Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe

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  • Topic: Ethnic cleansing, Armenian Genocide, World War II
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Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century
Naimark, Norman. Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2001. When asked why I chose this book, I would normally respond with some answer conjured up from the depths of my lying brain. But I’ll be honest; I chose this book because it didn’t have as many pages as the others on the list of approved readings, that way I could read it faster. I would normally talk about how I am really fascinated with the topic so that’s why I chose it, but that would be lying. So I’ll stick to the truth.

Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe by Norman M. Naimark is a non-fiction title that explains and deconstructs the ethnic cleansing that has happened in Europe within the twentieth-century. The five incidents of ethnic cleansing explained in this book are the Armenian and Greek genocide of Anatolia, the Nazi attack on the Jews, the Soviet deportations of the Chechens-Ingush and the Crimean Tatars, The expulsion of Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia, and the Wars of Yugoslav succession. The author’s purpose in writing this book was ultimately to make people aware of the tragedies of genocide and ethnic cleansing that have happened in Europe in the twentieth-century. What Naimark states is that there are five characteristics or redundancies of ethnic cleansing. The first is violence. Ethnic cleansing always involves violence. When the group doing the cleansing is trying to get the people being cleansed out of their homes, it is a hard task to do, because people are never willing to leave their homes; so they must be forced out. This is what also what Naimark believes is mostly the cause of genocide. If people don’t want to leave their homes, then you make them by using force. This force generally becomes very brutal. It becomes so brutal that people die. The cleansing nation then realizes that this is the way to get rid of people; just kill them. So most ethnic cleansing often ends up as genocide.

The violence is not targeted at one person, because all types of genders are getting killed. But the second redundancy that happens within ethnic cleansing is the attack of genders. Men, women and children of all ages get killed during ethnic cleansing, there’s no doubt about that. But what sets ethnic cleansing apart from other things such as war, is the facts that war puts man against man, and ethnic cleansing more often than not entails men attacking women. The reason they do so is because of the ideology that the women carries the generation. Not only do women actually bare the child, but they often are the ones who pass on the cultural and spiritual values of the nation on to their children. So by killing women, then that parts a major halt on developing a nation, a nation that they are trying to get rid of.

Not only are the women, children, and men killed in a nation but their property and heritage are completely destroyed. This is the third redundancy seen in ethnic cleansing. The cleansers want to illuminate anything that is a reminder of that nation. They destroy property, cemeteries, statues, and even things written in the language of the nation they are cleansing. Not only are things destroyed but also these people’s possessions and food are taken. What justifies the theft and destruction of property is the nation cleansing believes that the people that they are cleansing are people who have been feeding off of the country they live in and by taking these people’s things is like taking back something stolen from them. But the destruction and theft are not at all pretty. Many people are killed and many towns are destroyed. In some cases, such as the Armenian genocide of Anatolia, they were given their property and possession back (for those still alive) once the cleansing ceased; but these cases were often not seen because of the...
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