After the outbreak of the Sino‐Japanese War following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, on 13 December 1937 around 150,000 Japanese soldiers took control of Nanjing, after weeks of encirclement. An almost unbelievable atrocity followed over the next few weeks. Organized massacres were accompanied by individual acts, when Japanese soldiers killed Chinese at random for their amusement. In all, perhaps as many as 400,000 people died in these killings, which were complemented by tens of thousands of incidents of rape. These atrocities had been encouraged by the Japanese military leadership, which received nothing but praise for the taking of Nanjing from Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese establishment, even though there was ample news coverage of the killings. After the war, most of the military leaders responsible for the massacre were left unpunished.