A Rhetorical Crime: Genocide in the Geopolitical Discourse of the Cold War

A Rhetorical Crime: Genocide in the Geopolitical Discourse of the Cold War


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The Genocide Convention was drafted by the United Nations in the late 1940s, as a response to the horrors of the Second World War. But was the Genocide Convention truly effective at achieving its humanitarian aims, or did it merely exacerbate the divisive rhetoric of Cold War geopolitics?

A Rhetorical Crime shows how genocide morphed from a legal concept into a political discourse used in propaganda battles between the United States and the Soviet Union. Over the course of the Cold War era, nearly eighty countries were accused of genocide, and yet there were few real-time interventions to stop the atrocities committed by genocidal regimes like the Cambodian Khmer Rouge. 

Renowned genocide scholar Anton Weiss-Wendt employs a unique comparative approach, analyzing the statements of Soviet and American politicians, historians, and legal scholars in order to deduce why their moral posturing far exceeded their humanitarian action.  

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813594651
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 05/10/2018
Series: Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

ANTON WEISS-WENDT is a research professor at the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Oslo, Norway. He is the author of many books, including The Soviet Union and the Genocide Convention, 1945-1954.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Douglas Irvin-Erickson
List of Abbreviations
1    Soviet Scholars of International Law as Foot Soldiers in the Cold War
2    Trial by Word: The Gulag Condemned
3    Soviet Satellites Shift Allegiances: Hungary, Yugoslavia
4    The Struggle for Influence in Postcolonial Africa and the Middle East: Algeria, Congo, Nigeria, Iraq
5    Southeast Asia and the Rise of Communist China: Tibet, Bangladesh, Cambodia
6    (Soviet) Piggy in the Middle: American Liberal Left versus Radical Right on US Ratification of the Genocide Convention
7    Moscow Taps the New Left: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement, Black Panthers, and the American Indian Movement
8    Soviet-Turkish Relations and Socialist Armenia
9    The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
10    An Uncertain End to the Cold War and the Reactivation of the Genocide Treaty
Afterword: Genocide Rhetoric and a New Cold War
Appendix A: Articles in Pravda with Reference to Genocide, 1948‒1988
Appendix B: Articles in the New York Times with Reference to Genocide, 1948–1988

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