UBC Undergraduate Research

American missionaries and the Nanking massacre : a history of humanitarians, collaborators, and evangelists Wong, Wilbert


Although American missionaries composed the majority of foreign relief workers during the Nanking Massacre of 1937, their collective role has not received significant scholarly study. Instead, the current historiography has emphasized the role of the International Committee (IC) under John Rabe's leadership. This thesis argues that the American missionaries served as the actual nucleus of relief efforts during the Massacre by disaggregating the IC into its different components as well as examining events shortly before and after the Massacre. By emphasizing the role of the missionaries, this thesis provides a nuanced alternative to the heroic narrative of the Westerners' resistance against Japanese occupation and violence. Instead, resistance was accompanied by collaboration and evangelism as the American missionaries sought to preserve both life and soul through their relief efforts during the Nanking Massacre.

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