We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more


To Kill a People

Genocide in the Twentieth Century

Second Edition

John Cox

Publication Date - July 2023

ISBN: 9780190082772

296 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches


There have been numerous books on genocide in the last twenty years, but To Kill a People, Second Edition offers a different approach. It is one of the few books on genocide expressly written for use in the college classroom. The book includes five case studies--the Armenian, Nazi, Cambodian, Bosnian and Rwandan genocides--and substantive introductory and concluding chapters that contribute to two key debates within genocide studies: how to define "genocide" and place it in relation to other mass atrocities, and how to detect and analyze the social, historical, and cultural forces that produce genocidal violence.

To Kill a People, Second Edition examines a vast range of the latest research, offers original interpretations and arguments, and draws upon the author's own archival research on three continents. The case studies are supplemented by primary readings and thought-provoking questions, and the book concludes with a chapter that synthesizes the lessons and issues that arise from the study of genocide. A chapter-length bibliographic essay further distinguishes this book and will be useful to students and experts alike.

New to this Edition

  • The text has been expanded to allow for a more global treatment of genocides in the modern world. An all new Chapter Four examines the Bosnian genocides perpetrated during the Bosnian War of 1992-1995.
  • Several new maps and photos.
  • Updated scholarship and a revised bibliographical essay


  • Concise, case-study approach
  • Each chapter includes primary sources
  • Introduction provides an overview of genocide and scholarly approaches to its study
  • Concluding chapter synthesizes the lessons and issues that arise from the study of genocide
  • Amply illustrated with maps and photos
  • Most up to date scholarship
  • Low price makes it perfect for wide range of classroom settings

About the Author(s)

John Cox is Associate Professor of International Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he directs the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies. He is the author of Circles of Resistance: Jewish, Leftist, and Youth Dissidence in Nazi Germany (2009).

Table of Contents

    List of Maps
    List of Figures
    About the Author

    Defining Genocide
    Other Disputes over Terminology and Definitions
    This Book's Definition
    Genocide in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds
    Destruction of the Native Peoples of the Americas
    The "Century of Genocide"
    Modern Imperialism
    Mass Atrocities in the Soviet Union and Asia
    Post-World War II Genocide
    Why Do Humans Commit Genocide?

    Chapter 1: The Armenian Genocide
    The Armenians
    A Decaying Empire Confronts the Modern Age
    Erosion of the Empire
    The "Young Turk" Revolution
    "Young Turk" Nationalism and Racism
    April 24: The Decimation of Armenian Leadership
    Aftermath: Struggles for Land and Justice
    Organized from on High
    How Many Victims?
    Genocide Denial
    Primary Sources and Study Questions

    Chapter 2: The Holocaust
    Anti-Jewish Prejudice in History
    Preconditions for the Holocaust: World War I and Weimar Germany
    Adolf Hitler and the Birth of the Nazi Party
    Elimination of Opponents and Intensification of Repression: 1933-1938
    Stages in Anti-Jewish Persecution
    World War II
    Operation Barbarossa and the "Final Solution"
    Auschwitz, "Operation Reinhard," and the Peak of Nazi Genocide
    The Nazis' Collaborators and Ideological Soul Mates
    The Nazis' Non-Jewish Victims
    Jewish Resistance
    Bystanders and Rescuers
    The End of the Third Reich
    Primary Sources and Study Questions

    Chapter 3: The Cambodian Genocide
    Angkor and Pre-Colonial Cambodia
    Cambodia and Indochina under French Colonialism
    Emergence of the Communist Party of Cambodia
    "Brother Number 1": Pol Pot
    Cambodian Politics in the 1950s and 1960s
    War in Vietnam and Civil War in Cambodia
    Remaking Cambodian Society
    Targeting of Minority groups
    How Many Were Killed?
    "Genocide is too heavy for the shoulders of justice."
    Primary Sources and Study Questions

    Chapter 4: The Bosnian Genocide
    Primary Sources and Study Questions

    Chapter 5: The Rwandan Genocide
    Rwandan History and European Racial Philosophies
    Emergence of Hutu Parties and Independence
    Habyarimana's Second Republic
    1993 Strife in Neighboring Burundi
    Dashed Hopes for Peace
    Assassination of Habyarimana and the Descent into Genocide
    Rape as a Weapon of War and Genocide
    Downfall of the Hutu Regime
    Failure of the "International Community"
    Rescue and Resistance
    Post-Genocide Rwanda
    Authoritarianism and War under Kagame
    Conclusions: How was it Possible?
    Primary Sources and Questions

    For an Integrated Approach to the Study of Genocide
    The Psyches of Genocidal Perpetrators
    Warfare and Genocide
    Nationalism, Vulnerability, Perceptions of Grievance and Humiliation
    Another Century of War and Genocide?

    Bibliographical Essay and Suggested Films
    Timeline of genocide and genocidal crimes against humanity, 1900 to present

Related Titles