How should the United States respond to genocide?
Seventh edition. June 2016.

The history of genocide elicits horror and revulsion throughout the world. Yet both the international community and the United States have struggled to respond to this recurring problem. What are the root causes of genocide? Why has the world failed to keep the promise of “never again”? How do individuals and communities respond to and recover from genocide? What role should the United States play?

Confronting Genocide: Never Again? traces the evolution of the international community’s response to genocide and examines how the United States has responded to six cases of genocide. The evaluation of multiple perspectives, informed debate, and problem-solving strategies that are encouraged in this curriculum enable students to develop their own recommendations for U.S. policy.


The readings trace the development of the United Nations and the Genocide Convention and then examine six case studies: the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, the Bosnian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, and the genocide in Sudan.

Preview this unit. Preview includes the Table of Contents for the Student Text and the Teacher Resource Book as well as a student reading excerpt and one lesson plan.


The Genocide Convention: Five Case Studies

Students analyze the Genocide Convention and consider the challenges of defining "genocide." Students then apply the standards of the Genocide Convention to five historical cases: The Trail of Tears, Colonial Congo, the Ukrainian Famine, Tibet, and the Conquest of the Desert in Argentina.

Genocide Reported in the Media

By assessing New York Times coverage of Armenian and Darfur Genocides, students develop media literacy skills and think critically about the effect of the media on public opinion and policy decisions.

Survivors' Voices: Experiences of Genocide

Students watch video testimonies of genocide survivors and consider the benefits and limitations of using personal stories to learn about history.

The Options Role Play

Working cooperatively to develop and present four options for U.S. policy to a Senate committee, students are able to clarify and evaluate alternative policies.

Joining the Debate on U.S. Policy

Armed with historical knowledge and a sense of their own values, students articulate recommendations for U.S. policy and apply them to three hypothetical crises.

Building a Memorial

This hands-on and uplifting lesson challenges students to use diverse forms of expression to memorialize a genocide. Students explore the purpose of memorials and consider the idea of historical memory.


Supplemental Resources

Additional reference material for added context and support.


Bartov, Omer. Germany's War and the Holocaust: Disputed Histories. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003.

Bloxham, Donald and A. Dirk Moses. The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Esparza, Marcia, Henry R. Huttenbach, and Daniel Feierstein. State Violence and Genocide in Latin America: the Cold War Years. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Hagan, John and Wenona Rymond-Richmond. Darfur and the Crime of Genocide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Power, Samantha. “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide, fourth edition. New York: Basic Books, 2013.

Prunier, Gerard. The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide. New York: Columbia University, 1995.

Tatum, C. Dale. Genocide at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century: Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Darfur. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Image database from Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, maps of Cambodia, and Khmer Rouge Genocide Tribunal transcripts.
Digital collection of materials from the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda. The collections include photographs, maps, documents, and testimonies from survivors and perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
Interactive online museum featuring a virtual tour, photos, historical background, and testimonies about the massacre in Srebrenica.
Electronically published analytic briefs and advocacy writings on Sudan.
An Armenian Genocide documentary released in 2013 by Araz Artinian.
Documents, photos, virtual tours, educational resources, and other information on numerous genocides.
U.S. government documents about the Rwandan Genocide.
Background and resources on various genocides.
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