On this day: Chinese retreat in Nanking

Chinese_clean_up_mess_in_NankingChinese people clean up the mess which was made at the time of the retreat of Chinese soldiers.(December 22, 1937) Japanese Rape of Nanking Massacre

22nd December 1937: Locals in Nanking, China clean up after the retreat of the Chinese army. The image appeared in a January 1938 edition of Japanese news picture magazine Asahi Graph. Japan had defeated China in the Battle of Nanking earlier in the month.

Despite promises that civilians wouldn’t be harmed, by the time the image was published Japanese soldiers had killed between 40 000 and 300 000 people in what would become known as the Rape of Nanking, or the Nanking Massacre.

On this day: Japanese troops in China

9th December 1937: Japanese troops march on Nanking, China, carrying guns and wheels.

Days later, the soldiers would begin a spree of mass rape and mass murder that claimed the lives of between 40 000 and 300 000 people. The crime would come to be known as the Rape of Nanking, or the Nanking Massacre.

Carrying_guns_and_wheels01The Japanese military unit gradually closes up to Nanking Castle for all-out attack, carrying guns and wheels on their shoulders and backs.(Dec. 9, 1937) Rapae

A Chinese suicide bomber prepares.

Chinese_infantry_soldier_preparing_a_suicide_vest_of_Model_24_hand_grenades_at_the_Battle_of_Taierzhuang_against_Japanese_TanksThe Battle of Taierzhuang, part of the Second Sino-Japanese

The Battle of Taierzhuang, part of the Second Sino-Japanese War between China and Japan, ran from the 24th of March to the 7th of April, 1938. The first major Chinese victory of the conflict, it was won in part because of the lengths the Chinese soldiers were willing to go to for victory.

This image shows one of China’s suicide bombers putting on a vest made of hand grenades. Some soldiers threw themselves under Japanese tanks and blew themselves – and the vehicles – up.

The Japanese were humiliated by the defeat and denied it in media reports for days after the battle concluded. Chinese victory gave the morale of their people a big boost.

This war ran up until the conclusion of the Second World War, and is considered part of the Pacific Theatre of the worldwide conflict, ending with Japan’s surrender in 1945.