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The Armenian Genocide Essay

2547 words - 10 pages

The Armenian genocide has several main causes: European meddling in Ottoman internal affairs, nationalism, economic jealousy, and Armenian involvement in the Russian war effort. Though, a lot of the causes are interrelated. For example, nationalism and European meddling go hand in hand. What exactly was the Armenian genocide? Well, the Armenian genocide was a state orchestrated machine of mass-murder and rape of the Armenian people, and several other ethnic groups, of the Ottoman Empire 1915-1923. The Armenians were one of many ethnic groups of the Ottoman Empire, and they had lived in eastern Asia Minor for around three thousand years prior to the atrocity .
The Ottoman Empire was a theocracy where the Sultan, or emperor, was also the head of the Muslim church taking the title Caliph. This plus the dogma of the Koran put non-Muslims below Muslims in the Empire. Though, the non-Muslims were allowed to live in the empire because they were believers of the Bible. Or in other words, the Koran includes the Old Testament and the New Testament so the Christians and the Jews were not infidels, and thus tolerated. The Muslims viewed themselves as superior because of their belief in the latest and greatest of the prophets, Mohamed. The various ethnic groups of the Ottoman Empire were arranged in semi self-governing regions called millets. These regions were governed by the head of the local church, but under control of the Sultan and Ottoman governing body. There where, to name a few, Greek, Armenian, Christian, Kurdish, and Arab millets. The millets were usually not members of the majority, and subject to persecution. The millets were forced to pay higher taxes to the Empire, and up until the 19th century lived relatively peaceful in the Empire. The Empire started to fall apart: North Africa and the European Balkans. Traditional nationalism was the, main, reason for the break up of the Empire .
Nationalism is defined as a nation’s, or ethnicities, desire to become an independent autonomous state. The Greek, Albanian, Serbian, Bosnian, and Macedonian nations’ nationalistic centrifugal force started the break up of the Empire in mid 19th century. All of the nations listed above became states by the time World War One began in 1914. This nationalistic movement happen under many Sultans, but it intensified under Abdülhamid II and finally under Murad V. It was Abdülhamid II who tried to curve the nationalistic movements, which were also sweeping through Europe, by introducing the Tanzimat Reforms of 1834 and 1856, at the request of European pressure.
The main goal of these reforms was to move the non-Muslims from an inferior national to a full subject of the Empire. The thought was that if the Sultan gave his minority subjects more rights, per say, than they would not form a separatist movement. Or worse the subjects separatist movement lobby international support; for example, in the Greek national movement in 1821. The Greeks were assisted by...

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