Defining Documents in World History: Genocide & The Holocaust

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Genocide is the deliberate destruction of a national, ethnic, or religious group. While this has occurred throughout history, one of the most well-known genocides is the holocaust of World War II — Nazi efforts to eliminate millions of Jews, while also persecuting Poles, Rom (Gypsies), and other groups. Before them, the Armenians suffered a similar fate under Turkey. More recent examples of genocidal action are the “ethnic cleansing” that took place under the Serbs in Bosnia and Kosovo; the Hutu slaughter of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda in 1994; the attempt by the Islamic State in Iraq to eliminate the Yazidis; and the mass killing and expulsion of the Rohingya in Myanmar. China’s attempt to erase the culture of the Uighurs is a case of ethnocide — a genocide component that exterminates national cultures. In the America’s, too, genocidal campaigns were waged against Native American peoples.

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