History, U.S. History, World History
Material Type:
High School
Armenia, Cambodia, Genocide, Guatamala, Holocaust, Native American Genocide, Rwanda, Stages of Genocide
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs

Education Standards (7)

Stages of Genocide

Stages of Genocide


The Stages of Genocide Toolkit contains six case studies of historical genocide:

• Armenian Genocide

• Genocide in Cambodia

• Genocide in Guatemala

• The Holocaust

• Genocide of Native Americans in the United States

• Genocide in Rwanda

These specific case studies were chosen for their wide geographic range and their place in modern historical chronology. It is important to note that these genocides are not the only examples of genocide that one can find throughout history, nor do the authors of this toolkit consider them to be “worse” or more important than those that are not included in this toolkit. We believe strongly that there is no place for a “hierarchy of suffering” in genocide education. Additionally, these summaries are not meant to be comprehensive histories of each genocide. They were written to align with Dr. Gregory Stanton’s Ten Stages of Genocide and as such, there are many historical details that are not included in the summaries.

PDF with lesson on defining genocide and case studies

Studying genocide is a critical part of a student’s understanding of both history and of current events. The Stages of Genocide Toolkit is designed to help teachers cover the topic in a meaningful and incisive way. Using the “Ten Stages of Genocide” framework provides an opportunity to explore multiple instances of mass atrocity. The Toolkit also highlights the connection between genocide and human rights. Finally, this resource encourages reflection and discussion of personal and institutional actions and responsibility, connecting these historical events to current events and to students’ lives.

“Ten Stages of Genocide” is an important framework developed by Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention at George Mason University in Virginia and the founding president of Genocide Watch, a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against genocide. The Toolkit is rooted in the “Ten Stages of Genocide” and includes resources to teach students about the causes and patterns of genocide.


These principles draw upon guidelines from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Advocates for Human Rights. They have been synthesized and expanded into guidelines for teaching about difficult topics related to gross human rights violations in history.

• Center learning on students.

• Integrate human rights and history.

• Avoid comparisons of pain; there is no hierarchy of suffering and each genocide is unique and tragic.

• Acknowledge the sensitive nature of the topic. Plan for a variety of emotional responses from your students.

• Complicate thinking; avoid oversimplification.

• Avoid inevitability; these events were not inescapable and occurred because of the decisions and actions of individuals and institutions.

• Emphasize personal agency.

• Promote action and avoid cynicism.

• Be sensitive to learners and victims.

• Allow time to process the material.

• Approach sources with care; preview all materials before sharing with students

Case Studies

Armenian Genocide

Cambodian Genocide

Guatemalan Genocide 

The Holocaust 

Genocide of Native Americans

Genocide in Rwanda