The Killing Trap: Genocide in the Twentieth Century by Manus I. Midlarsky

By Manus I. Midlarsky

Providing a comparative research of the mass genocides, politicides and ethnic cleansings of the 20th century, this ebook sheds gentle at the prevalence in addition to the significance of genocide. in accordance with the conviction that such comparative research may perhaps give a contribution in the direction of the prevention of genocide sooner or later, Manus Midlarsky compares socio-economic situations and foreign contexts and comprises in his research the Jews of Europe, Armenians within the Ottoman Empire, Tutsi in Rwanda, black Africans in Darfur, Cambodians, Bosnians, and the sufferers of clash in Northern eire.

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As a consequence, the far harsher genocidal policy of von Trotha was substituted for von Leutwein’s reliance on pure military tactics. The deaths of women and children in the Omahake desert raise the second of our issues, the nature of a combatant. Given the customs of Herero society, it would have been virtually impossible to separate the men from the women and children, for the families tended the cattle together. When von Trotha surrounded the Herero in the Battle of Waterberg, the women and children were present together with the men and the cattle they were tending.

Yet, under certain constraining conditions, realpolitik can have horrific outcomes. It is the imprudent–brute force form of realpolitik as distinguished from the prudent type31 as well as from a third type, the cynical variant, that can increase the probability of genocide. Victim vulnerability is greatly increased by cynical realpolitik. One of the constraints imposed by the theoretical approach adopted here – loss – is a critical component of prospect theory. Specifically, it is the magnification of perpetrator loss suggested by prospect theory, anger at the presumptive ‘‘other,’’ or other consequence of loss leading to the use of an imprudent realpolitik, and impact of the cynical variant, that can yield the genocidal outcome.

Motivations can range from outright sadism, to the desire for loot, to the obedience to authority, to the settling of old business scores, to the utter absence of empathy, or to ideological fanaticism, to name but a few. The biographical case study approach to the study of perpetrators’ motivations thus far has yielded little explanatory traction. Even after 29 Gross 2001, 132. 30 Bauer 2001, 15. 16 INTRODUCTION some 100 biographies, we still are not absolutely certain why, at bottom, Hitler chose this singularly destructive path.

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