Genocide is the attempted destruction of an entire "people," most often a nation or ethnicity. These attempts can range from merely destroying all of the things that make a nation (forced language policies, destruction of history), to forced sterilization of the group (to prevent further generations from being born), to attempts at whole-scale extermination (as was done in the Holocaust.) The word was coined in 1943 by Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish Polish-British scholar, to describe Ottoman eliminationist policies towards Armenians, which was soon thereafter applied to the Nazi policies of extermination.
Whether action constitutes genocide depends on the breadth of the definition. Some forms of mass murder, as with undeniably preventable famines such as the Great Bengal Famine of 1943 or the Great Chinese Famine (1958-62) might not be deemed genocide but take as many lives as the events recognized as genocide.
It should be noted that, without coercion of some sort, there is no genocide. Therefore, completely peaceful assimilation of one group into another cannot be considered genocide, nor can inter-marriage between groups. In the wake of the Rwandan genocide, however, large-scale rape, when carried out to destroy or break up a group as described below, is beginning to become seen as an act of genocide also. This would considerably (and, arguably, justifiably) expand the definition and range of the crime of genocide - in Burma's Karen provinces, for example, Burmese soldiers are ordered to rape Karen women; since Karen culture is patrilineal, this then leads to a drastic reduction in Karen births, to say nothing of the spread of STDs, and intense psychological and physical trauma to the victims.
 Official definition
The internationally recognised, legal definition of genocide may be found in Article II of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Article III of the Convention delineates the following acts as punishable:
(a) Genocide; (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; (d) Attempt to commit genocide; (e) Complicity in genocide.
The issue of what constitutes a 'part' of an ethnic group, however, is a contested legal problem - would it be an act of genocide if I killed a single member of group 'X', if she was the only X on my street and I wanted to make my street a 'Y'-only neighbourhood? Cases of this sort would technically fall under the remit of the above law, but are not usually treated as genocide. Hundreds of thousands of deaths are not necessary to reach a verdict of genocide, either, with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Court of Justice agreeing that it had taken place in the Srebrenica massacre, in which 'only' 8,000 were killed. Furthermore, the massacre of 900 Ache Indians between 1968 and 1972 in Paraguay under the authoritarian regime of Alfredo Stroessner is considered a case of genocide. 
 Eight Stages of Genocide
Gregory Stanton published a paper entitled The Eight Staged of Genocide and presented it to the US Dept. of State, the UN, and various other political bodies around the world. He outlined ways we identify true "genocide". While it is important for addressing questions like "Was the conquering of Native Americans, Native Canadians and Native South Americans a 'genocide' or was it simply the result of dominance in military actions", the Eight Stages of Genocide actually have a far more practical and important point. Identifying future genocides and preventing them before they happen
- Classification - People separate themselves into "us/them" groups. This may initially be done on even terms and accepted by both parties, as with the African Tribal associations in Rwanda.
- Symbolization - One or both groups may begin to use hate speech, develop symbols (usually derogatory) to represent the "other", and isolate one group from the other.
- Dehumanization - pushing from simply defining another group as "not us" to being "insects", "plagues", "animals".
- Organization - Stanton suggests that a true genocide is always organized as such, with people in power invoking violence on others, pushing the rhetoric with words like "destroy" or "remove" the "other", or and "cleanse" and purify the "us". In many modern cases from Rwanda to China, military units were trained specifically to systematically destroy a culture and therefore the people.
- Polarization - The hate speech steps up; rhetoric becomes common and normal, and it is usually associated with the violence of terms like "cleanse".
- Preparation - (perhaps better understood as separation or isolation) The group in power begins to ward off, isolate, or even capture the "Other". At this point, victim groups are fully aware that it is not simply about rights or freedom, but their very life as a community or people.
- Extermination - (It should be noted that Stanton uses this term deliberately, because in his research the criminal party sees the victim population as bugs, viruses, etc., to be exterminated. They are not humans to be killed or murdered)
- Denial - The final stage is denial, where the perpetrators, the murderers justify what they did, and deny any wrong doing, cause it was "necessary", or the victims were simply unworthy of living.
 Examples of genocide
- The Holocaust.
- The Rwandan genocide.
- The Armenian Genocide.
- The American Indian Holocaust
- The Cambodian genocide.
- Germany's destruction of the Herero and Namaqua people in Colonial Namibia.
- The de-Cossackization and Holodomor in the Soviet Union.
- The Croatian Ustaše's killings of Serbs, Jews, and Roma during World War II.
- The "ethnic cleansing" practiced in post-Cold War Yugoslavia, notably the Srebrenica massacre.
- The systematic mass murder of civilians by the Pakistani Army in 1971 in East Pakistan.
- Indonesian atrocities in East Timor during the Suharto regime.
- Efforts by prior generations of Japanese to erase the Ainu.
- The Guatemalan government's targeting and killing of Mayan peasants during the Guatemalan Civil War (1960-1996).
- Tasmanian Aborigines.
 Disputed examples
French right-wing historians Reynald Secher and Pierre Chaunu have argued that the War in the Vendée, which occured when Catholic royalists revolted against the Republican government during the French Revolution qualifies as the first "modern" genocide. While it is universally excepted that atrocities were committed during the counter-revolution, this view that this conflict was truly a targeted extermination been widely rejected by mainstream historians in both the United States and France. The Vendéen revolt fails to satisfy the UN or Stanton's definitions of genocide, and estimates for the number killed invariably include combatants and civilians on both sides of the conflict. Western sources that support the "Vendéen genocide" theory universally cite Secher's work as their sole justification. Proponents of classifying the War in the Vendée as genocide in France are almost exclusively Breton separatists, far-right wackjobs, or royalists seeking a return to the monarchy.
In the Anglosphere, white supremacists like to claim that affirmative action, interracial relationships, and pretty much everything else are attempts to create genocide of the so-called "white race". Members of Black supremacy movements as well as certain individuals in the anti-choice crowd occasionally make the claim that abortion is a method of back-door genocide against minorities.
 Religion and genocide
Genocide can often be couched in religious terms. The centuries of pogroms preceding the Holocaust, for example, were religiously motivated by the idea that the Jews were collectively guilty of killing Jesus. Many also attempted to justify the U.S.'s American Indian policy in the 19th and 20th centuries by citing the tribes' refusal to convert to Christianity. This belief is still held by some professed Christians, e.g., Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association.
Certain parts of the Old Testament of the Bible are often cited as a model for this sort of genocide. The best-known example is in the Book of Joshua, where the Israelites, finally coming into possession of their "land of milk and honey," at God's command conquer thirty-one kingdoms, killing all the kings, men, women and children.
Another example, used by the Puritans of New England to justify battles against American Indians, is found in 1 Samuel 15: God tells King Saul to annihilate an enemy population, the Amalekites, but Saul does not carry out this command perfectly — he spares their king and a few of their tastier morsels of livestock. God proceeds to get very angry at him for this insubordination. The story of the Amalekites is featured in Bible study courses put on by the Good News Clubs, as an illustrative example to American schoolchildren of the necessity of obeying God in all particulars.  
 See also
- Race war, for conspiracy theories about hypothetical genocide.
- ↑ Such as when the Manchu rulers of China assimilated into Chinese culture
- ↑ despite what some people say
- ↑ See the Rome Statute Explanatory Memorandum
- ↑ Horton, Dying Alive
- ↑ Martin Smith, Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity
- ↑ Summary of the ICTY judgement on the case.
- ↑ Summary of the ICJ conclusions on the case.
- ↑ Richard Arens, Genocide in Paraguay (1976)
- ↑ Genocide Watch, Stanton's Website
- ↑ The use of the term is heavily debated; though no modern historian questions that mass killings took place, there is a major debate surrounding the intent of Europeans in North and South America over the course of 500 or so years.
- ↑ His book The French Genocide: the Vendée explicitly draws comparisons between French Catholics and Jews in Nazi Germany, despite the fact that both sides of the conflict were predominantly Catholic
- ↑ http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/fischer-native-americans-are-mired-poverty-and-alcoholism-because-they-refuse-accept-christi
- ↑ How Christian fundamentalists plan to teach genocide to schoolchildren
- ↑ Kill them all, children