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Wars and population displacement, 20th century

Migration A–Z

W

  1. Andrew Janco

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm576

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Janco, A. 2013. Wars and population displacement, 20th century. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

Abstract

During the 20th century there were more than two hundred wars and violent conflicts that displaced over 100 million people across the globe. The scale of wartime displacements in the 20th century is both horrifying and unique in world history. During an “age of total war,” non-belligerents and civilian infrastructure were deliberately targeted by military forces. The Hague Convention of 1899 recognized that the armed forces of belligerent parties consisted of both combatants and non-combatants. Artillery fire, carpet bombing, nuclear weapons, and other technologies extended front-line combat onto the home front, blurring the line between civilians and enemy non-combatants. No longer confined to the battlefield, states and insurgent groups widely engaged in unconventional warfare, which brought conflicts onto city streets and into people's homes. During the Kosovo conflict in 1999, displaced civilians were themselves used as a weapon through the strategic forced expulsion of Albanian refugees.

Keywords:

  • war;
  • demography and population studies;
  • ethnic cleansing;
  • ethnocentrism;
  • race;
  • political asylum