It is natural that most writers on atrocities tend to put emphasis on their own case, whether they are witnesses or researchers. But that is not always conducive to a balanced judgement of the case. To avoid this, the present author proposes the differentiation of atrocities of the 20th century into three categories - (a) the madness of battlefield, (b) the madness of war, and (c) the madness of ideology. The madness of battlefield is rather accidental like the Son My (My Lai) Massacre in the Vietnam War or the Nanking Massacre in the Sino-Japanese War. Though the outcome is often extremely bloody and horrible, this kind of atrocity is not caused by government decision. On the other hand, the madness of war is usually more deliberate and calculated. Like the Japanese ill-treatment of the Allied POWs and the Allied strategic bombings during the Second World War, it is the product of national policy. It is not just the outburst of individual or group cruelty. The madness of ideology is also the product of national policy. But as in the cases of the "Holocaust" and the "Goulag Archipelago", it is caused by special ideologies which choose particular races, classes, or religious sects as mortal and unworthy of humanitarian treatment. Even old people and children are not spared cruelties and massacres in this case. The present author thinks that failure to differentiate these three categories of atrocities makes obscure the true character of each case. We must guard ourselves against the confusion of memory and history. If necessary, we must be prepared to scrutinize and calculate.
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