Why is Denying Nanking ok and Denying the Holocaust not?

I meant that you didn’t need to dig around for complicated explanations involving industrial methods, or what grounds would define the worse incident, or what ever else, as a few simple observations about politics apparently explain it all. I do wish the other victims could get the sympathy and public awareness the jewish do.

Your argument about the skin color of the victims neatly ignores one of the other critical events of the twentieth century: the unparalleled barbarism of the Stalinist regime, which killed somewhere between 15,000,000 and 30,000,000 people through political purges, starvation, and poor economic planning. Where’s the outrage that we don’t pay enough attention to that?

When comparing the Nazi atrocities to Nanking, There’s also the issue of scale. Nanking, while utterly horrific, was about 200,000 people killed in an orgy of violence. This violence cannot – and should not – be forgotten or excused, and outside the occasional Japanese extremist, isn’t. It’s remembered as a horrific event of the 20th century by most people who pay any attention to world history (which is to say not many Americans).

The Nazi concentration camps killed approximately 12,000,000 people (6 million Jews plus 6 million non-Jews), or SIXTY times as many people were killed in Nanking. There’s also the fact that the Nazis virtually exterminated the Jews in the areas they controlled, wiping out a significant proportion of the total number of Jews in the world; they similarly scourged the Roma. Nanking did not represent a similar blow to Chinese civilization.

On a purely proportional scale, the Nazi atrocities should get 60 times as much attention as the Nanking massacre (and they probably do). I won’t deny the Jewish lobby probably has something to do with this attention, but a great deal more of it is that Jews really care about this issue and publicize it, while most Chinese I know aren’t carrying a huge chip on their shoulder regarding Nanking (although they may not care for Japan, it’s not the same visceral reaction that Jews seem to have relative to the Nazis).*

There’s another thing that makes the Nazi atrocities seem more horrific to Westerners: it was perpetrated by a “civilized” nation on other “civilized” nations. From the Western perspective, that makes it relatively unique in modern times. The horrors of the Nazi atrocities also came as a huge shock to many who thought that the War to End All Wars would indeed prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

Anyway, I think it’s hugely oversimplifying the comparison between the Nazi atrocities and Nanking to simply say the difference is race. There’s a lot more at play, though race does clearly play a factor.

*I’m not Jewish, but my wife is. My maternal family is Dutch, and my grandfather and great uncles never had a positive thing to say about Germans that I ever heard. My in laws whip out the holocaust at the drop of a hat when anyone does something they perceive as discriminatory – every discussion with them is Godwinized within a few minutes if there’s any way to spin it that way.

The Holocaust was unique in modern times in that it was the most thoroughly depraved genocide humans can possibly concieve of.

Think about it - the Ukranian Holodomor, the Turkish slaughter of Armenians, the Japanese rape of the Chinese cities - these were horrifying crimes, but they also were the result of something else - the Turks annexing Armenia, Japan at war and brutally pacifying a people that vastly outnumbered them. Horrifying crimes, and human behavior gone woefully wrong, but at least there was some reason that someone would find rational at some point.

Germany killed six million Jews because they were a race that the Germans found wanting. There was no justification other than that. They were exterminated because of their ancestry, in a calm, methodical, dispassionate manner. It’s literally as evil an act of ‘governance’ as man can conceive.

The only act that comes close in the 20th century in terms of sheer perversity would be the Holodomor (the forced Ukranian famine as a cynical means of exterminating a class opposed to Stalin’s goals) and even that was amateur hour compared to the gas chambers.

In fact, I’ll go even further in Godwinizing this thread - people who seek to minimize the Holocaust usually have an agenda in so doing. It usually involves Jews.

The Holocaust gets more play in America because America was involved in ending it, after which a huge influx of European Jews emigrated here. The stories remain fresh because they are being told by survivors or American soldiers or their direct descendants still.

In a way I think the Rwandian genocide has it beat, in that it was a conscious effort to get the majority of the nation to be a part of the genocide. The perveresly personal nature of the Rwandian genocide makes it all the more horrendous.

Edit. also I’m drunk and feel the need to insult, so feel insulted, and we can all go along on our separate ways peacefully.

What makes anyone think Nanking and other Japanese WW2 atrocities are being “swept under the rug?” Just because they don’t get as much attention as the Jewish Holocaust (for reasons already mentioned) doesn’t mean they are being ingnored. Just about every general history of WW2 in the Pacific mentions Nanking, and there are a number of books about what Japan did.

It is true that the Japanese government still seems to have issues taking full responsibility for what happened, but that is a different matter. While Germany has done a number of things to recognize their national role in the Holocaust, even they are criticized by some who would like to see them do more.

Hitler killed the Jewish because they weren’t Christians. It doesn’t matter how you kill someone. The Germans (who weren’t Jewish) had intent to kill the Jewish to achieve their goals. The Japanese had the same intent; they wanted to exterminate as many Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans as they could to reach their goals. Whether you chop someone’s head off with someone wielding an axe or you use the guillotine, they’re still dead. In a way, what’s more humane? Gassing someone in a room where only the people who are being killed can stand witness, or bayoneting someone to death in plain sight for everyone to see? U 731 shows that the killing of Chinese, Koreans and Filipinos was just as systematic as anything that anyone else did.

It was not a goal of the Japanese government to exterminate all Chinese (or other nationalities) from the planet. Enslave, yes. Abuse, sure. Wipe all trace from the earth because their very existence was seen as an abomination? Uh, no. Whereas “wipe all trace of Jews from the earth because their very existence was seen as an abomination” is a succinct summary of Nazi racial ideology.

While millions of Chinese died at the hands of Imperial Japan, it wasn’t QUITE as obscene a horror as the extermination camps of Germany, if only because it was less organized and more a by-product of a lack of caring for the fate of subject peoples. Whereas Germany cared quite a bit, and went to great lengths to make sure no Jews remained alive under their dominion.

Death camps like Unit 731 were not the intended fate of all Chinese. Death camps like Auschwitz were the intended fate of all Jews. It makes a difference.

The idea that you can exterminate all Chinese people (as the Jewish people were exterminated) was practically impossible. Even if you exterminated all Jewish people in Germany, there were a lot of Jewish people all across the world. Germany may have wanted to exterminate all Jewish people, but they had to conqueror the world first. The Jewish were a scapegoat. The Chinese were an obstacle. Both were massacred with intent and without regret. Japan, with the influence of the USA, is a lot more open now, racially and culturally. However, at the time, if you weren’t Japanese or you weren’t useful, then you weren’t human.

The Jewish what? Humor? Food? Jewish is an adjective, Jew is a noun.

I tried to put this into a language you could understand by throwing a bunch of pots and pans down the stairs and recording it, but I don’t know how to post MP3s here.

If it’s one thing I’ve learned when talking about the people who follow the Torah, it’s that not everyone defines themselves the same. Hell, not all Jewish/Jews follow the Torah although they define themselves as Jewish/Jews (religion? culture? ethnicity? something else?). I’ve found it to be very complicated. And there’s little room for making the wrong assumptions, any wrong ideas (even if it’s wrong for only that Jewish person) are met with accusations of anti-Semitism.

What’s most remarkable about the Nazi Holocaust is so few remember the other 6 million.

12 million perished in The Shoah.

Whoa, Lum, let’s not get so succinct that we leave out the parts of Nazi ideology where they claimed to be superior in every respect to all other races and cultures. I think that was pretty central, too.

So the Nanking genocide isn’t as well known because it was JUST TOO DARN WACKY?!

What. The. Fucking. Fuckity. Fuck.

The Nazi death camps were pretty fucking far from being the only systematic genocide attempt in history. Humanity has a long, long tradition of trying to kill everyone that doesn’t look or sound like one particular group, and Germany was hardly the first time it was institutionalized. It was, however, the first time the masses were able to see photographs of it. Funny that.

It was a self-inflicted wound, more or less, so there’s no clearly defined enemy, so people don’t care as much.

On relative size, the Nanking massacre wasn’t the only time the Japanese killed civilians in Manchuria. Wikipedia gives total Chinese civilian casualties as 9 million killed in combat, and 8.4 million outside of combat.

I won’t deny the Jewish lobby probably has something to do with this attention, but a great deal more of it is that Jews really care about this issue and publicize it, while most Chinese I know aren’t carrying a huge chip on their shoulder regarding Nanking (although they may not care for Japan, it’s not the same visceral reaction that Jews seem to have relative to the Nazis).*

Good point.

Anyway, I think it’s hugely oversimplifying the comparison between the Nazi atrocities and Nanking to simply say the difference is race. There’s a lot more at play, though race does clearly play a factor.

Which is why race is only one of the points I made, you’ll note.

On the specific thread question of why Japanese barbarism in WWII doesn’t get as much outrage, it’s because the aggrieved party is a poor dictatorship that intentionally keeps a lid on opinion in this area, only letting it flare up when they want, then quickly tamping it back down. Additionally, the Chinese only very recently have stopped being the focus of western anti-communist outrage, which interferes with western sympathy generation. Finally, the Japanese were just as loved for Cold War reasons as the Chinese weren’t, so that again minimizes it in the west.

Part of the reason I do think it’s mostly circumstances of politics and race (cultural relevance, less crassly) is the giant piles of people the western empires killed that no one even knows about, much less gets upset about, as mentioned in mystery’s link in the third post. It’s a pretty extreme case, but it’s a dead end of history.

This isn’t to minimize the Holocaust in any way. It’s more of annoyance that the other incidents get no attention or lessons learned.

Nanking is not in Manchuria. I’m just saying.

The 200,000 murders occurred in about 3 months time. And there were people actively (thankfully) protecting as many Chinese people as they could. The Jewish Holocaust occurred between 1938 to 1945. 6 million in 7 years.

Whoops, apparently Nanking was the next thing after the Manchurian campaign. Still, same war, same deal.

All I know is that I’ve been hearing about the Holocaust, a lot, throughout my life and all other similar atrocities rarely come up.

Personally I think it has a lot to do with race and circumstance. Face it: we as predominantly white Americans and Europeans identify with the Jewish holocaust far more than we do with other holocausts. It’s very easy to point at the other atrocities and trivialize them as “not as organized” or whatnot. What we really mean is that we just aren’t able to personally identify as well and so we can more easily talk about those instances in terms of statistics instead of considering real people dying.

Personally, while I think the holocaust was horrible I do think it gets far too much press and would certainly appreciate more attention being given to other genocides (whether such genocides were well-executed or not).

There was a Polish Holocaust too. And they are also white. As are many Armenians. I point this out because I think that it goes deeper than that. It’s a combination of many things. Race, religion, creed, pictures, political affliliation. There’s no question in my mind that the surviving Jewish/Jews benefited from their dead. They deserve the goodwill they have received.