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Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe [Paperback]

Norman M. Naimark
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 19, 2002 0674009940 978-0674009943

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


As Norman M. Naimark observes…with broad enough standards the ‘ethnic cleansing’ label can be affixed to events as disparate as the destruction of Carthage, the crusade against the Albigensians, the expulsion of Jews from Spain, the Spanish conquest of the Incas and Aztecs, and the expulsion of Indians from tribal lands in the United States… He objects that such a catchall approach fails to explain current events in useful terms… Naimark provides…disturbing details—and much other cause for sad reflection. (Anatole Shub New Leader 2001-01-01)

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’… 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 Booklist 2001-01-01)

A needed measure of clarity… [Naimark] embeds ethnic cleansing in the history of 20th-century Europe…[and] undercuts the standard wisdom that holds ancient enmities responsible for atrocities perpetrated in the modern era… Students of history and international relations are indebted to professor Naimark for [his] sobering insights. (James R. Holmes Library Journal 2000-11-15)

As a contribution to the study of mass violence in this century, this book is very reliable, eminently readable, and highly educational. Naimark emphasizes that ethnic cleansing is a ‘profoundly modern experience’ and the international community, which has sometimes encouraged and more usually ignored large-scale atrocities, is responsible. (Stanley Hoffmann, Harvard University)

During the last decade, Americans and Europeans rediscovered the horrors of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. Norman Naimark’s important research demonstrates that it was hardly an invention of the l990s, but has had a long history, often shrouded in silence because it was easier to live with the results. This is an immensely relevant and anguishing study. (Charles Maier, Harvard University)

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674009940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674009943
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and overdue October 1, 2005
Despite its considerable faults, this book is a terrible indictment of our common humanity. Much of it traverses well-trod ground such as the Armenian and Jewish genocides and the more recent wars of the Yugoslav succession. Other chapters deal with the expulsion of the Greeks from Anatolia and the Soviet deportation of the Chechens-Ingush and the Crimean Tatars.

The book's strongest chapter chronicles the post-war expulsion of German civilians from Poland and Czechoslovakia, where German girls and women were routinely raped by their former neighbors and where the Soviets, who were notorious rapists themselves, were welcomed as comparative saviors by the Germans. The Germans of Bohemia, Silesia and Sudetenland are compared to the Jews caught between the marauding armies of Hitler and Stalin as they carved up Poland. Neither group knew where to go. Many ended up dying in concentration camps, robbed, humiliated and finally murdered. There is little to be proud of and much to be ashamed of in robbing, raping, humiliating and murdering unarmed women and children.

Naimark speaks of Serbs being ordered to rape Muslim women and Wehrmacht soldiers looking on with smirks on their faces as their Lithuanian, Ukranian and Latvian allies raped Jewish women. Naimark tells us of Polish, German, Czech and Turkish concentration camp guards going beyond rape and revelling in all kinds of unspeakable cruelties on their defenseless charges

Why do men do such things? Naimark, a Harvard University history professor, trots out a few glib sociological reasons. He blames conniving politicians, people like Hitler, Slobodan Milosovic and their cronies, people like the SS and Arkan's Serb Tigers. That, like most of the book, is too simplistic. The truth is that all of us are to blame.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting with lumping March 29, 2005
This book is a good rundown of tragedies that befell people in Europe in the 20th century, and especially it is important that it reminds us of the Armenian genocide and the Greek catastrophe. However there exist two major problems with this text. The first is the use of the word 'ethnic cleansing' a term coind by americans to excuse the was in Bosnia and Kosovo, it was a term that was sopposed to embody racism and remind us of the Holocuast. However the term is disengenous and inaptly applied. Their is a difference between genocide and ethnic cleansing and their is a difference actually between ethnic cleansing and what happaned in Kosovo. No ethnicity was actually cleansed in Bosnia or Kosovo, rather religions assaulted eachother, same ethnicity, different religion.

The Armenians genocide and the Holocaust do not even compare with the Bosnia conflict. And Stalins deportation of the Ingush and Chechans, a truly ethnic cleansing operation, also is incomparable.

The second flaw is that huge tracts of cleansing are missed in this account. What of the pogroms and slaugthers that befell minorities in 1913, and again in the 1920s as maps were redrawn? What of the population transfers in Cyprus? What of Stalins genocide of the Russian Poles and Germans and many other peoples?

This is a worthwhile account but the reader must be cautioned to know that these incidents are very different, and that not every case of european 'cleansing' is brought to the surface here.

Seth J. Frantzman
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Fired of Hatred tells of the history of genocide, ethnic cleasining and forced deportation of ethnic groups in the 20th century. It deals with Nazi Holocaust, the most famous case of 20th century genocide and provides information that people might not know like how the Third Reich considered plans to move Jews to modern-day Israel and other locations like Madagascar. It also deals with genocide in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s which is still fresh in people's minds and helps to show the idea of 'never again' mentioned at the end of the second world war never fully materialized. One of the strong points of fires of hatred is that it sheds light on lesser known examples of genocide in the 20th century like that of the Greeks and Armenians in the Ottaman Empire and the treatment of Germans in Poland and Czechoslovakia after the end of the second world war. It also deals with how the U.S.S.R brutally treated Chechnya an important section to better understand the current conflict in that region.
My only problem with the book is that it doesn't cover enough. It does a good job of covering what it has but neglects important things like the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 which was a large scale.
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