by historians to be one of the most shocking, ghastly, and revolting massacres perpetrated by Japanese soldiers in the course of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Even though Japan had been gnawing away at Northeastern China for years, beginning with the culmination of the Russo-Japanese War in the early 20th century and centered primarily in Manchuria, the second war between Japan and China, also called the War of Japanese Resistance, is widely known to have begun after the 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident. This event resulted in the eruption of total war between Japan and China. In China, Japan, the United States and the rest of the world, possibly no wartime barbarism committed by the Japanese against the Chinese people is more known far and wide than the Rape of Nanking. Nevertheless, whatever the importance of sheer recognition of the name, the memorial and history of the Nanjing massacre are deeply complicated.
The significance and implication of the Nanking massacre have constantly evolved over time. Furthermore, the line dividing illegal violent acts against civilians and war crimes against combatant was unclear. Still, since 1937, scholars in the U.S., Japan, and China have struggled with the Nanking massacre, and, in every nation, over time, new interpretations are introduced. Not totally unforeseen, the known significance and implications of the Nanjing massacre have evolved according to the changing domestic and global political context of the period. The Pacific War and the Sino-Japanese War, from 1937 to 1945, influenced the memory and history of Nanking across the globe. The cold war, the Chinese civil war, and Japan’s downfall, from 1945 to 1971, brought about continuous modifications of the interpretation of the Nanjing massacre in China, Japan, and the U.S.
From 1971 to 1989, the Japanese and American acknowledgment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Vietnam War, and the debate over Japan’s history textbooks brought about additional