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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, December 17, 1937, Image 3

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1937-12-17/ed-1/seq-3/

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Defenders’ Morale Suddenly
Breaks and Frenzied
Flight Begins.
(C. Tates McDaniel. Associated Press
co-respondent, staved in Nanking
throughout its sieo■ and conguest bv
Japanese forces. Because of disrupted
communications he was unable to
transmit his story until today. His
account was relayed by wireless from
the Japanese destroyer Tsuga.)
TSUGA, Dec. 17.—The morale of Chi
nese armies defending Nanking broke
suddenly Sunday afternoon.
What had been planned as a slow,
ordered retreat turned into a wild
rout. Nanking had a night of terror.
Thousands of Chinese soldiers fought
to escape from the city by a single
And on Monday the Rising Sun
flag of Japan was raised over the
city's walls.
Retreating troops were entering
Nanking in apparently good order
and good spirits. Suddenly, Sunday
afternoon, a brigade which had been
hammered throughout the day broke
from its position and dashed into
the city.
Pass American Embassy.
The soldiers ran past the American
Embassy, scattering crowds of civilians
before them, and shouting: "The
Japanese are within the city. We
are surrounded."
The first rout was stopped a hun
dreds yards past the embassy by mili
tary police, who opened fire on its
leaders, killing six of them and turn
ing back the rest.
But the mad infection raced through
the city.
By dark Nanking's main streets
were filled with troops from all posi
tions outside the walls. First they
walked. Then they broke into a wild
run. As the pace quickened, panic
stricken Chinese soldiers shed their
rifles, helmets and uniforms.
Wounded Wander Helplessly.
The wounded who were able to walk
wandered helplessly through the
streets. Many soldiers were shot by
their comrades in the stampede to
the river gate on the west—the door
way to escape.
Near the war ministry a truck
stalled. Within a few minutes the ■
roadway was jajnmed with men, pack
mules, new French 75-milimeter guns,
anti-aircraft guns and baby tanks.
Some one tried to break the jam
by setting fire to a gasoline truck.
Soon the flames reached ammunition
wagons. Shells exploded. Animals
and humans near the jam were
killed, burned or mangled.
The river gate sandbag barricade
turned out to be a death trap for
many. Some were shot down by curs
ing comrades.
The fallen were trampled into a
shapeless pulp. Before the gate's
superstructure was burned by guards
attempting to turn the tide, thousands
reached the Yangtze and crossed to
Pukow in junks, sampans and
launches. Many were drowned in
the crossing.
Other thousands who fled through
the gate melted into the darkness!
in the narrow strip of countryside not
then reached by encircling Japanese.
I was unable to force my way
through the howling mass, so I took
a roundabout route to my home, which
overlooks the river gate and the city
Government Building Fired.
The panic-stricken Chinese set fire
to munitions stored in the basement
of the mlllion-dollar Communications !
Ministry Building, the largest and
mo6t handsome structure in the city.
Three hours later it was a smoldering
At 3 o’clock Monday morning came
another series of shattering explosions.
Salvo after salvo of Chinese artillery
lire roared outside the walls.
Projectiles screamed overhead. The :
riverside and hillside batteries which
supposedly made Nanking impregna
ble from river attack unlimbered, the
gunners firing in whatever direction
their pieces happened to be pointing
when they decided to join their com
rades in flight.
Throughout the night I heard the
wild cries of Chinese, rifle fire and
deaftening explosions. Japanese ar
tillery batteries pounding steadily in
the south.
al sunrise I saw the remaining
city wall defenders 200 yards away,
engaged in a futile attempt to halt
the Japanese advance.
I was afraid I might be caught be
tween the defenders of the wall and
the Japanese pushing northward
through the city, so I walked around
sandbag and barbed-wire barricades
and reached the United States Em
Later in the morning I found that
the Japanese had reached Nanking's
northeastern entrance, “the Gate of
Benevolent Peace.”
I got there just in time to see Jap
anese scouts crawl through a breach in
the gate and nail the Rising Sun flag
to a mast. I was stopped once at pistol
point by a Cantonese unit holding a
crossroads, apparently unaware that
their officers had deserted them and
that they were surrounded by the
Throughout the day I met Chinese
units wandering aimlessly through the
streets asking: “Where is headquar
Monday Japanese were mopping up
remnants of Chinese troops Inside the
Tuesday 13 Japanese destroyers and
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Sniper Arrested by Japanese
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jonn a puce of grass rope. _ —Wide World Photo.
nmboats arrived at the water front
and strafed Chinese hiding across the
river in Pukow. Encirclement of the
city was completed.
Japanese cavalry forced their way
into Riverside Gate over a still smol
dering mass of human pulp.
Chinese losses during the four-day
Sght in and around Nanking were
ibout 5,000. Several hundred more
were shot or trampled in the rout.
Japanese since then have shot another
thousand Chinese soldiers and several
lundred civilians.
I had no way of knowing the extent
}f Japanese casualties, but I saw sev
■ral hundred white boxes containing
ishes of the dead and several score
if mule litters with wounded brought
into Nanking.
3z the Associated Press.
MOSCOW. Dec. 17.—The mystery
)f the mysterious "Mr. and Mrs. Don
ild L. Robinson" of New York sank
into the impenetrable secrecy of offi
cial silence today.
The government newspaper Izvestia
indicated yesterday they had been ar
rested on suspicion of espionage, and
American circles doubted anvthing
further would be revealed, at least in
the near future. (The couple en
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Action Held “Unthinkable”
in Civilized Country—An
swer Demanded.
By the Associated Press.
TOKIO, Dec. 17.—The Japanese
foreign office today formally charged
the Soviet Union with acting in a
manner “utterly unthinkable in any
civilized country” in connection with
arrests of Japanese in Russia.
The foreign office protested to the
Soviet Embassy, citing what Japan
called numerous cases in which Soviet
authorities had arrested Japanese and
held them without trial.
A. memorandum accompanying the
protest said Japan wished a "responsi
ble” answer.
Almost concurrently the Tokio news
paper Yomiuri charged that Russia
was continuing to strengthen her mili
tary forces at Vladivostok, Russia’s
Par Eastern seaport.
Russia was sending 2 cruisers, 18
submarines and 6 destroyers to the
port next week, Yomiuri asserted. The
newspaper added that the Moscow
six lira si.
government moved 600 pilots and 110
planes to Vladivostok last week.
(Chinese press reports received
at Shanghai said Russia had com
pleted an underground airdrome
at Vladivostok capable of housing
150 planes and had reinforced her
armed forces there by more than
85.000 men.
(The Russian port, at the south
ern tip of a neck of Russian terri
tory that curves around the eastern
frontier of Japanese-dominated
Manchukuo, lies about 400 miles
from the nearest Japanese coastline
and about 650 air miles from Tokio.)
The foreign office statement of the
Russian Embassy said in part:
"On November 4 an unknown wom
an handed Daiji Takahashi, director
of a Japanese company at Vladivostok,
an envelope on the street. Immediate
ly several officials who were evidently
lying in ambush arrested him and took
‘the letter declaring he would be
indicted for ‘espionage.’
"Takahashi was placed in detention.
His trial has not yet been held.
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Japanese authorities have been con
ducting negotiations in order to learn
the results of the investigation and
also to inquire as to the condition
of Takahashi's health.
“Soviet officials failed entirely to
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The protest listed other similar
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