ANJING MASSACRE 70TH ANNIVERSARY
Look back in anger
By DAVID McNEILL
Special to The Japan Times
This article in Japan Times, Thursday, December 6, 2007 is interesting and astonishing if one happens to be commited to the historical facts no matter what. It seems to us that there are still people that have learned nothing (or refuse to learn) from the lessons of the Katyn massacre.
Let's refresh the "Nanjing Massacre"-fans memorries.
The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre (Polish: zbrodnia katyńska, literally 'Katyń crime'), was a mass execution of Polish citizens ordered by Soviet authorities in 1940. Estimates of the number of executed persons ranges from 15,000 to 21,768). Polish POWs and prisoners were murdered in Katyn forest, Kalinin (Tver) and Kharkiv prisons and elsewhere. About 8,000 of the victims were officers taken prisoner during the 1939 invasion of Poland, the rest being Polish citizens who had been arrested for allegedly being "intelligence agents, gendarmes, spies, saboteurs, landowners, factory owners, lawyers, priests and officials." Since Poland's conscription system required every unexempted university graduate to become a reserve officer, the Soviets were thus able to round up much of the Polish intelligentsia, as well as the Jewish, Ukrainian, Georgian and Belarusian intelligentsia of Polish citizenship.
The Katyn Massacre was beneficial to Nazi Germany, which used it to discredit the Soviet Union. The Germans assembled and brought in a European commission consisting of twelve forensic experts and their staffs. With the exception of a Swiss from the University of Geneva, all were from lands then occupied by Germany. After the war, all of the experts, save for a Bulgarian and a Czech, reaffirmed their 1943 finding of Soviet guilt. The Soviet government immediately denied the German charges and claimed that the Polish prisoners of war had been engaged in construction work west of Smolensk and consequently were captured and executed by invading German units in August 1941.
The Soviet response on April 15 to the German initial broadcast of April 13, prepared by the Soviet Information Bureau stated that "Polish prisoners-of-war who in 1941 were engaged in country construction work west of Smolensk and who fell into the hands of the German-Fascist hangmen" The Western Allies had an implicit, if unwilling, hand in the cover-up in their endeavour not to antagonise a then-ally, the Soviet Union. On April 24, 1943 Churchill assured the Soviets: "We shall certainly oppose vigorously any 'investigation' by the International Red Cross or any other body in any territory under German authority.
In 1943 the Katyn Manifesto blaming the Soviet Union was published in London (in English) by the eccentric poet Count Geoffrey Potocki de Montalk, who was arrested by the Special Branch and imprisoned. In the United States, a similar line was taken, notwithstanding that two official intelligence reports into the Katyn massacre were produced that contradicted the official position. In 1944 Roosevelt assigned Navy Lieutenant Commander George Earle, his special emissary to the Balkans, to compile information on Katyn, which he did using contacts in Bulgaria and Romania. He concluded that the Soviet Union had committed the massacre. After consulting with Elmer Davis, the director of the Office of War Information, Roosevelt rejected that conclusion, saying that he was convinced of Nazi Germany's responsibility, and ordered Earle's report suppressed. When Earle formally requested permission to publish his findings, the President gave him a written order to desist. Earle was reassigned and spent the rest of the war in American Samoa.
From December 29, 1945 to January 5, 1946, ten officers of the German Wehrmacht – Karl Hermann Strüffling, Heinrich Remmlinger, Ernst Böhm, Eduard Sonnenfeld, Herbard Janike, Erwin Skotki, Ernst Geherer, Erich Paul Vogel, Franz Wiese, and Arno Dürer – were tried by a Soviet military court in Leningrad. In what is now widely considered a show trial, they were falsely charged for an alleged role in the Katyn massacre. The first seven officers were sentenced to death and executed by public hanging on the same day. The other three were sentenced to hard labor, Vogel and Wiese to 20 year terms each and Dürer to 15 years. Dürer is said to have pleaded guilty at the trial and to have returned to Germany later, the fate of the others sentenced to hard labor remains unknown.
In 1946, the chief Soviet prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, Roman A. Rudenko, tried to indict Germany for the Katyn killings but dropped the matter after the United States and United Kingdom refused to support it
On 13 April 1990, the forty-seventh anniversary of the discovery of the mass graves, the USSR formally expressed "profound regret" and admitted Soviet secret police responsibility. That day is also an International Day of Katyn Victims Memorial.
When it comes to the Nanjing Massacre or "Rape of Nanjing" we find Mr McNeill's article in Japan Times not convincing at best, as well as his prediction of that the films : The Iris Chang Story....."The Bitter Sea,"....."Nanking," directed by Bill Guttentag...."Nanking! Nanking!" will create A tsunami of bad publicity from Europe and America,........... Japanese neonationalists have little hope of winning the propaganda war second time around is mildly put ridiculous.
Whatever Hollywood, Hong Kong and other film makers will try to profit from the Iris Chang fiction-best-seller will be insignificant and not change the facts at all.
The Japanese Army surrounding Nanjing by end of November 1937 called for surrender and opening of the city to avoid civilian casualties.
General Tang Shengzhi was given the job of defending Nanjing following the retreat of the Chinese Army after the Battle of Shanghai. In a press release to foreign reporters, he announced the city would not surrender and would fight to the death. The defense force blocked roads, ruined boats, and burnt nearby villages, preventing many citizens from evacuating. However, the defense plan fell apart from the very beginning because the defenders were overwhelmed by Chinese troops fleeing from previous defeats such as the Battle of Shanghai, and these troops just wanted to escape to safer ground and refused to obey any orders. As Chiang Kai-shek and his staff such as Chen Cheng had realized, Chinese elite troops could not risk annihilation in a hopeless but symbolic defensive battle in the capital, so in order to preserve these forces for future battles, most of them were withdrawn. General Tang Shengzhi gathered about 100,000 soldiers, mostly untrained, including a few defeated troops from the Shanghai battlefield, to defend the capital. He also placed the 35th and 72nd divisions at the port to prevent people from fleeing Nanjing, as instructed by Chiang Kai-shek's general headquarters at Wuhan. However, the government left Nanking on December 1, and the president left on December 7. Nanjing was left to an International Committee led by John Rabe. By Dec. 10. when the Japanese army commenced the attack, there was chaos and anarchy in Nanjing, low morale, fleeing troops, searching houses for civilian clothes, supervising units shooting fleeing soldiers. (Yijiang Gate)
Swiss correspondent for the German newspaper Frankfurter Zeitung Lilly Abegg on Nov 29. 1937: Wherever we went, we could see that order had turned into chaos. A train carrying 2000 wounded soldiers arrived at Nanking Station but no one paid it any heed. There were no medical soldiers. The wounded soldiers were left there for two days, the corpses emitted a horrible stench. In "Escape from Nanking: Our Last Days in China's Capital," she wrote: The last sights I saw in Nanking were endless lines of evacuees, boarded-up houses and shops, and troops rushing in to defend the capital, the air-raid siren wailing all the while. Rickshaws and automobiles were piled high with packing crates, bundles, furniture, and humanity. Crowds of departing residents were on the move at all hours of the day and night. One by one, the shops closed down. Since the electricity in most of the houses had already been turned off, merchants were selling off their remaining stock by candlelight. It was impossible to find packing crates or brown paper anywhere - the shops were all sold out. Last week about 200,000 people left Nanking. One million souls once inhabited the city, but their numbers had dwindled to 350,000. Now there are at most 150,000 people remaining, but the waves of evacuees seem interminable.
It is educational here to pause, and look into what kind of army Chiang Kai-shek was defending Nanjing with. The NRA was founded by the Kuomintang in 1925 as the military force destined to unite China in the Northern Expedition, organized with the help of the Comintern-USSR. In 1927, after the dissolution of the First United Front between the Nationalists and the Communists, the ruling Kuomintang purged its leftist members and completely eliminated Soviet influence from its ranks. Chiang Kai-shek then turned to Germany, historically a great military power, for the reorganisation and modernisation of the National Revolutionary Army. When Adolf Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 the anti-communist NSDAP and the anti-communist KMT were soon engaged in close cooperation with Germany training Chinese troops and expanding Chinese infrastructure, while China opened its markets and natural resources to Germany. Max Bauer was the first advisor to China.
Later US General Stilwell followed. Stilwell was constantly embroiled in disagreements with Chiang - whom Stilwell labeled "Peanut" in his official reports - about engaging Chinese forces against the Japanese. Stilwell would press Chiang to fight, while Chiang, with some legitimacy, preferred to preserve a defensive posture for political and military reasons. In his diary, which he faithfully kept, Stilwell began to note the corruption and the amount of money ($380,584,000 in 1944 dollars) being wasted upon the procrastinating Chiang and his government. Stilwell was hampered in large part by the rampant corruption of the Chiang regime; often supplies never made it to the conscripts. The Cambridge History of China, for instance, estimates that some 60-70% of Chiang's Kuomintang conscripts did not make it through their basic training, with some 40% deserting and the remaining 20% dying of starvation before full induction into the military. Upon completion of the infamous "White Paper" (c. 1948) on the Chiang regime President Harry Truman reportedly declared "They're all a bunch of damn thieves!"
So from end Nov. 1937 to Dec. 10. 1937 it was the worst of this "bunch of damn thieves" that ruled Nanjing. And the photos of beheadings and corpses?
These days when we learn that the Iwo jima Flag-raising photo was arranged and perhaps Capa's photo of the falling soldier too, we do not know.
Mr Higashinakano in his book, www.ne.jp/asahi/unko/tamezou/nankin/fiction/chapter02.html may have a point.
The art of manipulating, arranging photos was a very popular instrument in the Soviet and Nazi propaganda tool box.
Trockij, Kamenyev, Zinovjev, Buharin, Jagoda all were earesed from all photos after they were shot by the GPU (later KGB) , (Trotzkij murdered later in Mexico was even taken out of Eizenstein's epic film " October"). After all it was the Comintern - GPU and later the Nazi's that had trained the propaganda dep. of Kuomintang.
They did arrange the 1938 Yellow River flood.
In June 1938, to stop further Japanese advance into western and southern part China and to gain some time for the preparation of the decisive Battle of Wuhan, Chiang Kai-shek and his advisors decided to open up the dike of the Yellow River near Zhengzhou to halt Japanese advance with flood water. The exact location to destroy the dike was originally planned to be Zhaokou, but due to difficulties it was finalized to be at Huayuankou.
The floodwaters began pouring out from Huayuankou in the early morning on June 9, 1938. As a result, the course of the Yellow River was diverted southwards for nine years afterward, inundating 54,000 km² (21,000 square miles) of land in Henan, Anhui, and Jiangsu provinces. All in all, the flood waters took 500,000 to 900,000 lives. To achieve full surprise on the invading Japanese force, the Chinese Nationalist government decided not to inform the mass public before destroying the dyke. The flood submerged millions of homes, and since they were not informed beforehand, the majority of people did not have time to flee.
In other words, it seems the Kuomintang army did not hesitate to use the Chinese population as living shields to gain time, and tactical advantages. They knew Nanjing would fall and since the eye of the world was on them (with many reporters and foreigners still in the city) and no hope for any military advantage they resorted to turn the battle into an experiment of world-wide moral isolation of Japan. Their official claim of 300,000 killed and 20.000 raped is also confusing to say the least. Especially if we accept that the Good Nazi (?????), John Rabe a German businessman whose Nanjing Safety Zone sheltered some 200,000 Chinese from slaughter during the Nanjing Massacre according to resent claims saved 300.000 Chinese.
Maybe Mr McNeill could explain to us how 1,600 Japanese soildiers of the 7th infantery regiment in and around the safety zone could have shot, bayonettet 38,000 Chinese a day, burned 190.000 corpses bethween Dec 14 and Dec 18, raped 20.000 women in the meantime, additionally looting and torching resindential areas and at the same time restoring order and safety in Nanjing by the end of December.
We can not here resist the temptation to suggest, that the the US should consider resurrecting the Imperial Japanese Army's 7th infantery regiment, then hire them as contractors in Baghdad, together with 500 comfort women and restore law and order in the Iraqi capital by Christmas.
by Gabor Fabricius
It may be an insignificant detail, but I happen to have met the son of one of the Wehrmacht officers executed for the Katyn massacre.
It was in Copenhagen 1969 or 1970, his mother had married an American officer, emigrated to the US with him as a child. I do not remember his name.
He was a pothead and haded his stepfather. I told him the thruth about Katyn which still at that time was tabu in Europe.( In our school textbooks in Denmark Katyn was described as massmurder by the Nazis.) I think he did not believe me. He just did not want to go to Vietnam.
Has Japan Times given thought to the mothers, wives, children and grandchildren of the "Nanjing Rapists" ???
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