Armenian Genocide

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Armenian Genocide photo. Armin T. Wegner © Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen. All rights reserved.
Armenian Genocide
Early elements
Hamidian Massacres · 1896 Ottoman Bank Takeover · Adana Massacre · Young Turk Revolution
The Genocide
April 24, 1915 · Tehcir Law · Armenian casualties of deportations · Ottoman Armenian casualties
Major extermination centers 
Dayr az-Zawr · Sivas · Muş · Diyarbakır · Erzurum · Trabzon
Resistance (Armenian resistance)
Zeitun  · Van · Musa Dagh · Sasun · Urfa
Other targeted groups
Assyrians  · Pontic Greeks
Foreign reactions and aid 
Reactions · American Committee for Relief in the Near East
Responsible parties
Young Turks 
Enver · Talat · Djemal · Committee of Union and Progress · The Special Organization · Ottoman Army · Kurdish Irregulars
Operation Nemesis · Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire  · Denial
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The Armenian Genocide (Armenian: Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն, Turkish: Ermeni Soykırımı) — also known as the Armenian Holocaust, Great Calamity (Մեծ Եղեռն) or the Armenian Massacre — refers to the forced mass evacuation and related deaths of hundreds of thousands to over a million Armenians, during the government of the Young Turks from 1915 to 1917 in the Ottoman Empire.

Today, the Republic of Turkey rejects the notion that the event constituted a genocide and instead claims that the deaths among the Armenians were a result of inter-ethnic strife, disease and famine during the turmoil of World War I. However, most Armenian, Russian, Western, and an increasing number of Turkish scholars believe that it was indeed a genocide, or campaign of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing and mass extermination. For example, some Western sources point to the sheer scale of the death toll as evidence for a systematic, organized plan to eliminate the Armenians. The event is also said to be the second-most studied case of genocide,<ref name="nazi">R. J. Rummel, The Holocaust in Comparative and Historical Perspective, A Journal Social Issues, April 1, 1998 — Vol.3, no.2</ref> and often draws comparison with the Holocaust. To date 21 countries, as discussed below, have officially recognised it as genocide.


[edit] The status of the Armenians in the Empire

According to sources, in 1914, before World War I, there were an estimated two million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The vast majority of Armenians were of the Armenian Apostolic faith, with a small number belonging to the Armenian Catholic and Protestant denominations. While the Armenian population in Eastern Anatolia (also called Western Armenia) was large and clustered, there were large numbers of Armenians in the western part of the Ottoman Empire. Many lived in the capital city of Constantinople.


This article is part of the series on:

History of Armenia

Early History
Kingdom of Urartu
Kingdom of Armenia
Orontid Armenia
Artaxiad Dynasty
Arsacid Dynasty
Medieval History
Marzpanate Period
Byzantine Armenia
Bagratuni Armenia
Kingdom of Vaspurakan
Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
Foreign Rule
Persian Rule
Ottoman Rule
Russian Rule
Hamidian Massacres
Armenian Genocide
Early Independence
Democratic Republic of Armenia
Soviet Armenia
Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic
Modern Armenia
Republic of Armenia

Until the late 19th century, the Armenians were referred to as millet-i sadika (loyal nation) by the Ottomans.<ref>Dadrian, Vahakn N. The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1995 p. 192</ref> However, unlike Muslim citizens, Armenians, Greeks, other Christians, Jews, and other minorities were subject to laws which gave them fewer legal rights and they were subject to numerous limitations in legal rights in the empire: Armenians were barred from serving in the military (and instead forced to pay an exemption tax), their testimony in Islamic courts was inadmissible against Muslims, they were not allowed to bear arms, they were heavily taxed, and they were treated overall as second-class subjects.<ref>Melson, Robert. Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. pp. 54-56</ref> As the largest minority present in the Ottoman Empire, Armenians were in effect, infidels in the eyes of Muslims, as described by British ethnographer William Ramsay:

Turkish rule...meant unutterable contempt...The Armenians (and the Greeks) were dogs and be spat upon, if their shadow darkened a Turk, to be outraged, to be the mats on which he wiped the mud from his feet. Conceive the inevitable result of centuries of slavery, of subjection to insult and scorn, centuries in which nothing that belonged to the Armenian, neither his property, his house, his life, his person, nor his family, was sacred or safe from violence—capricious, unprovoked violence—to resist which by violence meant death.<ref>Ramsay, William M. Impressions of Turkey During Twelve Years' Wanderings. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1897 pp. 206-207</ref>

The long ruling Sultan Hamid suspended the constitution early in his reign and ruled as he saw fit. Despite pressure on the Sultan by the major European countries to treat the Christian minorities more gently, abuses only increased.

The single event that started the chain is most likely the Russian victory over the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. At the end of the war the Russians took control over a large swath of territory inhabited by Armenians but ceded much of it after the Treaty of Berlin was signed. The Russians claimed they were the supporters of Christians within the Ottoman Empire. The weakening control of the Ottoman government over its empire in the following 15 years led many Armenians to believe that they could gain independence from it.

[edit] Before the war

For more details on this topic, see Young Turks, Young Turk Revolution, Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Hamidian massacres.

A minor Armenian unrest in Bitlis Province was suppressed with brutality in 1894.[citations needed] In what became known as the Hamidian massacres, an estimated over 80,000 Armenians (most figures range from 80,000 to 300,000) were killed in Ottoman pogroms and massacres between 1894 and 1897.<ref>Ramsay, Impressions of Turkey, pp. 156-157</ref>

Five years before World War I, the Ottoman Empire came under the control of the secular Young Turks. In an effort for constitutional reform, Abdul Hamid II was deposed and his younger brother Mehmed V was installed as a figurehead ruler. At first, some Armenian political organizations supported the Young Turks, in hopes that there would be a significant change for the better. Some Armenians were elected to the newly restored Ottoman Parliament, including Gabriel Noradoungian, who was elected by parliamentary members to briefly serve as the country's foreign minister.

However, from 1910-1912 the leadership of the Young Turks split into several parts lead by two main factions: one element known as the Liberal Union remained committed to liberalizing the country and establishing equal status amongst all minorities and the second more radical, racist element the Committee of Union and Progress, headed by a triumvirate: Ismail Enver, Mehmed Talat Pasha and Ahmed Djemal.<ref>Balakian, Peter. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response. New York: Perennial, 2003. pp. 144-159</ref> The CUP rejected the Liberal Union's ideals and assumed full leadership of the country after assassinating the Minister of War, Nazim Pasha, a Union member in January 1913.

[edit] Implementation of the Genocide

[edit] Planning

In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Central Powers when Ottoman gunboats attacked Russian naval bases and shipping in the Black Sea. In November 1914, Enver, now the Minister of War, launched a disastrous military campaign against Russian forces in the Caucasus in hopes of capturing Baku. Nearly 90% of the Ottoman IIIrd Army was destroyed by Russian forces in the Battle of Sarikamis and many more froze to death after Enver issued a retreat order in January 1915. Returning to Constantinople, Enver largely blamed the Armenians living in the region for actively siding with the Russians and who, further, posed a liability to the country's national security.<ref>Balakian. The Burning Tigris, p. 200</ref> In 1914, the Ottoman Empire's War Office had already began a propaganda drive to present Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire as a liability and threat to the country's security. An Ottoman naval officer in the War Office described the planning:

In order to justify this enormous crime [of the Armenian Genocide] the requisite propaganda material was thorougly prepared in Istanbul. [It included such statements as] "the Armenians are in league with the enemy. They will launch an uprising in Istanbul, kill off the Ittihadist leaders and will succeed in opening the straits [of the Dardanelles]." These vile and malicious incitements [were such, however, that they] could persuade only people who were not even able to feel the pangs of their own hunger.<ref>Dadrian, Vahakn N., History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 220</ref>
Image:Ismail Enver.jpg
İsmail Enver, one of the chief architects of the Armenian Genocide.

[edit] Legislation

Further information: Tehcir Law

In May 1915, Talaat requested that government's cabinet and grand vizier pass and enact a law which would legitimize the deportations of Armenians living both near the Russian front and interior. On May 29, 1915, the CUP Central Committee passed the Temporary Law of Deportation, giving the Ottoman government and military authorization to deport anyone it "sensed" as a threat to national security.<ref>Balakian, The Burning Tigris, pp. 186-188</ref> Several months later, the Temporary Law of Expropriation and Confiscation was passed, stating that all property, including land, livestock and homes, belonging to Armenians was to be confiscated by the authorities. Only one politician in the Ottoman parliament, Senator Ahmed Riza, an initial member of the Liberal Union, protested against the legislation:

It is unlawful to designate the Armenian assets as “abandoned goods” for the Armenians, the proprietors, did not abandon their properties voluntarily; they were forcibly, compulsively removed from their domiciles and exiled. Now the government through its efforts is selling their goods...Nobody can sell my property if I am unwilling to sell it....If we are a constitutional regime functioning in accordance with constitutional law we can’t do this. This is atrocious. Grab my arm, eject me from my village, then sell my goods and properties, such a thing can never be permissible. Neither the conscience of the Ottomans nor the law can allow it.<ref>Y. Bayur. Turk Inkilabz. vol. III, part 3</ref>

At the same time, Enver ordered that all Armenians in the Ottoman forces, some as old as forty-five to sixty, to be disarmed, demobilized and assigned to labor battalion units (in Turkish, amele taburlari). Many of the Armenian recruits were taken and executed by Turkish soldiers and armed squads known as chetes (groups whose roles were similar to Nazi Germany's Einsatzgruppen) in remote areas.<ref>Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 178</ref> Those who initially survived were turned into road laborers (hamals) and construction mules but were eventually killed thereafter.<ref>Toynbee, Arnold. Armenian Atrocities: The Murder of a Nation. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1915. pp. 181–182</ref> The Ottoman government also created a bureaucratic administration divided into three levels that were permitted to act freely from the governing establishment, similar to the Sonderkommandos formed by the Nazis during World War II. They were the Katibi Mesul, "Responsible Secretaries", Murrahas, "Delegates" and Umumi Müfettish, "General Inspectors". The administration's purpose was to ensure that the orders by the government were "implemented strictly." <ref>Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 185</ref>

[edit] April 24

Further information: April 24 circular
Armenian intellectuals were arrested and later executed en masse by Ottoman authorities on the night of April 24, 1915.

In a swift move enacted by the Ottoman government, an estimated 250 Armenians from the intelligentsia were arrested on the night of April 24, 1915.<ref>Balakian, The Burning Tigris, pp. 211-212</ref>

[edit] The Special Organization (Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa)

Further information: Teskilati Mahsusa and  Special Organization (Ottoman Empire)

While there was an official 'special organization' founded in December 1911 by the Ottoman government, a second organization that participated in what led to the destruction of the Ottoman Armenian community was founded by the lttihad ve Terraki. This organization technically appeared in July 1914 and was supposed to differ from the one already existing in one important point; mostly according to the military court, it was meant to be a "government in a government" (needing no orders to act).

Later in 1914, the Ottoman government decided to influence the direction the special organization was to take by releasing criminals from central prisons to be the central elements of this newly formed special organization. According to the Mazhar commissions attached to the tribunal as soon as November 1914, 124 criminals were released from Pimian prison. Many other releases followed; in Ankara a few months later, 49 criminals were released from its central prison. Little by little from the end of 1914 to the beginning of 1915, hundreds, then thousands of prisoners were freed to form the members of this organization. Later, they were charged to escort the convoys of Armenian deportees. Vehib, commander of the Ottoman Third Army, called those members of the special organization, the “butchers of the human species.”

The organization was led by the Central Committee Members Doctor Nazim, Behaeddin Sakir, Atif Riza, and former Director of Public Security Aziz Bey. The headquarters of Behaeddin Sakir were in Erzurum, from where he directed the forces of the Eastern vilayets. Aziz, Atif and Nazim Beys operated in Istanbul, and their decisions were approved and implemented by Cevat Bey, the Military Governor of Istanbul.

According to the military tribunals set up after the war and other records, the criminals were chosen by a process of selection. They had to be ruthless butchers to be selected as a member of the special organization. The Mazhar commission, during the military court, had provided some lists of those criminals. In one instance, of 65 criminals released, 50 were in prison for murder. Such a disproportionate ratio between those condemned for murder and others imprisoned for minor crimes is reported to have been generalized. This selection process of criminals was, according to some researchers in the field of comparative genocide studies, who specialize in the Armenian cases, clearly indicative of the government's intention to commit mass murder of its Armenian population.

[edit] Process and camps of deportation

Many went to the Syrian town of Dayr az-Zawr and the surrounding desert. The fact that the Turkish government ordered the evacuation of ethnic Armenians at this time is not in dispute. It is claimed, based on a good deal of anecdotal evidence, that the Ottoman government did not provide any facilities or supplies to care for the Armenians during their deportation, nor when they arrived. The Ottoman government also prevented the deportees from supplying themselves. The Ottoman troops escorting the Armenians not only allowed others to rob, kill and rape the Armenians, but often participated in these activities themselves. In any event, the foreseeable consequence of the government's decision to move the Armenians was a significant number of deaths.

It is believed that twenty-five major concentration camps existed, under the command of Şükrü Kaya, one of the right hands of Talat Pasha.<ref>Kotek, Joël and Pierre Rigoulot. Le Siècle des camps. JC Lattes, 2000</ref>

Major concentration camps
The bodies of dead Armenians lie in a grove of trees in eastern Ottoman Empire, 1915.
The remaining bones of the Armenians of Erzinjan.

Dayr az-Zawr
35°17′N 40°10′E
Ras al-Ain Bonzanti
37°25′N 34°52′E
Intili, Islahiye, Radjo, Katma,
Karlik, Azaz, Akhterim, Mounboudji,
Bab, Tefridje, Lale, Meskene,
Sebil, Dipsi, Abouharar, Hamam,
Sebka, Marat, Souvar, Hama,
Homs Kahdem

The majority of the camps were situated near what are now the Iraqi and Syrian frontiers, and some were only temporary transit camps.<ref>Ibid.</ref> Others are said to have been used only as temporary mass burial zones—such as Radjo, Katma, and Azaz—that were closed in Fall 1915.<ref>Ibid.</ref> Some authors also maintain that the camps Lale, Tefridje, Dipsi, Del-El, and Ra's al-'Ain were built specifically for those who had a life expectancy of a few days.<ref>Ibid.</ref> As with Jewish kapos in the concentration camps, the majority of the guards inside the camps were Armenians.<ref>Ibid.</ref>

Even though nearly all the camps, including all the major ones, were open air, the rest of the mass killings in other minor camps was not limited to direct killings, but also to mass burning,<ref>Eitan Belkind was a Nili member, who infiltrated the Ottoman army as an official. He was assigned to the headquarters of Camal Pasha. He claims to have witnessed the burning of 5000 Armenians, quoted in Yair Auron, The Banality of Indifference: Zionism and the Armenian Genocide. New Brunswick, N.J., 2000, pp. 181, 183. Lt. Hasan Maruf, of the Ottoman army, describes how a population of a village were taken all together, and then burned. See, British Foreign Office 371/2781/264888, Appendices B., p. 6). Also, the Commander of the Third Army, Vehib's 12 pages affidavit, which was dated December 5, 1918, presented in the Trabzon trial series (March 29, 1919) included in the Key Indictment(published in Takvimi Vekayi, No. 3540, May 5, 1919), report such a mass burning of the population of an entire village near Mus. S. S. McClure write in his work, Obstacles to Peace, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917. pp. 400-401, that in Bitlis, Mus and Sassoun, The shortest method for disposing of the women and children concentrated in tile various camps was to burn them. And also that, Turkish prisoners who had apparently witnessed some of these scenes were horrified and maddened at the remembering the sight. They told the Russians that the stench of the burning human flesh permeated the air for many days after. The Germans, Ottoman allies, also witnessed the way Armenians were burned according to the Israeli historian, Bat Ye’or, who writes: The Germans, allies of the Turks in the First World War, … saw how civil populations were shut up in churches and burned, or gathered en masse in camps, tortured to death, and reduced to ashes,… (See: B. Ye'or, The Dhimmi. The Jews and Christians under Islam, Trans. from the French by D. Maisel P. Fenton and D. Liftman, Cranbury, N.J.: Frairleigh Dickinson University, 1985. p. 95)</ref> poisoning<ref>During the Trabzon trial series, of the Martial court (from the sittings between March 26 and Mat 17, 1919), the Trabzons Health Services Inspector Dr. Ziya Fuad wrote in a report that Dr. Saib, caused the death of children with the injection of morphine, the information was allegedly provided by two physicians (Drs. Ragib and Vehib), both Dr. Saib colleagues at Trabzons Red Crescent hospital, where those atrocities were said to have been committed. (See: Vahakn N. Dadrian, The Turkish Military Tribunal’s Prosecution of the Authors of the Armenian Genocide: Four Major Court-Martial Series, Genocide Study Project, H. F. Guggenheim Foundation, published in The Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 1997). Dr. Ziya Fuad, and Dr. Adnan, public health services director of Trabzon, submitted affidavits, reporting a cases, in which, two school buildings were used to organize children and then sent them on the mezzanine, to kill them with a toxic gas equipment. This case was presented during the Session 3, p.m., 1 April 1919, also published in the Constantinople newspaper Renaissance, 27 April 1919 (for more information, see: Vahakn N. Dadrian, The Role of Turkish Physicians in the World War I Genocide of Ottoman Armenians, in The Holocaust and Genocide Studies 1, no. 2 (1986): 169–192). The Turkish surgeon, Dr. Haydar Cemal wrote in Türkce Istanbul, No. 45, 23 December 1918, also published in Renaissance, 26 December 1918, that on the order of the Chief Sanitation Office of the IIIrd Army in January 1916, when the spread of typhus was an acute problem, innocent Armenians slated for deportation at Erzican were inoculated with the blood of typhoid fever patients without rendering that blood ‘inactive’. Jeremy Hugh Baron writes : Individual doctors were directly involved in the massacres, having poisoned infants, killed children and issued false certificates of death from natural causes. Nazim's brother-in-law Dr. Tevfik Rushdu, Inspector-General of Health Services, organized the disposal of Armenian corpses with thousands of kilos of lime over six months; he became foreign secretary from 1925 to 1938. (See: Jeremy Hugh Baron, Genocidal Doctors, publish in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, November, 1999, 92, pp.590-593). The psychiatrist, Robert Jay Lifton, writes in a parenthesis when introducing the crimes of NAZI doctors in his book Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, Basic Books, (1986) p. xii: (Perhaps Turkish doctors, in their participation in the genocide against the Armenians, come closest, as I shall later suggest). and drowning.</ref> and drowning.<ref>Oscar S. Heizer, the American consul at Trabzon, reports: This plan did not suit Nail Bey .... Many of the children were loaded into boats and taken out to sea and thrown overboard. (See: U.S. National Archives. R.G. 59. 867. 4016/411. April 11, 1919 report.) The Italian consul of Trabzon in 1915, Giacomo Gorrini, writes: I saw thousands of innocent women and children placed on boats which were capsized in the Black Sea. (See: Toronto Globe, August 26, 1915) Hoffman Philip, the American Charge at Constantinople chargé d'affairs, writes: Boat loads sent from Zor down the river arrived at Ana, one thirty miles away, with three fifths of passengers missing. (Cipher telegram, July 12, 1916. U.S. National Archives, R.G. 59.867.48/356.) The Trabzon trials reported Armenians having been drown in the Black Sea. (Takvimi Vekdyi, No. 3616, August 6, 1919, p. 2.)</ref>

[edit] Results of deportations

The Ottoman government ordered the evacuation or deportation of many Armenians living in Anatolia, Syria, and Mesopotamia.

[edit] Foreign corroboration

Despite Turkish contentions to the contrary, hundreds of eyewitnesses, including the neutral United States and the Ottoman Empire's own allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary, recorded and documented numerous acts of state-sponsored massacres, adding further weight to the Genocide argument.

[edit] The US mission in Ottoman Empire

Further information: Van Resistance

Throughout the Ottoman Empire the United States had established consulates in Adrianople, Kharput, Samsun, Smyrna, Trebizond, Van, as well as one in the Syrian town of Aleppo. The State Department mission at the time was headed by ambassador Henry Morgenthau Sr. in Constantinople. The United States was an officially neutral party in the war until it joined the side of the Allies in 1917. As the order for deportations and massacres were enacted, many consular officials reported back to the ambassador on what they were witnessing. One such documentation came in September 1915 by the American consul in Kharput, Leslie A. Davis who described his discovery of the bodies of nearly 10,000 Armenians dumped into several ravines near Lake Göeljuk, later referring to it as the "slaughterhouse province"<ref>Balakian. Burning Tigris, pp. 244–245, 314</ref>

A telegram sent by Ambassador Henry Morgenthau Sr. to the State Department on July 16, 1915 describes the massacres as a "campaign of race extermination."
Image:They Shall Not Perish.png
The United States contributed a significant amount of aid to the Armenians during the Armenian Genocide. Shown here is a poster for the American Committee for Relief in the Near East vowing that they (the Armenians) "shall not perish."
Image:NY Times Armenian genocide.jpg
An article by the New York Times dated December 15, 1915 states that nearly one million Armenians had deliberately been put to death by the Ottoman government.
Image:World War I- Near East Relief Workers -
Workers of the American Committee for Relief in the Near East in Sivas.
This political cartoon depicts the plight of the Armenians and the response from the United Kingdom (personified by John Bull) at the time.

Similar reports soon began to arrive to Morgenthau from Aleppo and Van (Van Resistance) to which he finally began holding occasional meetings with Talaat and Enver. As he courted them on the testimonies of the consulate officials, both justified the deportations as necessary to the war's cause by pointing out to the alleged armed Armenian revolution for the (Van Resistance} and elsewhere along the Russian front. Morgenthau would however contest their explanations in his memoirs as excuses conjured up by the CUP leaders.<ref>In his memoirs, Morgenthau noted "When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact....I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared to the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915."</ref>

In addition to the consulates, there were also several Protestant missionary compounds established in Armenian-populated regions, including Van and Kharput. Many of the head missionaries vividly described the brutal methods used by Turkish forces and documented numerous accounts of atrocities committed by them.

Newspapers and literary journals in the United States and around the world, including the New York Times (which ran 145 articles in 1915 alone), The Nation, the Halifax Herald, and The Independent, printed hundreds of articles both during and after the war, describing the deportations as state-enacted genocide.<ref>Balakian, The Burning Tigris, pp. 282-285</ref> Numerous American figures also spoke out against the Genocide including former president Theodore Roosevelt, rabbi Stephen Wise, William Jennings Bryan, and Alice Stone Blackwell. The American Near East Relief Committee, a relief organization for refugees in the Middle East helped donate over $102 million to Armenians both during and after the war.<ref>Goldberg, Andrew. The Armenian Genocide. Two Cats Productions, 2006</ref>

[edit] Allied forces in the Middle East

In addition to the Gallipoli campaign, on the Middle Eastern front, the British military was preoccupied in fighting against Ottoman forces in southern Syria and Mesopotamia. Throughout the fighting, the British also documented and essentially confirmed what was being reported by the American consuls and missionaries. British diplomat and later "Oriental Secretary" of Baghdad, Gertrude Bell filed the following report after hearing the account of a captured ottoman soldier:

The battalion left Aleppo on 3 February and reached Ras al-Ain in twelve hours....some 12,000 Armenians were concentrated under the guardianship of some hundred Kurds...These Kurds were called gendarmes, but in reality mere butchers; bands of them were publicly ordered to take parties of Armenians, of both sexes, to various destinations, but had secret instructions to destroy the males, children and old women...One of these gendarmes confessed to killing 100 Armenian men himself...the empty desert cisterns and caves were also filled with corpses....No man can ever think of a woman's body except as a matter of horror, instead of attraction, after Ras al-Ain.<ref>Fisk, Robert. The Great War for Civilisation: the Conquest of the Middle East. London: Alfred Knopf, 2005. p. 327.</ref>

Reacting to the numerous eyewitness accounts, British politician Viscount James Bryce, and historian Arnold J. Toynbee compiled statements from survivors and eyewitesses from other countries including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland who similarly attested to the deliberate massacres of innocent Armenians by Ottoman government forces. In 1916, they published The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1916. Although the book has since been criticized as British war-time propaganda to build up sentiment against the Central Powers, Bryce had submitted the work to scholars prior to its publication. University of Oxford Regius Professor Gilbert Murray stated of the tome, "I realize that in times of persecution passions run high...But the evidence of these letters and reports will bear any scrutiny and overpower any skepticism. Their genuineness is established beyond question."<ref>Dadrian, History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 228</ref> Other professors including H. L. Fisher of Sheffield University and Moorefield Storey, the former president of the American Bar Association, affirmed the same conclusion.<ref>Dadrian, History of the Armenian Genocide, pp. 228-229</ref>

First Lord of the Admiralty, and later prime minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill described in his multivolume work on the war, The World Crisis, 1911-1918, the massacres as an "administrative holocaust" and noted that "the clearance of race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act could be...There is no reason to doubt that that this crime was planned and executed for political reasons. The opportunity presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race opposed to all Turkish ambitions."<ref>Churchill, Winston. The World Crisis, 1911-1918. London: Free Press, 2005. p. 157</ref>

[edit] The German mission

As allies during the war, the Imperial German mission in the Ottoman Empire included both military and civilian components. While experienced staff officers were sent to train and assist the Ottoman military in fending off the offensives launched by the combined British, French and ANZAC forces at Gallipoli and in Syria, Germany had also brokered a deal with the Sublime Porte to commission the building of a railroad stretching from Berlin to the Middle East called the Baghdad Railway.

Armenian children dying in the streets.

Among the most famous persons to document the massacres was a German military medic in Von Der Goltz' detachment and second lieutenant by the name of Armin T. Wegner. Due to the strict censorship imposed by both Germany and the Ottoman Empire at the time, Wegner's desire to take photographs of the massacres was overruled by his superiors. Nevertheless, Wegner disobeyed those orders and took hundreds of photographs of Armenians being deported and being held in the camps in northern Syria and later smuggled them out of the country.<ref>Fisk, Great War for Civilisation, p. 326</ref>

German engineers and workers who were involved in building the railway also witnessed seeing Armenians being crammed into cattle cars — up to ninety in each car — and shipped along the railroad line. Franz Gunther, a representative for German based Deutsche Bank which was funding the construction of the Baghdad Railway, forwarded photographs to his directors and expressed his frustration over keeping silent while witnessing such things. Gunther described the train system used by the Ottoman government as another example of its "bestial cruelty".<ref>Ibid, p. 326</ref> This process was noted by German historian Hilmar Kaiser as the first time "'railway transport of civilian populations' [was used] as part of a plan of race 'extermination'."<ref>Balakian. Burning Tigris, p. 191</ref> Major General Otto von Lossow, the acting military attaché and head of the German Military Plenipotentiary in Ottoman Empire attested in a conference held in Batum in 1918 to the intentions of the Ottoman government:

The Turks have embarked upon the "total extermination of the Armenians in Transcaucasia...The aim of Turkish policy is, as I have reiterated, the taking of possession of Armenian districts and the extermination of the Armenians. Talaat's government wants to destroy all Armenians, not just in Turkey but also outside Turkey. On the basis of all the reports and news coming to me here in Tiflis there hardly can be any doubt that the Turks systematically are aiming at the extermination of the few hundred thousand Armenians whom they left alive until now.<ref>Dadrian, History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 349</ref>

Similarly, Major General Kress von Kressenstein noted that "The Turkish policy of causing starvation is an all too obvious proof...for the Turkish resolve to destroy the Armenians."<ref>Dadrian, History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 350</ref> Another notable figure in the German military camp was Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter. Scheubner-Richter, who was serving as a vice-consul in the provinces of Erzerum and Bitlis, documented the numerous massacres by Turkish forces against Armenians in the regions and wrote a total of fifteen reports regarding "deportations and mass killings" to Germany's chancellor in Berlin. He noted in his final report that less than 100,000 Armenians were left alive in the Ottoman Empire; the rest had otherwise been exterminated (in German, ausgerottet).<ref>Fisk, Great War for Civilisation, pp. 329-330</ref> Scheubner-Richter also detailed the methods used by the Ottoman government including its use of the Special Organization and other organised criminal groups. Several years later, in post-war Germany, Scheubner-Richter called for a "ruthless and relentless" attempt to "cleanse" the Jews out of the country. An adviser and close friend to future German dictator Adolf Hitler, Scheubner-Richter was shot and killed next to Hitler during the 1923 Munich Beer hall putsch.

In a genocide conference in 2001, professor Wolfgang Wipperman of Berlin's Free University introduced documents that showed numerous officers in the Germany's military High Command were aware of the mass killings but instead chose not to interfere nor condemn the Ottoman government.<ref>Fisk, Great War for Civilisation, p. 331</ref>

Germany's diplomatic mission was lead by Ambassador Count Paul von Wolff-Metternich. Like Morgenthau, Wolff-Metternich also began to receive tracts from consul officials in Ottoman Empire. From the province of Adana, Eugene Buge reported that the CUP chief had sworn to kill and massacre any Armenians who survived the deportation marches.<ref>Balakian, Burning Tigris, p. 186</ref> Wolff-Metternich himself stated, "The Committee [CUP] demands the extirpation of the last remnants of the Armenians and the government must yield....A Committee representative is assigned to each of the provincial administrations....Turkification means license to expel, to kill or destroy everything that is not Turkish." <ref>Auswärtiges Amt, West German Foreign Office Archives, K170, no. 4674, folio 63, qtd. in Burning Tigris, p. 186</ref>

[edit] The Russian military

The Russian Empire's response to the bombardment of its Black Sea naval ports was primarily a land campaign through the Caucasus. Early victories against the Ottoman Empire from the winter of 1914 to the spring 1915 saw significant gains of territory, including relieving the Armenian bastion resisting in the city of Van in May 1915. The Russians also recorded encountering the bodies of Armenians in the areas they advanced through. In March 1916, the scenes they saw in the city of Erzerum led the Russians to retaliate against the Turkish IIIrd Army whom they held responsible for the massacres, destroying it in its entirety.<ref>New York Times Dispatch. Russians Slaughter Turkish IIIrd Army: Give No Quarter to Men Held Responsible for the Massacre of Armenians. The New York Times, March 6, 1916.</ref>

[edit] 1919-1920 Military tribunals

[edit] Domestic courts-martial

Domestic court-martials began on 23 November 1918. These courts were designed by the Sultan Mehmed VI, who blamed the Committee of Union and Progress for the destruction of the empire through pushing it into World War I. The Armenian issue was used as a tool in these courts to punish the leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress. Most of the documents generated in these courts later moved to international trials. By January 1919, a report to Sultan Mehmed VI accused over 130 suspects, most of them were high officials. Mehmed Talat Pasha and Enver had left Istanbul, before 1919, on the fact that Sultan Mehmed VI would not accept any verdict that does not include their life. The term Three Pashas generally refers to this prominent triumvirate that pushed the Ottomans into World War I.

The court-martials officially disbanded the Committee of Union and Progress, which had actively ruled the Ottoman Empire for ten years. All the assets of the organization were transferred to the treasury, and the assets of the people who were found guilty moved to "teceddüt firkasi". According to verdicts handed down by the court, all members except for the Three Pashas were transferred to jails in Bekiraga, then moved to Malta. The Three Pashas were found guilty in absentia. The court-martials blamed the members of Ittihat Terakki for pursuing a war that did not fit into the notion of Millet.

[edit] International trials

On 24 May 1915 the Triple Entente warned the Ottoman Empire that "In the view of these...crimes of Turkey against humanity and civilization ... the Allied governments announce publicly.. that they will hold personally responsible... all members of the Ottoman government and those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres.<ref name="nazi">William S. Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1922-1945, Franklin Watts; Revised edition (1984). Also see: William A. Schabas, Genocide in International Law: The Crimes of Crimes, Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 16-17</ref>"

Image:Armeniangenocide starved.JPG
A photograph of a starving Armenian mother and child.

Following the Armistice of Mudros in January 1919, the preliminary Peace Conference in Paris (Paris Peace Conference, 1919) established "The Commission on Responsibilities and Sanctions" which was chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Lansing. Following the commission's work, several articles were added to the treaty, and the acting government of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Mehmed VI and Damat Adil Ferit Pasha, were summoned to trial. The Treaty of Sèvres gave recognition of the Democratic Republic of Armenia and developed a mechanism to bring to trial the criminals of "barbarous and illegitimate methods of warfare... [including] offenses against the laws and customs of war and the principles of humanity".<ref name="nazi" />

Article 230 of the Treaty of Sèvres required the Ottoman Empire, "to hand over to the Allied Powers the persons whose surrender may be required by the latter as being responsible for the massacres committed during the continuance of the state of war on territory which formed part of the Ottoman Empire on August 1, 1914."

At the Military Trials in Istanbul in 1919 many of those responsible for the genocide were sentenced to death in absentia, after having escaped trial in 1918. It is believed that the accused succeeded in destroying the majority of the documents that could be used as evidence against them before they escaped. Admiral Calthorpe, the British High Commissioner, described the destruction of documents: "Just before the Armistice, officials had been going to the archives department at night and making a clean sweep of most of the documents." Aydemir, S.S., on the other hand, writes in his "Makedonyadan Ortaasyaya Enver Pasa.":

Before the flight of the top CUP leaders, Talat Pasa stopped by at the waterfront residence of one of his friends on the shore of Arnavudköy, depositing there a suitcase of documents. It is said that the documents were burned in the basement's furnace. Indeed ... the documents and other papers of the CUP's Central Committee are nowhere to be found.

The military court established the will of the CUP to eliminate the Armenians physically, via its special organization. The Court Martial, Istanbul, 1919 pronounced sentences as follows:

The Court Martial taking into consideration the above-named crimes declares, unanimously, the culpability as principal factors of these crimes the fugitives Talat Pasha, former Grand Vizir, Enver Efendi, former War Minister, struck off the register of the Imperial Army, Cemal Efendi, former Navy Minister, struck off too from the Imperial Army, and Dr. Nazim Efendi, former Minister of Education, members of the General Council of the Union & Progress, representing the moral person of that party;... the Court Martial pronounces, in accordance with said stipulations of the Law the death penalty against Talat, Enver, Cemal, and Dr. Nazim.

[edit] Casualties, 1914 to 1918

While there is no clear consensus on how many Armenians lost their lives during what is called the Armenian genocide, there is general agreement among Western scholars that over a million Armenians may have perished between 1914 and 1918. Estimates vary between 300,000 (the Turkish claim) and 1.5 million (the Armenian claim), while Encyclopædia Britannica makes special reference to the research conducted by Arnold J. Toynbee who was appointed by the British Foreign Office to investigate the forced deportation of the Armenians and the related casualties, who estimated a death toll of around 600,000 to 800,000; which formed the basis of the Allies' charges against the Ottoman government at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 that up to 800,000 Armenians were killed during the war.

[edit] The position of Republic of Turkey

See also: Denial of the Armenian Genocide

At present, the Republic of Turkey does not accept that the deaths of Armenians during the "evacuation" or "deportation" are the results of an intention from Ottoman authorities (or those in charge during the war) to eliminate in whole or in part the Armenian people indiscriminantly. Public prosecutors have made recourse to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code that prohibits "insulting Turkishness" against some Turkish intellectuals who implied that the events did indeed constitute a genocide; but Turkish courts have acquitted the prosecutees in all of the cases. The Turkish government has frequently protested against recognition of the genocide by other countries.

In March 2005, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan invited Turkish, Armenian and international historians to form a Commission to establish the events of 1915. In April 2005 Armenian president Robert Kocharyan responded to Turkish Prime Minister's offer by sending a letter to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and in the letter telling "suggestion to address the past cannot be effective if it deflects from addressing the present and the future. In order to engage in a useful dialog, we need to create the appropriate and conducive political environment. It is the responsibility of governments to develop bilateral relations and we do not have the right to delegate that responsibility to historians. That is why we have proposed and propose again that, without pre-conditions, we establish normal relations between our two countries.” In that context, President Kocharian said, “an intergovernmental commission can meet to discuss any and all outstanding issues between our two nations, with the aim of resolving them and coming to an understanding.” The letter sent by President Kocharian to Prime Minister Erdogan in April 2005 remains ignored."<ref>[1]</ref>

[edit] Academic views on the issue

[edit] Recognition

There is a general agreement among Western historians that the Armenian Genocide did happen. The International Association of Genocide Scholars (the major body of scholars who study genocide in North America and Europe), for instance, formally recognize the event and consider it to be undeniable. Some consider denial to be a form of hate speech or/and historical revisionism.

Some Turkish intellectuals also support the genocide thesis despite opposition from Turkish nationalists; these include Ragıp Zarakolu, Ali Ertem, Taner Akçam, Halil Berktay, Yektan Türkyilmaz. Fatma Müge Göcek, Dr. Fikret Adanır, Seyla Benhabib and Türküler Isiksel. In 1994, Turkish authors Ayşe Nur Zarakolu, Ragıp Zarakolu and Emirhan Oğuz were prosecuted for translating a French text, "The Armenians: story of a genocide", which had been banned in Turkey. In 2004, five hundred Turkish intellectuals protested a new high-school history curriculum which ordered teachers to denounce to students "the unfounded allegations" of the Armenians.

[edit] Orhan Pamuk

During a February 2005 interview with Das Magazin, novelist Orhan Pamuk made statements implicating Turkey in massacres against Armenians and persecution of the Kurds, declaring: "Thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it". Subjected to a hate campaign, he left Turkey, before returning in 2005 in order to defend his right to freedom of speech: "What happened to the Ottoman Armenians in 1915 was a major thing that was hidden from the Turkish nation; it was a taboo. But we have to be able to talk about the past".<ref>BBC News — "Author's trial set to test Turkey" — 14 December 2005</ref> Lawyers of two Turkish ultranationalist professional associations then brought criminal charges against Pamuk.<ref>[2]</ref> On January 23, 2006, however, the charges of "insulting Turkishness" were dropped (because of formal reasons without finding it necessary to judge on the essence of the case), a move welcomed by the EU — that they had been brought at all was still a matter of contention for European politicians.

[edit] Denial

Almost all Turkish intellectuals, scientists and historians accept that many Armenians died during the conflict, but they do not necessarily consider these events to be genocide. A number of Western academics in the field of Ottoman history, including Bernard Lewis (Princeton University), Heath Lowry (Princeton University), Justin McCarthy (University of Louisville), Gilles Veinstein (College de France),<ref>Gilles Veinstein, "Trois questions sur un massacre", L’Histoire, no. 187 (April 1995), pp. 40–41.</ref> Stanford Shaw (UCLA), J.C. Hurewitz (Columbia University), Guenter Lewy (University of Massachusetts), Roderic Davison (Central European University), Jeremy Salt (University of Melbourne)<ref>Jeremy Salt, "The Narrative Gap in Ottoman Armenian History, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol 39, No 1, January 2003 pp 19-36</ref>, Malcolm Yapp (University of London)<ref>Emeritus Professor Malcom Yapp, Middle Eastern Studies (MES) journal Oct 96, Vol. 32 Issue 4, p 395, 3p</ref> and Rhoads Murphey (University of Birmingham) have expressed doubts as to the genocidal character of the events. They offer the opinion that the weight of evidence instead points to serious intercommunal warfare, perpetrated by both Muslim and Christian irregular forces, aggravated by disease and famine, as the causes of suffering and massacres in Anatolia and adjoining areas during the First World War. They acknowledge that the resulting death toll among the Armenian communities of the region was immense, but claim that much more remains to be discovered before historians will be able to sort out precisely responsibility between warring and innocent, and to identify the causes for the events which resulted in the death or removal of large numbers in eastern Anatolia.

On May 19, 1985, a total of 63 scholars from various American universities sent a letter to the U.S. House of representatives opposing the House Joint Resolution 192 which defines the events of 1915 as genocide.<ref>Republic of Turkey - Ministry of Culture and Tourism — "How Do Scholars React To Allegations Of Genocide?" — Armenian Issue — Allegations-Facts.</ref> The French lower house decided on October 12,2006 to make it illegal to deny the Armenian genocide. The bill has yet to be ratified by the French Senate in order to become law. As expected, it has provoked intense negative media reactions in Turkey.<ref>[3]. </ref> Orhan Pamuk, French President Jacques Chirac and Daniel Fried, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, expressed their concerns about the new law. <ref></ref><ref></ref>

[edit] The position of the international community

See also: Post-Armenian Genocide timeline

Although there has been much academic recognition of the Armenian Genocide, this has not always been followed by governments and media. Many governments, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Ukraine, and Georgia, do not officially use the word genocide to describe these events. Although there is no federal recognition of the Armenian Genocide, 39 of the 50 U.S. states recognize the events of 1915 to 1917 as genocide.

In recent years, parliaments of a number of countries where Armenian diaspora has a strong presence have officially recognized the event as genocide. Two recent examples are France and Switzerland. Turkish entry talks with the European Union were met with a number of calls to consider the event as genocide, though it never became a precondition.

Political map showing nations and states which have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide.

Countries officially recognizing the Armenian genocide include Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela. Although part of the United Kingdom, Wales also officially recognizes the Armenian Genocide. The Parliament of the State of New South Wales, Australia passed a resolution acknowledging and condeming the Armenian Genocide in 1997.[4],[5]

Many newspapers for a long time would not use the word genocide without disclaimers such as "alleged" and many continue to do so. A number of those policies have now been reversed so that even casting doubt on the term is against editorial policy, as is the case with the New York Times.

In September 2004, President Mohammad Khatami of Iran visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial at Tsitsernakaberd in Yerevan.<ref> - "International Affirmation And Recognition Of The Armenian Genocide"</ref>

On June 15, 2005, the German Bundestag passed a resolution that "honors and commemorates the victims of violence, murder and expulsion among the Armenian people before and during the First World War". The German resolution mentions that "many independent historians, parliaments and international organizations describe the expulsion and annihilation of the Armenians as genocide", but stops short of doing so itself. It also contains an apology for any German responsibility.<ref name="bundestag">Bundestag resolution</ref>

On 12 April 2006, some members of the French parliament submitted a bill to create a law that would punish any person denying the existence of the Armenian genocide with up to 5 years of imprisonment and a fine of 45,000. The proposition was originally set to be debated on 18 May 2006, but debates were postponed until 12 October 2006.<ref></ref> Ignoring Turkish protests, the French National Assembly (Lower House of Parliament) adopted a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks and overwhelmingly passed in the National Assembly. The bill has been criticized by Turks as an attempt to garner votes amongst the 500,000 people of Armenian descent in the 2007 presidential elections. As of 12 October 2006, the bill still needs the approval of the French Senate and possibly a validation by the French Constitutional Council to become law.

On 10th May 2006, the Bulgarian Government rejected a bill on recognition of the Armenian Genocide <ref></ref>. This came after Emel Etem Toşkova, the Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria and one of the leaders of the MRF, the main Turkish party in Bulgaria, declared that her party would walk out of the coalition government if the bill was passed. The bill itself was brought forward by the openly turkophobic, Bulgarian nationalist Ataka party.

International bodies that recognize the Armenian genocide include the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities[citation needed], the International Center for Transitional Justice, based on a report prepared for TARC, the International Association of Genocide Scholars<ref>A Letter from The International Association of Genocide Scholars</ref>, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the World Council of Churches, the self-declared unofficial Parliament of Kurdistan in Exile<ref> - "Kurdistan Recognizes the Armenian Genocide"</ref>, and the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal.

On 4 September 2006, Members of the European Parliament voted for the inclusion of a clause prompting Turkey "to recognize the Armenian genocide as a condition for its EU accession" in a highly critical report, which was adopted by a broad majority in the foreign relations committee of the Strasbourg Parliament<ref> "MEPs back Armenia genocide clause in Turkey report" by Lucia Kubosova, published by EU Observer on 5 September 2006</ref>. This requirement was later dropped on 27 September 2006 by the general assembly of the European Parliament by 429 votes in favour to 71 against, with 125 abstentions<ref></ref>.

On September 26, 2006, the two largest political parties in the Netherlands, Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the Labour Party (PvdA), removed in total three Turkish candidates for the upcoming national elections scheduled for November 22, 2006, because they either deny or refuse to publicly declare that the Armenian Genocide had happened. The magazine HP/De Tijd reported that the number 2 of the PvdA list of candidates, Nebahat Albayrak (who was born in Turkey and is of Turkish descent) had acknowledged that the term "genocide" was appropriate to describe the events. Albayrak denied having said this and accused the press of putting words in her mouth, saying that "I'm not a politician that will trample my identity. I've always defended the same views everywhere with regard to the 'genocide'" <ref></ref>. It was reported that a large section of the Turkish minority are considering boycotting the elections. This could swing the tight electoral race towards the CDA since Turks traditionally vote heavily for the PvdA. Netherlands' Turkish minority numbers 365,000 people, out of which 235,000 are eligible to vote.

On November 29, 2006, the lower house of Argentina's parliament adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The bill was overwhelmingly adopted by the assembly and declared April 24th, the international day of remembrance for the Armenian genocide as an official “day of mutual tolerance and respect” among peoples around the world.

[edit] Impact on culture

[edit] Memorial

Image:Yerewan war memorial.jpg
Genocide memorial at the Tsitsernakaberd hill, Yerevan

The idea for the memorial came in 1965, at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the genocide. A 24 hour mass protest (the first such demonstration in the USSR) was initiated in Yerevan, Armenian SSR, to demand recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Soviet authorities. Two years later the memorial (by architects Kalashian and Mkrtchyan) was completed at the Tsitsernakaberd hill above the Hrazdan gorge in Yerevan. The 44 metre stele symbolizes the national rebirth of Armenians. 12 slabs are positioned in a circle, representing 12 lost provinces in present day Turkey. In the centre of the circle, in depth of 1.5 metres, there is an eternal flame. Along the park at the memorial there is a 100 metre wall with names of towns and villages where massacres are known to have taken place. In 1995 a small underground circular museum was opened at the other end of the park where one can learn basic information about the events in 1915. Some photos taken by German photographers (Turkish allies during World War I) including photos taken by Armin T. Wegner and some publications about the genocide are also displayed. Near the museum is a spot where foreign statesmen plant trees in memory of the genocide.

Each April 24th (Armenian Genocide Commemoration Holiday) hundreds of thousands of people walk to the genocide monument and lay flowers (usually red carnations or tulips) around the eternal flame. Armenians around the world mark the genocide in different ways, and many memorials have been built in Armenian Diaspora communities.

Edward Saint-Ivan's story DeJa Vu that appears in his anthology "The Black Knight's God" includes a fictional survivor of Armenian genocide.

[edit] Art

The well-known metal band System of a Down, four musicians all of Armenian descent but living in California, frequently promote awareness of the Armenian Genocide. Every year (except 2006), the band puts on a Souls concert tour in support of the cause. The band wrote the song "P.L.U.C.K. (Politically Lying, Unholy, Cowardly Killers)" about this genocide in their eponymous debut album. The booklet reads: "System Of A Down would like to dedicate this song to the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by the Turkish Government in 1915." Other songs, including "X" (Toxicity) and "Holy Mountains" (Hypnotize), are also believed to be about the Armenian genocide.

The American hardcore band Integrity wrote a song about the Armenian Genocide called Armenian Persecution which was included in their 1995 album Systems Overload.

American composer and singer Daniel Decker has achieved critical acclaim for his collaborations with Armenian composer Ara Gevorgian. The song "Adana", named after the city where one of the first massacres of the Armenian people took place, tells the story of the Armenian Genocide. Decker wrote the song's lyrics to complement the music of Ara Gevorgian. Cross Rhythms, Europe's leading religious magazine and web portal said of "Adana", "seldom has a disaster of untold suffering produced such a magnificent piece of art." He was officially invited by the Armenian government to sing "Adana" at a special concert in Yerevan, Armenia on April 24 2005 to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. To date, "Adana" has been translated into 17 languages and recorded by singers around the world.

Armenian-American keyboardist Derek Sherinian collaborated with duduk master Djivan Gasparyan on the song "Prelude To Battle", which Sherinian "dedicated to his great grandmother who fought the Turks in the Armenian genocide" as part of his 2006 album "Blood of the Snake".

The topic of the Armenian Genocide is also occurring in film and literature. In 1919 a Hollywood movie called Ravished Armenia was produced based on a book written by a survivor, Aurora Mardiganian. It is a major theme of Atom Egoyan's film Ararat (2002). There are also references in Elia Kazan's America, America or Henri Verneuil's Mayrig. Known Italian directors, Vittorio and Paolo Taviani, are planning to make another Genocide film based on a book called La Masseria Delle Allodole (The Farm of the Larks), by Antonia Arslan.

In literature, the most famous piece concerning the Armenian Genocide is Franz Werfel's The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, published in 1933 and subsequently marked as "undesirable" by German (Nazi) authorities. The book became a bestseller and the Hollywood studio MGM wanted to make The Forty Days of Musa Dagh as a film, but this attempt was successfully foiled by Turkey (twice). The film was finally made independently in 1982, but its artistic value is questionable. Kurt Vonnegut wrote the 1988 fictional book Bluebeard, in which the Armenian Genocide was a major theme. Louis de Berniéres uses the time and place of the Armenian Genocide as a background in his novel Birds without Wings, which is considered by some as rather pro-Turkish. Another book using the Armenian Genocide topic is Edgar Hilsenrath's The Story of the Last Thought (Das Märchen vom letzten Gedanken), published in 1989.

There is also a play by Richard Kalinoski, Beast on the Moon, about two Armenian Genocide survivors.

[edit] See also

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
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[edit] References


[edit] Links

[edit] Bibliography

  • Akçam, Taner, From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide, Zed Books, 2004
  • Akçam, Taner. A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility. Metropolitan Books, 2006
  • Balakian, Peter. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response. New York: Perennial, 2003 ISBN 0-06-019840-0
  • Bartov, Omer, Mirrors of Destruction: War, Genocide and Modern Identity, Oxford Univ. Press, 2000
  • Dadrian, Vahakn, N. The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus Berghahn Books, 1995
  • Dündar, Fuat, Ittihat ve Terakki'nin Müslümanlari Iskan Politikasi (1913-18), Iletisim, 2001
  • Fisk, Robert, The Great War for Civilisation — The Conquest of the Middle East London: Alfred Knopf, 2005 ISBN 1-84115-007-X
  • Gust, Wolfgang, Der Völkermord an den Armeniern, Zu Klampen, 2005
  • Lepsius, Johannes. Deutschland und Armenien 1914–1918, Sammlung diplomatischer Aktenstücke. Donat & Temmen Verlag, 1986
  • Melson, Robert, Revolution and Genocide. On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, The University of Chicago Press, 1996
  • Power, Samantha. "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide. Harper, 2003
  • Wallimann, Isidor (ed.): Genocide and the Modern Age: Etiology and Case Studies of Mass Death, Syracuse Univ. Press, 2000
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Armenian Genocide

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