, 1 Austrian, 2 Russians, and 14 Americans) and the members of the International Committee (Danish, English, German and Americans, 15, possibly 16, in all) were clearly known. In fact, Mr. Rabe described in detail roles of each Committee member. Assuming the 22 remaining Westerners were all members of the International Committee, it follows that the Russians were members of the Committee as well. However, neither Mr. Rabe nor the other Germans recognized the Russians as members at all. Therefore, the statement of the 22 members of the international Committee was made either by the Chinese or by the American missionaries. The American missionaries knew the composition of the committee members. The American missionaries did not pay mind making false expressions so as long as they were far could not be directly implicated. (Incidentally, Japan also mistook the 22 foreigners shown in a documentary film Nanking, released in 1938 as members of the “the International Committee.)

Moreover, this forgery, “A Report of a German Eyewitness,” is a very interesting in that this supplemented a reported case at Qixiashan (refer to Chapter 1, 3-(4)) which Mr. Sindberg reportedly translated. Mr. Sindberg stated, “This is a translation from Chinese, therefore it may not be exactly the original.” Thus, Mr. Sindberg had no involvement with the case at Qixiashan. Moreover, the report in question lacks specifics and hardly stands as evidence. However, this case was very important to the missionaries because this incident took place in the suburbs of Nanjing, far away from the walled city of Nanjing within which were the missionaries.

Thus, by claiming that an alleged incident took place elsewhere, away from the walled city of Nanjing, the American missionaries can state that Japanese military atrocities occurred “in other places,” in addition to within the walled city of Nanjing where the American missionaries were. (Mr. Bates also insisted on mentioning alleged incidents that took place beyond the walled city of Nanjing during the process of discussing the contents of What War Means with Mr. Timperley.)

“A Report of a German Eyewitness” was very important in that the eyewitness was a German, and not an American, and that it claimed that Japanese military atrocities occurred beyond the walled city of Nanjing. Therefore, the American missionaries took great pains to produce this report.

Incidentally, there is a document within the aforementioned Historical Source: The Nanjing Incident Seen by a German Diplomat (p. 50-58). The document is similar to “A Report of a German Eyewitness” with the same sentences at the end in both these documents. They were supposedly written by the same author. (Described as “Mr. Kroeger”.)
This book was not submitted to the Tokyo Trials. This book also contained a report of the Qixiashan incident. In the “Report of a German Eyewitness,” there is this phrase: “The International Committee for the Nanking Refugee Zone was established by the total of 22 Westerners remaining in Nanking in the middle of November.” Therefore, this document found within Historical Source: The Nanjing Incident Seen by a German Diplomat is also a forgery for the same reason as I have just explained.

It is reasonable to think that these forged documents were the result of a collaboration between Mr. Fitch and the Chinese, based on Mr. Rabe’s diary. Mr. Rabe’s diary was taken out of Nanjing to Shanghai by missionary Fitch on January 29, 1938. As mentioned earlier, Mr. Fitch was an advisor to the War Area Service Corps of the Chinese Army and so it would have been easy for Mr. Fitch to contact Lieutenant General Falkenhausen, military advisor to Chiang Kai-shek.

Thus, the existence of these forged documents created at that time of the so-called Nanjing Incident proves that the Nanjing Incident was in fact fictitious.

3. Issues related to burials and population matters

(1) The burials issue
Let us now examine the number of bodies buried. It was said at the Tokyo Trials that contemporary burial records were a basis for an alleged massacre of more than 100,000 people. According to sources submitted to the court, the Red Swastika Society buried 43,071 and Chong Shan Tang buried 112,266. Regarding these numbers, it was often pointed out that activities of Chong Shan Tang were not verified, which is shown in a memorandum that Chancellor Scharffenberg wrote at the time:

“They are now hard at work removing bodies from the center of the city. The Red Swastika Society has been given permission to bury the 30,000 bodies in Hsiakwan. They manage 600 a day. The bodies are wrapped in lime and straw mats, with only the legs hanging out, then driven back to the city and buried in mass graves also filled with lime. It’s said that circa 10,000 have been dealt with.” (Scharffenberg, March 4, 1938)

From this record, we learn that permission from the Japanese authorities was needed for burials and that the Red Swastika Society performed about 30,000 burials. The Red Swastika Society reportedly buried about 40,000 according to a record submitted at the Tokyo Trials–there is a difference of 10,000 burials. However, one could accept this difference as a difference in terms of scale.

However, Chancellor Scharffenberg did not mention burials performed by Chong Shan Tang in his statement. According to the Chong Shan Tang’s record submitted at the Tokyo Trials, they buried twice the number of bodies that the Red Swastika Society did. If the Chong Shan Tang had really undertaken the number of burial it reported, it is extremely unusual that Chancellor Scharffenberg, who witnessed burials, only referred to the small-scale efforts of the Red Swastika Society.

In addition, the Red Swastika Society dealt with burials following obtaining permission from Japanese authorities. If the Chong Shan Tang engaged in burials, they would have needed Japanese permission, too. Therefore, it is entirely odd that the Japanese did not to recognize the Chong Shan Tang for their activities.

From these facts, we must conclude that the Chong Shan Tang’s burial record submitted at the Tokyo Trials is entirely unreliable. Therefore, more realistic is that around 40,000 bodies were buried by the Red Swastika Society, based on their burial record.

As to the strength of the Chinese Army in the Battle of Nanjing, there are various estimates. Based on the history of wars compiled by the Republic of China, the dominant estimate is that there was an army of 100,000. If there had been more than 100,000 bodies (more than 150,000, combining the burials performed by the Red Swastika Society and the Chong Shan Tang), military casualties alone would have been insufficient. A great massacre of civilians would have been needed in order to raise the numbers. Of the 40,000 bodies, these would have been military casualties. Indeed, 40,000 dead is not unusual as wartime casualties rates go. Clearly, the number Red Swastika Society burials cannot be used as evidence of a horrible massacre of civilians.

(2) The population issue
Now, let us examine the issue of the population of Nanjing, which was intentionally avoided during the Tokyo Trials. It seems to be well-known that when the defense brought up the population of Nanjing, Chief Justice Webb overruled the defense and this was never again brought up.

In Chapter 1 of this book, I explained that before the Battle of Nanjing, the Chinese thoroughly burned the area surrounding the walled city of Nanjing. After the Japanese Army entered the walled city, they restricted entry and exit to and from the walled city and the area within the walls was isolated and closed. Under such a circumstance, the International Committee fed civilians. Let us see how the Committee discussed the population of Nanjing.

First, concerning the population before the Japanese Army entered the Walled City of Nanjing:

“It is estimated that altogether some 200,000 people will have to be cared for, when the zone is put into operation.” (November 30, 1937)

And after the Japanese entered the walled city, almost all civilians were in the Safety Zone:

“…on the 13th when your troops enter the city, we had nearly all the civilian population gathered in a zone…” ( December 17, 1937)

And after the Japanese entered the city, the population was described as:

“We 22 Westerners cannot feed 200,000 Chinese civilians…” (December 18, 1937)

“…in view of the fact that the International Committee has reserved food supplies to feed these 200,000 people one week only…” (December 21, 1937)

“We understand that you registered 160,000 people without including children under 10 years of age, and in some sections without including older women. Therefore there are probably 250,000 to 300,000 civilians in the city. (January 14, 1938)

“…in the problem of seeing that the 250,000 civilians in this city are fed…” (January 19, 1938)

“A population of 250,000 should have at least 2,000 tan of rice or 1,600 bags of rice per day.” (February 10, 1938)

The International Committee estimated the civilian population to be 200,000 on November 30, 1937, before the battle started and this number remained the same after December 13, 1937, when the Japanese Army entered the walled city. Moreover, on January 14, 1938, the Committee increased this estimate, to 250,000, based on the partial registration implemented by the Japanese Army. Thereafter, the population was recorded to be at this level. During this time, to this author’s knowledge, there was no drastic influx of people into the walled city, in the order of 10,000 people. At that time, Nanjing was closed and isolated.

If there had been any increase in population, it would have been from Chinese soldiers pretending to be civilians. In such a case, however, the increase would have been by at most 2,000 to 3,000. It would have been impossible for 10,000 Chinese deserters to hide among 200,000 civilians as the Japanese Army actively searched for Chinese soldiers.

Therefore, based on the documents of the International Committee, the civilian population within the walled city was stable. The population estimate changed only once, from 200,000 up to 250,000, based on a partial count performed by the Japanese. Thus, reports of a stable population over time within the walled city would make an alleged massacre of civilians within the city entirely bizarre. This is the likely reason that the population of Nanjing was not discussed at the Tokyo Trials.