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As the First World War began, the Ottoman Empire, present day Turkey was one of the strongest empires that ruled at the time. A predominantly Muslim state, the Ottoman Empire ruled lands that extended from West Asia, North Africa all the way to South East Europe. However, at the turn of the 20th century, the Ottoman Empire was in steep decline and facing a fierce rival in Germany (Freedman 14).
One of the most ignored aspects of the Ottoman Empire was that it was the first modern nation to perpetrate systematic mass murder and deportation of human beings. The mass murders and deportation of Armenians was the crowning of the terrible life that Armenians were subjected to under the leadership of the empire. The population in the Armenia was majorly Christian. This religious affiliation subjected the Armenians to government discrimination, their property was never secured, not all Armenians were allowed in government leadership and they were obligated to pay excessive discriminatory taxes (Hovannisian 12).
Scholars agree that the generally accepted starting date of the massacre was on April 24, 1915. On this day, the leadership of the Ottoman Empire arrested nearly 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in the capital (Akçam 31). This was followed by a series of house-to-house raids of all Armenians. By the end of the exercise, nearly 1.5 million Armenians had lost their lives. Today, this massacre accounts for the most of the Armenians living in the Diaspora.
The reason why this thesis is based on the Armenian massacre is that it is the least recognized of the terrible events in human history. Europe and the US are not willing to recognize the Armenian genocide. The Turkish government considers terming the process genocide an insult since they claim that it was a systematic attempt to eliminate the Armenians. This denial by the Turkish puts its allies in Europe and US at a tight spot. This is because Turkey has close military ties to the United States and France. Denouncing Turkey for the genocide would lead to ending the military contract (Hovannisian 40). Furthermore, the United States has an important strategic military base in Turkey.
Description of the thesis
This thesis seeks to bring to the fold one of the most inhuman events of the twentieth century. The thesis will look into the history of the Armenian people under the Ottoman Empire. It will also investigate the circumstance under which the empire took the decision to systematically massacre millions of people and displace other millions. The thesis will also evaluate the views of the Armenian population. This thesis would also look into the political and economic implications of recognition of the genocide with regard to Turkey and its military and economic allies. Finally, the thesis would illustrate how such an international recognition will give the Armenian population the social justice they seek.
Significance of the Thesis
This thesis will enrich the scholarly community. The word genocide has been associated with events that occurred during and after the Second World War, in particular, the Holocaust. Understanding that genocide began early in the twentieth century will expand the views of the readers in the field of human history and sociology.
Hovannisian illustrates the cultural and ethical intricacies with regard to the culture and the social being due to the genocide in the book. This work will help identify the cultural social impacts that the genocide has on the Armenian community.