Essays on the armenian genocide
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The event features speeches and tributes delivered by prominent political figures and civic leaders, officials of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, representatives of major Armenian-American organizations, and distinguished scholars and educators as well as high-ranking Armenian and non-Armenian clergy. This article is a press release submitted to the Armenian Weekly and has been published to our community news section as a courtesy. If your organization has news it would like to submit to the paper for consideration, please email us at editor armenianweekly.
Please note that this service is reserved for organizations that engage in not-for-profit or humanitarian work in the Armenian community. Publication is not guaranteed. I cannot enter, being way over the age limit, but will encourage everyone who has not been to Tsitsernakaberd in Yerevan to do so. Almost everyone believed that the capture of Istanbul was only a question of time It was not a coincidence that the Armenian genocide took place soon after the Sarikamis disaster and was contemporaneous with the empire's struggle at Gallipoli A nation that feels itself on the verge of destruction will not hesitate to destroy another group it holds responsible for its situation A prediction made by the German ambassador Wangenheim is worth mentioning.
With the outbreak of the war in August , Henry Morgenthau [the US ambassador] warned him that the Turks would massacre the Armenians in Anatolia, to which Wangenheim replied, "So long as England does not attack Canakkale [the Turkish fortress at the Dardanelles] Otherwise, nothing can be guaranteed. Nonetheless, he too links the process with key moments in the Dardanelles campaign. Bloxham believes that the arrests of the Armenian intelligentsia on 24 April were triggered by the news that the British and the French were about to land their troops at Gallipoli.
One month into the Gallipoli land campaign, the leaders of Britain, France and Russia issued the following solemn warning:. In light of these crimes [against the Armenians], which Turkey has perpetrated against humanity and civilisation, the Entente powers openly inform the Sublime Porte that they will hold members of the Ottoman Empire and their subordinates who are involved in the massacre personally responsible for this crime. This was the first time in international relations that the potent phrase "crimes against humanity" had been used.
In Bloxham's narrative of cumulative radicalisation, these words play a crucial role. Following this threat, with nothing more to lose, the Turkish regime abandoned all restraint. For Suny, the most telling witness to the thinking of the Ottoman political leadership, at the time of the Armenian catastrophe, was the ambassador of the then neutral US, to whom two leading members of the ruling Young Turk triumvirate, Enver Pasha and Talaat Pasha, spoke with a quite extraordinary frankness. It is no use for you to argue We have already disposed of three-quarters of the Armenians The hatred between the Turks and the Armenians is now so intense that we have got to finish with them.
If we don't, they will plan their revenge I have accomplished more toward solving the Armenian problem than Abdul Hamid did in thirty years. As evidence of the extremity of the massacre accumulated, Morgenthau requested a meeting with the war minister, Enver Pasha.
This is what he learned:. The Armenians had a fair warning You know what happened at Van. They obtained control of the city, used bombs against government buildings, and killed a large number of Moslems. We knew that they were planning uprisings in other places. You must understand that we are now fighting for our lives at the Dardanelles and that we are sacrificing large numbers of men.
While we are engaged in such a struggle as this, we cannot permit people in our own country to attack us in the back. We have got to prevent this no matter what means we have to resort to The meaning of this evidence seems clear.
Professional Ethics and the Denial of Armenian Genocide
In the drive towards the Armenian Genocide, the crisis precipitated by the Entente bombardments of the Dardanelles fortresses in March and the troop landings at Gallipoli on 25 April - in association with the slow advance of the Russian Army in the Caucasus - played a highly significant part. In pointing this out, I hope not to be misunderstood.
To argue that the Dardanelles campaign was one of the crucial triggers for the Armenian Genocide is not to argue that the Entente leaders bear even a partial moral responsibility for the catastrophe that occurred.
Once the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers and attacked the Russian Black Sea fleet, the bombing of the Straits fortresses and the troop landings at Gallipoli were entirely legitimate, if ill-judged, acts of war. Indeed, not only do the Entente powers bear no moral responsibility for the genocide: if the Dardanelles campaign had succeeded and the Ottomans had surrendered, hundreds of thousands of Armenian lives might have been saved.
Nor, in outlining the wartime circumstances surrounding the decision for genocide, am I seeking to dilute in any way the gravity of the Turkish crime.
The Genocide Of The Armenian Genocide
No maxim is more important for the historian than the one that tells us that to explain is in no way to excuse. Why have Australian historians - from Bean to Carlyon - shown no interest in the moral or historical relationship between Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide? The clue is to be found, I believe, in a passage from a work by the American historian Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life , where he distinguishes between the practice of "history" and what he calls, borrowing from the sociologist Maurice Halbwachs, "collective memory":.
Collective memory Indeed, collective memory is in crucial senses ahistorical, even anti-historical Collective memory simplifies; sees events from a single committed perspective; is impatient with ambiguities of any kind; reduces events to mythic archetypes Typically a collective memory, at least a significant collective memory, is understood to express some eternal or essential truth about the group - usually tragic.
A memory, once established, comes to define that eternal truth, and, along with it, an eternal identity, for the members of the group. Serbs' central memory, the lost battle of Kosovo in , symbolizes the permanent Muslim intention to dominate them. The partitions in Poland in the eighteenth century gave that country an "essential" identity as "the Christ among nations", crucified and re-crucified by foreign oppression Thinking about collective memory in this way helps us to separate ephemeral and relatively inconsequential memories from those that endure and shape consciousness.
Gallipoli has long been, and still is, Australia's overwhelmingly most important collective memory. There have been two main explanations. The Left has emphasised the curious propensity of Australians to mythologise only audacious or noble exploits that end in tragedy: Burke and Wills, Ned Kelly, Phar Lap, Gallipoli. Conservatives see Gallipoli as the place where the national character was discovered and revealed to the world.
Which view is more plausible? To try to discover whether Gallipoli was remembered as a triumph or a defeat, I recently read through a book of sermons delivered in Queensland on Anzac Day in Although there was a great deal about the debt that was owed to those who had laid down their lives for their Country and their Empire - almost unanimously thought of as one - the emphasis was overwhelmingly on triumph. Here is a characteristic passage:. The first Anzac morning they conquered, they looked death in the face and never flinched, and their glorious feat imprinted with indelible fame the name of Australia upon the map of the world Hitherto we had accepted ourselves, our country, and our world position at the valuation of the outsider, and, to say the least of it, that valuation was by no means a generous one.
Henceforth and forever, we know our worth; we have proved it in the face of mankind The glorious April Anzac landings were linked in the sermons not to the immediate defeat at the Dardanelles but instead to the eventual defeat of Germany. The fact that Gallipoli was a strategic disaster was almost entirely ignored. Even the brilliant success of the December evacuation was barely mentioned.
The myth of Gallipoli did not emerge gradually. It was imprinted on the national imagination following the publication throughout Australia, on 8 May , of the first account of the landings by the British war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett. Here are some of the sentences from that first report:. There has been no finer feat in this war than this sudden landing in the dark and the storming of the heights These raw colonial troops in these desperate hours proved worthy to fight side by side with the heroes of Mons, the Aisne, Ypres and Neuve Chapelle The Australians were determined to die to a man rather than surrender the ground so dearly won These Colonials are extraordinarily good under fire, often exposing themselves rather than take the trouble to keep under the shelter of the cliff General Birdwood told the writer that he couldn't sufficiently praise the courage, endurance, and soldierly qualities of the Colonials The courage displayed by these wounded Australians will never be forgotten Though many were shot almost to bits, without hope of recovery, their cheers resounded They were happy because they knew they had been tried for the first time and not found wanting.
Armenian Genocide Essay | Bartleby
By accident, Ashmead-Bartlett's electrifying account of the Gallipoli landings arrived several days before the more prosaic version by the Australian Charles Bean. It mattered that the mode of the first account was unashamedly heroic. Even more importantly, it mattered that this first account came from a British and not an Australian correspondent. The moment of birth proved crucial.
The Gallipoli landing was the first time that an Australian unit not incorporated within an Imperial formation had been involved in a major military operation. On 25 April, they largely were. Under the British gaze, Australians "had been tried" and "not found wanting". In the final pages of his first volume on Anzac and Gallipoli, in one of the seminal passages in Australian literature, Charles Bean takes us to the second reason why the story of the Gallipoli landings has lodged at the centre of Australian collective memory.
Bean asks the simple question, "What motive sustained them? It was not "hatred of the Turk". It was not "purely patriotism, as it would have been had they fought on Australian soil", "nor was it the desire for fame".
The Tragedy of the Armenians Genocide
What, then? We arrive at the passage which best explains how Gallipoli has shaped national consciousness and which takes us to the heart of national self-belief:. It lay in the mettle of the men themselves. To be the sort of man who would give way when his mates were trusting to his firmness Life was very dear, but life was not worth living unless they could be true to their idea of Australian manhood.
The landings instantly convinced Australians that from the scattered British-settler colonies, a new nation had been born. Perhaps even more importantly, Australians believed that the landings demonstrated to the world in general and to the British metropolis in particular who they were. It was thought to reveal certain eternal truths about Australians.