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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Opinion on King Leopold’s Ghosts

The atrocities at which King Leopold II was responsible to was discreet. Although the manner of killings and the reasons behind those slaughters among Stalin, Hitler and King Leopold have much similarities, the way King Leopold handled the whole event was in a cautious manner that without a thorough examination, the atrocities could not be blamed at his fault. However, to be an inspiration to Hitler and to Stalin for the similar happenings of mass-slaughtering of human lives is not a far idea.

With regards to reasons behind the mass-killings, the three are all having similarities: political, physiological, social, political, economic and cultural, among others. In the case of Nazi, it was obviously cultural and political against the Jews while in Gulag, it was strongly political among others. The atrocities are in great amounts trying to erase the those who are outcasts such as the blacks in Congo, the Jews by the Nazis and for Stalin, for economic leadership and so that "maintaining political unity remained in force" (Laue, 1999, p. 383).

Simply stated the mass slaughter in Congo, Nazi camps and in Gulag camp were strongly geared towards more ambitious grasp of power among the leaders: King Leopold, Hitler and Stalin, respectively.. Slaughtered individuals were the ones who are unacceptable on the side/part of the state or leader that ordered the formers’ death. Economicwise, King Leopold’s company benefited through his private ownership and exploitation of Congo where the populations were to have “died in the forced labor system used to tap wild rubber for King Leopold II's companies” (Brittain, 1999, p. 133). However, any means that were employed in achieving the killings of a great number of lives, it all end up to the aim of the leaders’ greater dream for power.

Brittain, V. (1999). Colonialism and the Predatory State in the Congo. New Left Review, a(236), 133-144.

Laue, T. V. (1999). A Perspective on History: The Soviet System Reconsidered. The Historian, 61(2), 383..

Answer this question in an essay - The death toll in King Leopolds congo was on a scale comparable to the Holocaust and Stanlins purges. Can Leopold II be viewed as a precursor to the masterminds behind the Nazi death camps and the Gulag? Did these 3 * other 20th century mass killings arise from similar physhological, social, political, econominc, & cultural sources.

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