But For Paul Tibbets Jr., We Might've Had Worse
Alive and Safe: the Brutal Japanese Soldiers Who Butchered 20,000 Allied Seamen In Cold Blood
By Nigel Blundell
The perpetrators of some of the worst atrocities of the Second World War remain alive and unpunished in Japan, according to a damning new book.
Painstaking research by British historian Mark Felton reveals that the wartime behaviour of the Japanese Navy was far worse than their counterparts in Hitler's Kriegsmarine.
According to Felton, officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy ordered the deliberately sadistic murders of more than 20,000 Allied seamen and countless civilians in cold-blooded defiance of the Geneva Convention.
"Many of the Japanese sailors who committed such terrible deeds are still alive today," he said.
"No one and nothing has bothered these men in six decades. There is only one documented case of a German U-boat skipper being responsible for cold-blooded murder of survivors. In the Japanese Imperial Navy, it was official orders."
Felton has compiled a chilling list of atrocities. He said: "The Japanese Navy sank Allied merchant and Red Cross vessels, then murdered survivors floating in the sea or in lifeboats.
"Allied air crew were rescued from the ocean and then tortured to death on the decks of ships.
"Naval landing parties rounded up civilians then raped and massacred them. Some were taken out to sea and fed to sharks. Others were killed by sledge-hammer, bayonet, beheading, hanging, drowning, burying alive, burning or crucifixion.
"I also unearthed details of medical experiments by naval doctors, with prisoners being dissected while still alive."
Felton's research reveals for the first time the full extent of the war crimes committed by the Imperial Japanese Navy, a force that traditionally modelled itself on the Royal Navy.
Previously unknown documents suggest that at least 12,500 British sailors and a further 7,500 Australians were butchered.