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The Armenian Genocide


Lemkin was the driving force behind the Genocide ... Some Armenians resisted this mistreatment and agitated for reforms. Preparation for the Genocide ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide
  • Greg Bedian
  • Genocide Education Network of Illinois

What well cover today
  • Genocide overview
  • Armenia overview
  • Armenian Genocide
  • Moving toward genocide
  • Implementation
  • Facts and figures
  • Aftermath
  • Whats happened since
  • Whats happening now
  • Resource review

Where did the word Genocide come from?
  • Greek genos (race) Latin -cida (killer)
  • Raphael Lemkin coined the word genocide in 1943
  • "I became interested in genocide because it
    happened so many timesfirst to the Armenians,
    then after the Armenians, Hitler took action."
  • Lemkin was the driving force behind the Genocide
    Convention, which was adopted by the UN in 1948
  • One million Armenians died, but a law against
    the murder of peoples was written with the ink of
    their blood and the spirit of their sufferings

Historic Armenia
Present Day Armenia
  • Republic of Armenia
  • Location Southwestern Asia
  • 29,800 sq km (smaller than Maryland)
  • Population 3 million
  • Capital Yerevan
  • Independent nation since 1991

Background on Armenia
  • Over 4000 years old
  • Has its own language, alphabet
  • Has distinctive architecture
  • First nation to adopt Christianity, 301 AD
  • The location of the Garden of Eden and Mt.
    Ararat, where Noahs ark landed

Armenian Genocide Overview
  • The first genocide of the 20th Century
  • Occurred in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1923
  • More than 1.5 million Armenians killed
  • 2 million lived in the Ottoman Empire at that
  • Nearly every Armenian lost a family member
  • Perpetrated by the Young Turk Government
  • Main reason for genocide Turkification
  • Pretexts for genocide
  • Religious differences
  • Economic differences
  • Scapegoat for WWI military losses

Seeds of Genocide
  • The Ottoman Empire was in decline, losing
    territory, wealth, and influence
  • Nearly 500,000 Moslem refugees created by Balkan
    War settled in and around Constantinople
  • Armenians were frequently subjected to massacres,
    kidnapping, rape and robbery
  • As Christians, Armenians were second class
    citizens in Ottoman Turkey
  • Some Armenians resisted this mistreatment and
    agitated for reforms

Preparation for the Genocide
  • Special groups of Turks and Kurds, often made up
    of released prisoners, were created to carry out
    the massacres
  • Most Armenian men were drafted into the army,
    then disarmed and put into labor camps
  • Government officials, muslim clerics and others
    spread rumors of Armenians betraying Turkey,
    calling for punishment of the infidels
  • Community leaders arrested on April 24, 1915, and
    put to death soon after

Perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide
Talaat Pasha Interior Minister
Enver Pasha Minister of War
Jemal Pasha Minister of the Navy
Leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress,
or Young Turks
  • April 24, 1915
  • Hundreds of Armenian intellectuals in
    Constantinople, Symrna, and elsewhere are
    arrested and later killed
  • With its able-bodied men in the Army, and without
    its leadership, the Armenian population was
  • Use of new technologies
  • Women, children, and the elderly were loaded onto
    trains and relocated, unable to return to their
  • Refugees by the hundreds were forced into caves,
    fires were lit at the entrance and those inside
    were killed by asphyxiation in primitive gas

Implementing the Genocide
  • Armed groups would come to a village, and take
    remaining able-bodied males to the outskirts of
    town and massacre them
  • Women, children and elderly then ordered to
    prepare for deportation, valuables were
    registered and stored for safe keeping
  • Caravans preyed upon by marauding bands, stole
    remaining valuables, raped and killed
  • Girls carried off, children enslaved or raised as
    Kurds or Turks
  • Starvation and disease, exposure, brutality,
  • Most of those that make it to the desert are

Map of Deportation Paths and Killing Zones
January 15th, 1916 To the Government of
Aleppo We are informed that certain orphanages
which have opened also admitted the children of
the Armenians. Should this be done through
ignorance of our real purpose, or because of
contempt of it, the Government will view the
feeding of such children or any effort to prolong
their lives as an act completely opposite to its
purpose, since it regards the survival of these
children as detrimental. I recommend the
orphanages not to receive such children and no
attempts are to be made to establish special
orphanages for them. Minister of the Interior, TA
September 16, 1916. To the Government of
Allepo It was at first communicated to you that
the government, by order of the Jemiet, had
decided to destroy completely all the Armenians
living in Turkey An end must be put to their
existence, however criminal the measures taken
may be, and no regard must be paid to either age
or sex nor to the conscientious scruples.Talaat
Pasha, Minister of the Interior
August 22, 1939.Accordingly, I have placed my
death-head formation in readinessfor the present
only in the Eastwith orders to them to send to
death mercilessly and without compassion, men,
women, and children of Polish derivation and
language. Only thus shall we gain the living
space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all,
speaks to-day of the annihilation of the
Adolf Hitler
Reaction to Genocide
  • Armenians
  • Most didnt know what was happening until it was
    too late
  • Church leaders urged villagers not to give in to
  • Some organized self-defense or fled
  • Turks, Kurds and others
  • Many took advantage of the situation - looting,
    killing, etc.
  • Some risked their lives to help save Armenians
  • Foreigners
  • Many news reports, diplomatic protests
  • Some were able to save Armenians
  • No real action taken to stop genocide by foreign
    governments, neither Turkeys enemies nor its

Over 145 articles about the genocide were
printed in 1915 alone
Armenian Population by Province
Pre-Genocide 1914 Sivas 225,000 Erzerum 215,000
Mamuret-Ulaziz 204,000 Bitlis 198,000 Van 197,000
Diyarbakir 124,000
Post-Genocide 1926 Sivas 5,100 Erzerum lt100 M
amuret-Ulaziz 5,000 Bitlis lt100 Van lt100 Diyarb
akir lt100
  • In 1914, there were 2,538 Armenian churches, 451
    monasteries, and nearly 2,000 schools
  • Today, outside of Istanbul, Armenians possess six
    churches, no monasteries, and no schools
  • Nearly all moveable property was either
    confiscated by the government, looted by mobs or
    seized during death marches
  • The sum of five million Turkish pounds,
    (around 33 tons of gold) deposited by the
    Turkish government at the ReichsBank in Berlin
    in 1916 was in large part, perhaps wholly
    Armenian money."
  • Sir James Baldwin, the former British prime

  • Armenia to become US Mandate, US did not accept
    this mission
  • Aid activities to help survivors were prominent
    in American society

  • First international US Red Cross Mission
  • 117 Million raised (over 1 Billion today!)
  • Remember the starving Armenians
  • Setup orphanages, clinics and schools for the

What happened to the perpetrators?
  • Genocide organizers tried in abstentia and found
    guilty, but never pursued
  • Armenian assassins hunted down and killed the
    main perpetrators
  • On March 15, 1921, Soghomon Tehlirian shot and
    killed Talaat Pasha in Berlin
  • During the trial, details of the Armenian
    Genocide were discussed and Tehlirian was
  • Intrigued by the case, Raphael Lemkin began
    studying what happened to the Armenians. His
    work later resulted in the Genocide Convention

Armenian Genocide Today
  • Armenians dispersed all over the world
  • Only about 55,000 Armenians left in Turkey, most
    in Istanbul, far from historic Armenia
  • The Armenian names of cities, villages,
    mountains, rivers, and even animals have been
    changed to Turkish names
  • Ancient churches and other historic sites are
    being intentionally neglected or destroyed
  • Much of Armenian culture has been lost
  • Nearly all traces of 4000 years of Armenian
    existence on those lands are being eliminated

Ongoing Genocide
Genocide Denial
  • To this day the Turkish Government is actively
    and aggressively engaged in Genocide denial
  • Turkey passed a law in 2004 known as Article 301
    which makes it a criminal offense to mention the
    Armenian Genocide in Turkey
  • Hrant Dink, Orhan Pamuk, and other prominent
    Turks have been arrested for violating Article
  • Turkey currently pays millions to US lobbying and
    PR firms to plan and implement its denial
    campaign with the US government and in the US
  • Turkey has funded Turkish studies chairs at
    prestigious universities like U of Chicago and
    Princeton to promote the Turkish view of the

What they say
  • The number of Armenian deaths is grossly inflated
  • More Muslims died during the same period
  • Armenian American evidence of genocide is derived
    from dubious and prejudicial sources
  • The Armenian deaths do not constitute genocide
  • The British convened the Malta Tribunal to try
    Ottoman officials for crimes against Armenians
    and all of the accused were acquitted
  • The Holocaust bears no meaningful relation to the
    Ottoman Armenian experience

Things to Remember
  • Genocide can happen anywhere
  • Genocide usually occurs during times of crisis or
  • Genocide denial is a continuation of genocide,
    killing the victims twice
  • Genocide is a crime against all of humanity, not
    just the victims

Learn More About Genocide
  • Websites
  • Books
  • The Road From Home, by David Kherdian
  • A Problem from Hell, by Samantha Powers
  • The Burning Tigris, by Peter Balakian
  • A Shameful Act The Armenian Genocide and the
    Question of Turkish Responsibility, by Taner

The End
Speak Up! Stand Against Genocide!
  • In Germany, they first came for the communists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a
  • Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak
    up because I wasn't a Jew.
  • Then they came for the trade unionists, and I
    didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade
  • Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't
    speak up because I wasn't a Catholic.
  • Then they came for me -- and by that time there
    was nobody left to speak up.
  • Martin Niemoller

20th Centurys Legacy of Genocide
  • 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide
  • 1932-1933 Ukrainian Famine-Genocide
  • 1938-1945 Nazi Holocaust of Jews, Poles, Gypsies
  • 1975-1979 Cambodia
  • 1994 Rwanda
  • 1995 Bosnia
  • Today Darfur
  • Tomorrow ????
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