Summary of the Source
The Herero massacre is one of the earliest genocides in the 20th century. It took place in South West Africa, currently known as Namibia, which was colonized by Germany. When the Herero people rebelled against German occupation, Lothar von Trotha, who was the military commander of the German colony, organized and executed mass murder of the rebelling locals to assert German authority in the region. The concentration camps were used to ensure that the activities of locals were closely monitored and any form of political disturbance is eliminated. The generals who were in charge of the colonies got support from the German government in terms of arms, ammunition, medicine, and other supplies that they needed (McQuiggan 44). The mass murder of locals was considered part of the necessary activities when conquering new territories. The global powers at that time were doing the same in other parts of the world, making it impossible to condemn such acts.
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Evaluation of the Source
The source identifies a pattern of events that preceded the holocaust in Germany. As Ter-Matevosyan notes, the holocaust is one of the worst historic moments in modern history (106). People were sent to concentration camps and murdered primarily because of their race. The government that was expected to protect them turned against Jews and meticulously executed a murderous plan because of political reasons. The author argues that although Germans have been criticized because of the holocaust, other major powers around the world also embraced the same practice during armed conflicts. Dyck observes that “Germans did not invent the modern concentration camp system, as the British had already used this concept in South Africa during the Boer War, and the United States had also used it in Cuba during the Spanish-American War” (161). The Germans had borrowed the strategy from the United States and Britain. It used it successfully to crash opposition in South West Africa and perfected it during the holocaust.
The author refers to the holocaust as colonial genocide. It was a tool that was used by these powers to exert their control and eliminate any form of opposition. Ter-Matevosyan observes that what makes the holocaust unique when compared with the genocide committed by Britain and the United States is the nature of the attack (108). In most cases, concentration camps were used to control and sometimes punish enemy forces. In Germany, the government used the camps against its people. The hatred that the majority had towards the minority groups being the only basis upon which mass murdered were planned and executed. The magnitude of the murder of a specific race also makes it unique (McQuiggan 67). It is estimated that about 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime during the Second World War. Racial intolerance and unchecked power facilitated these events.
Relationship to Other Sources
The source is closely related to the findings of Burden (1). The two sources argue that colonialism made it possible for the German government to commit mass murder of Jews without remorse. The use of brute force had been legitimized by the world powers at that time when trying to expand their territories. It was easy to use the same force against a section of the society in Germany.
Possible Use of the Source
The source will be beneficial to the argumentative essay. It will help in explaining why the German society was not alarmed by the Genocide. The document will also explain that other powers such as the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union had also embraced similar practices. The magnitude of the holocaust and the approach used by the Nazi government made it unique.
Burden, Thomas. “Rivers of Blood and Money: The Herero Genocide in German Southwest Africa.” The Student Researcher, vol. 2, no. 2, 2017, pp. 2-25.
Dyck, Kirsten. “Situating the Herero Genocide and the Holocaust among European Colonial Genocides.” Przeglad Zachodni. 2014, Web.
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McQuiggan, Sean. Nazi Anti-Semitism Remembered: Jewish Memorials in the SBZ and GDR between the Years 1945–1987. Dissertation, Charles University in Prague, 2016. CUP, 2018.
Ter-Matevosyan, Vahram. “Book Review: Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler.” Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, 2017, pp. 106-108.