A guest post by Serpentus:
The Armenian genocide (1914-1917) was the mass killing of Armenians by Turks in the days of the Ottoman Empire. Between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 were killed.
It has been called the hidden holocaust because it seems to be almost forgotten. Armenians call it the Great Crime. It is the second-most studied genocide after the Holocaust. It is also considered the first modern genocide considering the organization, deportation, and efficient executions.
Prior to the actual genocide, the Muslim Turks committed two massacres against the Armenians, most of whom were Christian:
- Hamidian Massacres (1894-1896) – estimated deaths: 100,000-300,000
- Adana Massacre (1909) – estimated deaths: 15,000-30,000
Most Armenians say the genocide began on April 24th 1915 when approximately 250 Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul were rounded up by Turkish authorities and deported. The Turks began World War I by waging a disastrous campaign against the Russians in the Caucasus. They blamed the Armenians for defeat by conspiring against them.
Among other things, Turkish doctors injected morphine into Armenian children, learning that an overdose of morphine leads to death. Typhoid inoculation destroyed children’s health. Children were forced onto boats and thrown overboard into the Black Sea to drown. Armenians were marched from their homes and their lands were taken. Mass burnings of Armenian villages occurred. Mass deportations forced most Armenians out of the Ottoman Empire.
By 1917 the “Armenian Problem” had been resolved. Muslim families were brought in to occupy empty villages.
Today, only 3 million of the world’s 11 million Armenians live in Armenia. To add insult to injury, for the past 16 years Turkey has been enacting economic sanctions against Armenia, crippling its economy. Only 21 countries in the world recognize the genocide. The U.S. does not officially recognize it because it does not want to anger Turkey, a key ally in the war on terrorism and a strategic basing center for U.S. troops leftover from the Cold War.
Outside witnesses: Both Germans and Americans inside the Ottoman Empire witnessed the genocide. At the time Germany was a war ally and America was neutral. German officials who were able to visit Turkey, saw what happened and were able to document the atrocities; that is where some of the pictures come from. U.S. missionaries, who helped set up schools in Turkey for Armenians, were also witnesses to the genocide. Next to U.S. consuls, they became the second-most important group of witnesses of the Armenian Genocide.
Lessons learned: None – or none that were good. The Armenian genocide is one of the reasons for the Holocaust. Hitler picked up where the Turks left off. Hitler and the Nazis learned about using toxic gas to kill victims. The biological warfare that the Nazis enacted against the Jews can be thanked to the Turks for giving Hitler these crazy ideas.
Hitler thought that if the Turks could commit genocide and get away with it, so could he. Two years before the Holocaust he said:
Who after all speaks today of the of the annihilation of the Armenians?