Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust

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University of Chicago Press, 1996 - History - 386 pages
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Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and Jews in Imperial Germany had survived as ethnic and religious minorities until they suffered mass destruction when the two old regimes were engulfed by revolution and war. Was there a connection between revolution and genocide in those two instances, and is there a relationship between revolution and genocide in general? In this detailed comparative history, Robert Melson elaborates a distinctive conceptual framework that links genocide to revolution and war. He suggests that some instances of genocide are products of a complex process started by the collapse of old regimes and carried forward by revolutionaries who wish to reconstruct society according to new ideological visions. The Young Turks and the Nazis, able to come to power after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and Imperial Germany, were motivated by Pan-Turkism, on the one hand, and racialist antisemitism, on the other. Desiring to create a Turkish empire free of Armenians and a Third Reich empty of Jews, the two revolutionary movements proceeded to commit genocide on a wide scale. Melson discusses the destruction of the Kulaks in the Soviet Union and the "autogenocide" in Cambodia as comparable situations where total domestic genocide followed on the heels of the Russian and Cambodian revolutions. Moreover, he warns that sweeping changes such as those occurring in the former Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe can also be precursors to massive violence, including genocide.

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Overview and Major Themes
PA RT I Armenians and Jews under the Old Regimes in
Antisemitism and the Upwardly
The Failure of the Antisemitic Parties in Imperial
Armenians and Jews under Revolutionary Regimes
The German Revolution and the Rise of the Nazi Party
The Revolution and the War against the Jews
Revolution and Genocide

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