The Holocaust is the name applied to the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of various ethnic, religious and political groups during World War II by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Early elements of the Holocaust include the Kristallnacht pogrom and the T-4 Euthanasia Program,
Shoa is preferred by many Jews and a growing number of Christians and other people due to the theologically offensive nature of the original meaning of the word holocaust as a reference to a sacrifice to God and also due to scholarly insistence that this largely archaic meaning somehow tilts the present meanings. There is also concern that the particular significance of the Holocaust would be lessened as use of the term becomes increasingly widespread in the latter half of the 20th century to refer generically to any mass killings such as the Rwandan Genocide and the actions of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia as 'holocausts'. The Armenians have long used the term in reference to their persecution by the Ottoman empire during World War I.