Climate change could cause second Holocaust, says Yale historian

Historians in the News
tags: Holocaust, climate change



In a bold New York Times Op-Ed published last weekend, Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder argues that climate change could lead to a resurgence of Hilter-esque geopolitical thinking.

“The Holocaust may seem a distant horror whose lessons have already been learned,” he writes. “But sadly, the anxieties of our own era could once again give rise to scapegoats and imagined enemies, while contemporary environmental stresses could encourage new variations on Hitler’s ideas, especially in countries anxious about feeding their growing populations or maintaining a rising standard of living.”

Snyder, author of the new book “Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning,” draws parallels in the op-ed between the World War II and more-contemporary battles for resources.

Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union to seize Ukraine’s fertile soil — as well as to kill the Jews living there — Synder writes. The Nazi dictator was motivated, he explains, by his obsession with securing Europe’s resources for the German people.

More recently, the Rwandan genocide in 1994 “followed a decline in agricultural production for several years before,” notes Synder. And in Sudan, he writes, drought helped start the Darfur genocide by forcing Arabs to migrate to land inhabited by non-Arab ethnic groups. ...




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