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Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide"

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"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
— Attributed to Adolf Hitler note 

Some pesky population happened to get in the way and got exterminated as a side effect. For storytelling reasons, the operation may not be called genocide or otherwise be made to sound bad. There are three basic ways in which this can play:

Legally speaking, genocide is a category that is fairly recent, dating from the 1920s and entering public consciousness after World War II. The man who coined it, the lawyer Raphael Lemkin, defined it as "a coordinated strategy to destroy a group of people, a process that could be accomplished through total annihilation as well as strategies that eliminate key elements of the group's basic existence, including language, culture, and economic infrastructure." This was eventually enshrined into the 1948 UN Convention of Genocide where it defined genocide as actions, committed with demonstrable intent, to kill off "a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group". The key phrase is "co-ordinated" which establishes intent and infrastructure geared to achieving said crime, as well as whether a group of victims can fit categories of identifiable "nation, ethnicity, race, or religion".

Since the category was codified, the word is often invoked by many individuals across the political spectrum, to invoke the word to describe any action of mass operations committed by states or organized communities, without regard to whether said example fits the 1948 definition. A large number of historians and scholars when examining allegations of genocide have generally struggled to separate deaths caused by famine, war, disease, or expansionism, many of which are consequences of government policies, often incompetently implemented, but lack the evidence of "co-ordination" to display the intent to destroy another people as part of original policy.

Compare Villain with Good Publicity, Devil in Plain Sight, "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word, Distinction Without a Difference, Deadly Euphemism, Metaphorically True and Never Say "Die".


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Yhwach has a history of targeting the Quincies whenever he wants to redistribute Quincy power, or simply power himself up. Six years before the story began, he enacted The Purge on all "impure" Quincies, killing entire generations of men, women, and children. He doesn't refer to this as "genocide"; he refers to it as Auswahlen, or "Holy Selection". When he uses a minor version on pure Quincies he no longer deems useful just to power up his "useful" Quincy, he tells the victims they should be happy because they're "supporting" their comrades. The only Quincy in history known to be immune to Auswahlen is Uryuu, who has been Kicked Upstairs by Yhwach in an attempt to find out why.
  • In Code Geass, Princess Euphemia is accidentally Brainwashed into wanting to kill all Japanese people, and the Brittanian military follows her orders to slaughter them. While the genocide is eventually called off, the Brittanians seem to consider the Japanese "a dangerous, belligerent race" because they dared to fight back when faced with annihilation.
    • Later on, Lelouch murders everyone in Britannia's core science division when his girlfriend is killed by one of their agents, calling it the annihilation of a corrupt kingmaker. Of course, they're also responsible for creating Geass-infused child supersoldiers who performed dozens of political assassinations to manipulate Britannia and the world at large, but the reaction from everyone is still horrified betrayal.
  • After Freeza single-handedly exterminates the Saiyan race in Dragon Ball Z, he comes up with a fake story about their home planet being destroyed by meteors that even his henchmen who were there stuck with, probably to avoid Genocide Backfire from the few surviving Saiyans left. It doesn't work, of course. He is none too secretive about his other genocides, however, which just goes to show how afraid of the Saiyans he is.
    • Super Buu's human-exterminating Beam Spam translated to "Genocide Attack" in the original Japanese version, but was renamed "Human Extinction Attack" in the English dub.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Operation British in the series' Back Story provided the trope-naming Colony Drop, which first involved completely annihilating a space colony's population with chemical weapons. The manga series Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, which covers the events leading up to the original anime, includes this operation. Admiral Dozle Zabi invokes this trope when, while briefing Lieutenant Ranba Ral on Zeon's plans, Ranba reacts incredulously to the outright murder of an entire colony's citizens. Specifically, Dozle tries to convince Ranba to command the operation by downplaying the genocidal aspect — not only countering that Ranba was already responsible for the deaths of a hundred million colonists but that the colony group was a defeated enemy nation. Using one of their colonies as a weapon, Dozle tried to argue, would make their deaths "count for something." Ranba disagrees, considers this operation the work of the devil, and refuses to take part any further.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury: A weird one. Delling and his pseudo-religious group deemed Gundams "cursed" and anyone who created or piloted one "witches." And he timed a "police action" to massacre every one of these witches just minutes after he finished making his speech. Normally, killing everyone who holds a specific job wouldn't count as genocide, but he made it genocide by deliberately dehumanizing them and grouping them together as the "other." By the time anyone realized what had happened, all the witches were dead, and there was really no option but to go along with it.
  • One Piece: It's heavily implied that this happened with the "Void Century"; the World Government is dead set on wiping out any information about those missing hundred years, to the point where they completely destroyed an island and placed a 79,000,000 bounty on an 8-year-old girl for just speaking the language that the only surviving records of that century were written in. It is known that there was a civilization that was presumably destroyed during that century, as artifacts from it exist, but beyond that, nothing else is known because of how effective the World Government is at snuffing out any information.
    • In Reverie Arc, when Im is revealed to the readers, we see him marking several targets and their pictures on a dartboard, and stabbing them. The Five Elder Stars bow to him, and ask Im's wish, on whose light should be cleansed. This actually implies that whichever person/family Im chooses, will be hunted down to their descendants, and exterminated from the world. Not even Former Celestial Dragons are exempt from it.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, the Commission of Counter Ghoul's stated purpose is to protect the innocent, which requires that they exterminate the flesh-eating race of Ghouls. All of them. In practice this mostly works out to them tracking down and destroying the most violent or those who disrupt the gossamer-thin, unspoken peace between Wards, but child Ghouls and peaceful Ghouls are not spared if detected. The sequel manga :Re has them truly crack down and make a concentrated effort to kill every last Ghoul, and rather than react in horror at the televised piles of corpses the public winds up cheering. It's about this point several members of the CCG start to become concerned about the organisation's direction.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Lucifer volume Mansions of the Silence, Lucifer annihilates billions of souls as a side effect of saving the life of one single person. (That one person was someone he owed a favor, his billions of victims were not.) Of all the people who witness this tragedy, only Bergelmir says anything about this action being immoral, and even he is quite polite about it. Even so, everyone else simply ignores him as they would a person who's being generally rude, impolite, and socially inappropriate. Those present know that annoying Lucifer is really not the best course of action if your plans involve seeing another day, so they're probably staying quiet out of simple self-preservation. But in any case, elsewhere in the comic, it is mentioned that it's impossible to destroy a soul — it simply unravels and then rewinds itself over millennia. And considering that the Mansions of Silence are in some ways worse than Hell, it could just as well be said that Lucifer granted their inhabitants a break from their usual torment.
  • Nemesis the Warlock: When Torquemada is on trial for his genocide of billions of aliens as Grand Master of Termight, his defence is to proudly proclaim his crusades necessary because the aliens wanted to destroy them as well, bringing Nemesis' Torture Technician uncle to the stand to prove his point. He leaves out that it's actually Torquemada's wars of annihilation that made some aliens call for humanity's extermination.
  • In Paperinik New Adventures Xadhoom refers to her planned genocide of the Evronian race as "debt collection": they destroyed their homeworld and apparently exterminated her race, so she assumed the name "Xadhoom", meaning "Creditor", and started killing. Ultimately Subverted when it turned out there were some survivors of her race, so she simply left the Evronians without a homeworld and in shambles after killing off a large part of their race.
  • In Runaways, Xavin's attempt to bring an end to the war between their homeworld and Majesdane resulted in both worlds being wiped out. While Xavin's homeworld was just one colony of the larger Skrull Empire, so far as we know, the Majesdanians had only their planet and maybe a colony or two elsewhere, and thus it can be assumed that the Majesdanians are nearly extinct (to say nothing of any other lifeforms that lived on their planet...)
  • In the Strontium Dog arc "The Final Solution", The New Church publicly claims that they're moving the mutant population in New Britain to new homes in another dimension where they can live in peace away from normal human beings. What they're really doing, however, is rounding up mutants from their ghettos and dumping them in a dimensional wasteland to be stranded and killed by an Eldritch Abomination, but they know that nobody would make much fuss if they make it sound like a peaceful relocation program.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 3: The other Olympians consider Genocide a disgusting aspect of Ares, which proves them better than he. The only characters to actually commit genocide, wantonly even, are the same Olympians who despise Ares but they don't consider their actions to be such as they were just cleaning up "barbaric" and undesirable races across the cosmos that they considered to be warlike so by their reckoning they were doing something righteous which couldn't possibly be termed genocide. Diana is unamused by their thought process.

    Fan Works 
  • In Weaver Nine, the PRT has a blanket kill order on every and all members of the Society. Given that very few of them have committed crimes worthy of a death sentence, and the fact quite a few of them are innocents who joined the Society in gratitude after the Society rescued them from slavery, unjust imprisonment, torture, or other terrible fates... it reeks of Genocide.
    • In addition: Weaver's Society is all but legally a nation unto itself, with infrastructure, territory, and such. Most obvious is when she offers forty citizens to the defense of Brockton Bay, more than half the number of capes the Protectorate could gather.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • It's noted that after the Dheronians, who destroyed Krypton with Thanos' support (and were originally Kryptonians themselves, many thousands of years before), finished the job, they departed in Nine Fleets. It's also noted that Asgard, Krypton's ally, found eight of them (the location of the ninth is unknown), methodically destroyed the vast majority of the adult population, only sparing the children, who it banished to who knows where. This is portrayed fairly neutrally, as a demonstration that while the main characters generally see the Lighter and Softer side of Asgard, there's a darker side too.
    • In chapter 52 of the sequel, Doctor Strange enacts the genocide of the Red Court of Vampires by murdering Camazotz, the Mayan God that spawned them. While they were a genuinely Always Chaotic Evil species of magical monsters, some of the collateral damage discussed when the same event takes place (with different means and participants) in the relevant canon — for instance, partly infected heroic members of a resistance organisation not only lose their superpowers but if they're past a certain age, suffer from No Immortal Inertia. This is again presented somewhat ambiguously; in this case, as something dark, though perhaps necessary, and something that emphasises just how terrifying Strange is capable of being.
  • The Conversion Bureau has ponykind forcing mankind to "convert" en masse into ponies. If they don't, they're killed. That this is genocide is ignored by both the ponies and the authors, who see it as the best possible thing that can be done. The fact that the authors gleefully ignore this and in fact treat it as a good thing (sometimes going so far as to vehemently defend it) is actually frightening and was in fact a factor for the very first TCB fic never being finished. However, most deconstruction stories often subvert this trope where humans and ponies alike realize the true meaning behind the bureaus and often rebel against Celestia.
  • In Lines and Webs, non-equine races can't be magically mind-controlled by Celestia to stop them from being violent, so she plans to drive their species to extinction in order to enact her vision of a peaceful harmonious world. Interestingly downplayed, Celestia doesn't want to actively commit genocide, just cause their civilizations to shrink until they die off naturally. Of course, it's still resulting in mass starvation, so it really isn't any different.
  • Implied to be in the planning stages in Event Horizon: Storm of Magic, where an After-Action Report written on the rescue of Daenerys from the Dothraki for The Company™ describes them as "savage barbarians", and that when they eventually initiate their colonization program in Essos, they'll have to come up with a "Final Solution to the Dothraki Problem". And The Company™ is supposed to be the good guy, relatively speaking.
  • In A Cure for Love, L points out to Light that his subordinates have opened death camps. Light denies he has anything to do with it (after all, why would he need to? His means of mass murder is so much more efficient).
  • In Kara of Rokyn, the nomadic Travelling Clan — to which Kara's wrestler rival Jara belongs — was persecuted and nearly wiped out in the past. Although nobody condones such actions nowadays, it's still a touchy subject that Kandorians prefer not to talk about.
  • In RWBY Alternate, it's mentioned that Pyrrha's father is the leader of a movement that wants the "mass removal" of the Faunus from his country. This also involves eradicating them.
  • A Tale of Two Rulers: After Ganondorf and several other Gerudo tried to take over Hyrule, an unspecified ruler of Hyrule killed numerous Gerudo. The few remaining Gerudo were left scattered. Even centuries later, Gerudo are still an extremely rare Dying Race. This past genocide is so unknown that not even the current princess regent Zelda knows about it.
  • Touken Danshi and The Order Of The Phoenix: Hizamaru apparently has "Muggle's Bane" as an extra name. He isn't disturbed by this, and the Potters of all people seem more surprised that he and his brother were owned by Slytherin and Gryffindor than appalled that somebody named a sword after Muggle genocide.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Holocaust drama Conspiracy (2001), the word "extermination" is almost never used, and is not written down as such by the secretary. Instead, everything is couched in euphemisms. Interestingly, this was before the specific word "genocide" to denote such mass slaughters was coined. Coupled with the Translation Convention, Kritzinger and Lange struggle to come up with something that would encapsulate it, as "war" is thoroughly insufficient, and settle on "chaos".
  • Played straight to the very end of the Critters quadrilogy. Even in the last movie, where they hint at this trope being in place, when the crites have almost completely been annihilated but cannot be completely made extinct because galactic law prevents doing this, those trying to protect the last of the critters assume the role of the 'bad' guys, even though one of them, the shapeshifter 'Ug', was a returning 'good guy' from all the previous movies. In the end, the 'bad guys' are defeated and the last of the crites are destroyed and that evil bastard Ug who was trying to save them from extinction is killed as well, and there is much rejoicing. Ug had the upper hand in the situation, but the 'good guys' took him down by pointing their guns at the last of the crite eggs, and he had to make a fatal mistake trying to protect them. Isn't it nice when the 'good guys' use sleazy bad guy tactics to kill the virtuous bad guy?
  • Denial is about "historian" David Irving's Real Life Holocaust denial and his attempt to silence real historian Deborah Lipstadt from calling him a Holocaust denier via a frivolous libel lawsuit.
  • Star Wars
    • A New Hope: The Evil Empire regime removes the Galactic Senate just before they destroy the populated planet Alderaan. Thus, there is no Senate that can protest against this atrocity. While they don't say outright that the upcoming demonstration of the Death Star's firepower is the reason why they removed the Senate, they do mention that they used to need the Senate to manage the vast Empire, but now they're using the threat of the Death Star to prevent trouble instead.
    • And Order 66, aka the Great Jedi Purge, in Revenge of the Sith.
    • The Expanded Universe explains events a bit more. The Emperor wanted to disband the Senate for quite some time before the events of A New Hope. He used the outing of Princess Leia, a member of the Imperial Senate, as a Rebel agent as a pretext to finally disband it. It was one of the last symbols of the Old Republic (something he wanted to be rid of entirely) and potentially filled with Rebel sympathizers. Considering that three of the Alliance co-founders were Senators, he may have had a point. Thing is, with no Legislature, there was no scapegoat for his own crimes, and once they no longer had to maintain public appearances, some Senators went to openly work for the Rebellion.
  • The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not An Option: Karl Thomasson has a discussion about the Holocaust with Buckner, a student who is part of a Neo-Nazi cult at the Military Academy Thomasson is teaching at. Thomasson dismantles Buckner's rather pathetic attempt to downplay the figure from six million to five hundred thousand by pointing out that the violation of Thou Shalt Not Kill in itself is the issue, not the raw number.
    Thomasson: Let's say it was a thousand. A thousand innocent people murdered, not for something they did, but for who they were. If that's not a holocaust, what the hell would you call it?
  • In X-Men: The Last Stand, Magneto interrupts a mutant committee meeting over the development of a cure for mutation to deliver a scathing appraisal of what he considers to be avoidance of this issue, drawing from his own experiences with mass extermination:
    Speaker: This cure is voluntary. Nobody's talking about extermination.
    Magneto: No one ever talks about it; they just do it. And you go on with your lives, ignoring the signs all around you. And then one day, when the air is still and the night is fallen, they come for you.
    Speaker: [interrupts] Excuse me—
    Magneto: Only then do you realize that while you're talking about organizing and committees, the extermination has already begun.
    • Magneto is exploiting this trope, however: he is using fear of genocide to widen the divide between mutants and humans and perpetuate his war against humanity, ostensibly to protect the mutants from just such an extermination.
    • Anything involving Magneto and his views on genocide is always rather uncomfortably ironic since his whole motivation is to wipe out the entire human population (and he nearly succeeds in X2). Naturally, he never applies the apt description of genocide when it's him. Surprisingly, even after the number of movies made, no-one has yet called him out on this hypocrisy.

  • All These Worlds sees the Bobs carry out a genocide against the Others. They don't like the idea of wiping out an entire sentient species, but the Others have committed multiple genocides and have shown no desire for negotiation, so the general feeling is that they have no choice. In fact, their attack on the Others' homeworld occurs simultaneously with the Others attacking Earth.
  • In the Animorphs series:
    • The Andalite military's plan to "quarantine" planet Earth to keep the Yeerks from using the resources (especially the Human Resources) of Earth to conquer the galaxy. But it's not actually militarily possible to enforce this quarantine — so everyone treats this as a euphemism for genocide.
    • Alloran had previously attempted something extremely similar with the Hork-Bajir, by releasing a virus, resulting in a huge death toll (and, if anything, ensuring that all of the surviving Hork-Bajir would be the Yeerk-Controlled ones. And also leading to him losing his rank and reputation.)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • When the Pevensies become rulers of Narnia at the end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it's casually mentioned that in establishing their golden age, they "stamped out" the apparently Always Chaotic Evil species that had followed the White Witch. According to the author, the original inhabitants of Telmar were so evil that Aslan turned them all into non-sapient animals, effectively ending their lives as people. The narrative voice of the Narnia series always makes his opinions clear, and here they seem entirely in line with the opinions of his heroes.
    • In Prince Caspian, Miraz forces the remnants of "old Narnia" into hiding, which is pretty much what it sounds like. Somewhat notably, a hag and a werewolf appear (as minor villains) after Miraz forces all remnants of Narnia into hiding. Make of that what you will.
    • In The Magician's Nephew, the White Witch is revealed to have killed everyone on her (original) world (with a single word, no less) — she says that it was in self-defense, as she had just lost all of her soldiers. She is the Big Bad of the first book, though, so it's not like she's portrayed as in the right.
  • In Charlie Jane Anders' The City in the Middle of the Night, every member of a nomadic civilization is killed except two people. Aliens killed the nomads because they stole natural resources and hurt their babies. The author makes the aliens sympathetic and justifies the genocide.
  • In Date A Live, Sir Isaac Ray Peram Westcott uses a manner of speaking very different from what he really wants. He uses the word "rewrite" when he really meant "cataclysm", "destruction", "death", "annihilation", "genocide", "war", and other depraved things that humanity can invoke on the world. He often says that in order to make a mind game with people who are listening to this.
  • In Deathworld, their world has gotten really too death-y, so they decide to emigrate. There is a nice planet with a nice plateau, but the plateau is inhabited. The Deathworlders suggest simply eliminating this population. 'Oh no' says the hero, 'that would be wrong'. Instead, they lead this war-like race off the plateau to rich farmlands where they can cut a swathe through the native population, enjoy their luxuries, get seduced by the lifestyle, and never return to the plateau. This wholesale slaughter is 'oh well you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs'.
  • Ender's Game: Throughout the book, Child Soldiers are being trained to fight in case an alien race known as the Buggers invade like they'd done twice before, the last time being 70 years prior. It turns out in the end that the Child Soldiers were actually being trained to launch an invasion against the Buggers, resulting in the extermination of their species via Earth-Shattering Kaboom while tricking the children into thinking they were only playing a game. The Buggers themselves, thought to be Always Chaotic Evil by most Earthlings and portrayed as such in propaganda, were actually peaceful, having ended their hostilities against mankind generations ago. And the initial hostilities were an honest misunderstanding. They didn't mean to start a war, they were just saying "hello" by introducing their drone-soldiers to our territory and having them fight a bit. Drone-soldiers killing each other is roughly analogous to a hand-shake because each individual drone has no mind of its own. They had no idea that ALL of our drone-soldiers were actually individual Queens. How insane is that, an entire race of Queens and nothing but Queens? Who could possibly have predicted such a form of intelligent life existed? They became passive when they realized this, in the sense of only now fighting a defensive war. They made no further attacks and merely tried their best to not be wiped out by the vengeful hand of humans, who they were trying desperately to communicate their apology to. (It nearly worked.)
  • Fatherland: In the international environment following their Alternate-History Nazi Victory, the Nazis decide that it would be very unfortunate for anyone to find out exactly what happened to the Jews that were "Sent East". A series of murders intended to cover up the truth drives the plot of the novel.
  • In Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, the cultivation world fights back against the tyranny of the Wen Clan. Later it is revealed that the sects had hunted down the non-cultivator members of the clan, even the elderly and children. Wei Wuxian had attempted to save a few Wen members that were left but was vilified and killed, and all the remaining Wen members were killed. Thirteen years later, the Wen Sect, which had previously been the largest sect, had all been killed. Except 4-year-old Wen Yuan, who had been found, hidden, and eventually revealed to be Lan Sizhui.
  • Have Space Suit – Will Travel mentions "rotating", moving a planet "ninety degrees out of space-time", which essentially places it in a private pocket universe. Kip doesn't think this sounds so bad, until he learns that their planet's star stays where it is, making this a planetary death sentence with a pleasant name.
  • The Hunger Games: During the assault on a Peacekeeper mountain fortress in District 2, Gale comes up with the idea of causing a landslide to trap them inside; he even wanted to bomb the railway leading out of it to ensure there are no survivors (they decide to leave the railway open). When told that there were District 2 civilians inside, he said that he felt they deserved to die as well. The rebels go through with the plan, and hundreds (if not thousands) die as a result of Gale's actions.
  • The Illuminatus! Trilogy: In one of the many versions of the backstory, Gruad has just destroyed Atlantis, wiping out its entire population: "But deep inside, he knows that what he has done isn't nice".
  • In the children's book The Inventors, the two main characters Nate and Cat have won a scholarship with the world's greatest inventor Ebenezer Saint, who they discover is planning to destroy humanity and start rebuilding society from scratch. At one point, Saint begins rolling out a list of euphemisms for what he's about to do, before asking for suggestions for more. He accepts Nate's suggestion of "Begin the genocide", but calls him a drama queen for it.
  • The Legend of Drizzt features the massacre of entire groups as a social institution for the dark elves of Menzoberranzan, although usually conducted on a smaller scale then genocidal: Killing a group of people is a crime, but only members of that group can make the official complaint. Thus: If you successfully kill everyone, so no one is left to protest, no crime can be said to have been committed. Ironically, this institution is also a part of how they maintain social order: If one of the royal houses falls out of favor with their evil Goddess, then other houses will use this system to gang up on them.
  • Never Let Me Go: People "are completed" on an industrial scale. "Completed" actually equals harvested for their organs. The main characters are clones who have been created specifically for this task.
  • Likely the largest genocide ever imagined is at the conclusion of the Skylark Series. The protagonists have previously tangled with the "ameboid" Chlorans, who attack, enslave, and exploit humans (but do not exterminate them). In the earlier encounter, there was just one Chloran planet; the option of genocide (called explicitly by that name) was considered, but due to pleadings of "soft-hearted" women the milder option of sending the planet far away was taken. But when discovering a faraway galaxy with millions of Chloran planets, the protagonist Seaton decides that the Chlorans are "a cancer" and a danger to the entire universe and that nothing would do but to kill every single one of them — emphatically rejecting any other option. He and his arch-enemy turned ally DuQuesne proceed to do just that, causing all the Chloran suns to go nova. "The Chlorans died in their uncounted trillions. The greeny-yellow soup that served them for air boiled away. Their halogenous flesh was charred, baked, and desiccated in the split-second of the passing of the front wave from each exploding double star, moments before their planets themselves started to seethe and boil. Many died unaware. Most died fighting. Most died in terrible, frantic effort to escape... But they all died." Immediately afterwards, DuQuesne, feeling not the slightest remorse at having just killed uncounted trillions of sentient beings and destroyed an entire galaxy, proposes to his long-cherished lady love and is thrilled to hear that she truly loves him. (DuQuesne, however, is a self-admitted villain.)
  • Victoria has the far-right, misogynist regime of the Confederation carrying out a "soft" genocide on the Lady Land Azania. While not physically exterminating the Amazons after conquering their country, they systematically destroy their culture and re-educate or enslave the survivors, and they also deprive them of the advanced technology they need to reproduce in the absence of men, thereby ensuring their extinction as a people. This is presented as freeing them from horrible oppression, as they are returned from their wayward, Godless way of life to woman's proper place in the world as wife and mother.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Babylon 5:
    • Many characters go out of their way to not call what the Centauri are doing to the Narn genocide.
    • The Hyach removed the Hyach-Do from their history.
    • Justin, the Shadows' human mouthpiece, admits that a few species are "lost" as a result of the Shadows' ideology of encouraging development through conflict. He finds it "unfortunate", and feels that it can't be easy... for the Shadows.
  • When the human fleet of Battlestar Galactica discover a disease that could wipe out the entire Cylon race, Helo seems to be the only one willing to publicly describe using it as genocide. Adama does admit in private that he views it as genocide, however. It eventually becomes clear that pretty much everyone realizes it is genocide, they just don't care.
  • In Blackadder The Second, Edmund briefly becomes Lord High Executioner, or as he calls it: "The Minister of Religious Genocide". It's his responsibility to execute "traitors" and closeted Catholics by command of Elizabeth the First. Notably, the episode never moralises on genocide, and Edmund regards it as nothing but a tedious and very deadly chore he has to do.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Ghost Monument", in a cross with Deadly Euphemism, Angstrom only ever refers to what the Stenza are doing on her homeworld, Albar, as "cleansing".
  • In The Event, when the only possible refuge left for the aliens is Earth and its resources clearly won't suffice for both them and the humans, Sophia concludes that "we need to make room". One of her henchmen, who had until recently acted as The Mole inside the U.S. government and gradually grew to sympathize with the humans, immediately calls her out on it: "You mean GENOCIDE!"
  • The Mandalorian
    • In “The Believer”, Mando and Mayfield run afoul of the latter’s former commanding officer, who eventually goes into a history lesson on Operation: Cinder - the last directive of Emperor Palpatine that more or less ordered the destruction of the galaxy as punishment for failing to protect its Emperor. Mayfield quickly begins losing his temper as his former commander waxes about the carnage inflicted on Rebels, civilians, and Imperials alike, but his former commander smugly insists what the Imperial Remnant has planned for the galaxy will make previous rounds of Operation: Cinder look like sparklers.
    • In the second season finale, Mando and Cara Dune confront an Imperial officer who recognizes the latter as a survivor of Alderaan. He quickly begins taunting Dune about the genocide of her people, ranting that he was aboard the Death Star and how the galaxy cheered while millions of his comrades were wiped out with its destruction. The officer further rants how the destruction of Alderaan - despite being an unarmed, peaceful planet - was a small price to pay for peace in the galaxy. Dune takes this as well as you’d expect a former Rebel shock-trooper who survived the extermination of her people and shoots him.
  • Uther Pendragon in Merlin (2008) views his slaughter of magic users and all dragons except one as completely justified. His son, Arthur, goes along with it to please him, but it's repeatedly shown that he will not kill harmless magic users if he isn't forced into it.
  • If you consider allowing a race you could have effortlessly saved to die because of a non-interference policy to count as genocide, Janeway and Archer from Star Trek both committed genocide, in this case calling it principle (they justify it as not interfering with evolution). Notably Averted by Picard in "Pen Pals" who was initially unwilling to interfere but after hearing the plea of the species in question agreed to "bend" the rules and classify it as a request for help.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Living Witness", an alien civilization called the Kyrians remembers an encounter with Voyager centuries ago very differently from what really happened. Because Voyager traded with the Vaskans, one of their enemies, they revised the events to make Voyager a bunch of bloodthirsty villains who slaughtered their people. Evil Janeway doesn't share the Vaskan ambassador's concerns about annihilating the Kyrian population.
    Ambassador: I want them defeated, but this is genocide!
    Janeway: Defeat... genocide... why quibble with semantics?
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Elena causes the slaughter of tens of thousands of vampires without blinking, justifying it because it brings her closer to a cure.
  • While people are getting slaughtered by the thousands in Equatorial Kundu on The West Wing, C.J. Cregg is not allowed by the White House legal counsel to say the word "genocide" in front of the press. This was in reference to the Clinton Administration standing by with the Rwandan Genocide going on, which they referred to as "genocide-type acts" because acknowledging it was genocide would mean under the Genocide Convention, they were required to intervene. Unlike the fictional administration here, they never did.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978) has the Lintillas, hundreds of billions of clones of one particularly attractive and talented lady created by a faulty cloning machine at a Brantisvogan escort agency. As halting the cloning process would kill the current incomplete clone (and thus be murder), various legal experts tried to get the definition of murder changed in order to make it legal. As it turns out, they managed to get murder renamed (to 'revoked') but failed to achieve anything else (such as legally changing the spelling; 'revoked' is still spelt M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D).
    • One tactic involved mass cloning another individual, Allitnil, who is irresistible to the Lintillas. Each Allitnil and Lintilla pair would be tricked into signing a death warrant under the guise of a marriage license, and the two of them would be vaporized. If later series are to be believed, the plan was quite unsuccessful.

  • The band members of System of a Down are Armenian-American, and they are all very active in spreading the word about the Armenian Genocide. However, their music is almost never specifically about genocide: the only song from them that specifically mentions the word "genocide" is the song "P.L.U.C.K." (which stands for "Politically Lying, Unholy Corrupt Killers") from their self-titled debut album in 1997. "Holy Mountains" from their album Mezmerize/Hypnotize is also about the Armenian Genocide, but doesn't even mention that word.
    • It's somewhat justified in the fact that their lyrics are primarily concerned with specific issues. They tend to tackle topics such as drug decriminalization and environmentalism in order to curb complacency in general, and Serj Tankian (the lead singer) even said that he would rather not preach about the genocide.
  • Sirusho is an Armenian pop star that releases her music internationally, and while she is not as well-known as System of a Down, her more recent work thematically concerns the Armenian Genocide. However, despite most of her 2016 album Armat being about the Armenian Genocide and releasing two singles on its centennial anniversary regarding the very same subject matter, she never outright says the word "genocide" in any of her songs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • When the Clans decide to wipe out one of their number (whether it be holders of a given Bloodname or an entire actual Clan) in Battletech, it's not called a "genocide"; it's a "Trial of Annihilation". Brett Andrews used the term "reaving" instead (a corruption of the Clan concept of "Trials of Reaving").

    Video Games 
  • A gameplay mechanic in Age of Wonders. When you take over a town, you have the option to "migrate" the race currently inhabiting the town, replacing it with a race that's friendly to you. It's a very useful option — say you're a good-aligned race but just took over an undead town and want to replace it with another good-aligned race — but you're still basically committing mass deportation and resettlement...
  • In Bendy and the Ink Machine Chapter 5, Tom, Allison, and optionally Henry wipe out a village full of Lost Ones and Searchers. Admittedly, it was in self-defense, and the fallen may be able to return from the ink, but still.
  • In Bloodborne, it's stated in the backstory that the inhabitants of Castle Cainhurst were exterminated by the Executioners, an army of Healing Church fanatics led by Martyr Logarius. What makes it this trope is that the Vilebloods are consistently demonized by the last surviving Executioner as evil and corrupt heretics deserving of their fate. Who conveniently doesn't seem to realize or care about the many sins of the Healing Church.
  • A codex in Dragon Age: Origins talks about a long series of wars between the Qunari and all the other nations of Thedas. The Qunari were eventually driven back when they withdrew to avoid civilian casualties. In the lands they had occupied, there had been many converts to their strange, totalitarian, and brutal religion. When the Chantry could not convert them back, they simply purged the civilians and then denied that it ever happened.
    • Several codices about the Exalted March Against the Dales detail how relations between the Elven Kingdom of the Dales and the other (human) nations soured after years of tension and a skirmish both sides blamed each other for; so the Orlesian Chantry invaded, conquered, and annexed the elven kingdom. The elves were given a choice: Convert to Chantry worship and work as second-class servants and laborers in closed off slums in human cities, or flee into the forest. Most Chantry clerics refuse to discuss it because it is "political".
  • In Halo 2, after the changing of the guard, the remaining High Prophets initiate an Order 66-style genocide of the Elites, disguised as a Brute uprising.
  • In the Mass Effect series, the extermination of the vast majority of the quarian species during the Geth War is successively downplayed from one title to the next. With dialogue in the first game stating directly that "the geth killed billions and drove [them] from [their] homeworld," the tie-in novels written by the lead writer of the first game and part of the second having the third-person narrator directly describe the geth's actions as "genocide in which less than a single percent of the [quarian] population survived", the second game limiting its description to "the geth drove [them] from [their] homeworld," and the third presenting it as a conflict in which the geth "won their freedom." It goes the other way, too; in the first game, Shepard can directly point out that the first strike against the Geth was an attempt at genocide, in the second there's a major Quarian faction who think it should be acknowledged as such, but by the third, the comparison is avoided even though we see recordings of Quarian kill teams massacring surrendering unarmed Geth. The Quarians actively trying to wipe out the Geth race during the game is also never called out.
    • Another example from the series is the krogan genophage. With only 1 of 1000 infants surviving birth, the species is slowly, but surely dying out. While some people, like Maelon, regret it and see it as what it really was, most people, especially salarians and turians, try to downplay and justify it. This is a (potential) major point of conflict with Mordin, who goes out of his way to beat about it. As of the third game, he too realizes it was a mistake.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda gives us the kett, a race of Scary Dogmatic Aliens that invaded the Heleus Cluster and almost immediately started a war of extinction against the native angara roughly eighty years before the Andromeda Initiative arrived. It takes about a third of the game to uncover that the kett are actually perpetuating an Assimilation Plot that can be summed up as "convert any compatible specimen of every species we can get our paws on into more kett, kill the rest, then move on". It's literally the only way they can procreate now because they intentionally removed their reproductive organs via genetic engineering, which means they willingly chose to become a plague on the galaxy that has genocide of everything non-kett hard-coded into their life cycle. They call this insanity "exaltation", have built their entire society around it, treat it with religious zeal, and honestly think they're doing their victims a great favor.
  • NetHack: It was suggested to rename the Scroll of Genocide, because some players don't want to feel that magically erasing entire species of monsters from existence is a bad thing.
  • Splatoon 3: Once the player's Inkling or Octoling arrives at Alterna's rocket with Agents 1 and 2, they all meet Mr. Grizz, CEO of Grizzco Industries, who plots to cover the world with Fuzzy Ooze to restore the age of mammals. Owing to Mr. Grizz's attitude of being a professional businessman (or business bear in this case), he advices the team to not call his plot "Hairmaggedon" because "HR doesn't like it".
  • In StarCraft, Mengsk crosses a Moral Event Horizon by having the entire civilian population of the planet Tarsonis slaughtered by the alien Zerg so that he can crown himself emperor. In StarCraft II, he starts out as a Villain with Good Publicity who has managed to erase all traces of his crime. His loyal lackeys all shut up about it (or did he have them all assassinated?), and in the public social life of the empire, it's out of line to point out that the Zerg invasion of Tarsonis was convenient for Mengsk's power grab. To imply that the emperor was actually behind the attack is surely out of the question. Of course, there is one single exception to this dreadfully polite silence: Our hero, the main character, the "Traitor & Terrorist" Jim Raynor. Oh, and the genocide really backfires on Mengsk once the hero's forces have taken over the television network so the truth can no longer be suppressed.
  • Stellaris
    • You can "purge" anything from individual pops (each of which represents roughly one billion people) to entire species, including your own, but no matter what the game calls it, it's genocide on a mind-boggling scale, the other empires in the galaxy are very aware of it and tend to react suitably appalled if you indulge in it. Methods range from comparatively merciful mass neutering to execution squads systematically going from house to house. The tool tip for the latter option even includes another cynically trivializing term: "dissolution of a people". Early versions of the game allowed absolutely everyone to purge anyone they didn't like, but later updates restricted the ability to purge pops to the morally darkest grey and black empires, which usually means some combination of militaristic and xenophobic mindsets. The most extreme Absolute Xenophobe factions have this hard-coded into their foreign policy — every alien species they conquer gets purged automatically, resulting in their total extinction in as little as two years.
    • Meta-example, the game is still plagued with horrendous lag late game, due to the number of renders and background calculation which only gets worse as more of the galaxy gets colonized. Obviously, the lag can be alleviated by, shall we say, 'reducing the number of renders', especially those of other empires. This is one of the reasons why Fanatical Purifiers is quite a popular play style.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky:
    • The ancient Lydian president takes the second option ("I Did What I Had to Do") regarding the near-extinction of Somnians perpetrated by his orders. However, Solomon does explicitly refer to it as genocide.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The Black Dragons are a genocidal breed of dragons that have been corrupted by the Old Gods, and now serve their insane master on his quest to kill everything. In the face of this threat, the Red Dragons, after many years of conflict, decide the only thing to do is declare every single Black Dragon corrupted and beyond redemption and to exterminate every last one of them. That's every Black Dragon, Drake, Whelp, and Egg. And the player helps them do this, even personally dispatching the last fertile Black Dragon female and smashing her eggs. The irony of the Red Dragons, the Protectors of Life, being forced to declare indiscriminate oblivion on an entire species is not lost. However, in a far distant and unrelated quest, there are signs that the Red Dragons have taken steps to purify a Black Dragon egg and to restart the flight anew. With one member: Wrathion, who ended up killing off the entirety of the Black Dragon species, barring himself.
    • Also played straight with the war against the now homeless Zandalar Tribe and the remnants of troll species (barring the Darkspear, who are playable).
    • The Scarlet Crusade is an entire faction of Knight Templar fanatics formed in the aftermath of the Scourge occupation of Lordaeron. The Scarlet Crusade is infamously xenophobic and will immediately purge anybody not associated with them. Even though their primary enemy is the Scourge, the Scarlet Crusade justifies its killing of mortal races as preventing the undead plague from spreading.
  • Xenogears: The Solarian approach to anything on the planet below, both mentioned by its soldiers and commmand, and so codified in the culture that a child's toy shouting "Purge the Lambs" is something casually mentioned in the Solaris capital Etrenank/Etamananki. Also what happened at their hands to the Team Pet Chu-chu's species, which was reduced to just her and a few left in Shevat.
    • Also, arguably committed against both Elru in the backstory, and to Etrenank itself at the end of disc one by Id.
  • Yggdra Union has lots of genocide as "justice" when you get to the part where Yggdra has finally forced the Empire out of her country, then decides to invade Bronquia and destroy it. Even after Kylier tries to get her to realize that she's going to become the new 'evil invader', Yggdra tells her "This is Justice." Then the game forces you to mow through the 'Bronquian Militia', which is basically a bunch of level 1 units trying to defend their homeland, and makes you feel very bad about it. "What is Justice?" is a question that a lot of people are asking throughout the game.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Code:Realize, the Vampire War that occurred two years prior to the beginning of the story turns out to have been a mostly successful human effort to wipe out the vampire race. The public has been told that the vampires were planning to exterminate humanity and that the war was one of self-defense. In actuality, it was a show of force on Queen Victoria's part to discourage other nations from declaring war on Britain.

  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Played with in regards to T'kutts-Afa, who committed "sort of genocide." He forcibly uploaded mind copies of his entire species to a virtual world, then killed their living bodies and preserved them in a way that they could easily be resurrected. There's a strong argument to be made that this is not actually genocide but more a mass kidnapping, but everyone (including T'kutts-Afa) still calls it genocide because it's the only word that comes close to encapsulating what he did wrong. The worst part for him is that although he had some immensely compelling reason to do it he erased his own memory of the event and has no idea what it was.
    • Petey later does something similar to save a heavily populated world from an approaching supernova. After everyone is uploaded, he sends bots to turn off all the appliances and stack the bodies in freezers on the off chance they'll be able to save the planet and move the people back in. One of T'kutts-Afa's victims is disturbed to realize he is sympathetic to the perpetrator of this atrocity.

    Web Original 
  • Zinnia Jones: Debated in the episode A challenge to Christians: Stop defending genocide
  • One political meme riffs on the tendency for political extremists to deny crimes against humanity perpetrated by dictators they agree with:
    Authoritarian left: "Never happened. Besides, they were kulaks anyway"
    Authoritarian right: "Never happened. Besides, they were jews anyway"
    Libertarian left: "Never happened. Besides, they were fascists anyway"
    Libertarian right: "Never happened. Besides, 14 is the legal age of consent in some countries anyway"
  • SCP Foundation: In Dr. Bright's proposal, it's revealed that the early Foundation committed genocide on the faeries and hid all records of their existence. The document for a certain other anomaly that must not be namednote  reveal that some of the faeries survived, and the previous account was a lie. The faeries used to be allies to the Foundation but were betrayed, with many being killed and all having their names somehow stolen. Note, however, that the setting has no certain continuity and either or both of these accounts might be untrue.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Fire Nation wiped out the Air Nomads at the start of the Hundred Year War in an ambush. In Fire Nation schools however, it's taught that the Air Nomads had a formal military that the Fire Nation defeated in a more honorable combat.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dont Say Genocide


Elven Genocide

Intoner Four succeeded in finishing off the fleeing "Evil" elf soldiers, after exterminating most of the "Evil" elven race, all with a gleeful smile...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / KnightTemplar

Media sources: