The history of The Rape of Nanking is a fascinating look at how the psychology of military collectivization and lack of feminine access can incur the wrath of raping and pillaging. This is my outlook after reading Iris Chang's book:
I took it upon myself to read this book because it is considered one of the worst atrocities to have taken place in modern times. By looking at the worst atrocities we can take a deep look at what humans are capable of and ultimately, what we ourselves are capable of. Some would like to believe none of us would be capable of the war crimes committed in Nanking, but that's usually just because of the environment conditions we live in not lending us to commit those acts. This is the terrifying part about reading these books is that if you are truly interested in understanding how someone can commit these acts, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the person committing those horrible acts. This is a difficult and painful task, because you have to assume that you too could fall victim to the psychological tricks that these soldiers fell victim to which led them to commit terrible acts. However, the very useful part of this process is that once you have done this, you can create a better picture of how to conduct yourself when your humanity and morality are questioned. This allows you to look at what little lies can lead to if you don't stop enough of them. This allows you to hold your options up to the light of truth, and judge your options and guide yourself before God has to.
Little lies are what led typical men to become nazi's. It's what led typical Russians to throw others of their same kind into the Gulags. These little lies we can succumb to can turn anyone into a monster in a much shorter time than we would like to admit. This is what the 20th century taught us. That little lies can turn anyone into a monster. To say you wouldn't be like them is to say you have perfect morality and that you have never lied and will never lie in the future. We all could and most likely would have been these same monsters we would like to think we could never be.
Some context to these stories: In the mid-20th century, there wasn't the internet or cell phones like we have today so much of communication was done by letters, newspapers, and film that all had to be physically distributed. Much of the information that could have been distributed in these days, could not be distributed back then. This makes it all the more insane that the stories that did make it out of Nanking, did in fact make it out and that they contained the atrocities they did with minimal censorship.
Rape is a topic of much talk. Today it seems that rape is grouped together with sexual assault and harassment, but for the women of Nanking in 1937, grouping such terms with rape seems to degrade the severity of the type of actions that took place at that time. With that said, rape is something that is very hard to understand. It's easier to understand coercive rape from that of a supposed friend or family member. They call this grooming. This is easier to understand in today's society in terms of understanding the psychology on both ends. However, the type of violent rape that occurred in Nanking was that of gang rape, torturous rape of killing and destroying someone for the adrenaline high of doing so. It was something soldiers would compete with each other to rape and kill in increasingly violent ways. In the book Chang made note of this occurance of competitions between soldiers.
The feeling of this type of rape is a way a soldier would commit to express their frustration when they do not view anyone as human, including themself. Their existence is purely to fit in and to feel a rush. This is what can happen very easily in war. You do what everyone else is doing for so long, that you almost cannot stop yourself from doing what everyone else is doing. This can be translated to that of the business world as well, but that is a different topic. Having talked to people that have had to kill in war, going with what everyone else is doing is the name of the game. If you don't do it, you don't get anywhere in these organizations.
The feminine aspect relates to how these soldiers have no access to women when committing themselves to the military. This starvation of humanity can lead someone in this situation to become savage. Couple that with their intense discipline that the Japanese military were subjected to as described in the book, it's understandable to see how someone can lose all humanity. Not to say that this excuses anything. This is the arguement some might think I'm making, which I am not. However, the conditions that lead to someone losing their humanity are very important to be aware of. In today's world, military service can do this, being a ruthless business person can do this, sex work can do this, and even something like being a scientist. A lot of people think they are doing the right thing because it get's them the right feeling, but it ultimately leads to the destruction of their humanity which is a life of guilt and internal hell.
One final thing I want to leave here...Jordan Peterson talks about what subjecting yourself to learning this type of history and putting yourself in these soldiers' shoes can do for you.