The 1915 massacre of the Armenians by reactionary Ottoman Government foreshadowed a horrifying trend of genocide that would characterize much of the twentieth century. Yet not so
much is known about the Armenian massacres of the 1890s and how they set the stage for the events of 1915. This compilation of articles, published in the U.S. periodicals between 1895 and 1899, reflects the deep concern of the American public for the Armenian people, and also offers a fascinating window onto the world politics of the time—especially on the challenges of coordinating international action once news of the massacres began to emerge.
Throughout these thirty-five reprinted articles, written by American diplomats, missionaries, journalists, religious and public figures, and scientists, the plight of the Armenian people unfolds. Not only do readers learn of the Armenian struggle for equality and, ultimately, independence from the Ottoman Empire, but they also discover rich evidence about the Armenians themselves, their Church, instabilities within the Empire, and charitable efforts spearheaded by American Christian missionaries. The language and tone of these articles from over a century ago do reflect U.S. and European attitudes of the time, which were influenced by the perception of the Empire’s Sultan Abdul Hammid II as the ultimate anti-Christian, pan-Islamic Ottoman ruler. But the overall humanitarian impulses of these writers are evident, and we see the beginnings of an Armenian-U.S. relationship that would strengthen over the course of the twentieth century.
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