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The Armenian Genocide was the cold-blooded massacre of millions of Armenians, which greatly impacted the future generations and my family today. However, many people don’t know about this genocide, “who, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians.” (Adolf Hitler, 1939) The reasons behind these ruthless exterminations is the idea of religion against religion, the threat of Russian invasion during world war one and the idea of Turkification. These things had severe impacts both short term and still to this day which include the loss of lots of lives and the impact on children and women, the denial of the genocide by the Turkish government along with their people and the lives and families of the survivors.
What happened (brief)
Between the years of 1915 and 1917, the immense majority of the 2 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were uprooted out of their homes, deported, starved to death and slaughtered. On the 24th of April 1915, approximately nine months after the beginning of World War I, the Turkish government arrested, tortured, and publicly executed several hundred Armenian intellectuals. These included doctors, poets, religious leaders and politicians. Source A shows how many were executed and the treatment of the Armenians and gives primary evidence of these public deaths. This was only the beginning of the Armenian genocide. Soon after women and children and the remaining males were turned out of their homes, slaughtered and sent on death marches through the Mesopotamian desert (now known as the Syrian desert). They were forced to strip naked and walk under the scorching sun (which can get to 40°C), until they drop dead from starvation and dehydration. People who stopped to rest where shot and killed. The Armenian people were being drowned in rivers, thrown off cliffs, crucified and burnt alive. Their churches were burnt down along with their schools and town halls. This is not the first time the Turkish government brutally slaughtered the Armenians. During 1892-1894, the Armenians suffered through a series of massacres instigated by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. During these massacres between 80,000 and 300,000 people died.
- Muslims versus Christians
At the time of the genocide, Armenia was being run by the Ottoman Empire. As an Islamic government, they gave unjust treatment to Christians. The Armenians were made to pay higher taxes and have no political or legal rights. They were known as second-class citizens. The Armenian people could not testify against Muslims, could not carry weapons or ride horses and they could not practise any religious rituals. The punishment for not following these rules were fines, jail, and even death. Despite these challenges, the Armenians wanted to thrive, they wanted to be better than the Turkish people, they wanted to be wealthier and more educated. Source B shows that the main cause/ or the cause of this extermination was because they were Christians. Many Armenian women and kids could have been spared if they converted to Islam, but many mothers used to say that their baby came into the world a Christian, they were going to leave a Christian.
- The beginning of World War I
After the outbreak of World War in 1914, there was the threat of Russian invasion and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish government began to suspect the loyalty of Armenians. They feared the Armenians might support the Russians if invasion occurred. As the Russians were Orthodox Christians as so were the Armenians. This was again a threat against their religion of Islam and their countries safety during the war. To prevent this, they devise a plan to eliminate the ‘problem’ from their country. The backbone behind this idealism were the Young Turks group. They dedicated themselves to eliminating enemies of the state and they grew a resentment towards the Armenian people.
- Turkification camping
This is a cultural shift whereby populations or states adopted a historical Turkish culture. They kidnapped children and change their last names to Turkish last names, force women to be a part of their ‘harems’ (which is a separate part of the house for women and slaves) or serve as slaves. The surviving women and children were also forced to give up their Armenian identity and convert to Islam. This is due to the fact that they Ottoman Empire wanted all nations to be Turkish. Though Source C it illustrates the idea of ‘Turkification’ they were trying to achieve and that nothing would stop them from achieving that goal. Which was then accomplished though the execution of the Armenian community.
Short- term impact
- Loss of lives
Approximately 90% of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire, either fled from the country, sought refuge and then killed. Out of the 2 million only 250,000 remained. Many were homeless and exiled out of their country, their deserted homes and properties given to Muslims. They were killed mostly by drownings, shootings, hangings, being burnt alive, starvation and lack of water and shelter throughout the desert
- Women and children
After most of the men were rounded up and killed, the elderly, women and children were subjected to robbery, rape and murder. They were deported through the Syrian Desert, marching to the concentration camps. Children were separated from their mothers and forced to convert to Islam and join Muslim families or killed. Women were raped. Kids were molested in front of their mothers, babies executed. Young girls around eight to ten years of age were violated, then unable to walk and were shot. The quote in Source D, portrays the horrific treatment of the women and children, it shows how merciless and cold-hearted the Turkish soldiers were. Countless were drowned in passing rivers. Walking through the villages, if the Turkish men fancied a girl nothing would have stopped them from having her. They were starved, and many mothers lost their minds and left their kids by the road. A band of robbers the Kurdish Chettis, burnt 500 women and children alive and even some women were crucified on a hill for the remaining to pass by. There were 150000 parent-less children by the end of the genocide, many of the girls were sold to Turkish men and many of the babies were killed. There were 150 000 children, 100 000 were saved but the orphanage only had 456 kids.
- It didn’t happen: the denial by the Turks
the Turkish government still to this day, 104 years later still denies the genocide. Movses Hanesyan, 105 years old an eye-witness and survivor talk about how “I feel hopeless now, I feel deceived. Offended. I hope the genocide will be recognised, I witnessed it. All the world knows it. Why don’t they recognise it? All the world knows it.” However, sadly only 28 countries have recognised the Armenian genocide, many countries are scared to use the ‘genocide’ word as they are afraid of unstable relationships they might have with Turkey already. While, it’s not about the politics, it is about the dignity of the Armenian people. The Promise, movie Source E portrays the reality of the genocide for the Armenian people and helps to give them recognition. This is a reliable source as it is very historically accurate and was written off facts and many eyewitness stories. This movie gives a voice to the Armenian community all over the world.
- Lives still affected
Still to this day, generations on this still effects the Armenian people in all nations. Many were left without mother, fathers, siblings, grandparents, all taken away for the reasons that were shown today. Yepraksia Gevotgyan, stated that there were 30 (people) in her family and now there is only her. Source F shows that the Armenian society still find it hard to forgive and the heartbreak that still hasn’t been patched There is still an open wound that cannot be closed, not yet, not even 104 years on.
Suny, R. G. (2019). Causes and consequences of the Genocide. Britannica. Retrieved from www.britannica.com/event/Armenian-Genocide#ref329552
This website was used to get the history, causes and consequences. Which was very helpful and assisted me answer my question
History.com Editors. (2019). Armenian Genocide. HISTORY. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/armenian-genocide
This website also helped me to understand the background of the Armenian Genocide.
(1998-2019). Armenian National Institute. Armenian-genocide.org. Retrieved from
This website was used to find sources, newspaper articles and photos.
(2001-2019). Popular quotes regarding the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Genocide 1915. Retrieved from https://www.genocide1915.info/quotes/
I used this too find quotes from other countries/ people.
Dr. Stanton, G. (2008). The cost of denial. Genoicdewatch.org. retrieved from http://www.genocidewatch.org/aboutus/bydrgregorystanton.html
I used this to aid my knowledge of why the denial is such a big thing for the Armenians.
Binder, A. (2019). HIST 2600: Armenian Genocide: Primary Sources. Guides.library.uncc.edu. Retrieved from https://guides.library.uncc.edu/c.php?g=644173&p=4512920
I used this to try and find primary and secondary sources on.
Markosian, D. (2015). Armenian genocide: survivors recall events 100 years on [documentary] . Channel 4 news. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAAq1zSXCug
This was used to see the impact it still had on the people today. Very useful and reliable source
George, T. (2016). The Promise [motion picture]. Canada: Toronto International Film Festival.
This movie gave me insight into the genocide through a different light then just reading website etc. very useful.
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