Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
A term coined during World War II (1939-1945) by Raphael Lemkin in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (1944), genocide denotes racially or ethnically motivated mass murder. Ethnic cleansing, a more recent but related term, refers to the expulsion—through rape, harassment, roundups, murder, police and military violence, or a combination of all of these—of a hated racial or ethnic group. Many groups—including the Armenians, Jews, and Kurds—have been victims of ethnic cleansing for centuries. Genocide is also an ancient occurrence. In 146 b.c.e., the Romans put the city of Carthage to the sword, selling into slavery those who escaped genocide. Perhaps the most infamous example of genocide was the Holocaust, as Nazi Germany’s destruction of European Jewry is known.
Reacting against this horrific episode, the United Nations General Assembly declared genocide a crime in 1946. Nevertheless, genocide and ethnic cleansing have occurred since that time: in Cambodia in 1975, in Rwanda and Burundi in 1972 and 1994, and in the Balkans in the 1990’s.
(The entire section is 164 words.)
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