13
Dec
07

On This Day 12-13: John Rabe

John Rabe is a name worthy of remembering.

1577 – Five ships under the command of Sir Francis Drake left Plymouth, England, to embark on Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe. The journey took almost three years.

1636 – The United States National Guard was created when militia regiments were organized by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1809 – The first abdominal surgical procedure was performed in Danville, KY, on Jane Todd Crawford. The operation was performed without an anesthetic.

1913 – It was announced by authorities in Florence, Italy, that the “Mona Lisa” had been recovered. The work was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911.

1921 – Britain, France, Japan and the United States signed the Pacific Treaty.

1937 – Japanese forces took the Chinese city of Nanking (Nanjing). An estimated 200,000 Chinese were killed over the next six weeks. The event became known as the “Rape of Nanking.”

1964 – In El Paso, TX, President Johnson and Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz set off an explosion that diverted the Rio Grande River, reshaping the U.S.-Mexican border. This ended a century-old border dispute.

1981 – Authorities in Poland imposed martial law in an attempt to crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. Martial law ended formally in 1983.

1995 – China’s most influential democracy activist, Wei Jingsheng, who already had spent 16 years in prison, was sentenced to 14 more years.

2001 – Michael Frank Goodwin was arrested and booked on two counts of murder, one count of conspiracy and three special circumstances (lying in wait, murder for financial gain and multiple murder) in connection to the death of Mickey Thompson. Thompson and his wife Trudy were shot to death in their driveway on March 16, 1988. Thompson, known as the “Speed King,” set nearly 500 auto speed endurance records including being the first person to travel more than 400 mph on land.

During the “Rape of Nanking” an International Safety Zone had been created where Chinese refugees could go and be spared the indignation being wrought on the Chinese people by the Japanese Imperial Army.  The safety zone was patrolled by a German civilian named John Rabe.  John Rabe is responsible for saving tens of thousands of Chinese lives because he was able to prevent the Japanese from entering the safety zone in Nanking.  Japan was allied with Nazi Germany and John Rabe was a member of the Nazi Party.  Wearing his swastika armband he patrolled the perimeter of the safety zone and the Japanese soldiers respected the wishes of their ally by leaving the citizens inside the safety zone alone, which suggests that common Japanese soldiers were in control of their actions during this horrific event.  For more on this read this article:  http://arts.cuhk.edu.hk/NanjingMassacre/NMZCRBR.html.

I’ve also read an account of the exploits of two Japanese Imperial Army officers who held a beheading contest.  Using their Samurai swords they beheaded Chinese civilians.  The beheading only counted if the head was chopped off with a single swing.  The exploits of the two officers were reported in Japanese newspapers much the way sporting events are reported in the United States.

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