Armenian Holocaust Essay Research Paper David RodgersInternal

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Armenian Holocaust Essay, Research Paper David Rodgers Internal Assessment Mr. Nichols NOTE: I essentially wrote everything I know about the Armenian genocide, with the aid of my sources. From 1894 to 1896, Sultan Abdul-Hamid II carried out a series of massacres of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. The worst of the massacres occurred in 1895, resulting in the death of thousands of civilians (estimates run from 100,000 to 300,000) and leaving tens of thousands destitute. Most of those killed were men. In many towns, the central marketplace and other Armenian-owned businesses were destroyed, usually by conflagration. The killings were done during the day and were witnessed by the general public. This kind of organized and systematic murder of the Armenian

population pointed to the coordinating hand of the central authorities. Widespread violence erupted in towns and cities hundreds of miles apart over a matter of weeks in a country devoid of mass media. At a time when the sultan ruled absolutely, the evidence strongly implicated the head of state. The massacres were meant to undermine the growth of Armenian nationalism by frightening the Armenians with the terrible consequences of dissent. The furor of the state was directed at the behavior and the aspirations of the Armenians. The sultan was alarmed by the increasing activity of Armenian political groups and wanted to curb their growth before they gained any more influence by spreading ideas about civil rights and autonomy. Abdul-Hamid took no account, however of the great

variation in Armenian political outlook, which ranged from reformism and constitutionalism to separatism. He hoped to wipe away the Armenians’ increasing sense of national awareness. He also continued to exclude the Armenians, as he did most of his other subjects, from having a role in their own government, whether individually or communally. The sultan, however, did not contemplate depriving the Armenians of their existence as a people. Although there are similarities between Abdul-Hamid’s policies and the measures taken by the Young Turks against the Armenians, there are also major distinctions. The measures implemented in 1915 affected the entire Armenian population, men, women, and children. They included massacres and deportations. As under the sultan, they targeted the

able-bodied men for annihilation. The thousands of Armenian men conscripted into the Ottoman army were eliminated first. The rest of the adult population was then placed under arrest, taken out of town, and killed in remote locations. The treatment of women was quite different. The bulk of the deported population consisted of women, children, and older men. Countless Armenian women lost their lives in transit. Before their tragic deaths, many suffered unspeakable cruelties, most often in the form of sexual abuse. Many girls and younger women were seized from their families and taken as slave-brides. During the time of the sultan, Armenians were often given the choice of converting to Islam in order to save themselves from massacre. However, during the genocide years, this choice

was usually not available. Few were given the opportunity to accept Islam as a way of avoiding deportation. Most Armenians were deported. Some lives were spared during deportation by random selection for involuntary conversion through abduction, enslavement, or the adoption of kidnapped and orphaned children. A second distinguishing feature of the genocide was the killing of the Armenians in places out of sight of the general population. The deportations made resistance or escape difficult. Most important, the removal of Armenians from their native towns was a necessary condition for maintaining as much secrecy about the genocide as possible. The Allies had warned the Ottoman government about taking arbitrary measures against the Christian minorities. The transfer of the Armenian