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Witness testimonies and evidence on Nanjing Massacre


11-13-2016 12:23 BJT

Justice was brought to bear following the horrors committed in Nanjing during the Tokyo Trials, which began in 1946 and ended two years later. Described by the top prosecutor as "a fight for civilization," the trials set out to prove the extent of the atrocities and charge those responsible of war crimes.

On August 15th, 1945, Japan announced its surrender.

Tens months later the International Military Tribunal for the Far East Court - otherwise known as the Tokyo Trials - convened.

Japanese military and political leaders on trial denied the events in Nanjing, saying there had been no massacre of civilians, and that claims of military captives being killed was misinformation.

To find out the truth, a number of witnesses were called. Among the first to testify was Robert Wilson, a US doctor working at one of Nanjing’s hospitals at the time. He said that starting December 13th, 1937, the hospital’s beds were constantly filled with people who’d been stabbed, burned, or raped by Japanese soldiers.

American priest John Magee was another foreign witness to testify. After Nanjing’s fall, John Magee risked his own life recording the atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers in Nanjing. The video tape was played in court.

Chinese survivors of the massacre also testified. Among them was Wu Changde, who survived indiscriminate Japanese shooting by falling to the floor and pretending to be dead.

In addition to evidence presented in court, foreign media reports also provided powerful evidence of the Japanese army’s atrocities. On Decemember 18th, 1937, The New York Times published a report by one of its correspondents in Nanjing, titled "ALL CAPTIVES SLAIN." The report, which described in great detail the brutal acts committed, used the name" Nanjing Massacre" for the first time.

Japanese general Iwane Matsui faced charges of having ordered the massacre, which he denied.

In November 1948, Iwane Matsui was sentenced to death by hanging.

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