Armenian Genocide

Essay by mannytkoHigh School, 11th gradeA-, October 2009

download word file, 5 pages 2.0

May 2009The 20th Century was a time of change in human endeavors- including war. The War to End All Wars, World War I, occurred early in this time period. WWI brought weapons and tools that people in Europe had never seen. Under the shadow of this war an atrocity occurred, the first genocide of the 20th Century (“Armenian Genocide” United…Rights). The Armenian Genocide began when the government planned to relocate citizens for their own good but systematically killed them or had them deported (“Armenians…World War I” 2).

The Armenian people who had been converted to Christianity in the 4th Century enjoyed political independence (“The … Massacre” 2). The Treaty of San Stefano brought an end to the Russian and Turkish War. This treaty insisted on better treatment of the Armenians in exchange for the Russian withdrawal. Unfortunately another treaty was signed. The Treaty of Berlin signed in 1879, changed the prior agreement which allowed the Ottoman government to fairly treat the Armenians.

This meant the Russians couldn’t attack when the Ottoman government began the genocide (“Armenians…World War I” 2).

At the dawn of the 20th Century the Armenian land was divided amongst three states: Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Empire of the Russian Tsars. Within each state, however, the Armenian population was a minority. The conflict in the Ottoman Empire soon became the most prominent (“The … Massacre” 2-3). The Armenians were Christian and the Turkish MuslimThe Armenian Genocide consisted of approximately 1.5-2 million deaths of Armenians living in Turkey. Yet in physical appearance the two populations were identical to each other. The Armenians had a wealthy middle class and the Turkish were the uneducated, which caused the Turkish people to become envious (“Armenian Genocide” United … Rights). This caused a social and cultural void between the Armenians and the Turkish population. Soon the growth of nationalism prompted the Armenians to believe that they deserved to have their own state (”The Armenian Genocide” Gendercide). The main reason for the growth of nationalism was the Treaty of Berlin, which caused the Armenians to become more open about their demands for rights.

Sultan Habdul - Hamid II was concerned with the possible uprising of the Armenian people prompting him to begin killing them which also included liberal Muslim Turks. He carried out large massacres between 1894 and 1896; he justified this by charging them with rebellion (“Armenian Genocide” United … Rights). Due to Russian threats and international protests, a greater loss of lives was diverted. By 1896 Sultan Habdul was seen as the sick man of Europe (“Armenians…World War I” 2).

By July 1908, the Sultan’s regime came to an end; a group of modern-minded officers known as the Young Turks hoped to stop their country’s decline (“Armenian Genocide” United … Rights). The Armenian population, excited about his new change, held public celebrations for freedom, justice and equality. Unfortunately, the Young Turk ideals were quickly taken over and dismissed by a body of nationalists. A triumvirate formed which consisted of Enver Pasha, Mehmet Talaat Pasha, and Ahmed Djemal Pasha (“The Armenian Genocide” Gendercide); the goal of the new rulers was the creation of a Pan-Turkish Empire, but the Armenians stood in the way of their goal. The triumvirate thus began to formulate the plan which would eventually result in the 1.5-2 million deaths of the Armenian population (“Armenians…World War I” 3).

The triumvirate was responsible for Turkey’s entrance into World War I. When World War I broke out in 1914 the triumvirate sided with Germany and the Central Powers. They planned to use the war as a cover for the Genocide. Believing that with war broken loose over Europe no one would pay much attention to the killings of the Armenian people. Central Council members stated “an easy way to exterminate the Armenians would be to send the Armenian troops to the front lines to fight Russia. From behind they would then face fire from Special Forces from the rear sent there by the government for that purpose.” (“Armenians…World War I” 2).

On April 24, 1915 was the official starting point of the massacres that would begin the Armenian Genocide. The intellectual and political leaders of the Armenian people were seized by authorities and executed (“Armenian Genocide” UMD). Armenian military units were stripped of all their weapons and then forced to be workmen. They worked on roads, carried supplies on their backs, and were systematically whipped (“The Armenian Genocide” Gendercide). The government also methodically starved the men, women, and children (“The Armenian Genocide” Gendercide).

Squads of 50-100 troops were taken to the countryside, they were told they would work on roads but instead they were killed. In July, 2000 Armenian soldiers were taken to the countryside from Kharput. There they were murdered, and the Turks then piled up their bodies in the nearby caves. Many Armenians were executed in this manner (“The Armenian Genocide” Gendercide). The Turkish officials used Kurds who were nomadic Muslim tribesman to kill Armenians. Officials encouraged the Kurds to raid Armenian caravans. Kurds would even rape the women and take them to live a life of servitude (“The Armenian Genocide” Gendercide).

To conserve ammunition and firearms the Ottoman Government began massdeportations. In a town called Angora, the vali (governor) refused to deport the Armenians people living there. The Central Council had him replaced by a Young Turk who would do what he was told. During the night a majority of the Armenians in Angora were taken to a place called Asi Yozgad. There they were killed by Turkish butchers and tanners, and their corpses were thrown into a river (“Armenians…World War I” 4).

The massacres were continuously denied by the Turkish and German Officials as an invention of the newspapers. When the existences of the massacres were finally established German Allies and The Junta ignored them. They referred to them as a national security necessity (“The … Massacre” 4). After becoming the vizier Mehmet Talaat Pasha bragged to Henry Morgenthau the American Ambassador. That he accomplished in 3 months what Sultan Abdul-Hamid II couldn’t in 30 years. When Morgenthau protested against the massacres Talaat retorted, “The massacres! What of them? They merely amused me.” (“Armenians…World War I” 4).

The end of the Genocide came to an end in 1918 but the deaths of the triumvirs came a few years later. The triumvirs had escaped the wrath of the people for a few years. Armenian exiles found and killed Mehmet Pasha in 1921. Ahmed Pasha was also killed by Armenian exiles on July 21, 1922. While leading an attack against Soviet militants, Enver Pasha was killed in action on August 4, 1922 (“Armenians…World War I” 4).

At the beginning of the 20th Century the Ottoman Government almost exterminated an entire race of people. Under the pretext of their well-being approximately over 1.5 million Armenians were killed on their ancestral land. The only reason for the Armenian Genocide was the want for religious purification. Even to this the Turkish Government denies the existence of the genocide; they claim they were only removed from the eastern war-zone (“Armenian Genocide” UMD).

Works Cited“Armenian Genocide.” United Human Rights 1 May. 2009 “Armenian Genocide.” University of Michigan-Dearborn. 1996. 1 May 2009 “Armenians Suffer Genocide during World War I, 1915-1920.” DISCovering World History.

Online ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Student Resource Center - Gold. Gale. J W Mitchell High School. 1 May. 2009 .

“The Armenian Genocide.” Gendercide 1 May 2009“The Great Armenian Massacre, 1915-1916.” DISCovering World History. Online ed. Detroit:Gale, 2003. Student Resource Center - Gold. Gale. J W Mitchell High School. 1 May. 2009 .