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A Mission under Duress The Nanjing Massacre and Post-Massacre Social Conditions Documented by American Diplomats by Suping Lu

A Mission under Duress The Nanjing Massacre and Post-Massacre Social Conditions Documented by American Diplomats


A Mission under Duress The Nanjing Massacre and Post-Massacre Social Conditions Documented by American Diplomats by Suping Lu

Immediately after capturing the Chinese capital, Nanjing, on December 13, 1937, Japanese soldiers committed atrocities such as mass executions, rampant rapes, arson, and looting in and around the city. The carnage went on for weeks. On January 6, 1938, after the worst of the massacre atrocities was over, three American diplomats arrived in Nanjing. Upon their arrival, Third Secretary John Moore Allison, Vice Consul James Espy, and Code Clerk Archibald Alexander McFardyen, Jr. cabled dispatches about the atrocities and other conditions in the city to the Department of State and other U.S. diplomatic posts in China. Often, they dispatched several reports within a day. These atrocity reports, which were largely based on interviews with American missionaries and their own investigations, gave detailed descriptions of Japanese atrocities, property damage, social conditions, relief efforts, diplomatic wrestling, and many other aspects of life in the city during and after the massacre period. The value of these diplomatic dispatches and reports, which were retrieved from the national archives, rests on that they extensively document the American diplomats' role, their observations and attitude toward the situation there, their efforts to help the Chinese and protect the Americans, and their struggles with the Japanese.


The Nanjing Massacre, the looting, buming, and rape of the Chinese capital by Japanese troops in December 1937, is a subject of interest and debate among historians and non-historians alike. It has been the subject of numerous academic and popular histories, documentaries, films, and articles...Lu has painstakingly researched and tracked down all the relevant material, placing it in chronological order and annotating all the biographical and geographical is an excellent supplement to a general history...providing extensive biographical information for all the nationalities...For a student looking for a primary source, an historian looking to track down locations of the massacre, or a reader looking to expand their knowledge of the Nanjing Massacre, A Mission under Duress is a valuable addition. Canadian Journal of History [The author] deserves our praise and thanks for scouring the globe to collect primary sources - the kind of grunt work that too many of us avoid or even disdain. Chinese Review International

About the Author

Suping Lu was born and raised in China. Lu graduated from Nanjing Teachers University before he came to the United States to continue his education at the Ohio University and the University of South Carolina. He is a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the author of They Were in Nanjing: The Nanjing Massacre Witnessed by American and British Nationals (2004), and the editor of Terror in Minnie Vautrin's Nanjing: Diaries and Correspondence, 1937-38 (2008).

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Book Info

Publication date

23rd June 2010


Suping Lu

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University Press of America


394 pages


General & world history



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