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The Armenian genocide, 1915 What happened to the Armenians?
Battle over History watch the film from 01min00 until 7min39) The Armenian genocide, 1915 What happened to the Armenians? Discussion Assignment 1A The facts: The Ottoman Empire around 1900 Source 3 Source 4 Source 1 Source 8 Debriefing Assignment 1B The facts: What happened to the Armenians? 19th Century The decline of the once powerful Ottoman Empire Source 1 The Ottoman sultan is involved in Balkan warfare, and once again loses a great deal of territory. Source 1 Source 7 1913 The great losses in the Balkan wars and the evident weakness of the Ottoman army cause social unrest and dissatisfaction. The Young Turks seize power in a coup d etat. The new rulers have an army background and favour extreme nationalist politics. Henry Morgenthau, ambassador of the US on the coup d etat of the Young Turks In place of a democratic constitutional state they resurrected the idea of Pan-Turkism; in place of equal treatment of all Ottomans, they decided to establish a country exclusively for Turks.... Their determination to uproot [Christian schools], or at least to transform them into Turkish institutions, was merely another detail in the same racial progress. Similarly they attempted to make all foreign business houses employ only Turkish labor, insisting that they should discharge their Greek, Armenian, and Jewish clerks, stenographers, workmen, and other employees. They ordered all foreign houses to keep their books in Turkish; they wanted to furnish employment for Turks, and enable them to acquire modern business methods. The Ottoman government even refused to have dealings with the representative of the largest Austrian munition maker unless he admitted a Turk as a partner. They developed a mania for suppressing all languages except Turkish. For decades French had been the accepted language of foreigners in Constantinople; most street signs were printed in both French and Turkish. One morning the astonished foreign residents discovered that all the French signs had been removed and that the names of streets, the directions on street cars, and other public notices, appeared only in... Turkish characters, which very few of them understood. Great confusion resulted from this change, but the ruling powers refused to restore the detested foreign language Source: Henry Morgenthau, in Crimes against humanity and civilization: the Armenian genocide (Facing history and ourselves 2004), blz. 72. Source 22 Source 9 1914 The start of WOI. Turkey sides with the Germans and fights against Russia, Great-Britain and France. Source 17 Winter spring 1915 The Turks suffer great losses in military missions against the Russians in the Caucasus. Some Armenians take service in the Russian army. Meanwhile the British fight the Turks at sea and prepare an invasion at Gallipoli. Source 16 Source 5 24 April 1915 The Turkish minister of internal affairs orders the arrest and deportation of over 250 Armenian intellectuals. Most of them perish and do not return. Source 15 Spring 1915 and after Armenian morthers and children are forcibly deported to the Syrian desert. Due to the lack of basic facilities most of them perish within days or weeks. Armenian men are executed. Source 11 Source 13 Source 14 Source 23 Source 21 The suffering of the Christian Armenians One remembers what our Roman correspondent reported a few months ago on the Holy See (= the pope, ed.) for the benefits of the oppressed Armenians by Turkey and the partly succesful papal interference. Our correspondent reports of the situation of the Armenians that were deported from Armenia to the Arabic and Syrian desert. A missionary states: At Meskene I saw that women and children threw themselves in pits and begged to be buried. The authorities do not provide bread. At Hamar, of 7000 deported Armenians, 3000 were practically naked; They hunted for locusts, that were devoured cooked or raw. Some caught dogs and ate them on the spot. At Raqqa, 15,000 Armenians were placed in tents on the Euphrates shores. In Raqqa were Armenians, in tents on both sides of the Euphrates. They were not allowed to enter the city. Everywere one could see horrible scenes of nudity, hunger and death; the authorities did not do anything to help. Some of these unfortunates trew themselves into the river out of desperation. They often saw rows of creepy figures that were suddenly rising from graves and begging for bread and water. They dug their own graves and were waiting for death. Translated from the Dutch newspaper De Gelderlander, 16 september 1916 Bron 24 1918 The Ottoman Empire loses WOI. The three leading figures from the Ottoman government are trialed by the allies and sentenced to death in absence. Source 10 1923 and after The hero of Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal ( = Atatrk), becomes the new leader of Turkey. The Turkish government from then on denies the systematic and purposeful murder of the Armenians. The Turkish position on the Armenian question The Turkish state denies that a genocide happened in The Turkish state contests the applicability of the concept genocide and relativizes the events. It was war. There were many casualties because of the armed struggle, hunger and diseases: Armenians, but even more Turks and other muslims. The question is consequently mentioned as the so called genocide or there is being reffered to the Armenian accusations. The Armenian question is gradually becoming more discussable in Turkish society, but within strict borders and under pressure from the EU. Source: Turkije Instituut Bron 20 1991 The Soviet Union dissolves and Armenia becomes an independent republic. The 24th of April is proclaimed as a national day of remembrance. Source 18 The case 1915 and the concept of genocide Definition of genocide (UN convention from 1948) Genocide means one of the following acts, committed with the intention to partly or fully destroy a national, etnical, racial or religious group. applicable? Killing members of the group Causing severe mental or physical damage to members of the group Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to partly or fully destroy a group Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced abortion, prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women intended to prevent procreation. Forcible transfer of children from one group to another. Conclusions Armenians in the Ottoman Empire Armenians are a minority in the Ottoman Empire, they are christians and speak their own language, many Armenians are tradespeople. They are traditionally discriminated against and sometimes persecuted. Influential events The Ottoman Empire is in serious decline during the 19th century. The Ottomans lose two wars on the Balkans, which cause an influx of refugees and a new degradation The coup d etat brings the extreme nationalistic army elites to power: Turkey for the Turks Poor performance in WOI Fear of the fact that the Armenians support the Russians during WOI