Humanitarian Intervention and the Problem of Genocide and Atrocity

Authored by: Jennifer Kling

The Routledge Handbook of Pacifism and Nonviolence

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138194663
eBook ISBN: 9781315638751
Adobe ISBN:


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When Hitler rose to power, and it became evident that he was going to mobilize the power of the German state against German (and non-German) Jews, a number of concerned rabbis and political activists wrote to Gandhi asking for advice. Should the Jewish citizens of Germany fight back? Gandhi wrote that the Jews should engage in nonviolent action, and that surely such civil resistance would “convert the latter [the German gentiles (to use Gandhi’s phrase)] to an appreciation of human dignity” (Gandhi 1938: n.p.). Needless to say, the nonviolent civil resistance of the Jews—of which there was a good amount—was unsuccessful (Bauer 1989). Over six million Jewish people died before the concentration camps were liberated at the end of World War II (Snyder 2010: 389).

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