Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

 “The more I try to come to terms with this hideous history, the more fortified my morals and resolution become. With each memory my resolve to combat hatred, racism, and injustice strengthens. Furthermore, I have a deeper grasp on the meaning of my responsibility as a future officer.”

— Cadet Regina Woronowicz ‘11 

(An Austrian Jewish survivor describes to General Dwight Eisenhower the use of the gallows in the camp.)

Eisenhower

Genocide, described by scholars as one of the defining historical developments of the 20th century, reveals a darker side of humanity—a side that requires better understanding. If we cannot grasp the circumstances that drive mass atrocity and if we do not make sense of genocide, how can we hope to prevent its recurrence? 

It is imperative for the young men and women preparing to become future military leaders to possess a nuanced understanding of the context in which mass atrocities occur, the role militaries have played, and the responsibility they—as our country’s future leaders—have in preventing future occurrences.  In 2012, genocide and mass atrocity detection and prevention became part of Joint Doctrine and an imperative for the Armed Forces.  As of 2015, mass atrocity prevention became an element of the President’s National Security Strategy.  As a result of these needs, the West Point Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies endeavors to be the nation’s premier center for educating current and future military leaders on how past genocides have occurred and what can be done to prevent them in the future. 

The Center delves into the causes, contexts, and consequences of genocide while instilling within our country’s future leadership a deep sense of history, ethics, and responsibility. It produces practical, actionable knowledge useful to cadets and midshipmen at all the service academies, to the Army, to the Department of Defense, and to the nation. In its full form, it will bolster Holocaust and genocide studies, as well as the Armed Forces’ abilities to detect and prevent genocide, for generations to come.