Interned persons may be held in prisons
or in facilities known as internment camps,
also known as concentration camps
. The term concentration camp
originates from the Spanish–Cuban Ten Years' War
when Spanish forces detained Cuban civilians in camps in order to more easily combat guerrilla forces. Imperialist powers over the following decades continued to use concentration camps (the British during the Second Boer War
and the Americans during the Philippine–American War
The term "concentration camp" or "internment camp" is used to refer to a variety of systems that greatly differ in their severity, mortality rate, and architecture; their defining characteristic is that inmates are held outside the rule of law
or death camps, whose primary purpose is killing, are also imprecisely referred to as "concentration camps".
Defining internment and concentration camp
The American Heritage Dictionary
defines the term concentration camp
as: "A camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group which the government has identified as dangerous or undesirable."
Although the first example of civilian internment may date as far back as the 1830s,
the English term concentration camp
was first used in order to refer to the reconcentrados
(reconcentration camps) which were set up by the Spanish military
during the Ten Years' War
The label was applied yet again to camps set up by the United States during the Philippine–American War
And expanded usage of the concentration camp
label continued, when the British set up camps
during the Second Boer War
(1899–1902) in South Africa for interning Boers
during the same time period.
During the 20th century, the arbitrary internment of civilians by the state reached its most extreme forms in the Soviet Gulag system of concentration camps
and the Nazi concentration camps
(1933–1945). The Soviet system was the first applied by a government on its own citizens.
The Gulag consisted in over 30,000 camps for most of its existence (1918–1991) and detained some 18 million from 1929 until 1953,
which is only a third of its 73-year lifespan. The Nazi concentration camp system was extensive, with as many as 15,000 camps
and at least 715,000 simultaneous internees.
The total number of casualties in these camps is difficult to determine, but the deliberate policy of extermination through labor
in many of the camps was designed to ensure that the inmates would die of starvation, untreated disease and summary executions
within set periods of time.
Moreover, Nazi Germany established six extermination camps
, specifically designed to kill millions of people, primarily by gassing
As a result, the term "concentration camp" is sometimes conflated with the concept of an "extermination camp
" and historians debate whether the term "concentration camp" or the term "internment camp" should be used to describe other examples of civilian internment.
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- ^ Kenney, Padraic (2017). Dance in Chains: Political Imprisonment in the Modern World. Oxford University Press. p. 47. ISBN 9780199375745. A formal arrest usually comes with a charge, but many regimes employed internment (that is, detention without intent to file charges)
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- ^ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 9, United Nations
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- ^ Hignett, Katherine (24 June 2019). "Academics rally behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over concentration camp comments: 'She is completely historically accurate'". Newsweek. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
- ^ Holmes, Jack (13 June 2019). "An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That's Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border". Esquire. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
- ^ Beorn, Waitman Wade (20 June 2018). "Yes, you can call the border centers 'concentration camps,' but apply the history with care". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
- ^ Adams, Michael Henry. "Learning from the Germans: How We Might Atone for America's Evils". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2019. Cages detaining refugees at the southern border are indeed 'concentration camps'.
Last edited on 1 May 2021, at 15:51
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