In 1944 after the second World War a man named Raphael Lempkin coined the word genocide. Genocide is the killing of a group of people with the intent to destroy, and even though the word genocide wasn’t around until 1944 doesn’t mean that genocide wasn’t around. This horrible act has been around for as long as people have been on the earth. In class we learned about the many different cases of genocide and found out that they all had something in common, and that was the causes. The most important causes of genocide are people’s personal prejudices, having an influential leader, and politics.
The most common way that genocide can be started is a group of people’s personal beliefs or prejudices. This means that when a larger group of people or more powerful group of people feels a certain way about a different weaker group of people then is usually results in violence. For example in Darfur the majority people, the Hutu, killed the minority people, the Tutsi, just because they were a smaller group and were not as strong. Also, before WWII started the leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler, made all of his people believe that the Jews were the cause of their problems and were the reason for their loss in WWI, which resulted in the mass killing of many innocent people. These examples are prime causes of how people’s prejudices can lead to the act of genocide. Another cause of genocide is having an influential leader. This is when a group of people are influenced by their leader to believe something extreme. In almost every case of genocide that there is an influential leader is most likely behind it. An example of this is when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany as prime minister. The people of Germany were desperate for good news because they just lost World War One and had debt to a lot of countries. So, Adolf Hitler took advantage of this by using his influential speeches and a scape goat, the Jewish people.
He made it so that everybody who was not Jewish wanted the Jews wiped out. This shows how an influential leader can cause genocide. The last cause of genocide is politics and there are many examples of how politics have caused genocides. One important example is the genocide in Cambodia in the 1970’s. The ruthless leader of the Angkar was named Pol Pot and he was an extremist that believed that Cambodia should get rid of all western ideas and go back to its past glory as a farming country. He believed that anyone that lived in the cities must be punished and killed. So, he sent millions of innocent people to farming villages with nothing but the clothes on their backs to work until death. If someone worked for the old government then their family was tortured and killed. This is another great example of how politics can lead to genocide and the death of many innocent people. When dealing with genocide we must carefully consider the causes and not just the effects. It is important to do this to prevent future cases of genocide and protect a lot of innocent people from getting hurt.