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The story of the ruthless population surgery

· Exodus and deportation in Europe 1853-1953 ·

The 100-years stretching from the Crimean War (1853) to Stalin's death (1953) were marked by the total of about 30 million people victims of  forced migration. It was probably the largest non voluntary exodus in the history. Anthony Ferrara and Nicholas Pianciola analyze and explain its reasons and methods in the  book: L'eta' delle migrazioni forzate. Esodi e deportazioni in Europa 1853-1953 [The Age of Forced Migration. Exodus and Deportation in Europe 1853-1953] (Bologna, il Mulino, 2012, 501 pages, Euro 29). The area affected by this migration coincided with what is called  “Mitteleuropa” [Central Europe],  divided until First World War among the Tsarist, German, Habsburg and Ottoman Empires. This phenomenon was mainly concerntrated in the first half of the 20th century, even if started in the second half of the 19th century.

These were  targeted operations, therefore, planned and carried out with extreme precision, which during the Crimean War and the Balkan Wars (1853-1913), involved about one million two hundred thousand people, to which were added another seven million three hundred thousand individuals during the First World War and in the years that immediately followed it, until 1923. The Soviet regime was the only one to implement policies of forced migration that led to the deportation of two million six hundred thousand people in the period between the two wars.

These are a large number, that reached its peak in the years immediately before and during the Second World War, affecting Europe with around 20 million men, women and children, victims of the Nazi and Soviet projects, as well as exchanges of population between the satellite states of Germany and revenge against the German peoples after the war.

Given the amount of extant literature, the study will not examine the deportations to the Soviet and Nazi concentration camp systems, nor those aimed at rounding-up manpower for the war effort.

Attention is given to “the populations' forced displacements that aimed to extermination of one or more categories of the population, identified according to social criteria (belonging to a rank or  class), or cultural (language, religion)” and that  “can be considered true and proper episodes of population surgery”.

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