The Armenian Genocide

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Political Science
Political Science 4426F/G
James S Quinn

TPC Ch2 - The Armenian Genocide, Rouben Paul Adalian October-05-10 5:55 PM • Intro o 1915-1923 the Armenian population of Anatolia and historic West Armenia was eliminated • Had lived there for 3,000 years • Since the 11th century had lived under the Turks o Ottomans imposed a strict hierarchical system to govern their empire • Regulated non-Muslims to second-class citizens • In its decline, decided that the only way to save the Turkish state was to reduce the Christian populations o Beginning in 1915, Anatolian Armenians were deported to Syria and West Armenians to Mesopotamia • Described as a "resettlement policy"  Deportations actually resulted in genocide • After 8 years of warfare and turmoil, the Armenians had disappeared from their homeland • Who Committed the Genocide? o 1915 Ottoman empire governed by a triumvirate • Enver, Minister of War • Talaat, Minister of Interior • Jemal, Minister of Navy & Military Governor of Syria • All members of the Young Turks/Unionists  Originally wanted to Westernize Ottoman Empire  Were surprised by the amount of resistance  Realized that the problems in the Empire were endemic and systemic • Decisions made in conformity with overt and covert party objectives • Looked to Germany as an ally  Suspicious of British, French, and Russian colonial designs  Militarily challenged by Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria (formerly under Ottoman rule) o 1914: WW1 • CUP had become dictatorial, xenophobic and intolerant • Pursued a militarism similar to Germany o Responsibility lies with those who chose to considered and took the decision to deport and massacre the Armenians • Also rests with those who implemented the policy of the government and those who personally carried out the acts • Largest amount of responsibility falls on the CUP members  State's responsibility to protect its members was disregarded by the CUP  Ministries of Interior & War were charged with the task of expelling the Armenians from their homes and driving them into the Syrian desert • Withheld food, healthcare and protection from the elements • How was the Genocide Committed? o Three Part Plan • Deportation  Upon orders of the Ottoman government, villages and towns were emptied of their Armenian inhabitants • By train, wagons, mules, but many walked • Long lines of deportees (mostly women and children) formed along the roads  The most thoroughly implemented aspect  Exhaustion, exposure, fright took its toll (especially on old and young) • No provisions made for feeding and housing • Local authorities ensured it would be a difficult ordeal • They were robbed, held for ransom, set up to be invaded by marauding horsemen, women and children were frequently seized  Not intended to be a peaceful relocation • Intended to drive the Armenians into the open and to every conceivable abuse • Execution  Killing units slaughtered the deportees of both genders and all ages with swords and bayonets  Executed the able-bodied men • Those who were conscripted to the Turkish army were either worked to death or murdered • Older males who had stayed behind were summoned by the government • Some were tortured, all were victims of mass murder  April 24, 1915: Official Start • Intelligentsia were summoned and most never heard of again 3. Starvation/Exposure  Thousands died from exposure to summer sun and night cold of the desert  Men and women dying of thirst were shot for approaching the Euphrates river  Women were stripped, abused, and murdered  Some drowned themselves  Mothers gave their children to the Arab Bedouins to spare them o Deir el-Zor • Those who made it to this point were killed  Men, women, children • Why was the Genocide Committed? o To solve the "Armenian Question" • Five Reasons for this Question  Decline of the Ottoman Empire and the internal demographic and economic pressures created upon the non- Muslim minorities • Began to experience competition for land and resources they had historically owned • Government did not provide civil rights or security  Great Power diplomacy that offered the hope of being able to redress the injustices and inequities of the Ottoman Empire were inadequate • Greater interest in preserving the balance of power • Little humanitarian intervention • Appeal of Armenians to Christian Europe viewed as seditious by the Turks • Earlier, Europeans had used tensions in Ottoman affairs to intervene on behalf of the Armenians 3. Military weakness of the Ottomans left it exposed to external threats • Prone to resorting to brutality as a method of containing domestic dissent • Cycle of escalating violence against Armenian (non-Muslim) minority had started since 1800s 4. Failed reform measures and dashed expectations of Armenians • Encouraged them to form political organizations seeking emancipation from lawlessness and discrimination 5. Rapid modernisation experienced by the Armenians • More open to European concepts of progress through education than Muslim population • Angered Young Turks and created resentment • Saw Armenians as aligning with the infidels o Young Turks trying to create a national identity • No longer an empire based on religion
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