An artist’s impression of Londinium, centre of the Roman Empire in Britain, circa 200ce Across the river to the south of Londinium was a small suburb that would later become Southwark. It…
So you’re a middle-aged German business man, working for Siemens A.G. in Nanking, China in 1938. You’re a member in good standing of the Nazi Party (though you haven’t lived in Germany for almost 30 years) and you begin to see war crimes and atrocities with your own eyes.
What do you do – especially taking into consideration that the war crimes are being perpetrated by the military of a country on friendly terms with your own?
This was the situation of John Rabe, born in Hamburg in 1887 and living in China since 1908.
“Many Westerners were living in the Chinese capital city of the time, as Nanking was until December 1937, conducting trade or on missionary trips. As the Japanese army approached Nanking and initiated bombing raids on the city, all but 22 foreigners fled the city, with 15 American and European missionaries and businessmen forming part of the remaining group. On November 22, 1937, as the Japanese Army advanced on Nanking, Rabe, along with other foreign nationals, organized the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone and created the…
On this day in 1839 in Humen, China, Chinese scholar and official of the Qing dynasty, Lin Tse-hsü destroys 1.2 million kg of opium which had been confiscated from British merchants. Lin forcefully opposed the opium trade on economic, social and moral grounds. The destruction of the opium stores is seen as the primary catalyst for the First Opium War of 1839-42; as it provided the British with a casus belli to open hostilities with the Chinese over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade and the administration of justice for foreign nationals.
Fepows – Far Eastern POWs
Countless films and books concerned with the Second World War have, through the decades, concentrated on Europe and the Holocaust and the Far East prisoners of war have barely been mentioned. The official 5 volumes of British history for this war include only 10 pages devoted to the subject, compared to the Australian history with 170 pages.
Japan’s army conquered the Far East in 1941-42. Prisoners were taken from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya, Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Ambon, New Britain, Celebes, Guam and the Philippines. According to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, Japan took more than 50,000 British and Australian troops in Singapore alone; 42,000 Dutch (N.E.I.); 10,000 British in Java and 25,000 Americans in the Philippines and then transported to the mainland camps.
The Japanese government made…
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My connection is still atrocious hence my inability to respond to comments.
Three years ago, a group of local fishermen were diving off the side of their boat near Nan’ao island chain, a cluster of small islands which lie close to the south China coast, roughly two-thirds of the way between Hong Kong and Xiamen.
On the sea-floor, one of the fishermen found ten porcelain plates, which he promptly scooped up, stashing a few of them away and taking the others to the market to sell.
An informant promptly ratted on him and some officials from the Guangdong Cultural Relic Research Institute came to have a word about where the porcelain came from.
When the fisherman took the researchers to the site, they discovered the wreck of a 65-foot-long ship, probably a merchant vessel, which may have been carrying tens of thousands of pieces of blue-and-white porcelain to foreign markets.
More importantly, the researchers dated the ship to the late Ming dynasty, probably during the reign of…
A friend of mine sent me this story. Other than Francis Gary Powers, I do not know that anyone has heard much of anything about the U-2 spy plane program. The entire program stands as a forgotten footnote from the Cold War. This article offers a personal glimpse into the life of a U-2 spy…
U-2 PILOT MEMORIES
Men like this guy never get any attention in the press, and that’s how they prefer it. Unfortunately, but understandably, not all U-2 pilots survived to tell their stories in their old age.
Cliff Beeler was a spy. He didn’t hang out on shadowy street corners with his trench coat collar obscuring his face. The Air Force major, now retired, spent his snooping time in a plane. Beeler, 88, of Riverside, was a U-2 pilot at the height of the Cold War.
His missions took him over Russia, Cuba and China, photographing…
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If you’re a dog lover or a fan of World War II history, have I got a book for you. I’ve just read a book from author Damien Lewis called Judy: The Unforgettable Story of The Dog Who Went to War and Became a True Hero.
Judy was a brown-and-white English pointer who acted as the mascot of HMS Gnat and then HMS Grasshopper. Born in Shanghai in 1936, Judy was an energetic, adventurous dog as a puppy, intensely curious about the world beyond the Shanghai Dog Kennels. She wriggled her way underneath a fence, ran away from her kennel and experienced life on the streets for a while, but later made her way back.
Judy was adopted by the crew of the HMS Gnat and became an immediate hit. She possessed an extraordinary ability to sense approaching…
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If Manchuria was controlled, the Japanese felt they would have the advantage over Russia. Since the Chiang Nationalist government did wish to spend the money or the energy to combat Japan – but – still have communism squelched in the country, Manchuria was given up.
When the US started economic sanctions in 1939, Japan required new territories to supply their resources. They issued a request to the French for permission to enter Indo-China. In September 1940, the Vichy government agreed. The southeast portion of Asia was occupied, without incident, by the Japanese on 27-29 July 1941.
The US was incensed and proceeded to convince other countries to freeze Japan’s assets; the ABCD, (American, British, Canada, Dutch), power’s economic blockade began. By mid-1941, relations between Japan and the ABCD countries had basically reached a point of no return. The New York Times newspaper…
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There are centuries of information on this subject, but I’ve done my best to shorten the data, and maintain the gist of affairs as they occurred:
Japan’s involvement with the West began early in the 16th century. The Western missionaries and the contrasting firearms trading caused a disruption of the feudal lord system. Later on, Dutch trading at Nagasaki became an avenue of scientific and political knowledge. After which, the US naval mission and “Black Ships” of Commodore Matthew Perry in the mid-1800s basically forced Japan to open its doors.
By the end of the 19th century, the views of the Asian world by the Anglos were of “Manifest Destiny” (global supremacy). The British Union Jack flew over nearly one-third of the planet and the US wanted in. But, after teaching the island nation how to conquer territory, the…
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