Ocnus.Net
News Before It's News
About us | Ocnus? |

Front Page 
 
 Africa
 
 Analyses
 
 Business
 
 Dark Side
 
 Defence & Arms
 
 Dysfunctions
 
 Editorial
 
 International
 
 Labour
 
 Light Side
 
 Research
Search

Dark Side Last Updated: Sep 15, 2020 - 2:41:12 PM


Germany's Pacific Past
By German Foreign Policy, 13/9/20
Sep 14, 2020 - 2:15:03 PM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

The most savage German massacre in the colonial war in China took place 120 years ago today - in the small town of Liangxiang.

Today, 120 years ago, in the small city of Liangxiang, German troops committed the most savage massacre in the colonial war in China. Under the pretext of fighting insurgents, soldiers from two battalions of marine infantry opened fire on residential areas in the small city of Liangxiang southwest of Beijing and, after conquering the town, summarily executed all its male residents. The number of inhabitants was estimated at between 3,000 and 4,000. The Liangxiang massacre was followed by many more in the course of suppressing the "Boxer Rebellion." In Berlin's opinion, the norms of the laws of war apply only to "civilized" nations, since China and its population were not considered as such; they were not binding in the German colonial war. The German troops' murder-by-arson in China bears clear resemblance to the German Empire's colonial warfare in Africa. In view of Berlin's new "Indo-Pacific" offensive, german-foreign-policy.com reminds of Germany's murderous colonial past at the Pacific.

 

Mobilization against Beijing

By the time the German troops - who would soon commit the Liangxiang massacre - had arrived in China on August 15, 1900, the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion was already in full swing. The rebellion against the colonial powers from Europe, Japan and the USA had begun to spread to Beijing in June 1900. In mid-June, following provocations by foreign diplomats - the German diplomat Clemens von Ketteler included, who had personally shot several insurgents– the insurgents set their sights on the diplomatic district of Beijing, the capital. The rebellion escalated into a war, when, on June 20, regular Chinese soldiers began to besiege the diplomatic district. The mobilization in Europe had, however, begun a few days earlier, when on June 16, the London Daily Mail published fake news, claiming that the insurgents had stormed the diplomatic district and killed all foreigners - a lie to justify war as they are still being used today. Initially, the colonial powers tried to intervene with troops already stationed in the region, such as Germany with units based in its colony of Qingdao. In the second half of June, a comprehensive mobilization began also in the German Empire. With a speech in Bremerhaven on July 27, 1900, Kaiser Wilhelm II bid farewell to the East Asian Expeditionary Corps - a contingent of the international intervention force under the command of German Field Marshall Alfred von Waldersee. His speech became notorious as the "Hun Speech."[1]

Murdered, Robbed, Set on Fire

Already previously, on July 2, 1900 the Empire's government had disembarked the First and Second Battalion of marine infantry to China, to be on hand to rapidly intervene. The two contingents, each comprising about a thousand soldiers, had been established a few years prior as special forces for interventions in the German colonies.[2] Just before the two Battalions reached the Chinese port in Tianjin, the forces of the colonial powers had crushed the siege of the diplomatic district and immediately began looting the Chinese capital. As Paula von Rosthorn, wife of the Austrian legation's chargé d'affaires, later reported, "everything was mercilessly razed, men, women and children, everything of value was robbed and houses set on fire."[3] Thousands of Chinese were murdered; plundered loot was often sold at auctions, the returns being used to help cover the costs of the occupation, or distributed to the soldiers of the colonial powers. The First Battalion of marine infantry arrived in Beijing on August 23, the second, on September 1. According to a study of the mission, German soldiers "primarily plundered Chinese temples" to furnish their living quarters.[4] The First Battalion of marine infantry celebrated the beginning of its new mission on August 27, with a massacre of 76 Chinese, who prior to their execution - bound together by their plaits - had been forced to dig their own graves.

Indiscriminately Killed

The German colonial troops' most savage massacre in China was committed in Tianjin by troops of both battalions of marine infantry, already on September 11, 1900, on the eve of the arrival of the East Asian Expedition Corps, under the command of Field Marshal General Waldersee. The pretext had been alleged shots fired at the German patrol from the walls of the small city of Liangxiang to the southwest of Beijing. The next day - September 11, 1900 - the German military advanced on Liangxiang. They were supported by around 50 mounted soldiers of the British-Indian Colonial Troops.[5] Armed with superior firepower, they first conquered the Pagoda Hill outside Liangxiang, from where they could fire on the Chinese defenses at the walls. According to reports, they fired indiscriminately into the residential areas and at fleeing Chinese. Then they stormed the city, which could be taken with little effort. The houses were systematically ransacked: "warriors, in armed groups and still resisting were tied together by their plaits, taken outside the city and summarily executed," according to a correspondent's report.[6]

Systematically Killed

In fact, in the course of so-called punitive expeditions, not only captured insurgents were executed, but all male residents. As one eyewitness reported, "all men, in the city, who had not already met their fate, were lined up against the wall and executed." Liangxiang's total population was estimated at between 3,000 and 4,000. "The punitive expedition, as a whole," according to the historian Bernd Martin, "resembled more a maneuver with live fire on live targets, than a combat engagement;" "The German losses, one marine infantryman killed and four slightly wounded," would "numerically correspond to the usual number of accidents during a maneuver."[7] When the massacre was over, the two German battalions of marine infantry again withdrew, however, not before having set fire to Liangxiang's ruins. A German First Lieutenant, who had participated in the massacre, advanced the following justification: "the German minority had to operate ruthlessly, to put an end to the Boxers' impertinent behavior."[8]

"Civilized" Nations

Numerous other massacres followed that of Liangxiang. Historians have counted 76 so-called punitive expeditions for the province of Zhili, which surrounds the capital. Of these, 51 had been carried out solely by German troops. German troops comprised a disproportionate number of those involved in the others. Alongside measures taken to suppress alleged or genuine insurgents - these measures were occasionally claimed to be reprisals for insurgent attacks on German troops. Usually, the "punitive expeditions" were to hunt for - alleged - insurgents, who were then turned over to the local officials or summarily executed. According to an investigation into the German soldiers' murders-by-arson, "mass executions were the standard."[9] The German military did not feel bound by the norms of laws of war laid down by the Hague Peace Conference of 1899 - to them, these norms pertained only to "civilized" nations, to which the colonial powers did not consider China and its population to belong. Quite a few of those German soldiers, who had participated in those massacres in China, later went on to participate in the colonial wars in what is today Namibia and Tanzania. The massacres in China resemble "punitive expeditions" of German colonial troops during the 1890s in Africa.[10] Germany's colonial crimes have largely been forgotten by the descendents of the culprits; however, not by the descendents of the victims - for example in Africa and China.


[1] See also Die "Hunnenrede".

[2] Bernd Martin: Soldatische Radikalisierung und Massaker. Das deutsche Erste und Zweite Seebataillon im Einsatz im "Boxerkrieg" in China 1900. In: Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift 69 (2010). S. 221-241.

[3] Mechthild Leutner: Die Belagerung der Gesandtschaften oder: Wie der Krieg begann. In: Mechthild Leutner, Klaus Mühlhahn (Hg.): Kolonialkrieg in China. Die Niederschlagung der Boxerbewegung 1900-1901. S. 102-110.

[4] Bernd Martin: Soldatische Radikalisierung und Massaker. Das deutsche Erste und Zweite Seebataillon im Einsatz im "Boxerkrieg" in China 1900. In: Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift 69 (2010). S. 221-241.

[5] Vgl. die Schilderungen des Massakers bei: Bernd Martin: Soldatische Radikalisierung und Massaker. Das deutsche Erste und Zweite Seebataillon im Einsatz im "Boxerkrieg" in China 1900. In: Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift 69 (2010). S. 221-241. Susanne Kuß: Deutsche Strafexpeditionen im Boxerkrieg. In: Mechthild Leutner, Klaus Mühlhahn (Hg.): Kolonialkrieg in China. Die Niederschlagung der Boxerbewegung 1900-1901. Berlin 2007. S. 135-146.

[6], [7], [8] Zitiert nach: Bernd Martin: Soldatische Radikalisierung und Massaker. Das deutsche Erste und Zweite Seebataillon im Einsatz im "Boxerkrieg" in China 1900. In: Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift 69 (2010). S. 221-241.

[9] Susanne Kuß: Deutsche Strafexpeditionen im Boxerkrieg. In: Mechthild Leutner, Klaus Mühlhahn (Hg.): Kolonialkrieg in China. Die Niederschlagung der Boxerbewegung 1900-1901. Berlin 2007. S. 135-146.

[10] See also Auf dem Weg zum Vernichtungskrieg (I), Auf dem Weg zum Vernichtungskrieg (II) and Rezension: Völkermord in Deutsch-Südwestafrika.


Source:Ocnus.net 2020

Top of Page

Dark Side
Latest Headlines
The Vampire Ship
How Denmark, Sweden, the U.N., and the EU Got Suckered Into Funding a Terror Organization
The Election That Could Break America
Turkey Could Use Syrian Islamists Against Fellow NATO Ally Greece
The CIA Book Publishing Operations
Jared Kushner’s Psychopathic Incompetence
Swiss-Uzbek Agreement a Step Toward Returning Many Millions to Uzbekistan
The Northeastern Dimension of Russia’s ‘Ocean Shield 2020’ Naval Exercises
‘Extreme Option: Overthrow Allende’
The Northeastern Dimension of Russia’s ‘Ocean Shield 2020’ Naval Exercises