1937 — The Rape of Nanking begins

In our world’s long and sorry history of warfare and strife, the Rape of Nanking, or Nanking Massacre, is one of the greatest atrocities to have ever been committed – and the continued denial by serial Japanese governments that the Rape even occurred one of the greatest hypocrisies.

The city of Nanking, which had been left very lightly defended by Chiang Kai-shek after the fall of Shanghai, fell to the Japanese advance on December 13, and almost at once, a military advance transformed into looting and arson, and shortly thereafter, into killing and raping, at first incidental, but increasingly systematised over the six weeks following the 13th.

No accurate tally of victims has ever been made, but estimates place the number of rapes between 20,000 and 80,000, many of them old women and children, and the number of murders anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000, the majority of them civilians or prisoners of war. Bodies were burned and buried in mass graves to help prevent identification, and it is believed that documents pertaining to the massacre were among those destroyed by the Japanese High Command immediately before and after their surrender in 1945.

Referenced in:
Nanking — Exodus

146 BCE — Carthage is destroyed by Rome

In the final engagement of the Punic Wars, the Roman forces brought to war to the very doorstep of Carthage. From 149 BCE until the spring of 146 BCE, they laid siege to the city itself, which is located near the site of modern Tunis. The Romans could probably have won sooner, but incompetent commanders hamstrung their efforts. By the time they finally breached the walls and poured into the city, the Carthaginians had turned every building into a fortress, and armed every citizen.

However, the battle was never seriously in doubt. Although both sides suffered terrible losses, a Roman victory was inevitable once the city itself was invaded. The fall of Carthage represented the demise of the last organised opposition to Roman expansion in the Mediterranean, as the Carthaginians were their major rivals in the early days of Roman civilisation.

Although it is commonly taught that the Romans plowed Carthage under and sowed salt in the new fields, this claim does not appear in any contemporary sources, and appears to be an invention of nineteenth century historians.

Referenced in:

Nanking — Exodus
Vietnam — Paul Kaplan