History

History

Using the arguments provided in the Walzer text as well as information from lecture and documents on Blackboard, make a case as to whether or not the behavior of Japanese soldiers in Nanking was justifiable.

Week Six Outline

 

The Nanking Massacre (the Rape of Nanking)

 

  • Starts December 13, 1937 and lasts 6 months
  • Takes place in Nanking, the capital of China
  • Part of larger Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), which merges with WWII
  • 40,000-300,000 killed in Nanking
  • Records of incident destroyed or kept secret
  • Six weeks of looting and rape

 

  • Chiang Kai-shek: leader of China; removes most of troops in Nanking
  • General Tang Shengzhi: Chinese general in charge at Nanking; announces that they will not surrender and “fight to the death”
  • John Rabe: German Nazi Party member in Nanking

 

 

  • Violence starts before Japanese arrive in Nanking
  • Sword killing contest between two officers
  • Civilians begin to flee due to impending battle as well as Chinese troops with “scorched earth policy” orders
  • Nanking Safety Zone: many Westerners are living in Nanking (trading and missionaries)
    • 15 of them set up the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone
    • John Rabe (the German Nazi Party member) heads it

 

 

Japanese Leadership:

  • Emperor Hirohito
  • Prince Yasuhiko Asaka assigned to Nanking
  • Asaka order: “kill all captives”

 

 

The Battle:

  • Dec 9: Noon: Japanese demand surrender within 24 hours
  • Chinese plan: three day cease fire where Chinese troops can leave the city
  • Problem: Chiang Kai-Shek will not allow the surrender: “Defend to the last man.”
  • Dec 12: total chaos
  • Dec 13: Mopping-Up Operation; go into the Nanking Safety Zone

 

  • 20,000 women raped
  • Thousands of elderly and children sexually assaulted
  • Gang rapes
  • Mutilations
  • 60,000 civilians massacred (some say way more than that)
  • POWs: Hirohito orders his men to stop using the term; search and destroy; Dec 18: 57,500 POWs killed on just this day
  • Arson
  • Theft
  • Nanking Safety Zone invaded

 

In the End:

  • After surrender of Japan in WWII, officers in charge at Nanking are tried
  • Many not tried: Prince Asaka granted immunity
  • Only two convicted of the rape of Nanking
  • 7 sentenced to death by hanging; 18 others see lesser charges
  • Legacy: many still deny the incident

 

 

 

War’s Means and the Importance of Fighting Well:

 

The Argument of Henry Sidgwick:

  • English philosopher and economist
  • How can soldiers fight justly?
  • According to Sidgwick: Q it is not permissible to do “any mischief which does not tend materially to the end [of victory], nor any mischief of which the conduciveness to the end is slight in comparison with the amount of the mischief.” Q 129
    • Excessive harm is prohibited; going beyond what is needed for victory is excessive and harmful behavior
    • There are proper ways to kill

 

 

  • Walzer points out:
  • 129 Q It would be difficult to condemn soldiers for anything they did in the course of a battle or a war that they honestly believed, and had good reason to believe, was necessary, or important, or simply useful in determining the outcome. Q

So, the men who sprayed Agent Orange: are they guilty of anything?

Or, how about the higher ups who ordered it?  Are they the guilty ones?

Or do we have to go way up?  Was LBJ the guilty party?

 

 

A Good General:

 

  • According to Sidgwick: 130: Q a good general is a moral man. He keeps his soldiers in check, keyed for battle, so that they don’t run amuck among civilians; he sends them to fight only after having thought through a battle plan, and his plan is aimed at winning as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Q

So, what of the general in charge at Nanking?

 

 

Human Rights: the Rape of the Italian Women, pg 133:

  • Marocchinate: “those given the Moroccan treatment”
  • Moroccan soldiers serving for the French Expeditionary corps
  • May 18, 1944: Monte Cassino captured by Allies
  • Following night: thousands of Moroccan soldiers turn loose on towns and villages

 

  • 60,000 raped and sexually assaulted; aged 11-86
  • Men who tried to protect women are killed
  • 800 men killed
  • Some say it’s a lie: German propoganda
  • Monument in Italy to remember women
  • 1950s: STD epidemic sweeps the region
  • 134 Q Rape is a crime, in war as in peace, because it violates the rights of the woman who is attacked. To offer her as bait to a mercenary soldier is to treat her as if she were not a person at all but a mere object, a price or trophy of war. Q
  • Rape is not legitimate act because it violates the rights of a person
  • A soldier has the right to kill another soldier, but not to rape anyone

 

 

Status of Individuals:

  • 138 Q The first principle of the war convention is that, once war has begun, soldiers are subject to attack at any time (unless they are wounded or captured). And the first criticism of the convention is that this principle is unfair…. It does not take into account that few soldiers are wholeheartedly committed to the business of fighting.  Most of them do not identify themselves as warriors; at least, that is not their only or their chief identity; nor is fighting their chosen occupation. … I want to turn now to a recurrent incident in military history in which soldiers, simply by not fighting, appear to regain their right to life.  In fact, they do not regain it, but the appearance will help us understand the grounds on which the right is held, and the facts of the case will clarify the meaning of its forfeiture.

Naked Soldiers:

  • Walzer discusses the reluctance and hesitancy of soldiers to kill
  • Walzer cites Wilfred Owen’s WWI letter to his brother: 139

When we were marching along a sunken road, we got the wind up once. We knew we must have passed the German outpost somewhere on our left rear. All at once, the cry rang out, “line the bank.” There was a tremendous scurry of fixing bayonets, tugging of breech covers, and opening pouches, but when we peeped over, behold a solitary German, haring along toward us, with his head down and his arms stretched in front of him, as if he were going to take a high dive through the earth (which I have no doubt he would like to have done). Nobody offered to shoot him, he looked too funny…

Walzer’s Point: 139 Q A soldier who looks funny is not at that moment a military threat; he is not a fighting man but simply a man, and one does not kill men. Q

 

 

Applying Walzer to Nanking:

  • Walzer points out: It’s a principle of the war convention that noncombatants CANNOT be attacked at any time

153: Q It is permitted to perform an act likely to have evil consequences (the killing of noncombatants) provided the following four conditions hold.

  • The act is good in itself or at least indifferent, which means, for our purposes, that it is a legitimate act of war
  • The direct effect if morally acceptable—the destruction of military supplies, for example, or the killing of enemy soldiers
  • The intention of the actor is good, that is, he aims only at the acceptable effect; the evil is not one of his ends, nor is it a means to his ends
  • The good effect if sufficiently good to compensate for allowing the evil effect

 

 

Walzer’s Application to the Nanking Massacre:

Repeat: Walzer points out:

  • 129 Q It would be difficult to condemn soldiers for anything they did in the course of a battle or a war that they honestly believed, and had good reason to believe, was necessary, or important, or simply useful in determining the outcome. Q

 

According to Sidgwick: 130: Q a good general is a moral man.  He keeps his soldiers in check, keyed for battle, so that they don’t run amuck among civilians; he sends them to fight only after having thought through a battle plan, and his plan is aimed at winning as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Q

  • So, what of the general in charge at Nanking?

 

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