In the 1990s, as communism crumbled and the Cold War ended, many in the western world celebrated the pending end of history. The term, the end of history, was coined by the political scientist Francis Fukuyama. Now that the cold war was over, the world would enter a new age of prosperity and spread liberal democracy. The genocides in Rwanda and the Balkans were the first hints that such hope was misplaced.
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This podcast episode, Genocides at the End of History, continues the story of genocide as part of our podcast series Never Again…Again. This podcast episode explores the genocide in the Balkans and the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s.
These horrific episodes of history were significant for many reasons. They highlighted the ineptness of the international community and international organizations to stop genocide. Although every generation since World War II swore they would never let a horror like what happened in the holocaust occur again, the genocide in the Balkans represented the worst inter-European violence since that time. The violence came complete with concentration camps and ethnic cleansing. In Rwanda, the world went out of its way to turn a blind eye to what was occurring and did all it could to keep from becoming involved, thus allowing the death toll to climb higher and higher.
Each of these genocides did not start in the 1990s. Another popular concept, the ghosts of genocide, suggested that the violence and genocides of previous genocides in Rwanda and the Balkans led to the outburst of bloodshed in the 1990s. Prior genocides and periods of ethnic cleansing are the historical backgrounds of what occurred in the 1990s. We go into those stories in this podcast episode!