The Abu Ghraib Effect
Stephen F. Eisenman Reaktion Books, 2010 Library of Congress N8253.T66E38 2007 | Dewey Decimal 704.94936564
The photographs of torture at Abu Ghraib prison aroused worldwide condemnation—or did they? Opinion polls showed that most citizens of the United States were unmoved by the images. One reason for this relative lack of a public outcry may be the nature of the Abu Ghraib pictures themselves and what Stephen F. Eisenman terms “the Abu Ghraib effect.” By showing prisoners engaging in sexual acts, Eisenman asserts, the photos make the men look like enthusiastic participants in their own interrogation and torture. Further, these scenes repeat an ancient stereotype: the “pathos formula,” in which victims of war are shown welcoming their own punishment.
In this highly original analysis, Eisenman shows the pathos formula at work in the Abu Ghraib photos, and he describes its long history, exploring the motif’s appearance in imperial Greek and Roman Art, in the sculpture and painting of Michelangelo, and in Baroque paintings of saints and martyrs. The author also describes the equally long history of artistic protest against the formula by such diverse artists as William Hogarth, Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, Ben Shahn, and Leon Golub.
The Abu Ghraib Effect reveals how the pathos formula has dulled public responses to images of torture, and also urges a more effective use of political images in the fight against the so-called “war on terror.”
“Eisenman’s concepts and questions constitute a challenging discourse on politics and art.” —Art in America
“This brilliantly argued volume should be read by all art historians.”—Art Book
“The Abu Ghraib Effect . . . traverses revolutionary terrain in its unraveling of the function of artistic metaphor in the justification of imperialist power.” —Media–Culture Review
In the wake of unthinkable atrocities, it is reasonable to ask how any population can move on from the experience of genocide. Simply remembering the past can, in the shadow of mass death, be retraumatizing. So how can such momentous events be memorialized in a way that is productive and even healing for survivors? Genocide memorials tell a story about the past, preserve evidence of the violence that occurred, and provide emotional support to survivors. But the goal of amplifying survivors’ voices can fade amid larger narratives entrenched in political motivations.
In After Genocide,Nicole Fox investigates the ways memorials can shape the experiences of survivors decades after mass violence has ended. She examines how memorializations can both heal and hurt, especially when they fail to represent all genders, ethnicities, and classes of those afflicted. Drawing on extensive interviews with Rwandans, Fox reveals their relationships to these spaces and uncovers those voices silenced by the dominant narrative—arguing that the erasure of such stories is an act of violence itself. The book probes the ongoing question of how to fit survivors in to the dominant narrative of healing and importantly demonstrates how memorials can shape possibilities for growth, national cohesion, reconciliation, and hope for the future.
In 1955 the Supreme Court ruled that veterans of the U.S. armed forces could not be court-martialed for overseas crimes that were not detected until after they had left military service. Territorial limitations placed such acts beyond the jurisdiction of civilian courts, and there was no other American court in which they could be adjudicated. As a result, a jurisdictional gap emerged that for decades exempted former troops from prosecution for war crimes. "This was not merely a theoretical possibility," Patrick Hagopian writes. Over a dozen former soldiers who participated in the My Lai massacre did in fact "get away with murder." Further court rulings expanded the gap to cover civilian employees and contractors that accompanied the armed forces.
In American Immunity, Hagopian places what he calls the "superpower exemption" in the context of a long-standing tension between international law and U.S. sovereignty. He shows that despite the U.S. role in promulgating universal standards of international law and forming institutions where those standards can be enforced, the United States has repeatedly refused to submit its own citizens and troops to the jurisdiction of international tribunals and failed to uphold international standards of justice in its own courts.
In 2000 Congress attempted to close the jurisdictional gap with passage of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. The effectiveness of that legislation is still in question, however, since it remains unclear how willing civilian American juries will be to convict veterans for conduct in foreign war zones.
In the long history of warfare and cultural and ethnic violence, the twentieth century was exceptional for producing institutions charged with seeking accountability or redress for violent offenses and human rights abuses across the globe, often forcing nations to confront the consequences of past atrocities. The Holocaust ended with trials at Nuremberg, apartheid in South Africa concluded with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Gacaca courts continue to strive for closure in the wake of the Rwandan genocide. Despite this global trend toward accountability, American collective memory appears distinct in that it tends to glorify the nation’s past, celebrating triumphs while eliding darker episodes in its history. In American Memories, sociologists Joachim Savelsberg and Ryan King rigorously examine how the United States remembers its own and others’ atrocities and how institutional responses to such crimes, including trials and tribunals, may help shape memories and perhaps impede future violence. American Memories uses historical and media accounts, court records, and survey research to examine a number of atrocities from the nation’s past, including the massacres of civilians by U.S. military in My Lai, Vietnam, and Haditha, Iraq. The book shows that when states initiate responses to such violence—via criminal trials, tribunals, or reconciliation hearings—they lay important groundwork for how such atrocities are viewed in the future. Trials can serve to delegitimize violence—even by a nation’s military— by creating a public record of grave offenses. But the law is filtered by and must also compete with other institutions, such as the media and historical texts, in shaping American memory. Savelsberg and King show, for example, how the My Lai slayings of women, children, and elderly men by U.S. soldiers have been largely eliminated from or misrepresented in American textbooks, and the army’s reputation survived the episode untarnished. The American media nevertheless evoked the killings at My Lai in response to the murder of twenty-four civilian Iraqis in Haditha, during the war in Iraq. Since only one conviction was obtained for the My Lai massacre, and convictions for the killings in Haditha seem increasingly unlikely, Savelsberg and King argue that Haditha in the near past is now bound inextricably to My Lai in the distant past. With virtually no criminal convictions, and none of higher ranks for either massacre, both events will continue to be misrepresented in American memory. In contrast, the book examines American representations of atrocities committed by foreign powers during the Balkan wars, which entailed the prosecution of ranking military and political leaders. The authors analyze news accounts of the war’s events and show how articles based on diplomatic sources initially cast Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in a less negative light, but court-based accounts increasingly portrayed Milosevic as a criminal, solidifying his image for the public record. American Memories provocatively suggests that a nation’s memories don’t just develop as a rejoinder to events—they are largely shaped by institutions. In the wake of atrocities, how a state responds has an enduring effect and provides a moral framework for whether and how we remember violent transgressions. Savelsberg and King deftly show that such responses can be instructive for how to deal with large-scale violence in the future, and hopefully how to deter it. A Volume in the American Sociological Association’s Rose Series in Sociology.
In the early 20th century, the diesel-electric submarine made possible a new type of unrestricted naval warfare. Such brutal practices as targeting passenger, cargo, and hospital ships not only violated previous international agreements; they were targeted explicitly at civilians. A deviant form of warfare quickly became the norm.
In Atrocity, Deviance, and Submarine Warfare, Nachman Ben-Yehuda recounts the evolution of submarine warfare, explains the nature of its deviance, documents its atrocities, and places these developments in the context of changing national identities and definitions of the ethical, at both social and individual levels. Introducing the concept of cultural cores, he traces the changes in cultural myths, collective memory, and the understanding of unconventionality and deviance prior to the outbreak of World War I. Significant changes in cultural cores, Ben-Yehuda concludes, permitted the rise of wartime atrocities at sea.
During the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877–1878, Russian troops, Cossack auxiliaries, and local Bulgarians participated in what today would be called ethnic cleansing. Tensions in the Balkans between Christians and Muslims ended in disaster when hundreds of thousands of Muslims were massacred, raped, and forced to flee from Bulgaria to Turkey as their villages were sacked and their homes destroyed.
In this book, William H. Holt tells the story of a people and moment in time that has largely been neglected in modern Turkish and Balkan memory. Holt uncovers the reasons for this mass forgetting, finding context both within the development of the modern Turkish state and the workings of collective memory. Bringing together a wide array of eyewitness accounts, the book provides unprecedented detail on the plight of the Muslim refugees in their flight from Bulgaria, in Istanbul, and in their resettlement in Anatolia. In crisp, clear, and engaging prose, Holt offers an insightful analysis of human suffering and social memory.
In the aftermath of the genocide, the Rwandan government has attempted to use the education system in order to sustain peace and shape a new generation of Rwandans. Their hope is to create a generation focused on a unified and patriotic future rather than the ethnically divisive past. Yet, the government’s efforts to manipulate global models around citizenship, human rights, and reconciliation to serve its national goals have had mixed results, with new tensions emerging across social groups. Becoming Rwandan argues that although the Rwandan government utilizes global discourses in national policy documents, the way in which teachers and students engage with these global models distorts the intention of the government, resulting in unintended consequences and undermining a sustainable peace.
Winner of the 2021 Raphael Lemkin Book Award from the Institute for the Study of Genocide Honorable Mention, 2020 CALACS Book Prize
Beyond Repair? explores Mayan women’s agency in the search for redress for harm suffered during the genocidal violence perpetrated by the Guatemalan state in the early 1980s at the height of the thirty-six-year armed conflict. The book draws on eight years of feminist participatory action research conducted with fifty-four Q’eqchi’, Kaqchikel, Chuj, and Mam women who are seeking truth, justice, and reparation for the violence they experienced during the war, and the women’s rights activists, lawyers, psychologists, Mayan rights activists, and researchers who have accompanied them as intermediaries for over a decade. Alison Crosby and M. Brinton Lykes use the concept of “protagonism” to deconstruct dominant psychological discursive constructions of women as “victims,” “survivors,” “selves,” “individuals,” and/or “subjects.” They argue that at different moments Mayan women have been actively engaged as protagonists in constructivist and discursive performances through which they have narrated new, mobile meanings of “Mayan woman,” repositioning themselves at the interstices of multiple communities and in their pursuit of redress for harm suffered.
In Cold War Ruins Lisa Yoneyama argues that the efforts intensifying since the 1990s to bring justice to the victims of Japanese military and colonial violence have generated what she calls a "transborder redress culture." A product of failed post-World War II transitional justice that left many colonial legacies intact, this culture both contests and reiterates the complex transwar and transpacific entanglements that have sustained the Cold War unredressability and illegibility of certain violences. By linking justice to the effects of American geopolitical hegemony, and by deploying a conjunctive cultural critique—of "comfort women" redress efforts, state-sponsored apologies and amnesties, Asian American involvement in redress cases, the ongoing effects of the U.S. occupation of Japan and Okinawa, Japanese atrocities in China, and battles over WWII memories—Yoneyama helps illuminate how redress culture across Asia and the Pacific has the potential to bring powerful new and challenging perspectives on American exceptionalism, militarized security, justice, sovereignty, forgiveness, and decolonization.
In an era marked by atrocities perpetrated on a grand scale, the tragedy of the so-called comfort women—mostly Korean women forced into prostitution by the Japanese army—endures as one of the darkest events of World War II. These women have usually been labeled victims of a war crime, a simplistic view that makes it easy to pin blame on the policies of imperial Japan and therefore easier to consign the episode to a war-torn past. In this revelatory study, C. Sarah Soh provocatively disputes this master narrative.
Soh reveals that the forces of Japanese colonialism and Korean patriarchy together shaped the fate of Korean comfort women—a double bind made strikingly apparent in the cases of women cast into sexual slavery after fleeing abuse at home. Other victims were press-ganged into prostitution, sometimes with the help of Korean procurers. Drawing on historical research and interviews with survivors, Soh tells the stories of these women from girlhood through their subjugation and beyond to their efforts to overcome the traumas of their past. Finally, Soh examines the array of factors— from South Korean nationalist politics to the aims of the international women’s human rights movement—that have contributed to the incomplete view of the tragedy that still dominates today.
This provocative study proves the existence of a de facto Confederate policy of giving no quarter to captured black combatants during the Civil War—killing them instead of treating them as prisoners of war. Rather than looking at the massacres as a series of discrete and random events, this work examines each as part of a ruthless but standard practice.
Author George S. Burkhardt details a fascinating case that the Confederates followed a consistent pattern of murder against the black soldiers who served in Northern armies after Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. He shows subsequent retaliation by black soldiers and further escalation by the Confederates, including the execution of some captured white Federal soldiers, those proscribed as cavalry raiders, foragers, or house-burners, and even some captured in traditional battles.
Further disproving the notion of Confederates as victims who were merely trying to defend their homes, Burkhardt explores the motivations behind the soldiers’ actions and shows the Confederates’ rage at the sight of former slaves—still considered property, not men—fighting them as equals on the battlefield.
Burkhardt’s narrative approach recovers important dimensions of the war that until now have not been fully explored by historians, effectively describing the systemic pattern that pushed the conflict toward a black flag, take-no-prisoners struggle.
When genocidal violence gripped Rwanda in 1994, the international community recoiled, hastily withdrawing its peacekeepers. Late that year, in an effort to redeem itself, the United Nations Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to seek accountability for some of the worst atrocities since World War II: the genocide suffered by the Tutsi and crimes against humanity suffered by the Hutu. But faced with competing claims, the prosecution focused exclusively on the crimes of Hutu extremists. No charges would be brought against the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front, which ultimately won control of the country. The UN, as if racked by guilt for its past inaction, gave in to pressure by Rwanda’s new leadership. With the Hutu effectively silenced, and the RPF constantly reminding the international community of its failure to protect the Tutsi during the war, the Tribunal pursued an unusual form of one-sided justice, born out of contrition.
Fascinated by the Tribunal’s rich complexities, journalist Thierry Cruvellier came back day after day to watch the proceedings, spending more time there than any other outside observer. Gradually he gained the confidence of the victims, defendants, lawyers, and judges. Drawing on interviews with these protagonists and his close observations of their interactions, Cruvellier takes readers inside the courtroom to witness the motivations, mechanisms, and manipulations of justice as it unfolded on the stage of high-stakes, global politics. It is this ground-level view that makes his account so valuable—and so absorbing. A must-read for those who want to understand the dynamics of international criminal tribunals, Court of Remorse reveals both the possibilities and the challenges of prosecuting human rights violations.
A Choice Outstanding Academic Book
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association for School Libraries and the Public Library Association
Best Books for High Schools, selected by the American Association for School Libraries
The Japanese Army's invasion of China in 1937 was the first step toward a hemispheric war that would last until the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. What ended in one atrocity began with another: the savage military takeover of China's capital city, which quickly became known as the Rape of Nanking. The Japanese Army's conduct from December 1937 to February 1938 constitutes one of the most barbarous events not just of the war but of the century. The violence was documented at the time and then redocumented during the war crimes trial in Tokyo after the war. This book brings together materials from both moments to provide the first comprehensive dossier of primary sources on the Rape.
Part 1, "The Records," includes two sources written as the Rape was underway. The first is a long set of documents produced by the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, a group of foreigners who strove to protect the Chinese residents. The second is a series of letters that American surgeon Dr. Robert Wilson wrote for his family during the same period. These letters are published here for the first time.
The evidence compiled by the International Committee and its members would be decisive for the indictments against Japanese leaders at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo. Part 2, "The Judgments," reprints portions of the tribunal's 1948 judgment dealing with the Rape of Nanking, its judicial consequences, and sections of the dissenting judgment of Justice Radhabinod Pal.
These contemporary records and judgments create an intimate firsthand account of the Rape of Nanking. Together they are intended to stimulate deeper reflection than previously possible on how and why we assess and assign the burden of war guilt.
Timothy Brook is Professor of Chinese History and Associate Director of the Joint Centre for Asia Pacific Studies, University of Toronto, and is coeditor of Nation Work: Asian Elites and National Identities and Cultureand Economy: The Shaping of Capitalism in Eastern Asia, both published by the University of Michigan Press.
Embodied Reckonings examines the political and cultural aspects of contemporary performances that have grappled with the history of the “comfort women,” the Japanese military’s euphemism for the sexual enslavement of girls and young women—mostly Korean—in the years before and during World War II. Long silent, in the early 1990s these women and their supporters initiated varied performance practices—protests, tribunals, theater, and memorial-building projects—to demand justice for those affected by state-sponsored acts of violence. The book provides a critical framework for understanding how actions designed to bring about redress can move from the political and legal aspects of this concept to its cultural and social possibilities.
Based on extensive archival and ethnographic research, the study argues for the central role of performance in how Korean survivors, activists, and artists have redressed the histories—and erasures—of this sexual violence. Merging cultural studies and performance theory with a transnational, feminist analysis, the book illuminates the actions of ordinary people, thus offering ways of reconceptualizing legal and political understandings of redress that tend to concentrate on institutionalized forms of state-based remediation.
James Dawes Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress DS777.533.A86D38 2013 | Dewey Decimal 940.54050951
A searching meditation on our all-too-human capacity for inhumanity, Evil Men confronts atrocity head-on—how it looks and feels, what motivates it, how it can be stopped. James Dawes’s unflinchingly honest account, drawing on firsthand interviews, is not just about the things Japanese war criminals did, but about what it means to befriend them.
One of the deadliest phases of the Holocaust, the Nazi regime’s “Operation Reinhard”
produced three major death camps—Belzec, Treblinka, and Sobibor—which claimed the
lives of 1.8 million Jews. In the 1960s, a small measure of justice came for those victims
when a score of defendants who had been officers and guards at the camps were convicted
of war crimes in West German courts. The conviction rates varied, however. While all but
one of fourteen Treblinka defendants were convicted, half of the twelve Sobibor defendants
escaped punishment, and only one of eight Belzec defendants was convicted. Also,
despite the enormity of the crimes, the sentences were light in many cases, amounting to
only a few years in prison.
In this meticulous history of the Operation Reinhard trials, Michael S. Bryant examines
a disturbing question: Did compromised jurists engineer acquittals or lenient punishments
for proven killers? Drawing on rarely studied archival sources, Bryant concludes
that the trial judges acted in good faith within the bounds of West German law. The key
to successful prosecutions was eyewitness testimony. At Belzec, the near-total efficiency
of the Nazi death machine meant that only one survivor could be found to testify. At Treblinka
and Sobibor, however, prisoner revolts had resulted in a number of survivors who
could give firsthand accounts of specific atrocities and identify participants. The courts,
Bryant finds, treated these witnesses with respect and even made allowances for conflicting
testimony. And when handing down sentences, the judges acted in accordance with
strict legal definitions of perpetration, complicity, and action under duress.
Yet, despite these findings, Bryant also shows that West German legal culture was
hardly blameless during the postwar era. Though ready to convict the mostly workingclass
personnel of the death camps, the Federal Republic followed policies that insulated
the judicial elite from accountability for its own role in the Final Solution. While trial
records show that the “bias” of West German jurists was neither direct nor personal, the
structure of the system ensured that lawyers and judges themselves avoided judgment.
In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, Rwandan women faced the impossible—resurrecting their lives amidst unthinkable devastation. Haunted by memories of lost loved ones and of their own experiences of violence, women rebuilt their lives from “less than nothing.” Neither passive victims nor innate peacemakers, they traversed dangerous emotional and political terrain to emerge as leaders in Rwanda today. This clear and engaging ethnography of survival tackles three interrelated phenomena—memory, silence, and justice—and probes the contradictory roles women played in postgenocide reconciliation.
Based on more than a decade of intensive fieldwork, Genocide Lives in Us provides a unique grassroots perspective on a postconflict society. Anthropologist Jennie E. Burnet relates with sensitivity the heart-wrenching survival stories of ordinary Rwandan women and uncovers political and historical themes in their personal narratives. She shows that women’s leading role in Rwanda’s renaissance resulted from several factors: the dire postgenocide situation that forced women into new roles; advocacy by the Rwandan women’s movement; and the inclusion of women in the postgenocide government.
Honorable Mention, Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association
How has the world come to focus on the Holocaust and why has it invariably done so in the heat of controversy, scandal, and polemics about the past? These questions are at the heart of this unique investigation of the Treblinka affair that occurred in France in 1966 when Jean-Francois Steiner, a young Jewish journalist, published Treblinka: The Revolt of an Extermination Camp. A cross between a history and a novel, Steiner’s book narrated the 1943 revolt at one of the major Nazi death camps. Abetted by a scandalous interview he gave, as well as Simone de Beauvoir’s glowing preface, the book shot to the top of the Parisian bestseller list and prompted a wide-ranging controversy in which both the well-known and the obscure were embroiled. Few had heard of Treblinka, or other death camps, before the affair. The validity of the difference between those killing centers and the larger network of concentration camps making up the universe of Nazi crime had to be fought out in public. The affair also bore on the frequently raised question of the Jews’ response to their dire straits. Moyn delves into events surrounding the publication of Steiner’s book and the subsequent furor. In the process, he sheds light on a few forgotten but thought-provoking months in French cultural history. Reconstructing the affair in detail, Moyn studies it as a paradigm-shifting controversy that helped change perceptions of the Holocaust in the French public and among French Jews in particular. Then Moyn follows the controversy beyond French borders to the other countries—especially Israel and the United States—where it resonated powerfully. Based on a complete reconstruction of the debate in the press (including Yiddish dailies) and on archives on three continents, Moyn’s study concludes with the response of the survivors of Treblinka to the controversy and reflects on its place in the longer history of Holocaust memory. Finally, Moyn revisits, in the context of a detailed case study, some of the theoretical controversies the genocide has provoked, including whether it is appropriate to draw universalistic lessons from the victimhood of particular groups.
In this brave and original work, Federica Clementi focuses on the mother-daughter bond as depicted in six works by women who experienced the Holocaust, sometimes with their mothers, sometimes not. The daughters’ memoirs, which record the “all-too-human” qualities of those who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis, show that the Holocaust cannot be used to neatly segregate lives into the categories of before and after. Clementi’s discussions of differences in social status, along with the persistence of antisemitism and patriarchal structures, support this point strongly, demonstrating the tenacity of trauma—individual, familial, and collective—among Jews in twentieth-century Europe.
"History repeats itself, but it never repeats itself exactly," observes Douglas Porpora in this powerful indictment of U.S. intervention in Central America. Comparing the general public’s reaction to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany with American public opinion of U.S. participation in the genocidal policies of Nicaraguan counter-revolutionary forces, and the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador among others, Porpora demonstrates that moral indifference to the suffering of others was the common response. With reference to Hannah Arendt’s thesis of the banality of evil, he develops the concept of a "Holocaust-like event" and examines how even a democratic society can be capable of something on the order of a Holocaust.
Unlike other accounts of the Holocaust and genocide, this book focuses on the citizenry served or ruled by genocidal governments rather than on the governments themselves. Porpora argues that moral indifference and lack of interest in critical reflection are key factors that enable Holocaust-like events to happen And he characterizes American society as being typically indifferent to the fate of other people, uninformed, and anti-intellectual.
Porpora cites numerous horrifying examples of U.S.-backed Latin American government actions against their own peasants, Indians, and dissident factions. He offers finally a theory of public moral indifference and argues that although such indifference is socially created by government, the media, churches, and other institutions, we, the public, must ultimately take responsibility for it. How Holocausts Happen is at once a scholarly examination of the nature of genocide and a stinging indictment of American society.
Human Rights after Hitler reveals thousands of forgotten US and Allied war crimes prosecutions against Hitler and other Axis war criminals based on a popular movement for justice that stretched from Poland to the Pacific. These cases provide a great foundation for twenty-first-century human rights and accompany the achievements of the Nuremberg trials and postwar conventions. They include indictments of perpetrators of the Holocaust made while the death camps were still operating, which confounds the conventional wisdom that there was no official Allied response to the Holocaust at the time.
This history also brings long overdue credit to the United Nations’ War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), which operated during and after World War II. Dan Plesch describes the commission’s work and Washington’s bureaucratic obstruction to a 1944 proposal to prosecute crimes against humanity before an international criminal court.
From the 1940s until a recent lobbying effort by Plesch and colleagues, the UNWCC’s files were kept out of public view in the UN archives under pressure from the US government. The book answers why the commission and its files were closed and reveals that the lost precedents set by these cases have enormous practical utility for prosecuting war crimes today. They cover US and Allied prosecutions of torture, including “water treatment,” wartime sexual assault, and crimes by foot soldiers who were “just following orders.” Plesch’s book will fascinate anyone with an interest in the history of the Second World War as well as provide ground-breaking revelations for historians and human rights practitioners alike.
Human Rights In Camera
Sharon Sliwinski University of Chicago Press, 2011 Library of Congress JC571.S634 2011 | Dewey Decimal 323.490222
From the fundamental rights proclaimed in the American and French declarations of independence to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Hannah Arendt’s furious critiques, the definition of what it means to be human has been hotly debated. But the history of human rights—and their abuses—is also a richly illustrated one. Following this picture trail, Human Rights In Camera takes an innovative approach by examining the visual images that have accompanied human rights struggles and the passionate responses people have had to them.
Sharon Sliwinski considers a series of historical events, including the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and the Holocaust, to illustrate that universal human rights have come to be imagined through aesthetic experience. The circulation of images of distant events, she argues, forms a virtual community between spectators and generates a sense of shared humanity. Joining a growing body of scholarship about the cultural forces at work in the construction of human rights, Human Rights In Camera is a novel take on this potent political ideal.
Called a fig leaf for inaction by many at its inception, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has surprised its critics by growing from an unfunded U.N. Security Council resolution to an institution with more than 1,000 employees and a $100 million annual budget. With Slobodan Milosevic now on trial and more than forty fellow indictees currently detained, the success of the Hague tribunal has forced many to reconsider the prospects of international justice. John Hagan's Justice in the Balkans is a powerful firsthand look at the inner workings of the tribunal as it has moved from an experimental organization initially viewed as irrelevant to the first truly effective international court since Nuremberg.
Creating an institution that transcends national borders is a challenge fraught with political and organizational difficulties, yet, as Hagan describes here, the Hague tribunal has increasingly met these difficulties head-on and overcome them. The chief reason for its success, he argues, is the people who have shaped it, particularly its charismatic chief prosecutor, Louise Arbour. With drama and immediacy, Justice in the Balkans re-creates how Arbour worked with others to turn the tribunal's fortunes around, reversing its initial failure to arrest and convict significant figures and advancing the tribunal's agenda to the point at which Arbour and her colleagues, including her successor, Carla Del Ponte (nicknamed the Bulldog), were able to indict Milosevic himself. Leading readers through the investigations and criminal proceedings of the tribunal, Hagan offers the most original account of the foundation and maturity of the institution.
Justice in the Balkans brilliantly shows how an international social movement for human rights in the Balkans was transformed into a pathbreaking legal institution and a new transnational legal field. The Hague tribunal becomes, in Hagan's work, a stellar example of how individuals working with collective purpose can make a profound difference.
"The Hague tribunal reaches into only one house of horrors among many; but, within the wisely precise remit given to it, it has beamed the light of justice into the darkness of man's inhumanity, to woman as well as to man."—The Times (London)
Arguably the most brutal crime committed by the Japanese military during the Asia-Pacific war was the forced mobilization of 50,000 to 200,000 Asian women to military brothels to sexually serve Japanese soldiers. The majority of these women died, unable to survive the ordeal. Those survivors who came back home kept silent about their brutal experiences for about fifty years. In the late 1980s, the women’s movement in South Korea helped start the redress movement for the victims, encouraging many survivors to come forward to tell what happened to them. With these testimonies, the redress movement gained strong support from the UN, the United States, and other Western countries.
Korean “Comfort Women” synthesizes the previous major findings about Japanese military sexual slavery and legal recommendations, and provides new findings about the issues “comfort women” faced for an English-language audience. It also examines the transnational redress movement, revealing that the Japanese government has tried to conceal the crime of sexual slavery and to resolve the women’s human rights issue with diplomacy and economic power.
During World War II more than one thousand Filipinas were kidnapped by the Imperial Japanese Army. Lolas’ House tells the stories of sixteen surviving Filipino “comfort women.”
M. Evelina Galang enters into the lives of the women at Lolas’ House, a community center in metro Manila. She accompanies them to the sites of their abduction and protests with them at the gates of the Japanese embassy. Each woman gives her testimony, and even though the women relive their horror at each telling, they offer their stories so that no woman anywhere should suffer wartime rape and torture.
Lolas’ House is a book of testimony, but it is also a book of witness, of survival, and of the female body. Intensely personal and globally political, it is the legacy of Lolas’ House to the world.
On October 10, 1941, the Jewish population of the Belarusian village of Krucha was rounded up and shot. This atrocity was not the routine work of the SS but was committed by a regular German army unit acting on its own initiative. Marching into Darkness is a bone-chilling exposé of the ordinary footsoldiers who participated in the Final Solution on a daily basis.
Although scholars have exploded the myth that the Wehrmachtplayed no significant part in the Holocaust, a concrete picture of its involvement has been lacking. Marching into Darkness reveals in detail how the army willingly fulfilled its role as an agent of murder on a massive scale. Waitman Wade Beorn unearths forced labor, sexual violence, and grave robbing, though a few soldiers refused to participate and even helped Jews. Improvised extermination progressively became methodical, with some army units going so far as to organize "Jew hunts." The Wehrmacht also used the pretense of Jewish anti-partisan warfare as a subterfuge by reporting murdered Jews as partisans. Through military and legal records, survivor testimonies, and eyewitness interviews, Beorn paints a searing portrait of an army's descent into ever more intimate participation in genocide.
Shortly after 9:00 a.m. on May 27, 1947, the first of forty-nine men condemned to death for war crimes at Mauthausen concentration camp mounted the gallows at Landsberg prison near Munich. The mass execution that followed resulted from an American military trial conducted at Dachau in the spring of 1946—a trial that lasted only thirty-six days and yet produced more death sentences than any other in American history.
The Mauthausen trial was part of a massive series of proceedings designed to judge and punish Nazi war criminals in the most expedient manner the law would allow. There was no doubt that the crimes had been monstrous. Yet despite meting out punishment to a group of incontestably guilty men, the Mauthausen trial reveals a troubling and seldom-recognized face of American postwar justice—one characterized by rapid proceedings, lax rules of evidence, and questionable interrogations.
Although the better-known Nuremberg trials are often regarded as epitomizing American judicial ideals, these trials were in fact the exception to the rule. Instead, as Tomaz Jardim convincingly demonstrates, the rough justice of the Mauthausen trial remains indicative of the most common—and yet least understood—American approach to war crimes prosecution. The Mauthausen Trial forces reflection on the implications of compromising legal standards in order to guarantee that guilty people do not walk free.
The Japanese Army committed numerous atrocities during its pitiless campaigns in China from 1931 to 1945. Focusing on the trials of Japanese war criminals, Barak Kushner analyzes the political maneuvering and propagandizing in both China and Japan that would roil East Asian relations throughout the Cold War, with repercussions still felt today.
Leading up to World War II, two Polish men witnessed the targeted extermination of Jews under Adolf Hitler and the German Reich before the reality of the Holocaust was widely known. Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish lawyer who coined the term "genocide," and Jan Karski, a Catholic member of the Polish resistance, independently shared this knowledge with Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Having heard false rumors of wartime atrocities before, the leaders met the messengers with disbelief and inaction, leading to the eventual murder of more than six million people.
Messengers of Disaster draws upon little-known texts from an array of archives, including the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva and the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen. Carrying the knowledge of disaster took a toll on Lemkin and Karski, but their work prepared the way for the United Nations to unanimously adopt the first human rights convention in 1948 and influenced the language we use to talk about genocide today. Annette Becker's detailed study of these two important figures illuminates how distortions of fact can lead people to deny knowledge of what is happening in front of their own eyes.
In this first English translation of Erika Thurner's National Socialism and Gypsies in Austria, Gilya Gerda Schmidt makes available Thurner’s investigation of Camps Salzburg and Lackenbach, the two central areas of Gypsy persecution in Austria. Two factors made Thurner’s research especially difficult: the Roma and Sinti have more an oral tradition than a written one, and scholarship on the plight of the Gypsies is sparse. Through painstaking research, Thurner has been able to piece together fragments from Nazi documents, recollections of victims, accounts of bystanders and other eyewitnesses, and formal records to present her account. The result is a volume that truly enhances our understanding of the Gypsies’ experiences during this period.
The volume also focuses on broader aspects of the Gypsies’ ordeals: the ideological foundations and legal ordinances regarding Gypsies, the discrimination and persecution in Burgenland as a whole, the transports from Austria to Lodz and Chelmo, and the medical experimentation. The book has also been expanded, with a new study of Camp Salzburg, an updated bibliography, and numerous photographs, which were not included in the German edition.
The recent upsurge of anti-Gypsy violence in Austria illustrates both the horror of the treatment of Gypsy tribes and the timeliness of the subject of this volume.
On European Ground
Alan Cohen University of Chicago Press, 2001 Library of Congress D424.C58 2001 | Dewey Decimal 940
A profound visual meditation on the trauma that scars twentieth-century Europe, Alan Cohen's On European Ground considers the battlefields of World War I, the Nazi death camps, and the Berlin Wall, and records the distance between what we remember about these places and what we can still observe in them today. By walking these sites and photographing the very ground in which their history has dissolved, Cohen opens a space for reflection on their complex gravity and legacy.
Cohen's images achieve a solemn beauty even as they engage history at its most topical. Pictures of trenches and bunkers at the battlefields of Somme and Verdun explore the tension between the violence of the past and the inscrutability of its remnants. Photographs from the grounds of Dachau and Auschwitz solicit a provocative dialogue between the ordinariness of these sites today and their haunting memory. They teach us, as the New Art Examiner notes, "that the living perceptual connection to the Holocaust is vanishing." Images of the Berlin Wall show only the footprint of the barricade that once separated two hostile ideologies. They record the physical erosion and looming disappearance of the Wall while capturing its reappearance as a memorialized abstraction.
Accompanying the photographs in On European Ground are essays by Sander Gilman and Jonathan Bordo, as well as an interview with Cohen by critic Roberta Smith of the New York Times. The essays present both an introduction to and aesthetic analysis of Cohen's work, while the interview discusses the intractable problems of history and memory that his photographs so uniquely capture.
For more than fifty years, the United States supported the Colombian military in a war that cost over 200,000 lives. During a single period of heightened U.S. assistance known as Plan Colombia, the Colombian military killed more than 5,000 civilians. In Plan Colombia John Lindsay-Poland narrates a 2005 massacre in the San José de Apartadó Peace Community and the subsequent investigation, official cover-up, and response from the international community. He examines how the multibillion-dollar U.S. military aid and official indifference contributed to the Colombian military's atrocities. Drawing on his human rights activism and interviews with military officers, community members, and human rights defenders, Lindsay-Poland describes grassroots initiatives in Colombia and the United States that resisted militarized policy and created alternatives to war. Although they had few resources, these initiatives offered models for constructing just and peaceful relationships between the United States and other nations. Yet, despite the civilian death toll and documented atrocities, Washington, DC, considered Plan Colombia's counterinsurgency campaign to be so successful that it became the dominant blueprint for U.S. military intervention around the world.
We’ve all seen the images from Abu Ghraib: stress positions, US soldiers kneeling on the heads of prisoners, and dehumanizing pyramids formed from black-hooded bodies. We have watched officials elected to our highest offices defend enhanced interrogation in terms of efficacy and justify drone strikes in terms of retribution and deterrence. But the mainstream secular media rarely addresses the morality of these choices, leaving us to ask individually: Is this right?
In this singular examination of the American discourse over war and torture, Douglas V. Porpora, Alexander Nikolaev, Julia Hagemann May, and Alexander Jenkins investigate the opinion pages of American newspapers, television commentary, and online discussion groups to offer the first empirical study of the national conversation about the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the revelations of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib a year later. Post-Ethical Society is not just another shot fired in the ongoing culture war between conservatives and liberals, but a pensive and ethically engaged reflection of America’s feelings about itself and our actions as a nation. And while many writers and commentators have opined about our moral place in the world, the vast amount of empirical data amassed in Post-Ethical Society sets it apart—and makes its findings that much more damning.
After World War II, thousands of Japanese throughout Asia were put on trial for war crimes. Examination of postwar trials is now a thriving area of research, but Sharon W. Chamberlain is the first to offer an authoritative assessment of the legal proceedings convened in the Philippines. These were trials conducted by Asians, not Western powers, and centered on the abuses suffered by local inhabitants rather than by prisoners of war. Her impressively researched work reveals the challenges faced by the Philippines, as a newly independent nation, in navigating issues of justice amid domestic and international pressures.
Chamberlain highlights the differing views of Filipinos and Japanese about the trials. The Philippine government aimed to show its commitment to impartial proceedings with just outcomes. In Japan, it appeared that defendants were selected arbitrarily, judges and prosecutors were biased, and lower-ranking soldiers were punished for crimes ordered by their superior officers. She analyzes the broader implications of this divergence as bilateral relations between the two nations evolved and contends that these competing narratives were reimagined in a way that, paradoxically, aided a path toward postwar reconciliation.
Between three and four thousand civilians, primarily Serbian and Jewish, were murdered in the Novi Sad massacre of 1942. Hungarian soldiers and gendarmes carried out the crime in the city and surrounding areas, in territory Hungary occupied after the German attack on Yugoslavia. The perpetrators believed their acts to be a contribution to a new order in Europe, and as a means to ethnically cleanse the occupied lands.
In marked contrast to other massacres, the Horthy regime investigated the incident and tried and convicted the commanding officers in 1943-44. Other trials would follow. During the 1960s, a novel and film telling the story of the massacre sparked the first public open debate about the Hungarian Holocaust.
This book examines public contentions over the Novi Sad massacre from its inception in 1942 until the final trial in 2011. It demonstrates how attitudes changed over time toward this war crime and the Holocaust through different political regimes and in Hungarian society. The book also views how the larger European context influenced Hungarian debates, and how Yugoslavia dealt with memories of the massacre.
Rwandan Women Rising
Swanee Hunt Duke University Press, 2017 Library of Congress HQ1236.5.R95H86 2017
In the spring of 1994, the tiny African nation of Rwanda was ripped apart by a genocide that left nearly a million dead. Neighbors attacked neighbors. Family members turned against their own. After the violence subsided, Rwanda's women—drawn by the necessity of protecting their families—carved out unlikely new roles for themselves as visionary pioneers creating stability and reconciliation in genocide's wake. Today, 64 percent of the seats in Rwanda's elected house of Parliament are held by women, a number unrivaled by any other nation.
While news of the Rwandan genocide reached all corners of the globe, the nation's recovery and the key role of women are less well known. In Rwandan Women Rising, Swanee Hunt shares the stories of some seventy women—heralded activists and unsung heroes alike—who overcame unfathomable brutality, unrecoverable loss, and unending challenges to rebuild Rwandan society. Hunt, who has worked with women leaders in sixty countries for over two decades, points out that Rwandan women did not seek the limelight or set out to build a movement; rather, they organized around common problems such as health care, housing, and poverty to serve the greater good. Their victories were usually in groups and wide ranging, addressing issues such as rape, equality in marriage, female entrepreneurship, reproductive rights, education for girls, and mental health.
These women's accomplishments provide important lessons for policy makers and activists who are working toward equality elsewhere in Africa and other postconflict societies. Their stories, told in their own words via interviews woven throughout the book, demonstrate that the best way to reduce suffering and to prevent and end conflicts is to elevate the status of women throughout the world.
Between 1944 and 1949 the United States Navy held a war crimes tribunal that tried Japanese nationals and members of Guam's indigenous Chamorro population who had worked for Japan's military government. In Sacred Men Keith L. Camacho traces the tribunal's legacy and its role in shaping contemporary domestic and international laws regarding combatants, jurisdiction, and property. Drawing on Giorgio Agamben's notions of bare life and Chamorro concepts of retribution, Camacho demonstrates how the U.S. tribunal used and justified the imprisonment, torture, murder, and exiling of accused Japanese and Chamorro war criminals in order to institute a new American political order. This U.S. disciplinary logic in Guam, Camacho argues, continues to directly inform the ideology used to justify the Guantánamo Bay detention center, the torture and enhanced interrogation of enemy combatants, and the American carceral state.
Using testimonies, Nazi documents, memoirs, and artistic representations, this volume broadens and deepens comprehension of Jewish women’s experiences of rape and other forms of sexual violence during the Holocaust. The book goes beyond previous studies, and challenges claims that Jewish women were not sexually violated during the Holocaust. This anthology by an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars addresses topics such as rape, forced prostitution, assaults on childbearing, artistic representations of sexual violence, and psychological insights into survivor trauma. These subjects have been relegated to the edges or completely left out of Holocaust history, and this book aims to shift perceptions and promote new discourse.
new in paperback Silence on the Mountain is a virtuoso work of reporting and a masterfully plotted narrative tracing the history of Guatemala’s thirty-six-year internal war, a conflict that claimed the lives of some 200,000 people, the vast majority of whom died (or were “disappeared”) at the hands of the U.S.-backed military government. Written by Daniel Wilkinson, a young human rights worker, the story begins in 1993, when the author decides to investigate the arson of a coffee plantation’s manor house by a band of guerrillas. The questions surrounding this incident soon broaden into a complex mystery whose solution requires Wilkinson to dig up the largely unwritten history of the country’s recent civil war, following its roots back to a land reform movement that was derailed by a U.S.-sponsored military coup in 1954 and to the origins of a plantation system that put Guatemala’s Mayan Indians to work picking coffee beans for the American and European markets.
Decades of terror-inspired fear have led the Guatemalans to adopt a survival strategy of silence so complete that it verges on collective amnesia. The author’s great triumph is that he finds a way for people to tell their stories, and it is through these stories—dramatic, intimate, heartbreaking—that we are shown the anatomy of a thwarted revolution that has relevance not only to Guatemala but also to countless places around the world where terror has been used as a political tool.
Listen to a short interview with James Dawes
Host: Chris Gondek | Producer: Heron & Crane
After the worst thing in the world happens, then what? What is left to the survivors, the witnesses, those who tried to help? What can we do to prevent more atrocities from happening in the future, and to stop the ones that are happening right now? That the World May Know tells the powerful and moving story of the successes and failures of the modern human rights movement. Drawing on firsthand accounts from fieldworkers around the world, the book gives a painfully clear picture of the human cost of confronting inhumanity in our day.
There is no dearth of such stories to tell, and James Dawes begins with those that emerged from the Rwandan genocide. Who, he asks, has the right to speak for the survivors and the dead, and how far does that right go? How are these stories used, and what does this tell us about our collective moral future? His inquiry takes us to a range of crises met by a broad array of human rights and humanitarian organizations. Here we see from inside the terrible stresses of human rights work, along with its curious seductions, and the myriad paradoxes and quandaries it presents.
With pathos, compassion, and a rare literary grace, this book interweaves personal stories, intellectual and political questions, art and aesthetics, and actual "news" to give us a compelling picture of humanity at its conflicted best, face-to-face with humanity at its worst.
Trap with a Green Fence is Richard Glazar's memoir of deportation, escape, and survival. In economical prose, Glazar weaves a description of Treblinka and its operations into his evocation of himself and his fellow prisoners as denizens of an underworld. Glazar gives us compelling images of these horrors in a tone that remains thoughtful but sober, affecting but simple.
The "definitive one-volume study of Nuremberg," The Trial of the Germans is now available in paperback. An astute observer of the Nuremberg trial, Eugene Davidson has struggled with the issues it raised: Was it a necessary response to the heinous crimes of the Third Reich? How were Germany and the Germans capable of such extraordinary evil? Was the trial just, given the claims that the defendants were simply serving their country, doing as they had been told to do? And if not just, was it nonetheless necessary as a warning to prevent future crimes against humanity? Davidson's approach to these and other large questions of justice is made through examination of each of the defendants in the trial. His reluctant, but firm, conclusion is: "In a world of mixed human affairs where a rough justice is done that is better than lynching or being shot out of hand, Nuremberg may be defended as a political event if not as a court." Some sentences may have seemed too severe, but none was harsher than the punishments meted out to innocent people by the regime these men served. "In a certain sense," says Davidson, "the trial succeeded in doing what judicial proceedings are supposed to do: it convinced even the guilty that the verdict against them was just."
Faulty as the trial was from the legal point of view, a catharsis of the pent-up emotions of millions of people had to be provided and a record of what had taken place duly preserved for whatever use later generations would make of it.
An eyewitness account of the first major international war-crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg trials, Twilight of Impunity is a gripping guide to the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The historic trial of the “Butcher of the Balkans” began in 2002 and ended abruptly with Milosevic’s death in 2006. Judith Armatta, a lawyer who spent three years in the former Yugoslavia during Milosevic’s reign, had a front-row seat at the trial. In Twilight of Impunity she brings the dramatic proceedings to life, explains complex legal issues, and assesses the trial’s implications for victims of the conflicts in the Balkans during the 1990s and international justice more broadly. Armatta acknowledges the trial’s flaws, particularly Milosevic’s grandstanding and attacks on the institutional legitimacy of the International Criminal Tribunal. Yet she argues that the trial provided an indispensable legal and historical narrative of events in the former Yugoslavia and a valuable forum where victims could tell their stories and seek justice. It addressed crucial legal issues, such as the responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinates, and helped to create a framework for conceptualizing and organizing other large-scale international criminal tribunals. The prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague was an important step toward ending impunity for leaders who perpetrate egregious crimes against humanity.
One of the Chinese American Librarians Association’s Ten Best Books of 2010
During the infamous “Rape of Nanking,” a brutal military occupation of Nanking, China, that began on December 13, 1937, it is estimated that Japanese soldiers killed between 200,000 and 300,000 Chinese and raped between 20,000 and 80,000 women. To shelter civilian refugees, a group of Westerners established a Nanking Safety Zone. Among these humanitarians was Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary and acting president of Ginling College. She and Tsen Shui-fang, her Chinese assistant and a trained nurse, turned the college into a refugee camp, which protected more than 10,000 women and children during the height of the ordeal. The Undaunted Women of Nanking juxtaposes day-by-day the exhausted and terrified women’s wartime diaries, providing vital eyewitness accounts of the Rape of Nanking and a unique focus on the Ginling refugee camp and the sufferings of women and children. Vautrin's diary reveals the humanity and courage of a female missionary in a time of terror. Tsen Shui-fang’s diary, never before published in English and translated here for the first time, is the only known daily account by a Chinese national written during the crisis and not retrospectively. As such, it records a unique perspective: that of a woman grappling with feelings of anger, sorrow, and compassion as she witnesses the atrocities being committed in her war-torn country.
Editors Hua-ling Hu and Zhang Lian-hong have added many informative annotations to the diary entries from sources including the proceedings of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial of 1946, Vautrin’s correspondence, John Rabe’s diary, and other historical documents. Also included are biographical sketches of the two women, a note on the diaries, and information about the aftermath of the tragedy, as well as maps and photos—some of which appear in print in this book for the first time.
In the three years, eight months, and twenty days of the Khmer Rouge’s deadly reign over Cambodia, an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians perished as a result of forced labor, execution, starvation, and disease. Despite the passage of more than thirty years, two regime shifts, and a contested U.N. intervention, only one former Khmer Rouge official has been successfully tried and sentenced for crimes against humanity in an international court of law to date. It is against this background of war, genocide, and denied justice that Cathy J. Schlund-Vials explores the work of 1.5-generation Cambodian American artists and writers.
Drawing on what James Young labels “memory work”—the collected articulation of large-scale human loss—War, Genocide, and Justice investigates the remembrance work of Cambodian American cultural producers through film, memoir, and music. Schlund-Vials includes interviews with artists such as Anida Yoeu Ali, praCh Ly, Sambath Hy, and Socheata Poeuv. Alongside the enduring legacy of the Killing Fields and post-9/11 deportations of Cambodian American youth, artists potently reimagine alternative sites for memorialization, reclamation, and justice. Traversing borders, these artists generate forms of genocidal remembrance that combat amnesic politics and revise citizenship practices in the United States and Cambodia.
Engaged in politicized acts of resistance, individually produced and communally consumed, Cambodian American memory work represents a significant and previously unexamined site of Asian American critique.
In Nazi eyes, the Soviet Union was the "wild east," a savage region ripe for exploitation, its subhuman inhabitants destined for extermination or helotry. An especially brutal dimension of the German army's eastern war was its anti-partisan campaign. This conflict brought death and destruction to thousands of Soviet civilians, and has been held as a prime example of ordinary German soldiers participating in the Nazi regime's annihilation policies.
Ben Shepherd enters the heated debate over the wartime behavior of the Wehrmacht in a detailed study of the motivation and conduct of its anti-partisan campaign in the Soviet Union. He investigates how anti-partisan warfare was conducted, not by the generals, but by the far more numerous, average Germans serving as officers in the field. What shaped their behavior was more complex than Nazi ideology alone. The influence of German society, as well as of party and army, together with officers' grueling yet diverse experience of their environment and enemy, made them perceive the anti-partisan war in varied ways. Reactions ranged from extreme brutality to relative restraint; some sought less to terrorize the native population than to try to win it over. The emerging picture does not dilute the suffering the Wehrmacht's eastern war inflicted. It shows, however, that properly judging ordinary Germans' role in that war is more complicated than is indicated by either wholesale condemnation or wholesale exoneration.
This valuable study offers a nuanced discussion of the diversity of behaviors within the German army, as well as providing a compelling exploration of the war and counterinsurgency operations on the eastern front.
During a one-hundred-day period in 1994, Hutus murdered between half a million and a million Tutsi in Rwanda. The numbers are staggering; the methods of killing were unspeakable. Utilizing personal interviews with trauma survivors living in Rwandan cities, towns, and dusty villages, We Cannot Forget relates what happened during this period and what their lives were like both prior to and following the genocide.
Through powerful stories that are at once memorable, disturbing, and informative, readers gain a critical sense of the tensions and violence that preceded the genocide, how it erupted and was carried out, and what these people faced in the first sixteen years following the genocide.
This book is a profound reexamination of the role of the German army, the Wehrmacht, in World War II. Until very recently, the standard story avowed that the ordinary German soldier in World War II was a good soldier, distinct from Hitler's rapacious SS troops, and not an accomplice to the massacres of civilians. Wolfram Wette, a preeminent German military historian, explodes the myth of a "clean" Wehrmacht with devastating clarity.
This book reveals the Wehrmacht's long-standing prejudices against Jews, Slavs, and Bolsheviks, beliefs that predated the prophecies of Mein Kampf and the paranoia of National Socialism. Though the sixteen-million-member German army is often portrayed as a victim of Nazi mania, we come to see that from 1941 to 1944 these soldiers were thoroughly involved in the horrific cleansing of Russia and Eastern Europe. Wette compellingly documents Germany's long-term preparation of its army for a race war deemed necessary to safeguard the country's future; World War II was merely the fulfillment of these plans, on a previously unimaginable scale.
This sober indictment of millions of German soldiers reaches beyond the Wehrmacht's complicity to examine how German academics and ordinary citizens avoided confronting this difficult truth at war's end. Wette shows how atrocities against Jews and others were concealed and sanitized, and history rewritten. Only recently has the German public undertaken a reevaluation of this respected national institution--a painful but necessary process if we are to truly comprehend how the Holocaust was carried out and how we have come to understand it.
Stevan M. Weine is a psychiatrist who has spent the past decade working with Bosnian survivors of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia. As he listened to their testimonies, Weine concluded that these narratives were capable of bearing a complex truth about the horrific events in Yugoslavia that often were lost in more analytic works on the subject. When History is a Nightmare also explores how these traumatic events affected not just individuals, but an entire society and its culture.
Weine investigates the survivors’ attempts to reconcile the contrasting, collective memories of having lived in a smoothly functioning, multiethnic society with the later memories of the ethnic atrocities. He discusses the little-known group concept of merhamet. Denoting compassion, forgiveness, and charity, merhamet was a critical cultural value for the Bosnian Muslims.
Weine also explores how ethnic cleansing was justified from the vantage point of psychiatrists who played prominent roles in instigating the horrors. He also provides personal portraits of leaders such as Jovan Raskovic and Radovan Karadzic. He concludes by describing the recovery efforts of survivors—how they work to confront the destructive nature of their memories while trying to bring about healing, both individually and collectively.