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12 August 1941
Churchill and Roosevelt sign the Atlantic Charter, a remarkable document to be signed by the leader of a neutral country
German Army Group North advances towards Leningrad
12 August 1941 - History
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard a warship off the coast of Newfoundland during the Atlantic Conference. The conference took place from August 9-12, 1941, and resulted in the Atlantic Charter, a joint proclamation by the United States and Britain declaring that they were fighting the Axis powers to "ensure life, liberty, independence and religious freedom and to preserve the rights of man and justice."
The Atlantic Charter served as a foundation stone for the later establishment of the United Nations, setting forth several principles for the nations of the world, including -- the renunciation of all aggression, right to self-government, access to raw materials, freedom from want and fear, freedom of the seas, and disarmament of aggressor nations.
(Photo credit: U.S. National Archives)
August 12. On this date in 1941, Shoghi Effendi wrote ". the supreme truth that with every fresh outbreak of hostility to the Faith, whether from within or without, a corresponding measure of outpouring grace, sustaining its defenders and confounding its adversaries, has been providentially released, communicating a fresh impulse to the onward march of the Faith, while this impetus, in its turn, would, through its manifestations, provoke fresh hostility in quarters heretofore unaware of its challenging implications . "
The dynamic interplay of the processes of crisis and victory characterizes the development of the Faith. Shoghi Effendi affirms that "the record of its tumultuous history" demonstrates
". the supreme truth that with every fresh outbreak of hostility to the Faith, whether from within or without, a corresponding measure of outpouring grace, sustaining its defenders and confounding its adversaries, has been providentially released, communicating a fresh impulse to the onward march of the Faith, while this impetus, in its turn, would, through its manifestations, provoke fresh hostility in quarters heretofore unaware of its challenging implications …"
There are around 1,000 sites where Jews were shot en masse in world war two in Ukraine, estimated Mikhail Tyaglyy of the Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies, of which approximately only half are marked with any kind of memorial.
“Over 25 years of independence, our state has never come up with a proper policy on the Holocaust, either because they were simply not interested or because it did not fit in with their particular ideological bent,” said Tyaglyy. “The young generation of Ukrainians, partly thanks to Maidan [protests] and the new interest in Ukrainian nationalism, have no idea that the history of Ukrainian nationalist movement is difficult and complicated and not just about heroism.”
On the same day as the opening in Rava Ruska, another monument was opened in the village of Bakhiv, at a spot where around 8,000 Jews were shot. During the ceremony, two locals, including one local official, shouted out in protest at the inscription, which blamed the Nazis and their “subservient local forces” for the killings.
The inscription was chosen after months of haggling over the exact wording with various groups. Some Ukrainian nationalist politicians were against any monuments being built at all, said Irina Vereshchuk, the former mayor of Rava Ruska, who supported the project. They thought it was “inappropriate” to have a monument particularly dedicated to Jews, she said.
In these killings, the local Ukrainian police force was usually not tasked with the actual shooting, but were frequently involved in the process of rounding up Jews and aiding the German occupiers in other ways. However, the role of locals in the crimes of the Nazis, as well as the massacres of Polish civilians by Ukrainian nationalists, remains a controversial topic in Ukraine.
Yuri Shukhevych, the son of one of the main Ukrainian nationalist leaders, spent three decades in Soviet camps due to his family’s political affiliations. Now, aged 82, he is an MP and the author of the new history laws. Asked whether he was comfortable with the Holocaust monument erected in Rava Ruska which blamed locals as well as Germans, Shukhevych deflected the question.
“Of course it was a cruel battle and there were a lot of bad things that happened on all sides. Let’s objectively investigate them. But people like to say that our nationalists did things but the Polish didn’t. And what about the Jewish police, the Judenrat, which selected and sorted the Jews? I saw it with my own eyes. But the Jews don’t like to talk about that.”
However, there is a hope among the Jews of Ukraine that the narrow narrative of a heroic struggle for independence by Ukrainian nationalists will be broadened to allow proper study of the crimes committed against them. In Rava Ruska, local teachers have organised a special educational programme to teach children about the former Jewish heritage of the town and the crimes of the Holocaust. In time, there is a hope that the “atrocity competition” can be replaced with common mourning and commemoration.
Treaties and Agreements
Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation Between the United States and the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), 1826 .
On December 23, 1826, the U.S. signed articles of arrangement in the typical form of a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation with the Kingdom of Hawaii in Honolulu, which confirmed the peace and friendship between the peoples of the two countries. The agreement was signed by the captain of the U.S. sloop of war Peacock Thomas ap Catesby Jones, who was appointed by the U.S., and Guardians of Kauikeaouli, King of the Sandwich Islands: Elisabeta Kaahumanu, the Queen Regent Karaimoku, the Prime Minister Boki, Governor of Oahu and personal guardian of the King Howapili, guardian of Nahienaena, sister of the King and Lidia Namahana, who was a dowager queen of Kamehameha I. This was the first treaty that the Kingdom of Hawaii signed with any foreign power. It was never ratified by Congress, although both countries acted in accordance with its articles.
Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation and Extradition, 1849 .
On December 20, 1849, the U.S. and the Kingdom of Hawaii signed a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation and Extradition. The treaty, negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State John M. Clayton and the Hawaiian special Commissioner to the Government of the United States James Jackson Jarves , was signed in Washington, D.C.
Treaty of Reciprocity, 1875 .
On January 30, 1875, United States Secretary of State Hamilton Fish and the Kingdom of Hawaii’s Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States Elisha H. Allen signed a Treaty of Reciprocity. This treaty provided for duty-free import of Hawaiian agricultural products into the United States. Conversely, the Kingdom of Hawaii allowed U.S. agricultural products and manufactured goods to enter Hawaiian ports duty-free. This treaty was originally intended to last for a duration of seven years.
Reciprocity Convention, 1884 .
On December 6, 1884, the United States and the Kingdom of Hawaii signed a Reciprocity Convention, pertaining to commercial reciprocity, which was an extension of the 1875 Treaty of Reciprocity.
When Was Your City's Hottest and Coolest Summer on Record?
Summer can be a time of scorching heat across the U.S., but do you know when the hottest and coolest summer on record occurred where you live?
When a stubborn weather pattern with a strong ridge of high pressure becomes prolonged or persistent, records for the hottest summer can be set. Conversely, when the weather pattern over the summer is dominated by a southward dip in the jet stream records for coolest summer are possible.
We took a look at the average temperatures (factors in both high and low temperature each day) for June, July and August, which is known as meteorological summer, for 50 cities across the U.S. and calculated which years were the hottest and which were the coolest.
Below is a closer look at what we found.
Hottest Summers Have Been Fairly Recent For Many Locations
Out of the 50 cities we looked at, just over half of those have had the hottest June-August period since 2010.
The summer of 2010 saw the hottest temperatures on record for several locations across the Northeast and South:
- New York City
- Philadelphia (also June 2010 was the hottest June on record)
- Washington, D.C. (June also set a monthly record)
- Raleigh (June was also the hottest June on record)
- Miami (also set a monthly record for June)
- Louisville (June was also the hottest June on record)
- Little Rock
The next summer, 2011, was brutally hot and dry in the southern Plains. More than 50 percent of the southern region consisting of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee were experiencing exceptional drought, the highest category of drought, by the end of August, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The following locations saw their hottest summer in 2011:
- Houston (Both June and August set monthly records for hottest June and August)
- Dallas (also set a monthly record for August)
- Oklahoma City (Set monthly records for July and August)
- Midland, Texas (June and August set hottest monthly records)
- Albuquerque (August was the hottest August on record)
Farther east, Tallahassee also saw its hottest summer in 2011. The all-time hottest temperature on record here was set in June at 105 degrees and August 2011 is the hottest August on record.
The summer of 2012 was the hottest on record in Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming, and 2012 also holds the record for most 100 degree-days in Denver with 13.
This Day in Weather History: August 12th
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Weather History - August 12th
Local and Regional Events:
August 12, 1986:
Thunderstorms produced 2.53 inches of rain in twenty minutes in downtown Rapid City. The heavy rain caused street and basement flooding. Golf ball size hail fell in Zeona, in Perkins County, which covered the ground.
U.S.A and Global Events for August 12th:
1752: The following is from the Journals of the Rev. Thomas Smith, and the Rev. Samuel Deane, published in 1849. &ldquoIn the evening there was dismal thunder and lightning, and abundance of rain, and such a hurricane as was never the like in these parts of the world.&rdquo This hurricane struck Portland, Maine. Click HERE to read their Journals.
2004: Hurricane Charley was the third named storm and the second hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. Charley lasted from August 9 to August 15, and at its peak intensity, it attained 150 mph winds, making it a strong Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. It made landfall in southwestern Florida at maximum strength, making it the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew struck Florida in 1992.
2005: A tornado strikes Wright, Wyoming, a coal-mining community, killing two and destroying 91 homes and damaging about 30 more in around the town.
Click HERE for more This Day in Weather History from the Southeast Regional Climate Center.
Wilson was born Frederick August Kittel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on April 27, 1945. His mother, Daisy Wilson, was of African American heritage. His father was a German immigrant named Frederick Kittel.
As a child, Kittel attended St. Richard&aposs Parochial School. When his parents divorced, he, his mother and his siblings moved from the poor Bedford Avenue area of Pittsburgh to the mostly white neighborhood of Oakland. After facing the relentless bigotry of his classmates at Central Catholic High School, he transferred to Connelly Vocational High School, and later to Gladstone High School. When he was 15 years old, Wilson pursued an independent education at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where he would earn his high school diploma.
Essex Regiment during WW1
Since 1815 the balance of power in Europe had been maintained by a series of treaties. In 1888 Wilhelm II was crowned ‘German Emperor and King of Prussia’ and moved from a policy of maintaining the status quo to a more aggressive position. He did not renew a treaty with Russia, aligned Germany with the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire and started to build a Navy rivalling that of Britain. These actions greatly concerned Germany’s neighbours, who quickly forged new treaties and alliances in the event of war. On 28th June 1914 Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist group Young Bosnia who wanted pan-Serbian independence. Franz Joseph's the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (with the backing of Germany) responded aggressively, presenting Serbia with an intentionally unacceptable ultimatum, to provoke Serbia into war. Serbia agreed to 8 of the 10 terms and on the 28th July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, producing a cascade effect across Europe. Russia bound by treaty to Serbia declared war with Austro-Hungary, Germany declared war with Russia and France declared war with Germany. Germany’s army crossed into neutral Belgium in order to reach Paris, forcing Britain to declare war with Germany (due to the Treaty of London (1839) whereby Britain agreed to defend Belgium in the event of invasion). By the 4th August 1914 Britain and much of Europe were pulled into a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.
The Regiment raised 30 Battalions and was awarded 62 Battle Honours and 1 Victoria Crosse, losing 8,860 men during the course of the war.
04.08.1914 Stationed at Mauritius.
Dec 1914 Returned to England and moved to Harwich, Essex.
18.01.1915 Moved to Banbury to join the 88th Brigade of the 29th Division.
05.03.1915 Moved to Warwick.
21.03.1915 Embarked at for Gallipoli from Avonmouth via Alexandria and Mudros.
25.04.1915 Landed at Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army including
First Battle of Krithia, the Second Battle of Krithia, the Third Battle of Krithia, the Battle of Gully Ravine, the Battle of Krithia Vineyard, the Battle of Scimitar Hill.
08.01.1916 Evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather.
16.03.1916 Embarked for France from Alexandria arriving at Marseilles and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western front including
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges,
The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The Battle of Cambrai.
04.02.1918 Transferred to the 112th Brigade of the 37th Division
The Battle of the Ancre, The Battle of the Albert, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Bethencourt N.W. of Le Cateau, France.
04.08.1914 Stationed at Chatham as part of the 12th Brigade of the 4th Division and then moved to Cromer, Norwich and Harrow.
24.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre, transferring to the 12th Brigade of the 36th Division.
05.11.1915 – 03.02.1916 attached to the 109th Brigade of the same Division, initially concentrated around Flesselles and attached to the 4th Division for trench familiarisation and training.
03.02.1916 Returned to the 12th Brigade, Division took over the front line section between the River Ancre and the Mailly-Maillet to Serre road and engaged in various actions including
The Battle of Albert.
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Langemarck, The Cambrai Operations, The capture of Bourlon Wood.
The Battle of St Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Ooteghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Artres south of Valenciennes, France.
3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Warley and then moved to Harwich.
Mar 1916 Moved to Felixstowe.
31.10.1918 Ended the war near Beirut, Palestine.
1/6th & 1/7th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 The 1/6th stationed at West Ham and the 1/7th stationed at Walthamstow both as part of the Essex Brigade of the East Anglian Division and then moved to Norwich.
April 1915 Moved to Colchester and the formation became the 161st Brigade of the 54th Division and then moved to At Albans.
21.07.1915 Embarked for the Mediterranean from Devonport, Plymouth via Lemnos.
12.08.1915 Landed at Suvla Bay and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army.
04.12.1915 Evacuated from Gallipoli to Mudros due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather.
17.12.1915 Deployed to Alexandria
Suez Canal Defence
The First Battle of Gaza, The Second Battle of Gaza, The Third Battle of Gaza, The Capture of Gaza, The Battle of Jaffa.
The fight at Ras el'Ain, The operations at Berukin, The Battle of Sharon.
31.10.1918 Ended the war near Beirut, Palestine.
1/8th (Cyclist) Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Colchester and then moved to Essex and stationed at H.Q. at Wivenhoe.
Jan 1917 Moved to Southminster attached to the 73rd Division.
Oct 1917 Moved to Margate.
Feb 1918 Moved to Ireland at Enniskillen.
Mar 1918 Moved to Curragh then Tulla Co. Clare.
Oct 1918 Moved to Naas Co. Kildare.
2/4th Battalion Territorial Force
Oct 1914 Formed at Brentwood and then moved to Stamford as part of the 206th Brigade of the 69th Division.
Jan 1915 Moved to Yarmouth and then Thetford.
Dec 1915 Disbanded.
2/5th & 2/6th Battalion Territorial Force
Oct 1914 The 2/5th formed at Chelmsford.
Nov 1914 The 2/6th formed at West Ham and then both moved to Peterborough as part of the 206th Brigade of the 69th Division and then Thetford.
July 1916 Moved to Harrogate.
April 1917 Moved to Welbeck and then Middlesbrough.
Mar 1918 Disbanded.
2/7th Battalion Territorial Force
Nov 1914 Formed at Walthamstow and then moved to Peterborough as part of the 206th Brigade of the 69th Division and then Thetford.
July 1916 Moved to Harrogate.
April 1917 Moved to Welbeck.
10.10.1917 Moved to Ramsgate and transferred to the 201st brigade of the 67th Division
Mar 1918 Disbanded.
2/8th (Cyclist) Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed at Colchester.
Mar 1915 Moved to Great Clacton and then moved to Mistley & Manningtree.
Aug 1916 Moved to Foxhall Heath, Ipswich and then Faversham.
April 1917 Moved to Little Clacton and then Hollesley Bay, Suffolk.
April 1918 Moved to Bawdsey attached to the 67th Division.
3/4th 3/5th 3/6th & 3/7th Battalion Territorial Force
May 1915 Formed at Brentwood, Chelmsford, West Ham & Walthamstow and then moved to Windsor Great Park.
Oct 1915 Moved to Halton Park.
08.04.1916 Became the 4th 5th 6th & 7th Reserve Battalions.
01.09.1916 The 4th absorbed the rest as part of the East Anglian Reserve Battalion.
Aug 1917 Moved to Crowborough.
Aug 1918 Moved to Hastings.
3/8th (Cyclist) Battalion Territorial Force
April 1915 Formed at Colchester.
April 1916 Disbanded.
9th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Warley and then moved to Shorncliffe as part of the 35th Brigade of the 12th Division.
Mar 1915 Moved to Blenheim Barracks, Aldershot.
31.05.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
The Battle of Loos.
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Le Transloy.
The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Cambrai operations.
The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Epehy, The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Hergnies east of Orchies, France.
10th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Warley and then moved to Shorncliffe as part of the 53rd Brigade of the 18th Division and then moved to Colchester.
Mar 1915 Moved to Codford St. Mary.
26.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Thiepval Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.
Operations on the Ancre, The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, First Battle of Passchendaele, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of the Avre, The actions of Villers-Brettoneux, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Le Cateau, France.
11th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Warley as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Shoreham to join the 71st Brigade of the 24th Division.
Jan 1915 Moved to Brighton and then back to Shoreham and then Blackdown.
30.08.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
11.10.1915 Transferred to the 71st Brigade of the 6th Division.
27.10.1915 Transferred to the 18th Brigade of the 6th Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
The Battle of Hill 70, The Cambrai operations
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Advance in Flanders, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 ended the war at Becquigny north of Bohain, France.
12th (Reserve) Battalion
26.10.1914 Formed at Harwich as a service battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4) as part of the 106th Brigade of the 35th Division.
Jan 1915 Moved to White City, London.
10.04.1915 Became the 2nd Reserve Battalion and then moved to Colchester.
Mar 1916 Moved back to Harwich as part of the 6th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the Training Reserve Battalion.
13th (Service) Battalion (West Ham)
27.12.1914 Formed by the Mayor and the Borough at West Ham and then moved to Brentwood.
01.07.1915 Taken over by the War Office and the then moved to Clipstone as part of the 100th Brigade of the 33rd Division and then moved to Perham Down, Salisbury Plain.
17.11.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne
22.12.1915 Transferred to the 6th Brigade of the 2nd Division and moved to Bethune and engaged in various actions on the Western front including
The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of the Ancre, Operations on the Ancre.
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Cambrai.
10.02.1918 Disbanded in France.
14th (Reserve) Battalion
Sept 1915 Formed as a local Reserve Battalion from the depot companies of the 13th Battalion at Brentwood.
July 1915 Moved to Cambridge and then to Colchester as part of the 23rd Reserve Brigade.
Jan 1916 Moved to Northampton and then Tweseldown, Aldershot.
01.09.1916 became the 98th Training Reserve Battalion of the 23rd Reserve Brigade.
15th Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 Formed at Yarmouth from the 65th Provisional Battalion as part of the 225th Brigade.
27.04.1918 Became a Garrison Guard Battalion.
May 1918 Mobilised for war and landed in France.
12.05.1918 Transferred to the 177th Brigade of the 59th Division
16.07.1918 The title of ‘Garrison’ dropped and engaged in various actions including
The general final advance in Artois and Flanders
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Grand Rejet north of Tournai, Belgium.
16th Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 Formed at Fleet from the 66th Provisional Battalion as part of the 213th Brigade of the 77th Division.
Mar 1917 Moved to Colchester.
Dec 1917 Disbanded.
17th Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 Formed at Sheringham from the 67th Provisional Battalion as part of the 223rd Brigade.
July 1917 Moved to Weybourne where it remained.
18th (Home service) Battalion
27.04.1918 formed at Yarmouth to replace the 15th Battalion of the 225th Brigade.
1st Garrison Battalion
21.07.1915 Formed at Denham, Buckingham
24.08.1915 Embarked for Gallipoli from Devonport via Mudros arriving 03.09.1915
Feb 1916 Evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather.
Remained in Egypt until the end of the war.
2nd Garrison Battalion
Jan 1916 Formed at Halton Park and then deployed to India where it remained.
Don Tow's Website
Hong Kong was a British colony before and after WWII, but from 12/25/1941 to 8/15/1945 when Japan surrendered, Hong Kong was under the control of Japan. This article recounts the massacre and atrocities committed by the Japanese troops during those three years and eight months of occupation of Hong Kong. The purpose of recounting these events is not to bash Japan or to generate hatred of Japan, but to make sure that we do not forget the lessons of history so that similar events do not occur again in the future. This is especially important taking into consideration that Japan’s current prime minister recently denied any major atrocity committed by Japan during WWII and Japan’s school textbooks have been rewriting history.
Japan started its invasion of Hong Kong on 12/8/1941 (or 12/7/1941 U.S. time, the same day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor). Great Britain surrendered Hong Kong to Japan on Christmas day, 12/25/1941, on a day that the people of Hong Kong called Black Christmas.
Although what happened in Hong Kong during this period pales in comparison to what happened during the 1937-38 Nanking Massacre, a great deal of massacre and atrocities were committed by the Japanese soldiers against the Chinese, British, Canadians, and other people living in Hong Kong at that time.
As many as 10,000 women were raped in the first few days. Tens of thousands, including women and children, were killed. Many more starved to death. Many parts of Hong Kong were ransacked and burned, and many residents left, deported, or escaped to even famine/disease-ridden areas of mainland China. Basically a reign of terror ruled Hong Kong during those three years and eight months, resulting in Hong Kong’s population of 1.6 million shrinking to 600,000 at the end of that period.
The atrocities were not just against the Chinese, but also British, Canadians, and people of other nationalities. For example, at a hospital for injured British soldiers, the Japanese soldiers slaughtered 170 recuperating soldiers and a few hospital staff. The eyes, ears, noses, tongues, or limbs were cut off on many victims. Seventy of the soldiers were killed with swords while they were lying in bed. The hospital’s seven nurses were raped, sometimes while lying on top of the bodies of murdered British soldiers. Several of the nurses were also slaughtered, and one of them almost had her head severed. All these actions were in complete violation of the 1864 Geneva Red Cross Agreement (which was the beginning of the establishment of the International Red Cross) regarding the treatment of prisoners-of-war.
After 18 days of fighting and bombing and the British surrendered on 12/25/1941, many people came out of hiding in the bomb shelters. Upon seeing many mean-looking Japanese solders with guns pointing at them, some ran either out of fear or not being able to understand the Japanese command to stop, they were shot dead on the spot. Some children cried and before the parents could stop their crying, the children were shot and killed.
Some of the atrocities even continued after Japan surrendered on 8/15/1945. For example, during 8/16-26/1945, a small garrison of Japanese soldiers in Silver Ore Bay in Lantau Island (where the new Hong Kong international airport is currently located) went berserk and slaughtered, robbed, and burned almost everything in sight, thus almost obliterated several small villages in this bay.
Many innocent people were also killed due to arbitrary and unjustly enforcement of curfews and other rules. For example, one time an eight-year old son, upon seeing his mother and a younger sibling coming home, ran across the street to meet them. All three were shot and killed due to a curfew forbidding crossing of that street. Often the rules were purposely left ambiguous or not well publicized, so that the Japanese soldiers could impose severe punishments, including killing, upon the violators.
While facing this reign of terror, many people also performed heroic acts. For example, in a hotel at Shallow Water Bay, Japanese soldiers found several seriously injured British soldiers and planned to kill them. A foreign nurse stepped in front and said if you want to kill them, you have to kill me first. On that occasion, the Japanese soldiers retreated. Dr. Hu, a doctor and head of a public hospital, out of his own pocket provided food and medicine to many orphans, and also provided free medical treatments to these orphans. Without his help, many of these orphans would have starved to death. There was also a British underground organization in southern China, called B.A.A.G., which helped over 600 alliance (including British and Canadian) soldiers escaped to safe territories, and over 120 Europeans and 550 Chinese escaped from Japanese controlled territories in Hong Kong and China.
Instead of learning from history to avoid repeating this kind of massacre and atrocities, unfortunately the Japanese government is in denial of their existence. They publicly proclaim that these events were fabricated in spite of so many eyewitness accounts, and they have been rewriting history in their school textbooks. Their senior government leaders also pay regular homage to the Japanese shrine where many of the war criminals were buried.
It is important for peace-loving people of the world to remember the following quotes: