Term Paper: Genocide Ethnic Cleansing

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Genocide / Ethnic Cleansing

When one hears the word "genocide" it brings up horrible images, as it should. The most familiar images are those of the victims in the Nazi concentration camps, starved, abused, experimented upon, tortured, and frequently murdered. Those images make people ask themselves why, but rarely make people truly question what personal beliefs they have that might encourage genocide. After all, almost every country has had its scapegoats, its people that have been cruelly mistreated in order to improve the situation of the dominant groups. When this cruel treatment appears to have a purpose, for example in America's treatment of the Native Americans of the enslaved African-Americans, it is not labeled genocide, even if those practices resulted in a comparable or greater number of deaths of targeted minority groups than officially recognized genocides, like the Holocaust. Understanding this part of human nature, which tolerates even the extreme mistreatment of others if it results in benefits to the dominant social group, helps one gain a bit of insight into how genocide can occur.

One of the biggest misconceptions about genocide is that it occurs for no reason. That is patently untrue. For example, the Holocaust was a predictable event, though its scope probably exceeded what anyone would have predicted before it occurred. Throughout Europe, especially the Hapsburg dynasty area, Jews had been targeted for mistreatment in cyclical periods. They had been deprived of their property, forced to live in ghettos, and even expelled from certain regions. Moreover, anti-Semitic rumors labeled Jews as baby killers. Jews were also traditionally better educated than their non-Jewish peers and had a cohesive financial network, which put them in an enviable financial position. During these cycles of anti-Semitic behavior, Jewish property was often confiscated. The Holocaust was simply a more dramatic and much larger demonstration of this cyclical behavior. The sanctions Germany faced after World War I put a tremendous financial hardship on the country, and many Germans were looking for someone to scapegoat for their problems. The Jews were already established as the region's scapegoats, and it was easy for Germans to engage in Jew-blaming. The added benefit was that everyday Germans prospered as competing Jewish businesses were forced to close and Jews' access to their financial resources… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Genocide Ethnic Cleansing."  Essaytown.com.  June 13, 2009.  Accessed August 20, 2019.