What Led Up to "The Rape of Nanking"?

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In the 1930's, economic disaster and the rise of political extremism contributed to a Japanese society where war and violence were glorified. With 65 million people crammed on Japan's little islands, population was suffocatingly dense. With so many mouths to feed, Japanese agriculture was pushed to its limits. The overworked Japanese land could not produce enough food to feeds its people and Japan was forced to rely heavily on imports. Mass starvation ensued. Daughters were sold into prostitution for a sack of rice, and economy plummeted. Discontentment grew. Between the years of 1931 and 1936, a series of attempted coups, overturned the government, power ending up with a more cautious faction in the government, though many still believed in the superiority Japan. This belief of superiority led to support of Japanese expansion and conquering of countries viewed as inferior to the great nation of Japan. Most importantly, this eventually led to the integration of military influence into the early childhood of every Japanese boy. Schools became centers for military training, and toy shops became tools of military propaganda. Schools were run "not for the benefit of the students but for the good of the country" and students were mercilessly hewn into disciplined and stoic prospective soldiers, encouraged to be heartless and fearless, as they would one day "kill one hundred, two hundred chinks". The Japanese citizens learned as young children to respect the military and its endeavors, and were praised for militaristic characteristics. As these children grew up and had children of their own, they passed on their learned sentiments to their offspring – sentiments that were only further ingrained by the continuation of militaristic schooling and lifestyle. In short, the Japanese glorification of war and violence was due mostly in part to beliefs and values ingrained into children from early age. However, this was in turn due to a dense population in...
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