This essay explores the imperial and colonial genealogies of the Nazi Holocaust as a form of industrialized killing. It argues that cold-war discourse, and particularly the theory of totalitarianism, enacts a displacement of these outside the ambit of Western history and theory. The continuity and disavowal of colonial violence, in this sense, frames the era of decolonization, which is told as a story of cold-war rivalry and anticommunist vigilance.

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