Schindler’s Fate: Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, and Population Transfers

Academic Robert M. Hayden writes in 1996:

In 1934, as the guarantees of the minority treaties of the Versailles settlement proved utterly illusory and as Hitler consolidated power in Germany, C. A. Macartney, the secretary to the Minorities Committee of the League of Nations published a detailed analysis of the minority problem in Europe and came to the conclusion that “the real root of the problem lies in the philosophy of the national state as it is practiced today in central and eastern Europe. . . . It is true that the [minorities] Treaties provide in general terms for the equality of all nationals of the contracting state before the law, and as regards enjoyment of civil and political rights, and for the same treatment and security in law and fact. . . . [However], since the whole conception of the national state implies a violation of the principle of equality to the detriment of the minorities, the guarantee of equality might be construed as involving the renunciation by the state of its national character. . . . A national state and national minorities are incompatibles.'”

The “philosophy of the national state” referred to by Macartney was that the state, a territory with a government, is an expression of the sovereignty of a “nation,” a group that is in American terms defined ethnically (even religion being considered more a matter of heritage than necessarily of faith). He also noted that the new states after Versailles defined themselves constitutionally in national terms, each as the state of the single nation that forms the majority of its population. Macartney noted that when a minority exists in such a state, only three solutions are possible: the revision of frontiers to match the distribution of populations, the elimination of the minorities by emigration “perhaps through exchange of populations,” or the altering of the basis of the state, so that it is no longer a national state. He also noted that a fourth possibility could be seen in “physical slaughter,” but that “although this most effective of remedies is still in vogue in certain countries it shall not be discussed in this…analysis…

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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