Research Paper: Holocaust Many Historians and Scholars

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[. . .] 7 million people in Darfur rely on humanitarian aid for survival (UNRC, p. 2).

The Fate of Native Americans Compared with the Holocaust

Certainly the Holocaust stands out in world history as among the most notoriously bloody and unconscionably cruel genocidal events ever recorded. But wait. According to the History News Network's reporting, there are many who believe that because Native Americans were slaughtered in far greater numbers, their plight should be considered genocide. To many, wiping out native peoples was viewed simply as Europeans settling into the "New World" -- and that the settling of America was "manifest destiny" because supposedly God wanted the Europeans to have a new place to plant roots and create a nation.

That said, reliable information indicates that at the end of the 19th century there were only an estimated 250,000 Native Americans alive in the United States (Lewy, 2007). The question that remains a mystery is how many native peoples were alive before the Europeans arrived? Ethnologist James Mooney believes there were 1,152,950 Indians at that time; another author suggests there were 5 million and other authors say up to 12 million Indians were here (Lewy). Many Indians (perhaps 80%) died from European diseases (for which they had no immunity) (Lewy). But notwithstanding the way in which native peoples died, their deaths were brought on by the European settlers.

In conclusion, it is difficult to compare the Holocaust and the mass deaths of perhaps millions of Indians in America. Hitler had a draconian strategy and a hideously bloody goal. The Europeans arriving on this continent were in no way that hateful and blood thirsty; for the most part, they just wanted a new start away from religious oppression. And moreover, though it is tragic that native peoples were pushed off their land and subjected to highly contagious diseases, and killed by the U.S. Army as well, calling it genocide is a stretch. Genocide: "The deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group" (Merriman-Webster). Does this definition relate to the demise of native peoples in America? In a vague way, yes, but the comparison with the Holocaust is a stretch.

Works Cited

Lewy, Guenter. (2007). Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide? History News

Network. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from http://hnn.us/articles/7392.html.

Merriman-Webster. (2012). Genocide. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from http://www.merriman-webster.com/dictionary/genocide.

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