USF Libraries | Special & Digital Collections | Exhibits

Primary Source Documentation of the Nanking Massacre

Iris Chang, Author, The Rape of Nanking

Well, there's a tremendous amount of evidence, both in the realm of oral history and also in archival documentation. We've got thousands of pages of documentation in four different languages that describe what happened, and it was actually documented by the people who either survived this or witnessed this or perpetrated these massacres. Diaries, letters, government reports; news articles generated by, you know, the Nazis who were witnessing it, in German; American missionaries and professors who were involved in trying to save the Chinese, you know.

Well, there's a tremendous amount of evidence, primary source documentation in four different languages -- English, German, Chinese, and Japanese -- in the form of soldiers' diaries, or survivor oral histories, news articles, government dispatches, telegrams sent by intelligence officers, letters. There's just a huge amount of material that was generated at the time of the massacre, and by so many of the people who were there. That involves materials generated by, like, American missionaries, or some of the members of the German Nazi Party.

Nanking was a very cosmopolitan city, filled with diplomats and journalists and people from foreign countries. There are also still hundreds of people still alive in Nanking today, or even in the United States, who had survived the massacre and who could still talk about it.

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