Type of Work

Research Paper - Limited Access

Publication Date



After the Holocaust, the world vowed “never again,” yet there have been several genocides since then. Why? This paper studies the importance of deception in conducting genocide. Specifically, it focuses on perpetrators’ attempts to deceive the international community in three genocides: the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide, and the genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar. It finds that deception plays a key role before, during, and after the genocide, and often fits one of three archetypes: creating false evidence, such as staging attacks or falsifying documents; propaganda, such as inspiring and promoting hate speech against a certain group; and destroying evidence, such as bodies, documents, or villages. The paper also examines the social forces that cause people to be complicit in genocide, and how the mind deceives and self-deceives. Next, the paper surveys the work that several key actors are doing to combat genocide. These are the United Nations, the United States Department of State, the United States Congress, and non-governmental organizations. The paper then offers direction for further research and concludes with comments about the importance of combating deception not only in contemporary genocides, but also in seemingly peaceful countries.

Hamilton Areas of Study

History, Religious Studies

Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Heidi Ravven