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10 Shocking Genocides in Human History

by Dan Cuesta
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The theory of natural selection and the concept of survival of the fittest could be tailed to what genocide is about. Apart from ethnic cleansing, genocide is defined as the intentional killing of a significant proportion of the population from a certain nationality or ethnic group with the intent of destroying that nation or ethnic group. It is becoming more widely recognized as an important event in modern global history. In this article, we present a list of ten terrible genocides in the history of mankind.

Here are the ten shocking genocides in human history.

  1. The Holocaust, Europe (1941-1945)

Since 1941, the German Nazi regime’s philosophical and structured persecution and mass killing of millions of European Jews, as well as millions of others, including Romani people, the intellectually disabled, dissidents, and homosexuals, has taken on a new and horrifying meaning of the word “holocaust.” To anti-Semitic Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, Jews were a second-class race who posed a threat to German racial superiority and community. After years of Nazi administration in Germany, during which Jews were routinely oppressed, Hitler’s “final solution,” now known as the Holocaust, was carried out under the cover of World War II, with mass killing centers being erected in occupied Poland’s concentration camps. Around six million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust, with another five million others targeted for racial, political, intellectual, or behavioral reasons. Over one million of those who died were children.


  1. The Holodomor, Ukraine (1932-1933)

From 1932 to 1933, the Holodomor, also called the Terror-Famine or the Great Famine, was mass starvation in Soviet Ukraine that killed millions of people.   The name Holodomor refers to the famine’s man-made and reportedly purposeful components, including the refusal of outside aid, confiscation of all family foodstuffs, and population mobility restrictions. During the larger Soviet famine of 1932–1933, which hit the country’s key grain-producing districts, millions of Ukrainians, the bulk of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died from starvation in a peacetime disaster unprecedented in the country’s history.


  1. Polish Genocide, Poland (1939–1945)

The murder of millions of ethnic Poles and the systematic extermination of Jewish Poles were among the Nazi crimes against the Polish nation committed by Nazi Germany and Axis collaborationist forces during the invasion of Poland, as well as auxiliary battalions during the subsequent occupation of Poland in World War II. These genocides were justified by the Nazis’ racial doctrines, which considered Poles as well as other Slavs, and also Jews, to be racially inferior. During World War II, the Germans ethnically cleansed millions of Poles by forcibly deporting them to make way for German newcomers. Estimated, 2.7 up to 3 million Polish Jews and 1.8 to 2.77 million ethnic Poles died as a result of the genocides.


  1. Cambodian Genocide (1975-1979)

The Cambodian genocide was the methodical persecution and death of Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who dramatically pushed Cambodia toward becoming a fully self-sufficient agrarian socialist state. Between 1975 and 1979, 1.5 to 2 million people died, accounting for about a quarter of Cambodia’s population in 1975. The Khmer Rouge aspired to transform Cambodia into an agrarian socialist republic based on ultra-Maoist principles and influenced by the Cultural Revolution. To achieve its objectives, the Khmer Rouge vacated the cities and forcibly relocated Cambodians to labor camps in the countryside, where mass executions, forced labor, physical torture, hunger, and sickness were commonplace. In January 1979, the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia and defeated the Khmer Rouge, putting an end to the massacre. The Khmer Rouge’s policies claimed the lives of 1.5 to 2 million people, including 200,000–300,000 Chinese Cambodians, 90,000 Muslims, and 20,000 Vietnamese Cambodians.


  1. Circassian Massacre, Southwest Russia (1830-1870)

The Russian Empire conducted a systematic mass murder, ethnic cleansing, and expulsion of 800,000–1,500,000 Muslim Circassians from their homeland of Circassia in the aftermath of the Russo-Circassian War (1763–1864). The vast majority of Circassians were slain or exiled, although a small number were transferred to the swamps, and those who embraced Russification remained. During the events, Russian-Cossack forces are claimed to have used a variety of methods, including ripping pregnant women’s tummies. Circassians were referred to as “subhuman trash” by Russian generals like Grigory Zass, who justified their death and use in scientific experiments by allowing Russian troops to rape Circassian children and women. Exemptions were granted to only a limited percentage of people who agreed to Christian conversion, Russification, and residency within the Russian Empire. Remaining Circassians who rebelled were scattered, forcibly relocated, tortured, and/or slain in mass in the majority of cases. As a result, a large number of indigenous peoples in the region were ethnically cleansed. The Circassians, Ubykhs, and Abazins were the peoples targeted for expulsion, although other Muslims in the Caucasus were also impacted.


  1. Armenian Massacre, Turkey (1915-1916)

During World War I, the ruling Committee of Union and Progress carried out a premeditated genocide against the Armenian people and uniqueness in the Ottoman Empire (CUP). It was principally carried out through assassinating nearly one million Armenians during death marches to the Syrian Desert, as well as forcing Armenian children and women to convert to Islam. On April 24, 1915, hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and leaders were imprisoned and deported from Constantinople. On Talaat Pasha’s orders, between 800,000 and 1.2 million Armenian women, children, the elderly, and the infirm were deported to the Syrian Desert in 1915 and 1916. As they were pressed along by paramilitary guards, deportees were denied food and water and forced to steal, rape, and commit massacres. In the Syrian desert, the survivors were separated into detention camps. In 1916, another wave of atrocities was planned, with perhaps 200,000 deportees still alive by the year’s conclusion. Between 100,000 and 200,000 Armenian children and women were converted to Islam and incorporated into Muslim families without their consent. Following World War I, the Turkish nationalist movement carried out massacres and ethnic cleansing of Armenian survivors during the Turkish War of Independence. Armenian civilization was destroyed in eastern Anatolia for more than two millennia as a result of the Armenian genocide.


  1. Rwanda-Burundi Genocide, Africa (1994)

Regardless of the fact that Hutus make up around 85% of Rwanda’s population, the Tutsi minority has traditionally ruled the country. After the Hutus ousted the Tutsi monarchy in 1959, tens of thousands of Tutsis fled to neighboring countries, mainly Uganda. The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) was created in 1990 by a group of Tutsi exiles who seized Rwanda and fought until a peace agreement was achieved in 1993. On the night of April 6, 1994, a flight carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundi counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira – both Hutus – was shot down, killing everyone on board. Hutu extremists denounced the RPF and immediately began a well-coordinated assassination campaign. The plane was allegedly hijacked by Hutus as a pretext for the genocide, according to the RPF. Some husbands murdered their Tutsi spouses after threatening to kill them if they refused. Militias built up roadblocks where Tutsis were killed, often with machetes that most Rwandans carried around the house, because people’s ethnic identities were recorded on their ID cards at the time. Thousands of Tutsi women were kidnapped and forced into prostitution. The underlying cause of the genocide, according to many academics, was clear: it was the result of an overbearing government and regional elite seeking to maintain power by inflaming racial tensions.


  1. Greek Genocide, Ottoman Empire, Europe (1913–1922)

The Greek Genocide, and included the Pontic genocide, was the systematic murdering of the Christian Ottoman Greek population of Anatolia on the grounds of their religion and ethnicity during World War I and its aftermath (1914–1922). It was carried out by the Ottoman Empire’s government, led by the Three Pashas, and the Grand National Assembly’s administration, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, against the Empire’s indigenous Greek population. Massacre forced deportations through the Syrian Desert, expulsions, mass executions, and the demolition of Eastern Orthodox cultural, historical, and religious sites were all part of the genocide. Hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Greeks were killed at this time. The majority of the refugees and survivors made their way to Greece (totaling over a quarter to the prior general population of Greece). Some, particularly in the eastern provinces, sought sanctuary in the Russian Empire.


  1. Dzungar Genocide (1755)

The Dzungar genocide was the Qing dynasty’s systematic killing of the Mongol Dzungar people. The genocide was ordered by the Qianlong Emperor in response to the Dzungar commander Amursana’s insurrection against Qing control in 1755, after the dynasty had captured the Dzungar Khanate with Amursana’s help. Due to a Uyghur insurrection against Dzungar rule, Manchu generals of the Qing army were dispatched to subdue the Dzungars, who were aided and abetted by Uyghur allies and vassals. The Dzungar Khanate was the last great nomadic empire in Asia, formed by a confederation of Tibetan Buddhist Oirat Mongol tribes in the early 17th century. According to some estimates, a combination of conflict and disease killed around 80% of the Dzungar community, or around 500,000 to 800,000 individuals, during or after the Qing invasion in 1755–1757. The Qing government resettled Han, Hui, Uyghur, and Xibe migrants on state farms in Dzungaria, together with Manchu Bannermen, to repopulate the territory after wiping off the native population.


  1. Bangladesh Genocide (1971)

Bangladesh’s government has been acclaimed as a humanitarian hero for sheltering Rohingya refugees by the international community. Bangladesh’s actions are without a doubt praiseworthy. However, it is also upsetting to find that the same administration is covertly oppressing its own minority people, primarily in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). The ethnic indigenous communities of Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Tanchangya, Mro, Lushai, Khumi, Chak, Khiyang, Bawm, and Pangkhua have all lived in the CHT (which includes the districts of Rangamati, Bandarban, and Khagrachari). The Pakistani government settled thousands of Bengali Muslims in the region in contravention of the CHT Regulation Act, resulting in forced evictions and land grabs from the indigenous people. In 1971, East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) and West Pakistan fought a nine-month war for independence that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. Bengalis and non-Bengalis, particularly indigenous peoples, fought for independence from West Pakistan jointly. Thousands of people died in the war, yet it symbolized a promise of independence for all ethnic groups. Following Bangladeshi governments have covertly repressed indigenous minority communities, according to this historical research. Many indigenous civilians have been slain, displaced, or fled to India since Bangladesh’s independence. Indigenous leaders are routinely threatened, kidnapped, and slain, including Kalpana Chakma. In the vast majority of cases, the military is accused of carrying out such operations. There has been no inquiry and no punishment for any of the crimes that have occurred in the region. The army and other state military institutions stationed in CHT enjoy high levels of immunity, which fosters atrocities against indigenous people.

The findings reveal that genocide participation has a long-term and enduring impact on perpetrators’ and victims’ mental health, with many showing evidence of trauma. The psychological and demographic repercussions of genocide on youth have an impact on the transition to adulthood. These consequences will be felt by future generations of youth. The transfer of children during genocides has a demographic effect.

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