Genocide has been part of human history since human history was a thing; Columbus and Hitler being the most famous examples. But in a modern society with cameras everywhere and a league of nations being in existence, how could a modern day government get away with genocide?

When I say get away with I mean that the government who commits the genocide is free of any consequences for the murders.


closed as unclear what you're asking by James, TrEs-2b, Hohmannfan, Green, Aify May 25 '16 at 21:30

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site. For us to answer your question I think it would help if you defined what you mean by "get away with genocide" Do you mean that no one finds out, do you mean that no one intervenes, do you mean that those responsible are not punished? Clarify that and we can help you out. $\endgroup$ – James May 25 '16 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ Check your sources. Columbus didn't commit any genocide. Conquistadors like Cortes probably did, but Columbus himself barely did anything, in his time the colonies were just small settlements on the shore, not extending into the mainland. And Columbus didn't "get away" as he was imprisoned when he returned home because of his cruelty and incompetence during the few years he was a governor. $\endgroup$ – vsz May 25 '16 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ 1. Convince your people that the others are evil and the source of all the bad things in socity $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure May 25 '16 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ Look at genocide in the third reich or any other already-happened occurences of genocide. Genocide is way more common than what you might think, plenty of now-existing countries try to kill now-existing groups $\endgroup$ – BlueWizard May 31 '16 at 10:46

By not antagonising their neighbours.

It's very rare that anyone will intervene in an event that occurs only within the borders of the country. See the Rwandan Genocide for an example of this. The world knew it was happening and did nothing. It was an internal problem after all.

How many people you kill is not the defining factor, the world will take no action until you cross an international border.

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    $\begingroup$ "Stalin, killed many millions, died in his bed, well done there. Pol Pot, killed 1.7 million Cambodians, died under house arrest age 72, well done indeed. And the reason we let them get away with it is they killed their own people, and we're sort of fine with that. .... Hitler killed people next door. Aww. Stupid man. After a few years we won't stand for that!" - Eddie Izzard $\endgroup$ – John Robinson May 25 '16 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ "The death of one is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic" $\endgroup$ – Brubek Coltrane May 26 '16 at 2:47

I think you may be overestimating how effective the international community is at stopping genocide. The allies were shocked when they liberated the death camps because they simply weren't aware of it. And even if you have the modern era, plenty of remote places either don't have good contact with the developed world, or simply are too poor and difficult for the UN Security Council to bother with. UN intervention against genocide is the exception rather than the rule. That said, if it's known, there will probably be sanctions of some sort. But that's not to say they will hurt the perpetrators.

Guatemala, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda, Sbrenica, Sudan, Iraq again. Not to mention other historical genocides which are less known, for instance the Holodomor by Russians against Ukranians, the genocide against Armenians, and a separate one against Greeks, by Turks. It's all very depressing, frankly. Because it happens and the vast majority of people do get away with it.

The sad reality is simply that it takes a lot for the world's major powers to give a shit. China's foreign policy is aggressively non-interventionist, and the USA and Russia just aren't bothered. The NATO intervention in the Balkans was pretty unusual, probably because it was too close to home. But if it happens in Africa or Asia? Or if the nation doing it is too big of a deal to take down (has atomic weapons for instance), it can do as it likes to its own people.

And if the genocide, or anything like it, would be helpful to get rid of people who are generally on the other side of your sphere of influence? Fabulous. Operation Condor for instance was a cold war operation by Latin Americas right-wing dictatorships to get rid of leftist elements in their populations. Tens of thousands of people went "missing". Henry Kissinger, America's then Secretary of State, told Chile's government that the human rights conference they were hosting in the region "didn't apply" to them, and that they didn't need to worry about whatever operations they did overseas. A few days after saying that a car bomb killed a prominent Chilean human rights lawyer in Washington D.C. but they were allies against communism, so who cares, right? Even if the world's TV cameras and smartphones are aimed right at the bloody events, that's no guarantee anything will be done. And even if something is done, that's not to say it will be of much use (Syria?)


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    $\begingroup$ Just a little note. Allied leadership knew about the Holocaust certainly as early as 1942. There were Red Cross missions to airdrop food and medical supplies into the concentration camps. There were even proposals to airdrop weapons and ammunition into the camps to try to enable the prisoners to break out, but they never went anywhere. $\endgroup$ – Ryan_L Nov 12 '18 at 20:23

Quite simply.. By changing the masses perspectives of what it is to be "human" and then dehumanizing the Target group. Convincing the majority that the lesser is a "threat" to their existence. Having enough influence to exert their will is also a requirement. So a few countries on earth can do this in present day if they wanted to..

  1. Convince your people that the others are evil and the source of all the bad things in society.

  2. convince your people that those others want to destroy you so you must destroy them first.

  3. Convince your people that the others deserve it because of some sort of past crime they committed.

  4. Convince your people that the others are not human or subhuman.

  5. Pay them lots of money and let them take the others property and land once their dead, blinded by greed they can come up with there own justification.


The victim group would have to be made a public enemy of the world. Such that most allied nations would be in agreement that complete removal may not the prettiest option, but the best nonetheless.

For example, I don't think many would object if a nation that consisted of solely ISIS members were bombarded by the US with dozens of nukes.

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    $\begingroup$ Bombarding anyone with nukes would lead to public outcry. No nation or geographic area is covered with people all espousing the same ideology, and even if they did, they are not all combatants. $\endgroup$ – James May 25 '16 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ It was more an exaggerated than realistic example. $\endgroup$ – Henry A. May 25 '16 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ A nation without any civilians sounds a bit hypothetical. $\endgroup$ – djechlin May 25 '16 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site Henry, I am glad you clarified and I get the point you are trying to make. That said this answer would be better suited as a comment. Once you have been around the site for a while and gained a little rep you will be able to comment on any post. In the meantime I would recommend checking out the help center. It will give guidance on posting good questions and answers. If you have any questions feel free to ask in Worldbuilding Chat $\endgroup$ – James May 25 '16 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ I think you'd be surprised that, depending on how and how much the victim affects the international ecosystem, a complete genocide may fit in the favor of loss in a cost-loss ratio. $\endgroup$ – Henry A. May 25 '16 at 20:56

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