The Armenian Genocide Essay

2339 words - 10 pages

The Armenian genocide was the first genocide of Modern World History, but it was not the first time the world saw an ethnic and religious group angry with and persecuting another. The Armenian genocide is special because it was the first time the world saw mass slaughter being planned and executed by government officials. This deliberate slaughter of Armenians has been the focus of many because of its unique persecution of a single ethnic group and the fact that the Turkish government still denies its existence. Although the Armenian genocide took place in the Middle East, it has impacted the entire world. The Armenian genocide happened during World War I. Most known genocides have happened during times of war, because most of the world or the population of the country is so focused on the war, so they do not notice the mass killings going on in their country or in other countries.
Ethnic Armenians have resided in the Middle Eastern region of the world since approximately 3500 BC. Armenians lived and still live in many Middle Eastern countries such as Armenia, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Azerbaijan, and the republic of Georgia. Armenians have their own language and alphabet and have a very unique culture, which has set them apart from other countries and ethnic groups. In 300 AD, there was not a single nation who had Christianity as their national religion. “Following the advent of Christianity, Armenia became the very first nation to accept it as the state religion.” Armenian pride in their culture and way of life never wavered, even throughout being conquered by different nations. Armenian lands were taken over by many different nations on several different occasions, but they finally ended up in the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s, when the Ottoman Empire was reaching its peak. Armenians initially lived peacefully in the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Empire rose out of the Byzantine Empire in the early third century AD. The Ottoman Empire took up most of the Middle Eastern region of Europe. The Ottomans conquered many lands to expand their empire. For the majority of the empire’s reign, a sultan had ruled the Ottomans; but in the 1800s, people within the empire wanted reform and a change in power. In the 1800s, ethnic and religious groups that consisted of Muslim, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian peoples divided Ottoman society. All of these different groups of people lived in various communities with very little integration between groups. It was during the reforms of the 1800s that the Young Turks, a group of radicals looking for a change in power, emerged and displayed their strong opposition to the Sultan and his rule. The sultan remained in power throughout the reforms of 1839 and 1856, but out of these reforms came some major changes. The sultan now had to acknowledge a “principle of equality of non-Muslims” and “ demonstrate generous intentions towards the Christian populations of his empire.” This meant that the sultan now had to make sure...

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