Genocide and Total War: A Preliminary Comparison Chapter 6 in Genocide and the Modern Age: Etiology and Case Studies of Mass Death

Markusen, Eric


Genocide and the Modern Age: Etiology and Case Studies of Mass Death


This chapter seeks to contribute to greater understanding of this problem by comparatively analyzing two major types of state-sanctioned mass killing-genocide and total war. Since several of the other chapters in this volume address definitions, causes, and examples of genocide, the focus here is on the phenomenon of total war. Then a preliminary analysis of differences and similarities between the two types of mass killing is offered. The central thesis of this chapter is that there are important similarities between the two types. Specifically, it is suggested that ideology, bureaucracy, and technology play comparable facilitating roles in both genocide and total war. Finally, tentative lessons from this analysis of mass killing in the past and present are drawn in order to shed light on the seemingly inexorable momentum toward nuclear war.

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