The Japanese Military Commanders Cannot Evade Responsibility for the Rape of Nanjing

Extracts from Saburoo Ienaga, The Pacific War 1931-1945, New York: Pantheon Books (1978), pp. 186-87.
Copyright 1968 by Saburoo Ienaga
English translation Copyright 1978 by Random House, Inc.

...As a professional soldier, Horiba Kazuo "deplored" the arson, robbery, and violence by the army [during the Nanjing Massacre], but he tried to shift the focus to Japanese society: "Should the military take all the blame? Most of the army are civilian draftees. The entire country should share responsibility for what happened. Actually, those men who have had only a short period of military trainng and the older reservists, the family men, behaved the worst." (19) But the peacetime army's values and descipline were already thoroughly brutalized.... Granted that "superior orders" could restrain the troops, official policy often encouraged antisocial behavior. Armies from time immemorial "have had a permissive policy toward sex as a means of keeping the soldiers contented and obedient. They were allowed to induge themselves in sexual orgies at every opportunity." (20) The Imperial Army with its "comfort stations" was no exception. The military commanders cannot evade ultimate responsibility for the atrocities (especially those related to sexual conduct) at Nanjing and in other battle areas....

(19) Horiba, Shina jihen sensoo shidoo-shi.
(20) Sasaki Ayao, "Ningen kara mita seiji", in Maruyama Masao (ed.), Ningen to seiji.

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