“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

-Plato

During the Sino-Japanese war, late 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army massacred both civilians and soldiers over the course of six weeks in the Chinese city of Nanking (or Nanjing). Out of a population of 600,000, 300,000 were killed.

Emerging victorious in Shanghai, the Imperial Army turned its sights towards Nanking. Afraid of losing soldiers, Chinese leaders removed all troops from the city, leaving it defenseless. Citizens were barred from evacuating. The Allied Forces set up a safety zone, where citizens could stay.

However, the safety zone could not save many. When the Japanese entered, they committed numerous atrocities, targeting infants, and pregnant women. Accounts from that time detail soldiers proudly posing with victims and having killing contests to see who could reach a kill count first. Bodies littered the streets for months, and the Imperial Army took hold of the safety zone. The event is described as the “rape of Nanking”, due to almost 80,000 women being violated.

For years, the Japanese government denied it, but recently they have taken responsibility, and apologised for the actions of their predecessors during and before World War 2. It stands as one of the lesser known genocides in history.