Genocide: A World History – Naimark: 3 & 4

The Spanish Conquest and settler genocides are very similar. They both are attacks on the indigenous people of these new territories they are exploring. Genocide against these groups were not always the plan that the European powers had originally had when exploring these territories. The Spanish conquest in Central America was probably the brutal of the examples Naimark gave. They used the Native Americans as a slaved labor force before Africans were brought over. The indigenous people were deprived of food and water and, if housed, were housed in unsanitary. In fact, the Spanish conquest utilizes five of the seven spheres of suffering Slim had discussed in his book. It’s ironic that the reason the Spanish did this was because the wanted gold and were extremely greedy about it, because when they flooded all of that gold to Spain, it totally destroyed their economy.

With settler genocides, the difference is that the violence is instigated with the colonists, the citizens, rather than the military. They had an ideology, viewing other races as inferior and ignorant, and thought that they had the responsibility to civilize them. But in doing so committed cultural genocide as they forcibly changed the indigenous people with threats of harm and death. Settler genocides became the most violent with the emergence of the modern age during the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. I’m wondering if this is because weapons had advanced, allowing violence to be carried out easier, or if the ideologies of the people had changed, instigation violence among them easier. It could be because of the economic situation these countries were in. France had a horrible economy at the time, that’s one of the major reasons they had a revolution; and the Industrial Revolution, while leading some to become extremely wealthy, was at the expense of the common man, leading many to fall into poverty. Poverty and hunger can lead people to view other groups, especially those they think are stealing their jobs, in a negative light and become violent against them. We are even seeing traces of this in modern day United States (although not nearly to the extent of the Trail of Tears and Native American reservations).

Class Discussion Notes from Oct. 12

Hunger Plan

Barbarossa

Molotov-Ribbentrop

Pogram

Operation Hermann (Goering)

Lebensraum- Aryan race (white surpremacy, anyone?)

General Plan “Ost”

Operation Reinhard

Social Darwinism- 19th century idea that reaches its peak during the 1940s

“Winning race”: ubermensch, “losing race”: undermensch

They didn’t really think that they were better, just that they had to be better or they’d fuckin’ die. The Slavs and the Jews were the enemies

Madagascar Plan- All of the Jews in Europe go on boats and go to Madagascar (French came up with this plan)

Send Germans out East to the farmland to Leibensraum

Plan C: Hunger Plan
Plan D: Final Solution

Bloodlands – Chapters 6 to Conclusion

Image result for world war two hitler and stalin

After fishing Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder, I found it interesting but slightly repetitive, although I enjoyed the personal narrations and stories that were placed throughout the book. I have mentioned that I like personal stories before, yet still some of the ones I read always surprise me and help me connect to the events I’m researching.

I found that the last half of this book wasn’t as entertaining as the first half, but after finishing it I definitely know a lot about Hitler and Stalin. The one thing that got me thinking after reading this book was other political leaders, and the war crimes and murders they committed. I know that Mao killed just as many people as Hitler and Stalin and it would be interesting to see a comparison of all three leaders.

The most intriguing fact I learned was about the gradual decline in deaths that occurred as the power and control the leaders had also declined. It was a linear slope, both declining with less power and inclining when there was more power. Although, both leaders also used killing to gain control which in turn can gain them power. Stalin found himself ordering, instead of asking, for orders both related and unrelated to killing at the end of his rule. Also, thousands of deaths per month only turned into a couple deaths per months years later. This point, although somewhat predictable, interested me because I had never thought of it before.

Overall, this book was very powerful and Snyder is an intelligent and well-worded man. His statement at the end of the conclusion was brilliant.                                                                                                                                                                    “The Nazi and Soviet regimes turned people into numbers, some of which we can only estimate, some of which we can reconstruct with fair precision. It is for us scholars to seek these numbers and put them into perspective. It is for us as humanists to tun the numbers back into people. If we cannot do that, then Hitler and Stalin have shaped not only our world, but our humanity.” (406)

Questions:

Which other political leaders committed crimes and murders to the extent that Stalin and Hitler did? How do these leaders all compare?

Overall, which cultures were impacted the most from these events and how did they change these cultures? Which ones have recovered to this day?

What happened to the people that worked for Stalin and Hitler after the axis powers lost the war? Was there punishments for these people? How were they emotionally impacted form their actions?

 

Abstract – Final Paper

 

What occurred during Japanese war crimes in World War II towards medical experiments, what experiments were conducted and what was found? Were the Japanese doctors being medically ethic and did the conclusions that they reached from these experiments have any effect on current medical knowledge? This paper will be exploring these different experiments conducted in Japan, and exploring specific case studies about people experimented on. The results of these studies will be analyzed, the reasoning for these experiments will also be analyzed, discovering who was experimented on and what the Japanese did during these experiments. Medical ethics will be discussed; this references towards what a doctor is and what his responsibility is as a doctor. If a doctor supports and works for a political system are they still breaking the ethic medical codes by performing inhumane work? It will also be assessed whether the work they performed followed ethical doctor regulations, and if it strayed from the regulations then how many regulations were broken. Doctors in Japan during World War II performed medical experiments, mainly on POW’s, these experiments happened in a location named Unit 731 with some experiments occurring in Unit 100 (Yuki Tanaka, Hidden Horrors, Westviewpress, 1996, p.138). The POW’s were usually allied powers soldiers, but also Soviet’s, Mongolian, and Korean POW’s were also tested (Hal Gold, Unit 731 Testimony, 2003, p. 109). These experiments are know about, but not well know; this is because of the many doctors conducting experiments in concentration camps such as Auschwitz. Although, these experiments were equally as inhumane and should also be discussed, they are controversial but also found some small medical discoveries. The patients would be referred to as “logs”, and were granted immunity for being in these experiments, unless they died during them which many did (Harris, S.H. (2002) Factories of Death. Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932—1945, ). The Japanese would test vivisection, frostbite, syphilis, and more, all performed no anesthesia. These experiments were conducted throughout all of World War II, and this paper will be examining the doctor’s, experiments, patient’s, reasoning, and details of these gruesome events.  

 

Chapter Six through Conclusion

So, I finally finished Bloodlands. Here are my thoughts of some points that stood out to me: 

  1. Stereotypes: 

It made me think when Snyder discussed the false equivalency between Jews and communism. To add a little detail, because Russian communist elites such as Leo Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin were Jewish, Jewish people seen in Europe as communists, spawning the term, Jewish Bolshevikism, which the Nazi Party used constantly in order to sow in to the hearts of non-Jewish people fear and mistrust of their Jewish neighbors and compatriot. It almost reminded me of today’s recent trend of incriminating peaceful, patriotic Muslims as the greatest threat to the U.S.–okay, let’s be honest: the whole system of “Western democracy”, when only a minority of them are terrorists. Reading this just reminded me to be careful of stereotypes because it can cause an environment to become conducive to hate, which if concentrated and put in power, can lead to events such as the Holocaust.  

  1. Rape 

Snyder also includes a few sections about rape of Jewish and German women by German and Soviet troops respectively and I have to say that I am glad. In the last book that I read in this class about the Armenian Genocide, rape of Armenian women only received a paragraph. Snyder, however, impressed me by not delving headfirst into that typical gassing and mass shooting and concentration camps monologue that I have heard almost every time I hear something about the Holocaust. And Snyder also refuted the claims that German laws on “race mixing” prevented and punished rape, which caused an internal celebration in my brain because that is just about the stupidest argument against rape that I have ever heard, equaling the practice of victim blaming and “well, she’s not acting like she’s been raped.” I also thought that Snyder did and honorable thing by acknowledging that German women suffered as well, in essence adding to his argument that the traditional, “Western” view of the 1930’s and the 1940’s in which the Germans are “responsible for all of the atrocities and they were never attacked themselves” is dismissive of the atrocities committed by the Soviets before, during and after WWII. 

Honestly, the rape depictions have gotten better now since reading Killing Civilians, but it still breaks my heart every time I read about rape and I can only pray to God that these bastards burn in hell for their actions if they’re not remorseful because I would so soon bash them over their foreheads and stick forks every place I could find if I ever encountered a rapist—Dear God, keep me sane. And the next book is about Rwanda and I just know my time in this class is about to get shitty. However, as hard as it is to read about, it’s imperative that I read about it so that I can help stop it from happening, and so I can’t be afraid of reading about rape so much that it keeps me from reading about it, especially when actual women were forced to endure it and its long-standing effects. Dear God, I pray for them too.  

Genocide: A World History – Naimark: 2

So I have some mixed feelings about the Mongols. On one hand, they didn’t really care about different languages, races, religions, ethnicity, ect. On the other hand, they killed millions of people and destroyed entire towns because of the actions of a few. The Mongols used their terror on civilians as a scare tactic to win, a clear and successful tactic that works, may not be ethical, but it works. They had three tactics that they used: they let the people decide to submit or be destroyed, they split the people into groups and killed those not “desirable,” or they completely destroyed a population.

The Crusades were interesting to read about as most history textbooks I’ve had only gloss over the information. My question is if people knew just how hypocritical the wars were. The Pope said that “there could be no sin in a campaign blessed by Christ.” Seriously? Isn’t Christianity supposed to be about love they neighbor and pacifism and all that? (Admittedly, I am not Christian, so if somewhere in the Bible it says war is okay for whatever reason, then okay) It was kinda disturbing that the crusaders were eating the corpses of Muslims (I really hope they didn’t eat them raw, that is just too gross and unsanitary). They didn’t even care who they were killing and several Christians and Jews were killed along with their target. Seriously, the Pope (who called for the war) said “kill them all, for God will know his own.” Like, that doesn’t change the fact that these people were killed. If you’re trying to capture Jerusalem for the Christians, you probably shouldn’t kill them all. Even clergy men got killed. It makes me wonder if their was no distinction between the clergymen of the Christian faith and those of other religions.

I didn’t put a cat pic on the last chapter because these chapters are so short so here’s one for both of them:

Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder Chapters 6-11

Honestly #blessed that I finished this book. It is definitely a large one and I didn’t have very good focus in the entirety of it. If I had more time to read it I’m sure I would seriously like it, but obviously that is not the case.

It was very interesting to hear that Romania actually created concentration camps as well to start their own national purification in imitation of the Nazis. They literally did everything the nazis were doing because they thought it was right. How could someone do that?

I was blown away at the way the Nazis justified killing the Jews; specifically that they said killing them is a direct and indirect attack to their enemies. Apparently it was moral and military logic to kill them all. Also, the use of the word resettlement, it was just morbid!! They literally used that word for the mass killing of an entire race of people with no regrets.

Hitler basically had his whole country under his thumb by convincing them that everything bad that happened to them was because of a huge Jewish conspiracy. Why would any one believe that?! It makes no sense!! I guess America does it today with Muslims, but definitely not everyone believes that.

The way Himmler just was so eager to please Hitler really made my stomach turn. He literally justified the killing of women and children along with the men because they were just as much as a threat. He forced the Einsatzgruppen, as well as non-killing squads, to just gun down thousands of them into mass graves. Himmler wanted to break his men of the concept that it was wrong to kill women and children. I seriously think he did it.

Questions:

  1. What was the gain to psychologically break the barrier in men to kill women and children?
  2. How could the guards continue to live with themselves after doing that?
  3. When the Jews were being rounded up, did any of them suspect something bad would happen?

Genocide: A World History – Naimark: 1

I am really interested in Roman history, so this chapter was really interesting to me. It is really cool to know that before Egypt and Greece, burial of the deceased wasn’t a big ceremonial thing, so it was hard to come to a conclusion on if genocide was prevalent in prehistoric tribes or not. Ancient text couldn’t be taken at face value because of the biases of the author and the citizens during the event (And that’s when the author wrote the text during the time of the event and not a century later). Leaders use these accounts centuries later as if they are relevant in their time to justify their own genocides. It’s really interesting to see how people interpret these texts from centuries ago and warp them to suit their needs. The Punic Wars took place decades apart (which was a long time back then) and the motivations in 264 BC were used to justify the war in 149. History is just a cycle that repeats itself unless people recognize that the issues of the past can’t always justify the actions of the present.

Abstract for Research Paper – Draft

The Balkan Wars (also known as the Balkan Crisis) were two separate conflicts in the Balkan peninsula preluding the First World War. During 1912 and 1913, the Ottoman Empire was forced to relinquish all their European territory, and several new states were created. The Treaty of London, ending the first Balkan War, determined what territory was to be given to the Balkan League and Albania, and what territory was to stay with the Ottomans. However, the Great Powers (United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Italy) were given the discretion of the fate of Albania’s territory, and the fate of the islands in the Aegean Sea. The treaty also did not disclose the specifics of the territory given to the Balkan League, leading to skirmishes and conflicts among the new states. The Great Powers, several of who were barely, if even, involved in the conflict, were given great discretion and control over the outcome of the war. This led to some unwise territory distribution, causing ethnic groups to be split up and isolated in different states, becoming minorities when just across the border are more people of their ethnicity. This paper if going to discuss the specifics of the treaty and its influence on the second Balkan War. The main question this paper will answer is the impact foreign influence has on conflicts. I am interested in exploring the nuances of the Treaty of London and the impact it had on the people of the Balkan peninsula as well as the implications it had regarding the control of the Great Powers had over foreign affairs.

Bloodlands Chapters 6-11 Discussion Questions

1. Why do you think Synder chooses to end Chapter 6 with a few of the Jews’ last letters to their friends and family? Is this an emotional appeal to draw the readers back in?
2. Did the assassination of Heydrich serve as an excuse for Jews to be murdered?
3. Is it ironic or just plain cruel that Jewish laborers were forced to bury Jewish bodies?
4. After the war the Germans are treated just as poorly as they treated the Poles and the Jews. Is this only because victims wanted revenge? Does humanity ever learn their lesson?