From our Foundations of the Laws of War Series, the book that introduced and defined the concept of genocide. Introduction to the Second Edition by William A. Schabas. Introduction to the First Edition by Samantha Power. Originally published: Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Division of International Law, 1944. xxiii (vii-xxiii new introductions), xxxviii, 674 pp. In this path-breaking study Polish emigre Raphael Lemkin [1900-1959] coined the term "genocide" and defined it as a subject of international law. While the term has come to mean the extermination of a people, Lemkin used it to describe all programs that sought to increase the "Aryan" birthrate while working to exterminate the social, cultural and economic independence of non-Germanic peoples. This study was an elaboration of ideas he first proposed in 1933 in his address to the Fifth International Conference for the Unification of Penal Law (1933), which argued that attacks on racial, religious and ethnic groups should be considered international crimes. Important for the prosecution of the Nazis, this pioneering work helped to establish the framework for all subsequent efforts to punish crimes against humanity.
"In 1933 a government arose in Germany whose policy was directed not towards the murder of individuals only but of a whole civilization. The decrees of this government together with those of Fascist Italy and those of the puppet regimes of the Axis Powers, in relation to the various countries which they occupied, have been collected with great care by Dr. Lemkin and are on record for all time. The work has been splendidly done. (...) This book is one which will be of enduring value to jurists, historians, students of politics, and practical men." --British Yearbook of International Law 22 (1945) 313-314.