Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century (2004)

For the past several years, I’ve been reading library books dealing with world military history.

With regard to this topic, I’ve learned a number of things as outlined in previous posts including:

Soldaten: On fighting, killing, and dying (Neitzel and Welzer, 2011)

A basic point of Soldaten (2011) is that “war is work that soldiers do” – and that, as it turns out, the killing of civilians is in many cases viewed as part of a day’s job.

In standard usage, gentrification is a limited term; the underlying process is of a wider import

Christian Gerlach’s 2010 genocide-related study focuses on extremely violent societies

On Dec. 26, 2015 Graeme Decarie wrote a long post at his website; he also spoke of mass murder in Guatemala in the 1980s

In a subsequent post, I have followed up on Graeme’s comment about Guatemala.

Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century (2004)

I’ve borrowed the above-noted book from the Toronto Public Library; I think I came across the book when I did a search for Guatemala, which I began to read about following an email message from Graeme Decarie, described in an above-noted link.

A blurb (I’ve broken the text into shorter paragraphs) at the Toronto Public Library website for Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century (2004) reads:

“Benjamin A. Valentino finds that ethnic hatreds or discrimination, undemocratic systems of government, and dysfunctions in society play a much smaller role in mass killing and genocide than is commonly assumed. He shows that the impetus for mass killing usually originates from a relatively small group of powerful leaders and is often carried out without the active support of broader society.

“Mass killing, in his view, is a brutal political or military strategy designed to accomplish leaders’ most important objectives, counter threats to their power and solve their most difficult problems. Valentino does not limit his analysis to violence directed against ethnic groups, or to the attempt to destroy victim groups as such, as do most previous studies of genocide.

“Rather, he defines mass killing broadly as the intentional killing of a massive number of noncombatants, using the criteria of 50,000 or more deaths within five years as a quantitative standard; killings like the ones carried out in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia; ethnic genocides as in Armenia, Nazi Germany, and Rwanda; and counter-guerrilla campaigns including the brutal civil war in Guatemala and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

“Valentino closes the book by arguing that attempts to prevent mass killing should focus on disarming and removing from power the leaders and small groups responsible for instigating and organizing the killing.”


A Feb. 7, 2016 Guardian article is entitled: “‘My family resisted the Nazis’: why director had to film Alone in Berlin.”

A March 6, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “René Girard’s theories still explain the violence all around us: French-born scholar spent his career trying to understand what what makes violence a chronic problem.”

An Aug. 15, 2016 Guardian article is entitled: “Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing’: Brunhilde Pomsel worked at the heart of the Nazis’ propaganda machine. As a film about her life is released, she discusses her lack of remorse and the private side of her monstrous boss.”


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