Gerlach 2010 Violence

Title Information

Author: Christian Gerlach

Title: Extremely Violent Societies

Subtitle: Mass Violence in the Twentieth-Century World

Place: Cambridge

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Year: 2010

Pages: 502pp.

ISBN-13: 9780521880589 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780521706810 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | Types: Genocidal Rape, Wartime Rape

Full Text

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Additional Information

Author: Christian Gerlach, Historisches Institut (Institute of History), Universität Bern (University of Bern) – Wikipedia


  Acknowledgments (p. vi)
  List of abbreviations (p. x)
  1 Introduction: Extremely violent societies (p. 1)
  Part I Participatory violence
  2 A coalition for violence: Mass slaughter in Indonesia, 1965–66 (p. 17)
  3 Participating and profiteering: The destruction of the Armenians, 1915–23 (p. 92)
  Part II The crisis of society
  4 From rivalries between elites to a crisis of society: Mass violence and famine in Bangladesh (East Pakistan), 1971–77 (p. 123)
  5 Sustainable violence: Strategic resettlement, militias and 'development' in anti-guerrilla warfare (p. 177)
  6. What connects the fate of different victim groups? The German occupation and Greek society in crisis (p. 235)
  Part III General observations
  7 The ethnization of history: The historiography of mass violence and national identity construction (p. 255)
  8. Conclusions (p. 266)
  Notes (p. 290)
  Index (p. 483)

Description: »Violence is a fact of human life. This book trace the social roots of the extraordinary processes of human destruction involved in mass violence throughout the twentieth century. Christian Gerlach shows that terms such as ‘genocide' and ‘ethnic cleansing' are too narrow to explain the diverse motives and interests that cause violence to spread in varying forms and intensities from killings and expulsions to enforced hunger, collective rape, strategic bombing, forced labour and imprisonment. He explores what happened before, during, and after periods of wide-spread bloodshed in Armenia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Greece and anti-guerilla wars in order to highlight the crucial role of socio-economic pressures in the generation of group conflicts. By focussing on why so many different people participated in or supported mass violence, and why different groups were victimized, the author offers us a new way of understanding one of the most disturbing phenomena of our times.« (Source: Cambridge University Press)


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Translation: Gerlach, Christian. Extrem gewalttätige Gesellschaften. Massengewalt im 20. Jahrhundert. Munich 2011.

Added: December 20, 2014 – Last updated: December 20, 2014