24 Images of the Brutal Nanking Massacre

30 Dec 1937, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China Original caption: Nanking, China: Symbol Of The Tragedy OF China. Holding a hand, now cold in death, a Chinese mother is shown beside the body of her slain husband in Nanking. the baby is too young to realize the significance of the tableau, but the mother suffers enough for both. Gone is the Oriental stoicism as she mourns all that life held dear to her. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
ca. 1938, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. Jap headsman tells Chinese prisoner how to hold the head for quick slicing off. Image by © Bettmann/Corbis
07 Nov 1938, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. Chinese prisoners being buried alive by their Japanese captors outside the city of Nanjing, during the infamous Rape of Nanjing. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
07 Nov 1938, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. Chinese prisoners are used as live targets in a bayonet drill by their Japanese captors during the infamous Rape of Nanjing. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
1937, China. Confident Japanese troops raise their rifles into the air somewhere near the Chinese capital of Nanjing, 1937. | Location: near Nanjing, China. Image by © CORBIS
CHINA – JANUARY 01: Chinese Puppet Government Set Up By Japan In Nankin. Photographed At Pekin On January 1938. Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
CHINA – JANUARY 04: Mounted Japanese Troops Passing Under The Chungshan Gate While Entering Nanking, China, On January 4, 1938. Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
An official Japanese picture of a captured Chinese soldier, Nanking, China, December 1937. With or without uniforms, thousands of Chinese soldiers at Nanking were brutally executed. Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images
A Japanese bugle symbolically sounds the victory cease fire from his position on top of Purple Mountain during the Second Sino-Japanese occupation in Nanking, China, in Jan. 1938. AP Photo
05 Jan 1938, Tokyo, Japan. Japanese Schoolboys Celebrating Fall of Nanking. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
The Second Sino-Japanese War occurred as a full blown war between the years of 1937 and 1945. While China was in a civil dispute between the nationalists and communists, Japan entered and a war was started. Before the massacre, Nanking only had around 250,000 residents. However, due to Japanese/Chinese fighting since 1931, the Chinese government moved the capital from Peking to Nanking. This raised the population well over a million people; many of them were refugees. Imgur
The soldiers would sometimes gather families and children, line them against a wall, and machine-gun them down. In a more horrific manner, they were seen entering homes, raping and beheading the women, and finally beheading the men in the family. I can’t imagine how scared these people must have been. Imgur
“The Japanese would take any men they found as prisoners, neglect to give them water or food for days, but promise them food and work. After days of such treatment, the Japanese would bind the wrists of their victims securely with wire or rope and herd them out to some isolated area. The men, too tired or dehydrated to rebel, went out eagerly, thinking they would be fed. By the time they saw the machine guns, or the bloodied swords and bayonets wielded by waiting soldiers, or the massive graves, heaped and reeking with the bodies of the men who had preceded them, it was already too late to escape.” Imgur
Japanese forces storm a barricade during the fighting in Nanking. ABC