For Chinese people, there was only one Anti-Japanese-Invasion War. It lasted for 14 years from 1931 to 1945. For this war of such a long time, western historians used many terms such as the Second Sino-Japanese War, WWII, and the Pacific War to refers to portions of the Anti-Japanese-Invasion War from a different perspective. All these three terms add together cannot cover the whole 14 years of the Anti-Japanese-Invasion War. From a geopolitical perspective, the Anti-Japanese-Invasion War can be divided into three different wars: 1) the war for Japan to confront Soviet Russia from 1931 to 1937, in which the western powers were allies of Japan encircling Soviet Russia. 2) the war of Japan to colonize China, in which the western powers were neutral and did not take either side of the war. That’s why the war is termed the Second Sino-Japanese War. This term is neutral and does not tell which side is right and which side is wrong. In comparison, the term Anti-Japanese-Invasion War puts the Japanese imperialist invasion and occupation at the evil side and Chinese people are the victim of the war and at the justice side of the war. 3) the war among imperialist powers for the sphere of influence and that is the Pacific War, which is part of the WWII with the battlefield in China.
War to confront Soviet Russia
In 1931 Japan invaded and occupied the north-eastern three provinces of China. China fought Japan for 14 years from 1931 to 1945; however, WWII is counted from 1939 to 1945. China was not in the picture during WWII. The Second Sino-Japanese War is counted from 1937 to 1949, It is like the Japanese invasion and occupation in 1931 as irrelevant to China. In a modern history written by western academics, the suffering of Chinese people was simply ignored. For European powers, the Japanese invasion and occupation of Manchuria were more like a war between Russia and Japan than a war between China and Japan.
For the Chinese, the Japanese occupation in 1931 is a colossal humanitarian catastrophe. Refugees from the north-eastern three provinces spread all over China. Japanese army did not stop within the north-eastern three provinces. Japanese continues to encroach Chinese territory along the Mongolian border inside China, forcing the Chinese government to concede piece by piece of Chinese sovereignty. Mongolia was the Russian sphere of influence.
The Japanese invasion of China is a vital historical event. Many songs and literature of the Anti-Japanese-Invasion War were created from the War beginning in 1931. For example, the song “March of the Volunteers” was written in 1934 when Japan continued to encroach Chinese territory and the song is the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China today. Yet, as far as world powers concerned, the Japanese occupation in 1931 is not about China. It is about Soviet Russia. After the October Revolution, world powers intervened Russian Civil War by supporting the White, Japan was among the powers supporting the White. Western powers encourage Japanese expansion in the far east to ease the European load of confronting Soviet Russia. The North-eastern Three Provinces were the Russian sphere of influence.
When Germany breached the Treaty of Versailles and invaded Poland in 1939, Britain and French declared war on Germany immediately. When Japan breached the Treaty of Versailles and occupied the north-eastern three provinces of China in 1931, world powers continued to do business with Japan. China is a member of the League of Nations and is a country of the alliance in WWI. Yet China was treated as a defeated country in WWI, the Treaty of Versailles granted the Twenty-One Demands to Japan ignoring the sovereignty of China.
The Twenty-One Demands of the Treaty of Versailles is the typical event of humiliation for China. China was just a piece of meat on the chopping board of the world powers. This is the racial discrimination against the Chinese and all western powers involved in this geopolitics and cooperated with Japan. Nanjing Massacre was the consequence of the Japanese invasion and western powers conspired with Japan in the Japanese invasion. That’s why there is so much resistance in the west to recognizing the anti-humanity crime Japan committed during its invasion of China.
Rape of Nanking was written in the JUDGMENT INTERNATIONAL MILITARY TRIBUNAL FOR THE FAR EAST INDICTMENT. From April 29, 1946, to November 12, 1948, the trial investigated the crimes Japanese committed in their wars in Asia and the Pacific, hearing testimony from 419 witnesses and admitting 4,336 exhibits of evidence, including depositions and affidavits from 779 other individuals. In APPENDIX E, the Statement of Individual Responsibility for Crimes Set Out in the Indictment, the trial concluded that “The Defendant HASHIMOTO between 1928 and 1945 was, among other positions held:- attached Army General Staff (1933); retired from Army (February 1936); author of “Declaration of HASHIMOTO Ringoro” (1936); re-entered the Army (1937); commanded an Artillery Regiment at the Nape of Nanking (1937).
Rape of Nanking was a crime against humanity committed by the Japanese army and indicted in the Far East Military Tribunal. Yet, the west countries commemorate only the Holocaust but ignore the Rape of Nanking.
War to colonize China
In 1937, Japan invaded China on a full scale. 1937 is counted as the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War, although China already resisted the Japanese invasion since 1931. Russia sent some air force to help China fighting Japan and soon stopped due to concern of the pressure in Europe. Other powers continued to do business with Japan. That’s why Nanjing residents rushed into foreign concession areas seeking asylum during the Nanjing Massacre. Japan and other imperialist powers were business as usual.
Why other powers did not declare war on Japan when Japan invade China? At that time, the US has colonized Philippine, France has colonized Indochina, Britain has colonized India and Hong Kong, and the European powers colonized Africa and Latin America. So the world powers had no moral credibility to criticize Japan when it waged war to colonize China. Japan was their allies in the 1900 occupation of Beijing. Japan was their ally encircling Soviet Russia after WWI. Japan shared the interest with its allies after it occupied the northeastern three provinces of China. When the Japanese army was raping Nanjing for six weeks, the US navy was just 5 kilometers from Nanjing in the Yangtze River. Both navies of the US and Britain harbored in Shanghai and cruised along the Yangtze River up to Wuhan. If they have no intention to prevent the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, they are reluctant to commemorate the Nanjing Massacre. They still consider China as their meat on their chopping board today, as they still think they have the right to legislature laws on Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, and Tibet. They don’t respect Chinese sovereignty today, just as they don’t respect Chinese sovereignty in 1931 and in 1937.
War among imperialist powers
The first half of the Second Sino-Japanese War is the war that Japan colonizes China. WWII broke out in Europe in 1939 and the powers declared war on Germany, yet they still viewed Japan as doing nothing wrong when Japan continued its war on China. Japan was doing to China what they had done to other countries. WWII is counted from 1939, but the Second Sino-Japanese War was not part of WWII yet.
In 1941, the Pacific War broke out. Japan attacked Hawaii and the Philippine the American colony, Hong Kong, Burma and Malaysia the British colonies, Indonesia the Dutch colony. Japan was fighting against alliance powers in their Asia-Pacific colonies. China suddenly became an ally to fight the Axis Japan. From that time on, the Second Sino-Japanese War was part of the Pacific War and part of WWII.
How the post WWI order failed and led to WWII.
When Japan breached the Treaty of Versailles and occupied the north-eastern three provinces of China, setting up a puppet Manchuria government, the world powers acquiesced Japanese occupation, playing lip service of accusing Japan at the most. When Germany breached the Treaty of Versailles to build up its military force beyond the restriction the treaty agreed, the world powers acquiesced Hitler’s behaviors. Why the acquiesce? Because the world powers were hoping Germany and Japan can attack Russia from the west and the east. The geopolitical strategy was the continuation of the intervention in the Russian civil war: the powers supported White in the civil war, and the hostility of Japan and Germany was a welcome military rising.
Japan was the competitor of Russia in the far east. There was a Russian-Japanese War in 1905 and Japan intervened Russian Civil War by supporting the White.
Hitler said in his Reichstag speech on January 30, 1939, that “If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevisation of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!” For many years since 1932, Nazis in German had this propaganda of Jewish Bolshevism, blaming Jews for Bolshevik Revolution. The Holocaust was prepared by blaming Jews as communists. Nazi and many European and American politicians considered communism as a Jewish conspiracy.
In February 1939, the congress of the USA rejected a bill that would allow 20,000 German Jewish children to come to America escaping the Nazi prosecution. On May 13, 1939, 907 Jews on MS St. Louis reached Cuba, seeking refuge in America, and was denied. On June 7, the boat MS St. Louis reached Canada, seeking refuge again, and was denied again. The boat returned to Europe with the 907 Jews, many of them died in the Holocaust. When the alliance of the western powers had the appeasement policy towards Nazis, they were accomplices of the Nazis in prosecuting Jews.
World powers had the appeasement policy towards the breaches of the Treaty of Versailles by Germany and Japan and tolerated their imperialist military expansion due to their anti-Bolshevik position. The appeasement policy went so far as in 1938, French and Britain allowed Hitler to annex Czechoslovakia in the Munich Agreement.
After the occupation of the north-eastern three provinces, the Japanese army committed many war crimes. For example, on September 15, 1932, the Japanese army killed 3,000 civilians at Pingdingshan village near Fushun. From 1934 to 1936, the Japanese army burned 140 thousand civilian houses at Tonghua.
The Treaty of Versailles was not followed for the sake of containing Soviet Russia, which encouraged the military expansion of Germany and Japan, which led to WWII and the crimes against humanity in Europe and in China.
Why has a Remembrance Day for the Holocaust but not one for the Rape of Nanking?
Nuremberg Trials indicted the Holocaust as a crime against humanity. Tokyo Trials indicted the Rape of Nanking the crime against humanity. The victims of both atrocities should be remembered if we want world peace and want to avoid wars. Yet we have an International Holocaust Remembrance Day but not an International Nanjing Massacre Remembrance Day.
Canada has a National Holocaust Memorial Day. Honorable MP Jenny Kwan motioned for Nanjing Massacre Commemoration Day on November 2018 but failed to pass. Many Canadian provinces also have passed acts for Holocaust memorial day. Yet bill for Nanjing Massacre memorial day is not passed if it is submitted. Many politicians made statements commemorate the Holocaust, but only a few commemorate the Nanjing Massacre. What makes the difference between the two atrocities?
When WWII broke out in Europe, Germany attacked Poland first, not Russia as the appeasement policy intended. The Holocaust happened during the war among imperialist powers. When Rape of Nanking happened in 1937, it happened during the Japanese colonialist war. If our commemoration of the atrocities is to prevent history to repeat, then the Canadian political culture is to prevent the war among imperialist powers but not to prevent imperialist war to colonize other countries. Canada, with its allies, are the powers and would like to preserve the option of war to coerce developing countries.
When our politicians make statements commemorate the Holocaust, they usually signify the commemoration as the education denouncing racist, especially antisemitism. However, in Canadian history, systematic racist against the Chinese was more severe than antisemitism. Canada enacted the Head Tax against the Chinese and Chinese Exclusion Act for a long period of time. Even today, the Chinese are a marginalized ethnic group. If our politicians commemorate the Holocaust for eliminating antisemitism, they should also commemorate the Nanjing Massacre for eliminating the discrimination against the Chinese.
When our politicians talking about trade with China, they like to rise the human rights issue first. If they are really concerned about the human rights of the Chinese, they should commemorate the Nanjing Massacre every year and make December 13 the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Day.
When our politicians refuse to legislature a Nanjing Massacre Memorial Day Act, they don’t think Japan had done anything wrong to invade China. Japan is an ally of Canada today, and Japan was an ally of Canada in 1937. Canada as a Commonwealth country identified itself with Britain, the empire colonized many places around the globe. Imperialists and colonists created many humanitarian disasters in the last few centuries, and the Nanjing Massacre is one of them. China had been a victim of imperialism and colonialism in the last two hundred years. Canada still cannot accept a relationship with China based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation. Canada with its allies still views China as a piece of potential meat on the chopping board of the imperialist powers.
For Canadian national interest
There are two criteria why should our government make December 13 the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Day: moral judgment and interest judgment. For moral judgment, to prevent war and crime against humanity, for world peace, we should pay tribute to the victims of the Nanjing Massacre.
Our political culture still considers imperialism is our national interest. We inherit the legacy of the British Empire and British imperialism is our national interest for the last 150 years. We have Remembrance Day to honor our veterans who fought in WWI and WWII for the British Empire. But we know the imperialist war will not bring us economic interest any more since the beginning of this century. We did not join the Iraq War. The war brings us no interest. Yet we never denounce the Iraq War just as our political culture does not want to commemorate Nanjing Massacre.
In the last twenty years, we joined NATO in the Afghan War, and it brings us no economic interest. For 19 years of NATO occupation, the people of Afghan are still living in a failed state. Our moral judgment miscalculates too. We supported the Arab Spring that created a refugee crisis for Europe and split in our society on the issue if we should grant asylum to the refugees. We support the US imperialist intervention in the world with our allies, yet the government debt of all our allies accumulated, indicating that the imperialist intervention brings us no economic interest today.
Some of our politicians still think we can unite with our allies to force China to pay us for the economic damage by the pandemic, and it is just a dream. We cannot repeat the history of 1900 that eight powers occupied Beijing and forced China to pay Boxer Indemnity. We have the experience of the Korean War. If our allies could not win the Korean War then, we cannot force China to yield today.
The US hegemony cannibals its allies too. The US put tariffs on our softwoods, on Bombardier jet planes, on our aluminum. The US mercantilism traps our economy that cut our economic tie with China that we have to sell our oil to the US in deep discount.
We have National Holocaust Memorial Day. That’s good. We don’t want war among our allies who identify themselves as imperialist powers in the world. The National Holocaust Memorial Day is justified both morally and economically. We need a National Nanjing Massacre Memorial Day too, as imperialist war or imperialist intervention to other countries are not justified morally and economically today.
Our politicians should support Honorable MP Jenny Kwan’s call for National Nanjing Massacre Memorial Day immediately. We should enact the National Nanjing Massacre Memorial Day and send our parliament delegation to Nanjing to pay our tribute to the victims of the Nanjing Massacre. In this way, we can improve our relationship with China faster. A politically trustful relationship with China is vital for pulling us out of the pandemic, out of the skyrocketing debt, and out of the economic stagnation.