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Genocide Throughout History Essay

3373 words - 13 pages

Genocide Throughout History
Throughout the history of mankind, horrific acts of genocide have been committed. The Crusades, the Native American being murdered by the Europeans, the Forced Famine in the Ukraine and the Killing Fields of Cambodia are all examples of genocide (Altman,55). The word genocide comes from the Greek phrase genos meaning race or tribe and Latin root cide meaning to kill (Altman,13).
Genocide can be defined as acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial, religious group by killing members of the group, causing serious bodily of harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about it's physical destruction, imposing measures intended to prevent birth within the group and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group (Altman,14).
When a planned genocide is occurring, ethnic cleansing is usually hand in hand. Ethnic cleansing is the systematic destruction of cultural heritage (Sells 1). Genocide and acts of ethnic cleansing are usually executed by an organized group of people with a clear goal: annihilation of the chosen victims. One of the most horrific genocides of all time was committed by the Nazi's against the Jews during World War II. After the Holocaust occurred, the nations of the world vowed to prevent another genocide. However, ethnic

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cleansing and genocide's still occur today in places like Bosnia and Kosovo. The portrayal of genocide in Elie Wiesel's Night demonstrates the Nazi's goal of annihilation, which parallels the goal of the Serbs in Kosovo.
The Holocaust in Germany during World War II was one of the most horrific moments in human history. The Goal of the Nazi's was to exterminate all 11 million Jews in Europe; this included those Jews in neutral and unconquered countries (Altman, 56). The Nazi's accomplished their goal by rising to power, using techniques such as propaganda. Hitler portrayed his victims as evil (Altman, 14). The term Hitler used was "Untermenschem" meaning subhuman (Ayer, 9). Jews were not the only victims of the Nazi's. Gypsies, communists, male homosexuals, Jehovah witnesses, Poles, political enemies, and the physically and metally handicapped also suffered (Ayer, 9). Even thought Hitler killed many people, Jews were his most targeted victims. Hitler's process of exterminating his victims was inhuman and extremely organized. Hitler used the Jews as a scapegoat for all of Germany's problems. Hitler made glorious speeches to his people about the importance of the Third Reich Empire or "master race." Hitler strongly believed that German speaking people were superior to all others. Hitler explained to his people the necessity of an empire and "lebensraum," translated to living space. Hitler began to act upon his goals when he established the Nuremberg Laws. These laws placed sever restrictions on Jews by not allowing them to...

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