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Holocaust Vs. Native American Genocide Essay

1227 words - 5 pages

The term genocide brings awful things to mind. For most, it probably directs their attention towards the Holocaust; this was definitely a gruesome and obvious example of genocide, but there are many others with great similarities that are not very well known. One of these is the decimation of the Native American population by the European settlers and the atrocious things that were done to them such as the trail of tears following the Indian Removal Act of 1830 during the settling of North America. The Holocaust might be the most well known but there have been many other incidents in history just as abhorrent. The Holocaust and Native American Genocide are different in weapons used and the motives for killing but similar in intent, effects and selection of the persecuted.
The weapons used by the Nazis and European Settlers were very different. The Nazis directly stated the outcome they thought necessary, which was what they called the “final solution” (“Holocaust”). This was the termination of all of the races they believed inferior to themselves. This “final solution” was administered through concentration camps, extermination camps and “Einsatzgruppen” which were military units sent to mass exterminate groups of people persecuted under the Nazi Regime (“Holocaust”). The soldiers of these camps and extermination groups used firearms and other weaponry to do their jobs, while European settlers were usually more indirect in the way they killed Native Americans. The largest contribution to the deaths of the natives is known as a “virgin soil epidemic”, where a disease spreads especially quickly the first time it is introduced to an area (Lewy). One of the diseases that claimed the most lives was small pox, which was distributed by giving infected blankets to the Native Americans.
Another difference between the Nazis and the European settlers is their motives. The Nazis justified their killing through survival. To the Nazis, as a superior race they had the right to dominate the world, and their survival and lives as individuals were far more important than the people they persecuted. They believed they had the right to expand to cover the globe and to kill everyone who interfered with this mass expansion. They also believed that the natural order of nature required them to assert their dominance, that as the dominant race it was their job to do this, and that it was also nature’s intention (“Victims”). On the other hand, the European settlers justified the killing of the Native Americans as noncompliance. They believed that they had right to the land of North America, since it was only occupied and not colonized. On top of this, the natives were primarily nomadic tribes and did not live in the same area year-round (”Settlement”). In their quest for land, the settlers told the natives they were to move west; when the natives did not obey, they were made to do so by force. These Native Americans were sometimes coerced into leaving...

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