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Old July 11th, 2015, 01:09 PM   #1
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Wehrmacht vs Imperial Japanese Military?


In which military was the practice of war crimes and crimes against humanity the most widespread and extensive? The Wehrmacht (Heer, Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe) or the Imperial Japanese Military (IJA, IJN)?

Which military committed more war crimes (number of victims) and which was the use of terror, reprisals against civilian populations, genocide, torture and murder of POWs, enslavement of civilians for labor or as sex slaves etc more common or accepted?
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Old July 11th, 2015, 05:51 PM   #2

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My two cents? The Japanese were worse. In terms of numbers, I'm not sure who is the worse offender. But it seems that all or at least most of the prisoners that the Japanese took were mistreated severely. I don't think the same can be said for the Wehrmacht. The Russian prisoners certainly suffered greatly in the hands of their German captors, but what about other Allied POWs? It's my understanding that many British and American POWs were treated with a certain amount of decency by the Germans.

The Japanese were worse, by how much, I don't know. But that's my guess.
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Old July 11th, 2015, 06:02 PM   #3

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Originally Posted by Menshevik View Post
My two cents? The Japanese were worse. In terms of numbers, I'm not sure who is the worse offender. But it seems that all or at least most of the prisoners that the Japanese took were mistreated severely. I don't think the same can be said for the Wehrmacht. The Russian prisoners certainly suffered greatly in the hands of their German captors, but what about other Allied POWs? It's my understanding that many British and American POWs were treated with a certain amount of decency by the Germans.

The Japanese were worse, by how much, I don't know. But that's my guess.
That's with POWs though. The real comparison would be in how local peoples were treated. How well does the "Rape of Nanking" stand up against Babi Yar and so on. And remember that not all of the Holocaust's killing was committed by the SS. The German Army in WW2 was also involved. In fact many of the Einzattsgruppen units that went into Russia were not SS but regular army units.
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Old July 11th, 2015, 06:04 PM   #4
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I don't think there is a clear cut answer. Western popular culture and propaganda has made it difficult to come to an accurate conclusion. Certainly it appears some semblance of brutality was a part of the culture of the IJA. However I don't think we have ever been shown a balanced view of it's conduct. In contrast I think the study of the Wehrmacht in the West has been far more balanced. Popular culture often portrays the German military of the second world war as a group honourable gentlemen fighting for a terrible cause. Whereas the Japanese military is portrayed uniformly fanatical
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Old July 11th, 2015, 06:26 PM   #5

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Originally Posted by Sam-Nary View Post
That's with POWs though. The real comparison would be in how local peoples were treated. How well does the "Rape of Nanking" stand up against Babi Yar and so on. And remember that not all of the Holocaust's killing was committed by the SS. The German Army in WW2 was also involved. In fact many of the Einzattsgruppen units that went into Russia were not SS but regular army units.
Sure. I was just giving the edge to the Japanese due to their treatment of POWs. All things being equal (I'm not saying they were) the Japanese seem to have been the more barbaric.
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Old July 11th, 2015, 06:46 PM   #6

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That's with POWs though. The real comparison would be in how local peoples were treated. How well does the "Rape of Nanking" stand up against Babi Yar and so on. And remember that not all of the Holocaust's killing was committed by the SS. The German Army in WW2 was also involved. In fact many of the Einzattsgruppen units that went into Russia were not SS but regular army units.
The German Army was also as bad as the Russian and Japanese armies when it came to rape, at least on the Eastern Front.

Quote:
Rapes were allowed in practice by the German military in eastern and southeastern Europe, while northern and western countries were relatively spared.[67][68] In Occupied Denmark, which initially agreed to collaborate with Nazi Germany, rapes were not widespread, and German officials promised to punish them.[67] By contrast thousands of Soviet female nurses, doctors and field medics fell victim to rape when captured, and were often murdered afterwards.[33] German soldiers used to brand the bodies of captured partisan women and other women as well with the words "Whore for Hitler's troops" and rape them.[69] Following their capture some German soldiers vividly bragged about committing rape and rape-homicide.[70] In the Soviet Union alone an estimates regarding the rape of Soviet women by the Wehrmacht range up to 10,000,000 incidents, with between 750,000 and 1,000,000 children being born as a result.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_cri...cht#Mass_rapes
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Old July 11th, 2015, 09:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Menshevik View Post
My two cents? The Japanese were worse. In terms of numbers, I'm not sure who is the worse offender. But it seems that all or at least most of the prisoners that the Japanese took were mistreated severely. I don't think the same can be said for the Wehrmacht. The Russian prisoners certainly suffered greatly in the hands of their German captors, but what about other Allied POWs? It's my understanding that many British and American POWs were treated with a certain amount of decency by the Germans.

The Japanese were worse, by how much, I don't know. But that's my guess.
I remember reading a few first hand accounts of POWs held by the Japanese, from what I remeber (keep in mind this is going off memory) their treatment towards prisoners was very harsh. Starving, beating etc.
One specific example (which i found In a book of mine) was a man who had been locked in a small cage for several months, he was starved (given only small ammounts of food) and beaten.

American soldiers adventually found and freed him and they where horrified at his condition.

While the regular German forces (Heer etc.) still on some occasions treated allied POWs in a less then exceptable mannor. I do believe that the Japanese were much more cruel.
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Old July 11th, 2015, 10:12 PM   #8

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Originally Posted by Menshevik View Post
My two cents? The Japanese were worse. In terms of numbers, I'm not sure who is the worse offender. But it seems that all or at least most of the prisoners that the Japanese took were mistreated severely. I don't think the same can be said for the Wehrmacht. The Russian prisoners certainly suffered greatly in the hands of their German captors, but what about other Allied POWs? It's my understanding that many British and American POWs were treated with a certain amount of decency by the Germans.

The Japanese were worse, by how much, I don't know. But that's my guess.
The thing is, the suffering endured by Soviet prisoners of war was much, much greater than that endured by POW's of the Japanese. Just look at the relative scale of what occurred. More than 3 million Soviet POW's died in German captivity, and that was a direct result of the German leadership. I do not believe that figures reached such a high point in Japanese captivity.

Though obviously Japanese treatment of their prisoners of war was atrocious and no doubt incredibly high death tolls were reached, I just don't think that it matches the German atrocities regarding their prisoners of war.
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Old July 11th, 2015, 11:11 PM   #9

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Originally Posted by Cmyers1980 View Post
In which military was the practice of war crimes and crimes against humanity the most widespread and extensive? The Wehrmacht (Heer, Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe) or the Imperial Japanese Military (IJA, IJN)?

Which military committed more war crimes (number of victims) and which was the use of terror, reprisals against civilian populations, genocide, torture and murder of POWs, enslavement of civilians for labor or as sex slaves etc more common or accepted?

I must admit, the title misled me into thinking which military was actually stronger in terms of strength, not war crimes.
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Old July 11th, 2015, 11:45 PM   #10

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Soviet prisoners held by the Germans had over a 50% mortality rate. About a third of all Allied prisoners held by the Japanese perished. However if you were a British or American POW, you were much better off in German hands than Japanese.
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