Cover image for Fires of hatred : ethnic cleansing in twentieth-century Europe
Fires of hatred : ethnic cleansing in twentieth-century Europe
Naimark, Norman M.
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Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
248 pages ; 24 cm
The Armenians and Greeks of Anatolia -- The Nazi attacks on the Jews -- Soviet deportation of the Chechens-Ingush and the Crimean Tatars -- The expulsion of Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia -- The wars of Yugoslav succession.
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GN575 .N15 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GN575 .N15 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Of all the horrors of the last century--perhaps the bloodiest century of the past millennium--ethnic cleansing ranks among the worst. The term burst forth in public discourse in the spring of 1992 as a way to describe Serbian attacks on the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but as this landmark book attests, ethnic cleansing is neither new nor likely to cease in our time. Norman Naimark, distinguished historian of Europe and Russia, provides an insightful history of ethnic cleansing and its relationship to genocide and population transfer. Focusing on five specific cases, he exposes the myths about ethnic cleansing, in particular the commonly held belief that the practice stems from ancient hatreds. Naimark shows that this face of genocide had its roots in the European nationalism of the late nineteenth century but found its most virulent expression in the twentieth century as modern states and societies began to organize themselves by ethnic criteria. The most obvious example, and one of Naimark's cases, is the Nazi attack on the Jews that culminated in the Holocaust. Naimark also discusses the Armenian genocide of 1915 and the expulsion of Greeks from Anatolia during the Greco-Turkish War of 1921-22; the Soviet forced deportation of the Chechens-Ingush and the Crimean Tatars in 1944; the Polish and Czechoslovak expulsion of the Germans in 1944-47; and Bosnia and Kosovo. In this harrowing history, Naimark reveals how over and over, as racism and religious hatreds picked up an ethnic name tag, war provided a cover for violence and mayhem, an evil tapestry behind which nations acted with impunity.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

What strands link the last century's bloody spasms of ethnic cleansing--from the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust to Bosnia and Kosovo? Stanford University historian Naimark argues ethnic cleansing is a profoundly twentieth-century phenomenon, not a product of "ancient hatreds." Its essential elements are a pseudoscientific racialist nationalism, the intrusive, homogenizing power of the modern state, and political and other elites that manipulate nationalist ideas and state machinery for their own purposes. Naimark supplies a comparative history of European ethnic cleansing: the 1915 Armenian genocide and the expulsion of the Greeks from Anatolia in the `20s; the early Nazi campaign against the Jews (1939^-41); Stalin's forced deportation of the Chechens-Ingush and Crimean Tatars; the expulsion of Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia in the mid-`40s; and Bosnia and Kosovo. The ugliness of ethnic cleansing--its violence and brutality, its misogyny and totality, its effort to eradicate every trace of "the other" --poses unique challenges to an international community reluctant to intervene in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation state. --Mary Carroll

Library Journal Review

Naimark (history, Stanford) injects a needed measure of clarity into a literature hitherto befogged by passion and sloppy language. He separates the concept of ethnic cleansing, a 1990s term referring to the mass expulsion of minority populations, from genocide, a term now used so cavalierly that it has almost lost all real meaning. Equally important, he imbeds ethnic cleansing in the history of 20th-century Europe. First, the author traces the idea of ethnic purification to the rise of ethnonationalism in the 19th century. Fires of Hatred thus undercuts the standard wisdom that holds ancient enmities responsible for atrocities perpetrated in the modern era. Second, the book shows that this repellent practice was not a Serb invention. Indeed, during the recent Bosnian wars, the Serbs consciously aped the examples of the Young Turks and the Nazis. Students of history and international relations are indebted to professor Naimark for these sobering insights. Strongly recommended for academic and larger public library collections.DJames R. Holmes, Fletcher Sch. of Law & Diplomacy, Belmont, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This grim comparative work explores five examples of the brutal separation or elimination of people from territory in central Europe since WW I, illuminating common patterns of "ethnic cleansing" as a modern phenomenon. In these case studies--Armenians and Greeks in Turkey, Nazis and Jews, Soviet deportations of Chechens/Ingush and Crimean Tatars, expulsions of Germans from Czechoslovakia and Poland, and contemporary Balkan warfare--Naimark combines secondary sources and some primary voices with his expertise on Russo-German history. He frames his comparison through shared features of ethnic cleansing, including the intensification of ethnic nationalism, the increasing efficiency of states, the role of war, and the imagery of the "Other." He highlights recurrent themes of violence, rape, gendered action, and appropriation of property and underscores direct links among cases: the Nazis looked at Turkey, while their own actions and ideology influenced the Balkans. In the end, the book offers no alternatives or solutions, seeing ethnic cleansing as a horrifying but almost inevitable phenomenon of modernity and the state. Nonetheless, these narratives should help readers situate these current events in a vivid yet chilling historical context. All collections. G. W. McDonogh Bryn Mawr College

Table of Contents

1 The Armenians and Greeks of Anatolia
2 The Nazi Attack on the Jews
3 Soviet Deportation of the Chechens-Ingush and the Crimean Tatars
4 The Expulsion of Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia
5 The Wars of Yugoslav Succession