Within comparative genocide studies – the field founded by the legal theorist Raphael Lemkin, who invented the word “genocide” – the Bangladeshi catastrophe of 1971 remains strikingly little known. Despite the common temptation to view genocide as an expression of irrational evil, the 1971 genocide was a supremely rational act by Pakistan's elites and their proxies in the east of the country. Bangladesh thus provides an example of the intimate relationship between war – whether civil or international – and genocidal outbreaks. It is fair to say that comparative genocide studies has gradually moved away from a static model of pre-planned, preordained outcomes towards a more dynamic and dialectical framing. Rationality and traditional Realpolitik also explain much of the international dimension of the Bangladeshi genocide. Moral and humanitarian influences were also evident in the United States and broader Western responses to the genocide.