Final solutions : the causes of mass killing and genocide
Author(s)Valentino, Benjamin Andrew, 1971-
Causes of mass killing and genocide
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Stephen Van Evera.
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This dissertation seeks to identify the causes of genocide and mass killing. Many of the most widely accepted explanations of genocide and mass killing seek the causes of these events in the social structure, system of government or the collective psychology of the societies in which they take place. Although the factors highlighted by these explanations play an important role in many cases of mass killing, I find that society at large plays a smaller role in this kind of violence than is commonly assumed. Mass killing is rarely a popular enterprise in which neighbor turns against neighbor. I argue that the causes of mass killing are best understood when the phenomenon is studied from a "strategic" perspective. The strategic approach suggests that the impetus for mass killing usually originates from a relatively small group of powerful political or military leaders and is often carried out without the active support of broader society. Mass killing is most accurately viewed as a goal-oriented policy -- a brutal strategy designed to accomplish leaders' most important objectives, counter their most dangerous threats, and solve their most difficult problems. In order to understand and predict mass killing, therefore, this dissertation seeks to identify the specific factors and conditions that contribute to leaders' decisions to launch mass killing. Cases of mass killing in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Armenia, Nazi Germany, Rwanda, Guatemala and Afghanistan are examined.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2001.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology