The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective

By Robert Gellately; Ben Kieman | Go to book overview

18
Investigating Genocide
ROBERT GELLATELY AND BEN KIERNAN

The specter of genocide, unleashed with a vengeance in the twentieth century, now haunts the globe.1 For several decades, daily newspapers and nightly television news have regularly featured stories about genocide and other mass violence. Killing continues almost under our noses. New and horrific mass crimes and violence seem only around the corner. For these reasons and more, scholars from many disciplines and writers of all kinds have immersed themselves in the tasks of researching past and ongoing cases of mass murder. The terrorist attacks of September 2001 on the World Trade Center in New York will certainly stimulate more such research.

Our sense of the multiplying violence around us is reinforced by the plethora of new evidence about past atrocities, partly from the post–Cold War opening of formerly secret Soviet archives, but also elsewhere. The discovery of the chilling security archives of the Khmer Rouge, revelations of Italian wartime crimes against humanity in the Balkans and Africa, new evidence of French official crimes during the Algerian War in the memoirs of General Paul Aussaresses, and documentation of the Western Hemispherewide “Thirty Years' Dirty War” against leftists in Latin America have all brought heretofore hidden mass murders to public attention.2 Evenlost Nazi

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1
Jonathan Steele, “It Will be Remembered as the Age of Barbarism, ” Guardian Weekly (London), December 30, 1999, 3; Ryszard Kapuscinski, “Genocide in the Modern Age: Man's Inhumanity to Man, ” Monde diplomatique (Paris), April 2001, 14–15.
2
Rory Carroll, “Dirty Secrets, ” Guardian Weekly (London), July 5, 2001; Paul Aussaresses, Services spéciaux Algérie 1955–57: Mon témoignage sur la torture (Paris, 2001); Claire Mauss-Copeaux, Appelés en Algérie (Paris, 1999); John Henley, “UN Urged to Save Archives of Pinochet's Terror, ” Guardian Weekly, November 11–17, 1999, 5; J. Patrice McSherry, “Operation Condor: Deciphering the US Role, ” Crimes of War website, June 2001 <www.crimesofwar.org/special/condor.html>; Pierre Abramovici, “Latin America: The 30 Years Dirty War, ” Monde diplomatique, August 2001.

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