Genocide and Global and/or World History: Reflections

Soon after Raphael Lemkin coined the term “genocide” in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe in 1944, he began working on a world history of genocide to popularize his neologism. Correspondence with funding organizations and publishers shows that he was soliciting interest in a book on the subject as early as 1947 and that he had produced substantial draft chapters by the following year. Before his death in 1959, he had almost completed the book on genocide in world history but, in marked contrast to the present, publishers were uninterested in the project, which was neither completed nor published. Both Lemkin and his approach were forgotten until the 1980s, when a small group of social scientists founded a marginal field called comparative genocide studies.