The brutal Japanese treatment of allied prisoners of war, as well
as countless thousands of Chinese civilians, during World War 2 has
been well documented. Here Laurence Rees, award-winning historian
and author of Auschwitz: The Nazis & The 'Final Solution' and
World War II: Behind Closed Doors, turns his attention to a crucial
but less understood factor of one of the most dramatic and
important historical events of the 20th century: why were these
atrocities carried out? More than 70 years after the bombing of
Pearl Harbor, this incisive but accessible study examines shocking
acts performed by Japanese soldiers, and asks why seemingly
ordinary people were driven to mass murder, rape, suicide and even
cannibalisation of the enemy. Uncovering personal accounts of the
events, Horror in the East traces the shift in the Japanese
national psyche - from the civil and reasoned treatment of captured
German prisoners in World War 1 to the rejection of Western values
and brutalization of the armed forces in the years that followed.
In this insightful analysis, Rees probes the Japanese belief in
their own racial superiority, and analyses a military that believed
suicide to be more honourable than surrender.
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