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Dr Sarah Taber @SarahTaber_bww
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YES. Historically speaking, in difficult times (say 2008-2013ish) people are focused on surviving. Purging your neighbors takes time & effort that truly impoverished folks don't have.
The Jim Crow south is a great case in point. The United States was undergoing massive economic expansion during most of those decades.

And it was a reign of terror.
"The Treaty of Versailles was too mean!" = key Nazi talking point.

Reality: Germany got the kid-glove treatment. You know the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires? No. Because the ToV wiped them off the map.

It left Germany intact.
"Economic anxiety" is not the reason people purge their neighbors.

When people are economically anxious for real, they're busy surviving. Ain't got time for genocide.

"Economic anxiety" is an excuse that comfortable people need to believe, in order to do uncomfortable things.
Now we just sit here & wait for a wannabe keyboard nazi to point out "but lots of people in the Jim Crow south were super poor!" like we don't already know that.

Then we can talk about the important role of *wealth inequality* in pushing genocidal campaigns!
If this is the first time you've heard that the Treaty of Versailles treated Germany pretty gently, here's a reading list.

"The Myth of Reparations," 1978 jstor.org/stable/4545835…
A casual reminder that unlike Germany, Austria-Hungary & Ottoman Empire's WWI armistices dissolved them both as sovereign states. They are lost to history.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of…

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of…
When Germany defeated Russia in WWI, Germany's terms demanded nearly half of Russia's European territory; most of her agricultural land; 80% of her coal; half of revenues from all Russia's other industries; and six BILLION marks in reparations.

historytoday.com/richard-cavend…
Germany demanded this of Russia and had the brass to complain about the Treaty of Versailles.
Not only that, but in the Treaty of Versailles "Germany paid less in real terms than France did after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 to ’71 (and France paid off those obligations in just a few years)."

nytimes.com/2010/12/26/opi…
During WWI, "German forces deliberately carried out a scorched-earth policy; they flooded mines, blew up bridges and stripped bare factories as they retreated."

They deliberately destroyed the economies of the countries they invaded. That's why they had to pay reparations.
If Weimar Germans didn't like paying reparations so bad, they could have thought twice before starting a second war. But they didn't. Kinda makes you think none of this was about reparations & poverty, & it was mostly about being feeling entitled to other people's land.
Historians have found that Weimar Germany not only backed out of actually paying reparations to neighbors they demolished-

They actually *received* staggering flows of cash from the US during the '20s & early '30s. This was done specifically to prop up the German economy.
The pat narrative is that the ToV was "mean" bc Germany had to pay out money (to repair what it did), and the Marshall Plan was "nice" bc the West gave Germany money.
The reality? US support after WWI to Germany was FOUR TIMES what West Germany received in the Marshall Plan.

jstor.org/stable/3115713…
The problem is interwar Germany was bad w its finances & blew its budget on the national equivalent of candy & magazines.

IOW: if you've ever made fun of Greece, Argentina, or other "dumb countries" for their defaults, now you've got a 3rd punching bag. Weimar Germany.
Key historians of early 20th century Europe like Steven Schuker, Werner Link, and William C. McNeil have shown that interwar Germany was perfectly able to handle reparations. It just didn't feel like it.
Say it with me: "economic anxiety" is a canard.

It's something that comfortable people say, so they can do uncomfortable things.
Tl;dr everyone thinks 1990s Rwanda is the norm for how ethnic cleansing happens, but historically speaking, it's more of an outlier.
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