Helping humanity in the real world : America and the urge to rescue, 1895-1945 / by Keith Pomakoy.
America's reaction to genocide has received significant criticism. The actions of the United States from 1895 to 1945 offer an interesting opportunity to examine America's reaction to genocide, and the duty, if any, America thought it had to humanity around the world. In this fifty-year period America witnessed genocide, or similar humanitarian crises, on several occasions. America's reaction to these crises was mixed, and genocide rescue generally remained a lesser priority among many—yet rescue received more attention than is generally recognized. In 1898 America used its military to end suffering in Cuba. Further, America generally tended to organize government sponsored, or government associated, philanthropic rescue campaigns designed to help those under assault. Humanitarian aid saved lives and expressed America's moral outrage. By offering a comparative view, this work illustrates the development of America's rescue efforts through several crises, and offers insight into the formation of similar campaigns during World War II.This study attempts to trace American actions in the “real,” as opposed to ideal, world, and explores the interaction between America's humanitarian motivations and more mundane policy concerns of realpolitik , imperialism, security, and trade. Four case studies serve to illustrate America's reaction to genocide: the Cuban Exterminations, 1895–1898; the Armenian Tragedy, 1915–1923; Stalin's Terror-Famine, 1932–1933, and the global race crimes inherent in World War II. While the received history of American rescue policy often speaks of neglect or abandonment, during three of these episodes America launched government supported (or led) humanitarian efforts designed to save those who could be reached. In each case the results of the American effort depended more on the power of the perpetrator state than on American will or interest. An examination of power, especially the ability to project military power, is featured prominently.
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