The Rape of Nanking refers to the violent 1937 - 1938 capture of China's capital city at that point, Nanking, by the Japanese. The Rape of Nanking is also called The Nanking Massacre, The Chinese Holocaust and The Forgotten Holocaust. The horrific violence, including killing and raping, that occurred during this overtaking of the city of Nanking resulted in about 300,000 deaths of both Chinese civilians and soldiers. Dead bodies and blood were said to be common sights on Nanking streets during The Forgotten Holocaust.
In 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese army allowed the Japanese to invade and occupy Nanking, also known as Nanjing. Since the Japanese could surpass Chinese military personnel, many Chinese civilians were injured or murdered. Rape, shooting, stabbing, strangling and drowning were some of the violent acts that the Japanese army committed against the Chinese people during The Rape of Nanking. Some Japanese soldiers locked families or store workers inside a building and then set the house or shop on fire.
The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II is the title of a 1997 bestselling book written by the Chinese-American author, Iris Chang. In Chang's view, the Japanese government hasn't adequately apologized for the violent taking of Nanking during the Chinese Holocaust. Chang's book is available in various languages and is one of the earliest English language books about The Rape of Nanking. Although some critics claim Chang's book is inaccurate in parts, many others praise the work.
Much of the research for Chang's book came from the diaries of Minnie Vautrin and John Rabe who were part of The Nanking Safety Zone. The Zone was formed by foreigners in Nanking. It held about 25 refugee camps that received donations of money and food from the City of Nanking.
The Japanese army had agreed not to enter The Nanking Safety Zone as long as it contained non-military personnel only. Nazi party member John Rabe was one of the leaders of The Nanking Safety Zone project. The Japanese army accused Rabe of permitting non-uniformed guerrilla soldiers into the Zone and they used this information as permissionto go into The Nanking Safety Zone and rape and kill many people there.