Nothing is known of the baby in the untitled photograph, often called "Bloody Saturday", that depicts a child crying in the ruins of a bombed Shanghai train station in 1937. Because it remains unidentified, the baby serves as a symbol, representing, in his utter hysteria, the atrocities committed against China by Japan during the Battle of Shanghai and throughout the protracted conflict between Japan and China during the war.
At the time, the Japanese war crimes committed against China were horrific – yet mostly underreported in the plethora of World War Two horror stories that circulated in the West. The Bloody Saturday photograph brought to light the horrors that China endured at the hands of the Japanese during this tumultuous time. From biological warfare to straight-up massacre, the Japanese Army Chinese over the course of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which lasted from 1937-1945.
The Bloody Saturday Photograph Led To Western Outrage, And It Has Been Described As Highly Successful Propaganda
The Bloody Saturday photograph remains one of the most haunting images of the horrors perpetrated against the Chinese during the war. The image of the small child crying in a pile of rubble tugs at the viewer's heart strings, and it stimulated Western outrage over the Japanese treatment of the Chinese during WWII. Even more intriguing: the photographer, H.S. Wong, never found out any information about his subject. However, its mother lay dead nearby. Within a short time, eyes around the globe had seen Bloody Saturday, and it stoked anti-Japanese sentiment. Because of this, journalist Harold Isaacs once described the photo as "one of the most successful propaganda pieces of all time."
The Photograph Was Snapped During The Second Sino-Japanese War
The war between Japan and China, the Second Sino-Japanese War, began July 7, 1937 and ended September 9, 1945, with the end of WWII and Japan's surrender to the United Nations. For decades, Japanese imperial control had been encroaching on China. During this time, the two countries fought in a myriad of small skirmishes. The first major conflict, known as the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, began when the Chinese army opened fire on the Japanese army across the Marco Polo Bridge while trying to negotiate peace terms. The bridge incident is widely considered the direct beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Right Before The Photo Was Taken, Shanghai Had Been Aerially Bombarded
On August 14, 1937, more than 2,000 people lost their lives in Shanghai as a result of a Japanese aerial assault on the city. The child in the photo, whose mother lay dead nearby, was a survivor in what was, at the time, the bloodiest aerial attack on a city to date. In a sort of tragic irony, many of the Chinese citizens who lost their lives due to the bombs had paid also for the bombs that killed them – in a way. A compulsory fundraising drive mandated by the Japanese had collecte the funds that enabled the attack to take place.
The Number Of Chinese Killed During The Nanking Massacre Is Unknown – But Estimated At Tens Of Thousands
During the Nanking Massacre, which took place over the course of six weeks and began in December 1937, Japanese soldiers brutally murdered an estimated 60,000 civilians after seizing Nanking, raping legions more. The Japanese soldiers were so ruthless, some even had a contest to see who could kill 100 people first, using only a sword. An American missionary, John Magee, produced a film outlining the atrocities at Nanking, which can be viewed above.