Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nanjing Campaign According to Officers' testimony (1) April 1984 review

The editor of this Nanjing Campaign history is Unemoto Masami, graduated from officers school of IJA, Class of 46th.  He used to be a professor at University of Defense.  When he wrote this, he was in 70s, and had long been retired as a farmer.

The background of this history was textbook conflict: China protested that Japanese government was water downing  history text books, which they were not (the initial newspaper article that provoked Chinese response was false, or fabrication).  But any how, Nanjing incident was brought into Japanese and global attention again in 80s, because of this.  Actually, PRC began to build monuments of Nanjing incident in the city in 1980s.  The museum was opened in 1985.

PRC claims that more than 300,000 civilians were slaughtered in Nanjing after the fall of Nanjing in December 1937 and  during early 1938.  Tokyo Tribunal after the war ruled that the victims were slightly lower number, 150,000 to 200,000.  The natural feeling of officers, including Unemoto, who participated in the campaign was that the numbers were too large to be believable.  Since IJA burned down most of the military documents immediately before the surrender, there are not many official documents left.  Since Japanese government has never contested the ruling of Tokyo Tribunal, and probably never will, the officers decided to find out what really happened by the testimonies of the veterans of the campaign.

Nanjing Campaign was a large military attack after the fall of Shanghai.  The battle was quick and swift, involving 16th and 9th divisions and 10th regiment (11th division) of Shanghai expeditionary army; 114th, 6th, and 18th divisions of 10th army; 41th regiment; the third fleet of Navy; and army air force.

The decision to attack Nanjing was made on December 1, and Nanjing fell on December 13, 1937.

This section describes:
1. The battle in the cities between Shanghai and Nanjing was fierce.  Chinese army often used machine guns from concrete bunkers.  The cities were seriously destroyed when Chinese army resisted.  When Japanese army occupied the city, they were usually barren and nobody was in sight except dead soldiers.
2. In contrast, Suzhou surrendered without fight and the destruction was minimal.
3. Chinese army destroyed, burned and looted cities before they retreated so as not to leave anything valuable to Japanese army (Empty the house and clean the field strategy).
4. Chinese army resorted to guerrilla tactics.
5. Logistics of Japanese army was not so difficult.

Two other things:
1. Who decided the Nanjing campaign?
At the end of November 1937, the battle of Shanghai was over.
It was the army at Shanghai (probably meaning Matsui Iwane), and Shimomura Sadamu, the director of 1st division of Chief of Staffs.  The campaign was well prepared.
2. Negotiation with Chang Kaishek through Trautmann
This section stresses Japanese government (Hirota Koki, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Yoneuchi Mitsumasa, Minister of Navy) decided to discontinue the peace negotiation with KMT through Trautmann, and the military backed off.  This led to the declaration by the Japanese government that Japan no longer negotiates with KMT government.

The officers condemns the action of the government that resulted in the protracted war.  Chiang Kaishek had already decided to resort to total war long before the fall of Nanjing.  His plan was to lure Japanese army to machine guns in concrete bunkers (Seeckt line), prepared around Shanghai by Germans.

Chiang Kaishek's failure was that he had no option when Seeckt line was crossed by Japanese army.  In the end, the only chance of peace was right after the fall of Nanjing.  The government should have used the every opportunity to cease fire.

The government was even more naive to believe Germans were neutral third party, when they were actively helping KMT in the very war.  Germans and Hitler changed their pro-China policy in mid-1938 and became pro-Japan, resulting in the anti-communism pact.  Germans broke the pact and allies with Soviet (Molotov-Ribbentrop pact), which led to the collapse of Hiranuma cabinet, commenting that the situations in Europe was too mysterious.


apple407 said...

The last column of March 2010 issue of “The Oriental Economist” , should prove to be an interesting read for you.

Japan-China joint committee on history
Predicting the past
by Yoshisuke Iinuma

“ - - The Japanese scholars see the historical
process toward full-scale aggression in
China as the unfolding of one path among
many possibilities in the context of complex
Japanese domestic issues and international
circumstances. They attach importance to the
correct analysis of each individual event. In
contrast, the Chinese scholars look at the
overall thrust of these discrete events and see
an unchanging Japanese desire to invade
mainland China.”

buvery said...

This may be due to the cultural difference regarding how to treat history.

In China, history was invented to legitimize the people in power. All emerging histories were used to justify the power. In Chinese empire, imperial system was the norm and imperial system controls the history and time, literally. For example, one can judge if the regime obeys the power of the emperor by the use of time (if the year was called as named by the emperor). For example, Japan has never used Chinese time, but Korea always had.

After the communist revolution, the use of history was the same in China in the sense that it is a tool to govern or make the people obey the power. But in Japan, history is written by scholars and in the case of oral history as in this one, by common people, not by the power.

From the Chinese view point, the history was used to explain how the power is awesome and authentic, but from the Japanese view point, it is interpreted as how new narratives can be made from facts in history.

apple407 said...

With recent Senkaku Island incident fading into history, I was reminded of similar conflicts leading up to the war between Japan and China. Contemporary relationship between the two nations are so intensively interconnected with trade and industry that any notion of a war would seem illogical. Yet, too the reaction taken by the Chinese Government seemed totally illogical, at least, from the point of view of the world at large.
Often, wars are ignited in illogical ways, though, based on underlying hostilities. Can the two nations afford to simply forget this incident?

buvery said...

Re: recent crash over Senkaku Is.
"Can the two nations afford to simply forget this incident?"

In short, China and Japan will seek to minimize the aftershock.

The move to arrest the captain was decided by Maehara Seiji. In my impression, he tried to provoke Chinese aggressive counter attack. At the same time, to nudge USA to proclaim the security responsibility over Senkaku. The sudden and abrupt release of the captain immediately after Maehara met with Hilary Clinton proves my point.

Historically speaking, China has never successfully invaded Japan. Without nuclear threats, they cannot militarily invade and occupy Senkaku. At the same, China can create unpleasant annoyance like this and use it as an excuse to inflict economic damage outside of internationally shared rules and regulations. Which may not look good to middle or small sized countries in Asia, i. e. all countries in East Asia except China. Japan should use financial powers of ADB and ODA to support those countries, instead of assisting China to prepare for the population bonus of China that last for 3 decades from now on.

apple407 said...

If Maehara was behind the arrest of the Captain, and with the intention of nudging USA to step forward on the security issue, Maehara’s strategy worked 100%. However, the loss to the Japanese businesses would seem to point to a different conclusion. Did China detect Maehara’s intentions and decide to punish Japan, or, did China react as the world seems to think it did, that is, totally out of proportion? Is it your opinion that the long term effect of the Senkaku incident is a net plus for Japan?