Name _____________________________________________ Period _____ Date _____________________
SS.912.W.9.3: Explain cultural, historical, and economic factors and governmental policies that created the opportunities for ethnic cleansing or genocide in Cambodia, the Balkans, Rwanda, and Darfur, and describe various governmental and non-governmental responses to them.
Essential Question: Do all genocides begin for the same reasons?
Main Idea / Message / Important Details
How does this document answer the essential question?
Henry Morgenthau — the United States ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (1918), statement on Armenian Genocide
The United States ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (1918)
For fifteen hundred years they have lived there in Armenia, a little island of Christians surrounded by backward peoples of hostile religion and hostile race…Through all this period the Armenians have regarded themselves not as Asiatics, but as Europeans… As Abdul Hamid (sultan), in 1876, surveyed his shattered domain, he saw that its most dangerous spot was Armenia. He believed, rightly or wrongly, that these Armenians, like the Rumanians, the Bulgarians, the Greeks, and the Serbians, aspired to restore their independent medieval nation, and he knew that Europe and America sympathized with this ambition. The Treaty of Berlin, which had definitely ended the Turco-Russian War, contained an article which gave the European Powers a protecting hand over the Armenians. How could the Sultan free himself permanently from this danger? An enlightened administration, which would have transformed the Armenians into free men and made them safe in their lives and property and civil and religious rights, would probably have made them peaceful and loyal subjects. But the Sultan could not rise to such a conception of statesmanship as this. Instead, Abdul Hamid apparently thought that there was only one way of ridding Turkey of the Armenian problem---and that was to rid her of the Armenians. The physical destruction of 2,000,000 men, women, and children by massacres, organized and directed by the state, seemed to be the one sure way of forestalling the further disruption of the Turkish Empire.
Images of Khmer Rouge Victims
The Khmer Rouge was a brutal, murderous revolutionary group intent on revolutionizing Cambodian society… It was very common for people to be shot for speaking a foreign language or wearing glasses as these were traits that were associated with the West. Many were also shot for smiling or crying as it was forbidden to show any kind of emotion. Much of the killing was inspired by the extremist propaganda of a militant communist transformation with the belief that individuals such as journalists, intellectuals, and others were threats to the state.
I also want to make reference before you here, in complete frankness, to a really grave matter…Just as we did not hesitate on June 30, 1934, to do our duty as ordered, to stand up against the wall comrades who had transgressed, and shoot them, so we have never talked about this and never will…Each of us shuddered, and yet each one knew that he would do it again if it were ordered and if it were necessary.
I am referring to the evacuation to the Jews, the annihilation of the Jewish people. This one of those things that are easily said. “The Jewish people is going to be annihilated,” says every party member. “Sure, it’s in our program, elimination of he Jews, annihilation- we’ll take care of it.” And then they all come trudging, 80 million worthy Germans, and each one has his one decent Jew. Sure, the others are swine, but this one is an A-1 Jew. Of all those who talk this way, not one has seen it happen, not one has been through it. Most of you must know what it means to a hundred corpses lie side by side, or five hundred, or a thousand. To have stuck this out- excepting cases of human weakness- to have kept our integrity, that is what has made us hard. In our history, this is an unwritten and never-to-be-written page of glory, for we know how difficult we would have make it for ourselves if today- amid the bombing raids, the hardships, and the deprivations of war- we still had the Jews in every city as secret saboteurs, agitators, and demagogues. If the Jews were still ensconced in the body of the German nation, we probably would have reached the 1916-17 stages by now.
Excerpt of BBC News article, “Rwanda: How the Genocide Happened,” (2008)
Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days.
Most of the dead were Tutsis - and most of those who perpetrated the violence were Hutus.
Even for a country with such a turbulent history as Rwanda, the scale and speed of the slaughter left its people reeling.
The genocide was sparked by the death of the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down above Kigali airport on 6 April 1994.
History of violence
The two ethnic groups are actually very similar - they speak the same language, inhabit the same areas and follow the same traditions.
However, Tutsis are often taller and thinner than Hutus, with some saying their origins lie in Ethiopia.
When the Belgian colonists arrived in 1916, they produced identity cards classifying people according to their ethnicity.
The Belgians considered the Tutsis to be superior to the Hutus. Not surprisingly, the Tutsis welcomed this idea, and for the next 20 years they enjoyed better jobs and educational opportunities than their neighbours.
Resentment among the Hutus gradually built up, culminating in a series of riots in 1959. More than 20,000 Tutsis were killed, and many more fled to the neighbouring countries of Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda.
When Belgium relinquished power and granted Rwanda independence in 1962, the Hutus took their place. Over subsequent decades, the Tutsis were portrayed as the scapegoats for every crisis.
Building up to genocide This was still the case in the years before the genocide. The economic situation worsened and the incumbent president, Juvenal Habyarimana, began losing popularity.
At the same time, Tutsi refugees in Uganda - supported by some moderate Hutus - were forming the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), led by Mr Kagame. Their aim was to overthrow Habyarimana and secure their right to return to their homeland. Habyarimana chose to exploit this threat as a way to bring dissident Hutus back to his side, and Tutsis inside Rwanda were accused of being RPF collaborators.
In August 1993, after several attacks and months of negotiation, a peace accord was signed between Habyarimana and the RPF, but it did little to stop the continued unrest.
When Habyarimana's plane was shot down at the beginning of April 1994, it was the final nail in the coffin.
Exactly who killed the president - and with him the president of Burundi and many chief members of staff - has not been established. Whoever was behind the killing its effect was both instantaneous and catastrophic.