A Problem From Hell Summary

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Throughout the 20th century the act of genocide was present throughout many countries, massacred massive amounts of lives, and with knowledge about was going on throughout these countries, no real group or government tried to stop these genocides from happening. The book "A Problem from Hell:" American and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Powers was able to expose and show how governments such as the United States were aware of many genocides that were occurring or occurred around the world but chose to disbelieve in what was happening and isolated themselves from many situations and avoided intervening. Power discusses the genocides that occurred in Turkey, Germany, Cambodia, Iraq, Bosnia, Rwanda, Srebrenica, and Kosovo. Power also discusses…show more content…
From the beginning of the book, Powers establishes that America was responsible for the age of genocide due to the inaction and disbelief of such acts. In the preface Powers made her point by saying "The United States had never in its history intervened to stop genocide and had in fact rarely even made a point of condemning it as it occurred.” to almost shock the reader by claiming that a democratic country which believes in liberty and freedom would allow disturbing massacres to go on. In the preface Powers tells the reader that she herself is a journalist who was present in Bosnia and witnessed the Serbs' takeover Sarajevo. She also had to witness a 9 year old girl murdered by a bomb. That itself was a horrific image, but after seeing the things she saw in Bosnia she was started to examine other genocides that occurred in the 20th century and saw a similar correlation of US gov’t inaction throughout the genocides and brought it to people’s attention that something had to be done. She linked the beginning of the genocides all the way back to the Turkish horrors in 1915, where the Turkish government killed almost 1 million…show more content…
Lemkin and many other activists were able to provide physical information about Adolf Hitler and his plans to exterminate the Jewish race. Even with the physical information governments felt as if what was going on in the world was unbelievable. It wasn’t until Lemkin published physical works authored by Hitler that government and the public began to believe him. It wouldn’t be until after WWII that Lemkin was able to help establish “genocide” which was an extremely new word to the world, as illegal. Powers said “Lemkin thought December 9, 1948, would never arrive... Finally, the vote arrived. Fifty-five delegates voted yes to the pact. None voted no. Just four years after Lemkin had introduced "genocide" to the world, the General Assembly had unanimously passed a law banning genocide.” to emphasize how widely genocide was neglected. Although genocide was banned and made illegal, it didn’t mean that the powerful allies would try to intervene if there was ever another genocide. Right after the Genocide Convention, another genocide was taking place in Cambodia led by the rebel group, the Khmer Rouge. Since the US had recently lost a war with Vietnam, the US’s inner politics led to the non-involvement in Cambodia and the US argued that “the information was incomplete.” The US had an overall negative attitude towards getting involved in another

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