Armenian Massacres Essay

1507 words - 6 pages

Armenian Massacres

This order was made knowing that the Armenians would never make it through the desert, as they were given no food or water. What resulted was the genocide of the Armenian race.

When Hitler addressed his henchmen on the topic of clearing Poland for more German lebensraum (living space) he was speaking of the genocide of the Polish Jews. Seeing the hesitant reaction of some of his generals, Hitler asked them “Who remembers the Armenians?” In fact, Hitler was correct. Although the term genocide had not yet been used, the Turks, in their systematic killing of Armenians in 1915, initiated the practice (Alexander 1). Years later in 1982, the United States Department of State issued this report: “Because the historical record of events during World War I is ambiguous, the United States Department of State does not endorse allegations that the Turkish government committed a genocide against the Armenian people” (Sourain ix). Accounts of the massacres are not only abundant but also verifiable; it is the fragility of foreign relations that allows the United States to avoid laying blame for the Armenian massacres.

Nearly three quarters of a century after the massacres the United States Congress issued their findings on the claims of the Armenian genocide:

“The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and which succeeded in the elimination of the over 2,500 year presence of Armenians from their homeland” (“Affirmation”).

Despite these findings, the United States government has refused to publicly hold the Turkish government responsible for the genocide in any form of legislature. Instead, the U.S. has decided to declare a national remembrance day on April 24. Naturally, many Armenians feel as if their struggle was for nothing. Not only is the Turkish government not held accountable, they also refuse to admit that the Armenian massacre ever happened. They claim that the Armenians were an aggressive people and the Turks were simply acting in self -defense.

Donald and Lorna Miller recount these actions of “self-defense” through the stories of many survivors, which they have collected in their book, Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide. The survivors tell of the atrocities that they witnessed when the Young Turk regime decided to empty the Ottoman Empire of the Armenian race. One survivor from the town of Khapert explains the scenario as her father was taken away, (the men were the first to be killed):

“My younger brother, Boghos, who was only three years old, was yelling after him saying, “Daddy let me come with you.” [But he did not return.] They took him [his father and other prisoners] near the River Euphrates, made them sit down as though to eat. The person who had seen this said...

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