Was the Armenian genocide in 1914 a reflection of the Hamidian Massacre in 1894? If so, how and why? This is for my extended essay research. I would like to know more about both genocides and how...

Was the Armenian genocide in 1914 a reflection of the Hamidian Massacre in 1894? If so, how and why? 

This is for my extended essay research. I would like to know more about both genocides and how the Hamidian Massacre in 1894 layed the foundation of the mass killing of Armenians in 1914 which caused approximately 1.5 million deaths. 

Asked on by jenn95107

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ophelious | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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This is an interesting question, but a difficult one.  In history, so many factors come into play that it is often hard to say what caused what to happen and so the best we can do is make the best guess we can based on the evidence.

The key word to your question is "reflection." What does this mean? It is often used to imply that an action "reflects" the person or person's attitudes by the nature of the action itself.  For example, if I always wore cowboy boots it might be seen as a reflection of my desire to ride a horse and rope animals.  What I think you're asking, though, is more about the relationship between these two events (if one exists.)  That's the nail I'll try to hit in my explanation.

The two are related in origin and outcome, but from what I've read, they were not related in terms of a well constructed long-term plan.  Both, though, do reflect (see, I worked the word in there!) on the Ottoman attitudes toward the Armenians and minorities in general.

If you think that culture and ethnic intollerance are a problem today, you should have seen it back then!  There was not a lot of tolerance despite the fact that many "empires" were comprised of different types of folks.  The Muslims of the Ottoman Empire didn't much care for the Christian Armenians.  This was partly religious and partly because the Armenians kept pushing for some form of autonomy.

The other European powers, on paper, wanted to act as the "protectors" of these Christian minorities, and got the Turks to sign treaties to that effect, but the Ottomans pretty much just pretended to comply.  In fact, the Sultan formed sort of "gangs" of degenerates to harass and kill the Armenians. As you know, despite protests from the other powers, this resulted in the slaughter of huge numbers in the late 1800's.  In the end, the other powers vowed to not let it happen again and really back the Armenians.

But it did, and they didn't.

After a coup and a local war (the first Balkan war, if it interests you,) the Empire was stripped of a good deal of its European holdings.  The last bit it had, unfortunately for all parties involved, had a large minority of Armenians. Essentially using World War I as cover, the government began a program of extermination through forced marches, gassing, starvation, and outright execution. Being at war in other places, the powers that had promised to protect the Armenian Christians were not able (or perhaps willing) to intervene.

As you can see, the two different attempts at genocide were not directly connected in planning, but both stemmed from the same poisoned conditions and only needed sparks to set things burning.  It was the Armenians themselves, attempting to stand up for their rights under previous agreements, that provided that spark. In many ways, these slaughters were duplicated by Hitler during the second world war when he attempted to clear out space in eastern Europe for Germans to spread out into.

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