America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915

Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare

Book 15
Cambridge University Press
Free sample

Before Rwanda and Bosnia, and before the Holocaust, the first genocide of the twentieth century happened in Turkish Armenia in 1915, when approximately one million people were killed. This volume is an account of the American response to this atrocity. The first part sets up the framework for understanding the genocide: Sir Martin Gilbert, Vahakn Dadrian and Jay Winter provide an analytical setting for nine scholarly essays examining how Americans learned of this catastrophe and how they tried to help its victims. Knowledge and compassion, though, were not enough to stop the killings. A terrible precedent was born in 1915, one which has come to haunt the United States and other Western countries throughout the twentieth century and beyond. To read the essays in this volume is chastening: the dilemmas Americans faced when confronting evil on an unprecedented scale are not very different from the dilemmas we face today.
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About the author

Jay Winter is Professor of History at Yale University, a former Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and the author of many books on the First World War.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Jan 8, 2004
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Pages
317
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ISBN
9781139450188
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / Modern / 20th Century
History / World
Political Science / Genocide & War Crimes
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The Great Game of Genocide addresses the origins, development and aftermath of the Armenian genocide in a wide-ranging reappraisal based on primary and secondary sources from all the major parties involved. Rejecting the determinism of many influential studies, and discarding polemics on all sides, it founds its interpretation of the genocide in the interaction between the Ottoman empire in its decades of terminal decline, the self-interested policies of the European imperial powers, and the agenda of some Armenian nationalists in and beyond Ottoman territory. Particular attention is paid to the international context of the process of ethnic polarization that culminated in the massive destruction of 1912-23, and especially the obliteration of the Armenian community in 1915-16. The opening chapters of the book examine the relationship between the great power politics of the 'eastern question' from 1774, the narrower politics of the 'Armenian question' from the mid-nineteenth century, and the internal Ottoman questions of reforming the complex social and ethnic order under intense external pressure. Later chapters include detailed case studies of the role of Imperial Germany during the First World War (reaching conclusions markedly different to the prevailing orthodoxy of German complicity in the genocide); the wartime Entente and then the uncomfortable postwar Anglo-French axis; and American political interest in the Middle East in the interwar period which led to a policy of refusing to recognize the genocide. The book concludes by explaining the ongoing international denial of the genocide as an extension of the historical 'Armenian question', with many of the same considerations governing modern European-American-Turkish interaction as existed prior to the First World War.
In late 2007 and early 2008, world-renowned historians gathered in Kansas City for a series of public forums on World War I. Each of the five events focused on a particular topic and featured spirited dialogue between its prominent participants. In spontaneous exchanges, the eminent scholars probed each other’s arguments, learned from each other, and provided insights not just into history but also into the way scholars think about their subject alongside and at times in conflict with their colleagues. Representing a fourth generation of writers on the Great War and a transnational rather than an international approach, prominent historians Niall Ferguson and Paul Kennedy, Holger Afflerbach and Gary Sheffield, John Horne and Len Smith, John Milton Cooper and Margaret MacMillan, and Jay Winter and Robert Wohl brought to the proceedings an exciting clash of ideas. The forums addressed topics about the Great War that have long fascinated both scholars and the educated public: the origins of the war and the question of who was responsible for the escalation of the July Crisis; the nature of generalship and military command, seen here from the perspectives of a German and a British scholar; the private soldiers’ experiences of combat, revealing their strategies of survival and negotiation; the peace-making process and the overwhelming pressures under which statesmen worked; and the long-term cultural consequences of the war—showing that the Great War was “great” not merely because of its magnitude but also because of its revolutionary effects. These topics continue to reverberate, and in addition to shedding new light on the subjects, these forums constitute a glimpse at how historical writing happens. American society did not suffer the consequences of the Great War that virtually all European countries knew—a lack of perspective that the National World War I Museum seeks to correct. This book celebrates that effort, helping readers feel the excitement and the moral seriousness of historical scholarship in this field and drawing more Americans into considering how their own history is part of this story.
Hailed as "a monumental history . . . more exciting than any novel" (NRC Handelsblad),David van Reybrouck’s rich and gripping epic, in the tradition of Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore, tells the extraordinary story of one of the world's most devastated countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 Epic in scope yet eminently readable, penetrating and deeply moving, David van Reybrouck's Congo: The Epic History of a People traces the fate of one of the world's most critical, failed nation-states, second only to war-torn Somalia: the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Van Reybrouck takes us through several hundred years of history, bringing some of the most dramatic episodes in Congolese history. Here are the people and events that have impinged the Congo's development—from the slave trade to the ivory and rubber booms; from the arrival of Henry Morton Stanley to the tragic regime of King Leopold II; from global indignation to Belgian colonialism; from the struggle for independence to Mobutu's brutal rule; and from the world famous Rumble in the Jungle to the civil war over natural resources that began in 1996 and still rages today.

Van Reybrouck interweaves his own family's history with the voices of a diverse range of individuals—charismatic dictators, feuding warlords, child-soldiers, the elderly, female merchant smugglers, and many in the African diaspora of Europe and China—to offer a deeply humane approach to political history, focusing squarely on the Congolese perspective and returning a nation's history to its people.

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