Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Roger W. Smith
While the term genocide is new, the phenomenon is old. Genocide has a long history, going back to at least the 12th century BCE and continuing into the present. The 20th century can be considered an “age of genocide,” with numerous examples of genocide throughout the period claiming as many as 70 million lives (some scholars would say many more than that). After the Holocaust, the watchword was “Never again,” yet since 1945 the lives claimed by genocide exceed those killed in international and civil wars combined. But with so many genocides, different situations, motives, and victim groups, it has been difficult to define genocide in ways that everyone would accept. Moreover, the term is widely used in a rhetorical fashion to attract attention and to further political and social demands. Nevertheless, the definition of genocide that is contained in the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Prevention and Punishment ...