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Holocaust Term Paper


Genocide can be defined as a planned and well-coordinated killing of a particular group of people that is well known to the perpetrators. The term traces its origin to the WWII where it was coined by lawyer Raphael Lemkin who termed genocide as the act of destroying national groups intentionally because of their collective identity. The UN held a convention in 1948 that was aimed at preventing and punishing crimes of genocide. In this convention, the UN came up with an international legal way of defining genocide and it was documented in Article II of the convention. In this article, genocide was unanimously defined as any act that is committed with the aim of causing destruction to a part of or a whole category of people according to their nationality, race, ethnicity or religion (UN report). In this case, the term destroy was elaborated to mean killing or causing harm to the body or to the mind of group members, affecting the life conditions of the group thus deliberately destroying them physically, implementing stringent measures aimed at preventing perpetuity of the group members and/or transferring this groups child to another group (UN report). This, therefore, became the legally acceptable definition of genocide. That was accepted internationally.

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However, thereafter several scholars have attempted to define genocide showing their dissatisfaction with the UN legal definition. For example, in 1959 according to Peter Drost, a person has committed genocide if they deliberately destroy the physical life of a person due to their membership of a certain type of human collectivity. Again in 1975, Vahakn Dadrian defined genocide as a successful attempt on the reduction of the number of a minority group through coercion or violence by a dominant group in possession of power or authority. These are just but a few of the alternative definitions of genocide that different scholars have come up with.

Occurrence of Genocides
Genocides do not just erupt from nowhere; instead, they follow a certain process with different steps and stages before they can take place. To begin with, genocides occur from classification of people where people classify themselves into the categories of “us” and “them” based on ethnicity like the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda, nationality like the Germans and the Jews, race or even religion like Muslims and Christians in Armenia where the Ottoman Empire Muslims considered the Armenian Christians as “infidels”. These forms of classification lead to division and if there are no mechanisms in place to enhance tolerance and understand or even unity among these classifications then the rift widens further and further increasing the chances of genocide eruption if a common ground is not found (Stanton). Once we have classified ourselves into “Us” and “Them” we start symbolizing the other group that is not us. We give them names like “Jews” or “Gypsies” or any other symbol to distinguish them based on color or even dress. Classification and symbolization are normal for all humans and do not lead to genocide provided that dehumanization has not taken place. Through hatred, symbols can be forced into group members like the way the Nazi’s used yellow star for the Jews. The best way of dealing with symbolization and hate speech is by forbidding them legally. Unfortunately for the legal process to work it must be supported by a majority of the cultures (Stanton). For example, even though the terms Hutu and Tutsi were forbidden in Rwanda, code words still came up to refer to each.

Once the classification has occurred, the dominant group might start using political power and the law and customs to deny the rights of the minority groups. The minority group can be denied citizenship or some civil rights. A good example is a way the Armenian Christians were forced to pay more tax than the Muslims. The Nazi’s 1935 Nuremberg Law in Germany is also a good example since it stripped the Jews of their Germany citizenship and was forbidden from securing employment with the government or universities (Stanton). Full political empowerment is a good way of prevention against discrimination like the ones cited above.

Dehumanization is where one of the groups especially the dominant one denies the humanity of the other group and instead equity them to animals, diseases, vermin or even insects. In such instance murdering the other members of the group becomes normal just like slaughtering animals at a slaughterhouse. Here all sorts of hate speeches and propaganda aimed at vilifying the other group are spread all over even in radios and on print and as a resulting genocide becomes inevitable. The dehumanization that incites genocides ought not to be confused with a protected speech in democratic countries since the genocidal countries lack constitutional protection (Stanton). All leaders both local and international should be in the fore front in condemning the usage of hate speeches and declare it unacceptable.

Genocide is always well organized often by the state or the ruling party through the use of militia to have a provision for the deniability of state responsibility like the Janjaweed militia group in Darfur (Stanton). However, there are times when genocide is locally organized (informal). The responsible militia groups or special army usually undergo training and then are armed and given the plans for the genocide killings. As a way of dealing with this stage of genocide, these militia groups should be abolished and declared illegal with stringent punishment if one is caught.

Extremists take over their duties of creating a rift thereby driving the groups apart leading to polarization. Then the perpetrator group leaders plan the final blow of the genocide to the target group, the Armenians, the Jews, and the Tutsi –Usually, euphemism is used in an attempt to cloak intentions. Such euphemisms include a reference to their aim as “counter-terrorism”, “Purification” or “ethnic cleansing” (Stanton). Armies are built and numerous weapons purchased. The leaders preach the false doctrine of fear among the population threatening that if they don’t kill their opponents then they will be the victims. The final stage is the real persecution of the target group. The target victims are identified and separated on a racial, religious, or ethnic basis and are massacred (Stanton). The extermination of the victims is usually simple among its perpetrators since they believe that their victims are not true humans.

The Holocaust is the genocide against the European Jews living in Germany that was masterminded by the German Nazi’s with the support of local collaborators during WWII in which approximately six million European Jews were murdered.

The Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide
The Holocaust is frequently considered to have offered to ascend to our conceptualization of the term „genocide‟, which was begotten amid the Second World War, in expansive measure as a reaction to the wrongdoings of the Nazis and their associates. So, the Holocaust may comprise a beginning stage and the establishment for examining annihilation.

The Armenian decimation was a steady procedure of obliteration, with mass executions, dispossession, expelling, constrained osmosis, starvations that were initiated by the state as well as the annihilation of cultural material. There were mass executions of the monetary, religious, political and scholarly world class which resulted in the ‘executing’ of the entire culture of the Armenians. The substantial scale razzia in Istanbul on 24 April 1915 ended up becoming an outline for the assembling of the Armenian world class – moderately aged together with old men who had impact, riches, and status – those who lived in the numerous areas that were considered as urban centers over the huge domain. These people were captured, detained, thoroughly tormented and were eventually killed. The obliteration of those considered as the Armenian intellectuals proceeded at a stunning pace: to the extent that in a matter of weeks the entire higher echelon of the network had been wiped out (Haperen et al.). The Armenians fled and their property was seized by the ruling Young Turk government through its formulated Abandoned Property Commission (Haperen et al.). In May 1915 an order was given for the Armenian population to be deported. And by July 1915, the whole Armenian populace had been evacuated, headed for the Syrian Desert. Now and again, individuals needed to go more than 1,000 kilometers through the burning warmth of the brutal Eastern Anatolian summer, which demonstrated a capital punishment for some (Haperen et al.). Additionally, the Young Turk pioneers were very much aware that the odds of survival in the desert of the Der el-Zor district were practically nil (Haperen et al.). For youngsters, the older and pregnant ladies, specifically, the expulsions were nothing not as much as death walks. A similar scenario had occurred in Germany during the Holocaust (Haperen et al.). The Jews were massacred in concentration camps and most of them starved to death. The Holocaust impacts were so severe that even 300 years later they are still astonishing (Haperen et al.). After the WWII establishments for the advancement of universal criminal law were laid by the preliminaries and decisions made at Nuremberg and in Tokyo by the respective International Military Tribunals (Haperen et al.). Since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, there had been a principle of strategic distance in the undertakings of different countries (Haperen et al.). Presently, exactly 300 years after the fact, the barbarities perpetrated by the Nazis, their partners, and colleagues, were held to be so horrifying as to establish wrongdoings against mankind: violations that could be made a decision in the primary ever universal criminal courts (Haperen et al.).

What would happen today if Genocide Would occur
There are so many mechanisms that have been put in place to curb the occurrence of genocide and steps to be taken in case of an eruption of genocide. Military intervention will be the first course of action. The state military will be deployed to curb the situation and ensure the restoration of peace in the affected areas. Second are diplomatic negotiations aimed at calming down the situation. Such negotiations are aimed at ceasing fire and coming up with an understanding that suites both parties and considers their diverse needs.

Since under the international law genocide is a crime, the UN will definitely step in whenever genocide occurs. The UN has the obligation of preventing and the obligation of punishing perpetrators of genocide. Therefore before genocide occurs the UN can send its delegates to engage the relevant parties in peace talks. However, if the talks fail and the genocide occur the UN army will be sent to assist the local army in bringing the situation in control and restoring peace.

Prevention of Future Genocides/ Crimes against Humanity
The formation of the Atrocity Prevention Board will give extra apparatuses and alternatives as the U.S. government reacts to progressing barbarities in spots like Syria and Sudan. In the long haul, the legislature will be better ready to perceive cautioning signs and forestall the episode of barbarities before they begin (“Preventing Genocide – United to End Genocide”). This activity by former President Barrack Obama will start a procedure that ought to organize barbarity aversion at the most elevated amounts of the U.S. government, wiping out bureaucratic postponements and guaranteeing better between organization coordination (“Preventing Genocide – United to End Genocide”). Notwithstanding, the viability of these endeavors relies upon us — progressing weight from American activists will be basic to guarantee these new devices and structures are executed and connected to have a genuine effect (“Preventing Genocide – United to End Genocide”).

In order to prevent the occurrence of such atrocities then the following are key steps to be taken. Firstly, the enablers of genocides should be identified and stopped immediately. Culprits of annihilation and mass abominations can’t prevail without the help of different governments and partnerships. We pursue the cash and apply open strain to disgrace and stop organizations and governments that money mass savagery. We demand an explanation from any country that would greet or remunerate a culprit of mass outrage (“Preventing Genocide – United to End Genocide”).
Secondly, the US foreign policy should make genocide prevention and human rights protection to be its core values in its foreign policy.

There are several causes of genocide however for it to occur is a clear indication of a polarized society that lacks any form of unity. Classification of groups living in a particular country into two groups of US and THEM is the main origin of genocide. The classification criteria mostly are on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity or even nationality. One group ends up feeling superior over the other. If in any case, the dominant group is the one running the government then there is a possibility of it using political power and military resources to attempt to eliminate the other group. After classification, there is the use of symbols to refer to the other group which arouses hatred therein. Dehumanization and polarization are the other causes of genocides which eventually leads to extermination and mass massacre of the target group by the perpetrators.

The events that took place in the Armenian genocide are very similar to those that occurred during the Holocaust that leads to the extermination of over six million European Jews. Statics say that between 600,000 to 1.5million Armenians including all ages lost their lives during the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Measures should be put in place to curb the occurrence of genocides. For instance, any suspicion of a non-governmental militia group should be investigated and such groups should be totally abolished by law. Hate speeches should be declared illegal and the nation should uphold activities that boost unity, self-respect, and respect for others and for human life which is sacred.

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Works Cited
“Past Genocides – Armenia, Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur”. United to End Genocide, 2016, http://endgenocide.org/learn/past-genocides/.
“Preventing Genocide – United to End Genocide”. United to End Genocide, 2016, http://endgenocide.org/learn/preventing-future-genocides/.
Haperen, Maria van et al. Niod.Nl, 2012, https://www.niod.nl/sites/niod.nl/files/Holocaust%20and%20other%20genocides.pdf.
Newman, Leonard S., and Ralph Erber. “Understanding Genocide”. 2002. Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195133622.001.0001. Accessed 13 May 2019.
Stanton, Gregory H. Genocidewatch.Org, http://www.genocidewatch.org/genocide/tenstagesofgenocide.html.
Un.Org, 2010, https://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/EM/partners%20materials/EWG_Holocaust_and_Other_Genocides.pdf.

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