Genocides: A World History – Chapter 1

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In Genocides: A World History, Nainmark introduces genocides by referencing the first written report of genocides that was found in the Hebrew bible. ┬áHe explains that because of these reports in the bible genocides and violence could be viewed as “righteous retribution” and these accounts could be why future genocides seemed justifiable. Some accounts of genocides in the Hebrew bible includes Jericho, and Joshua, and David; they committed genocides against people who refused to follow their beliefs or pray to their god.

Older genocides had no concrete evidence but there are clues that this type of violence was common in almost all ancient cultures and religions, whether the violence was for religious reasons or simply for cultures to aquire more land and become more powerful.

The book described genocide as “armies of men killing identifiable groups as a command of their political leaders involving ideologies or gods”.

The Hebrew bibles account of Joshua and Jericho are examples of genocides in command from gods, but the genocide in Carthago is an example of a genocide commanded by a political leader, for the purpose of more power. All genocides are different and one big difference has to do with who is killed, sometimes women, children, and non-combats would be spared, but other times the violence is ruthless and all would be killed. there has even been accounts of soldiers ensuring that pregnant women’s non-born children are dead to ensure the complete death of a culture.

The book describes cultural genocide as ” destruction of past culture, temples, statues, or past glory with a hard life for anyone spared”.

Cultural genocide differ from regular genocide because it completely wipes a culture away, it is not simply killing a large mass of a identifiable group. Sometimes cultural genocide can be more violent and there is most likely ancient cultures that have never been discovered because of cultural genocide. This chapter helped give a base on the history and definitions of genocides.


Did genocides first occur because humans are naturally violent?

Does human biology impact the reason why genocides occur?

How is killing women and children justifiable in genocides? Especially for religious reasons.

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