War Crimes, Genocide, and Justice: A Global History by David M. Crowe (auth.)

By David M. Crowe (auth.)

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Nor is there reason why you should object that rape is not allowed except when there is need of terrorizing. 105 Perhaps the most controversial part of Wolff’s study is his discussion of the use of poison in warfare. He argued that “it is allowable to destroy the enemy by poison,” and regarded this as no different from killing him with a sword. 107 Emer Vattel, who relied heavily on Wolff’s treaties for his own, more influential, work, The Law of Nations (Les droit des gens), disagreed strongly with him on both of these issues.

The Secret History of the Mongols, a collection of Mongol folk tales, tells us that after he defeated the Tartars (Turkic tribe from northeast Mongolia) as part of his unification campaign, Temuchin ordered his generals To avenge our fathers and forefathers, and requite the wrong, for them we shall measure the Tatars against the linchpin of a cart, And kill them to the last one, We shall utterly slay them. 160 Clan leaders later rewarded Temuchin with the title Genghis Khan (Chinggis Khan; Great or Universal Leader).

Zhu named his new dynasty Ming (“brilliant”) and became the Hongwu (Hung-wu; “vastly martial”) emperor. 1 Ming China was a hierarchical society led by Confucian-educated bureaucrats, royal eunuchs, and high-ranking military officers who held hereditary ranks. The military played an important role in the overthrow of the Mongol dynasty, and, over time, grew to a force of a million men. 2 Warfare in China at this time was extremely brutal. The chronicle of Zhu Yuanzhang’s reign, the T’ai-tsu shih-lu, offers numerous accounts, some exaggerated or fictional, about military practices, particularly the treatment of the enemy during combat.

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