Skip to Main Content


Provides print and electronic resources on the topic of genocide.

About Genocide

Mug shots at Cambodia's Museum GenocideIn 1944, law scholar Raphaël Lemkin coined the term genocide to describe the destruction of a nation or ethnic group. Four years later, during the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the United Nations (UN) expanded this definition to refer to attempts to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group by any of several methods. These include killing group members, causing people serious physical or mental harm, deliberately placing people in conditions expected to destroy them, attempting to prevent people from having children, or forcibly transferring their children to another group. (Opposing Viewpoints)

Narrow the Topic

  • How is genocide different from mass murder? Or terrorism?
  • How are genocide and other acts of mass violence humanly possible?
  • What choices do people make that allow collective violence to happen?
  • What makes it possible for neighbor to turn against neighbor?
  • What are the different reasons sited for leading to genocide? (ie. poverty, religious or ethnic differences)
  • Who decides if it is genocide or civil unrest?
  • Is there any remedy for genocide?
  • Can the United States take an active role in preventing genocide?
  • Why do leaders scapegoat particular groups?