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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

In December of 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army marched into China and began committing acts of aggression upon the lay citizens that many would deem “atrocities.” Eyewitness accounts, diaries, letters, and photographs captured unthinkable crimes against countless men, women, and children. In the 1970s, a debate began over the actual destruction inflicted upon the citizens of Nanking and other cities. The event received many labels from “The Rape of Nanking” and “The Great Nanking Massacre,” to the “Nanking Incident” and the “Nanking Campaign,” all of which would be important to certain schools of thought that would emerge on the subject. This essay will seek to explore and explain differing schools of thought, as the “Rape of Nanking” is not a cut and dry issue even some seventy years later. Journalists, historians, scholars, and regular citizens will all disagree on the matter to some extent. Some of the major factions that emerged, and which the author will examine, are the Traditionalists, the Centrists, and the Revisionists. The author will also mention some minor factions as they pertain to the major factions and will investigate other issues such as the timeline argument, and the numbers argument.

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Asian History Commons

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