CAUSES AND CONDITIONS OF GENOCIDE

Social scientists and scholars have generally organized their understanding of genocide in terms of the political structure within which it takes place, the context in which genocide occurs, the motives of the perpetrator, the nature of the victims, and the stages through which genocide passes.

a) Institutions of government

It is clear from empirical and historical research that democide, including genocide (however defined), are facets of totalitarian systems, and to a lesser extent of authoritarian ones. The degree to which people are not democratically free increases the likelihood of some kind of domestic genocide or democide, as in totalitarian Stalin’s Soviet Union, Hitler’s Germany, and Mao’s Communist China; or fascist Chiang Kai-shek’s China, Franco’s Spain, and Admiral Miklos Horthy’s Hungary; or dictator Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Idi Amin’s Uganda, and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s Turkey. Those governments that commit virtually no domestic genocide, or other government domestic murder or extermination campaigns, are the modern democracies that recognize civil liberties and political rights. To predict where genocide is likely to occur, look first at the totalitarian governments, and next at the authoritarian ones.

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