Genocide Timeline

A timeline showcasing the various genocides of the 20th century, along with influential external events.

1895-02-01 00:00:00

Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Genocides

These acts of genocide targeted Christian groups living under the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Up to 750,000 Greeks, 250,000 Assyrians, and 2,000,000 Armenians were forcibly relocated, raped, and/or massacred by the Young Turks. The Turkish Republic continues to deny that these genocides ever occured

1914-07-26 00:00:00

World War 1

World War 1 broke out with Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. It wasn't long before other nations got involved and Europe was divided into two sides: The Allies (Russia, Britain, France) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary)

1919-06-29 01:02:52

Treaty of Versailles

A peace treaty is signed between the defeated Germany and the Allied Powers. She was forced to pay heavy reparations, make territorial concessions, disarm, and accept a War Guilt clause. The anger and strain this put on Germany would eventually lead to the rise of Hitler and World War 2

1924-02-01 00:00:00

Rise of Stalin

Seven years into the Russian Revolution, communist leader Vladimir Lenin died, and Joseph Stalin, former general secretary, emerged as his successor. Stalin became known as a merciless ruler as he worked towards his goal of making the Soviet Union an industrial colossus and military power.

1929-10-01 00:00:00

Great Depression

The US stock market crash on October 29th, 1929 marked the start of the Great Depression, the worst economic downturn in history. Germany was greatly affected, as it could not keep up with reparation payments and the value of the Mark plummeted.

1932-02-01 00:00:00


In two short years, Joseph Stalin took the lives of 2.5-10 million Ukrainians through a man-made famine. Food was withheld from civilians until grain production quotas were met. The impossibility of meeting the high quotas ensured the starvation of millions.

1933-02-01 00:00:00

Rise of Adolf Hitler

In January of 1933 Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, promising to restore Germany's former glory. By ignoring the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler soon created the Nazi Regime and inspired anti-Semitic feelings throughout Germany.

1937-02-01 00:00:00

The Rape of Nanking

In December of 1937, an estimated 300,000 people living in China's capital, Nanjing, were massacred by the Japanese Imperial Army. Upwards of 20,000 females, young and old, were gang-raped and tortured by the Japanese.

1938-02-01 00:00:00


The Holocaust was the systematic, state-sponsered annihilation of an estimated 6 million Jewish people, 200,000 Roma, and 200,000 disabled. Led by Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Regime created a web of concentration camps, where victims were killed in gas chambers or worked to death.

1944-02-15 00:00:00

Term "Genocide" Created

Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer of Jewish descent, combined the Greek word "genos" (meaning family, race or tribe) with the latin suffix "-cide" (meaning to kill). The resulting word, genocide, would be used to define brutal crimes against humanity, such as the Holocaust.

1945-02-01 00:00:00

Cold War

After the end of World War 2, mutual distrust between the Soviet Union and the USA created an "iron curtain" that separated the Eastern block from the Western block. Subversive activities involving nuclear weapons, just short of open warfare, intensified the threat of mass destruction.

1945-04-01 00:00:00

Death of Hitler

On April 30th, 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide by a gunshot to his right temple, after being told the Soviets were one block away from the Führerbunker in Berlin.

1948-12-09 17:39:50

Genocide Convention

Thanks to Raphael Lemkin's work, the United Nations approved the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide", which established the definition of genocide and its status as an international crime.

1955-02-01 00:00:00

Vietnam War

The Vietnam war was the result of a struggle between nationalist forces in North Vietnam attempting to unify the country under a communist government, and America, with the support of Southern Vietnam, attempting to stop the spread of communism.

1958-02-01 00:00:00

Mao Zedong

Under the rule of communist leader Mao Zedong, at least 45 million civilians living in the People's Republic of China lost their lives to starvation and execution. His campaign for industrialization, the Great Leap Forward, caused the worst famine in history (in terms of the death toll).

1962-07-01 00:00:00

Rwanda Independence

After an organized political movement to overthrow the monarchy, known as "Hutu Peasant Revolution", Rwanda was granted independence from Belgium, with Gregoire Kayibanda, a Hutu, as president.

1975-02-01 00:00:00


Led by Pol Pot, the communist party Khmer Rouge overthrew the government and began to reconstruct Cambodia on the communist model of Mao's China. Civilians were forced to work as farm labourers, while the intellectuals and minority groups (Chinese, Vietnamese, Buddhist Monks, etc.) were targeted. An estimated 2,000,000 were executed, starved, tortured and/or worked to death.

1979-02-01 00:00:00

Iran-Iraq War

Iraqi forces invaded Iran to establish itself as a Gulf power, protecting its own oil fields and attempting to gain control of the southern Iranian oil fields. Iranian forces rallied, and America was soon involved, as the war threatened Western oil interests.

1986-02-01 00:00:00

Kurdish Genocide

The mass extermination of the Kurdish people of Northern Iraq, "Operation Al-Anfal", was ordered by Ali Hassan al-Majid, cousin of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. As a result of their want of independence and support for Iran in the Iran-Iraq war, 50,000 - 100,000 Kurdish civilians were exterminated through chemical warfare and aerial bombing.

1987-02-01 00:00:00


The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel guerrilla group led by Joseph Kony, began a campaign against the Ugandan government by terrorizing the Alcholi tribe. An estimated 300,000 innocent civilians were forcibly exiled, mutilated and killed, while children were forcibly recruited as child soldiers.

1989-11-01 00:00:00

Fall of the Berlin Wall

The head of the East German Communist Party announced that its citizens could freely cross the border into democratic West Berlin. This signified the end of the Cold War.

1994-02-01 00:00:00

Rwandan Genocide

The tension caused by Tutsi favouritism during the Belgian colonization of Rwanda reached a breaking point in April of 1994. The assassination of Hutu President Habyarimana resulted in a systematic massacre by Hutu extremists that took the lives of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in less than 100 days.

1994-02-01 00:00:00

O.J. Simpson

In a case described as the most publicized criminal trial in American history, former American football player O.J. Simpson was tried for two counts of murder after the death of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

1996-01-08 13:03:30

Bosnian Genocide

Under president Slobodan Milosevic, Bosnian Serbs targeted Bosnian Muslims during the war that erupted after Bosnia declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Over 20,000 women and children were deported to Muslim territory and 8,000 males were systematically exterminated in concentration camps and mass shootings.

2003-02-01 00:00:00


After two Darfuri rebel movements, the SLA and JEM, revolted against the Sudanese government, it joined forces with Janjaweed, Arab militias, to systematically displace and murder millions of innocent civilians. So far, 400,000 lives have been lost and 2,700,000 civilians have been displaced.

Genocide Timeline

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