On April 24, 2017, the film, The Promise, starring Christian Bale opened in theaters nationwide. The date is the anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian genocide that took place in Turkey in 1915. This chapter of history is fraught with controversy as the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge its role in what has been described as the first modern genocide.
The ethnic cleansing of the Armenians from Turkey is said to have inspired Adolf Hitler’s “final solution.” A research paper on this topic will reveal patterns of oppression that exist today.
Start your research here
One hundred years after the deportations and mass murder of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and other peoples in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, the history of the Armenian genocide is a victim of historical distortion, state-sponsored falsification and deep divisions between Armenians and Turks.
With such controversy surrounding this topic, it’s important to base your research paper on valid sources. A good place to begin research on the Armenian genocide is at Questia where you can search for scholarly sources on thousands of topics.
An example of such a resource is the book, A Question of Genocide: Armenians and Turks at the End of the Ottoman Empire, by Ronald Grigor, Fatma Müge Göçek and Norman M. Naimark.
Working together for the first time, Turkish, Armenian and other scholars present here a compelling reconstruction of what happened and why.
“Nearly a century after its occurrence, the Armenian Genocide of 1915 remains one of the most painful episodes of mass killing in the history of the modern period. […] Like the indelible impressions of the victims of Auschwitz on modern consciousness, those of the Armenian genocide call out for remembering and for the historical understanding of a series of events that concluded with the elimination of the Armenian nation from its ancient homelands in Anatolia,” the authors said.
Before you see the film
In an April 21, 2017, article for Time.com, “The Real History to Know Before You See The Promise,” Olivia B. Waxman quoted Peter Balakian, a journalist who witnessed the unearthing of Armenian victim’s bodies in 2009.
“It’s a watershed event in the history of modernity,” says Balakian, “because it’s the first time that the nation-state uses technology, its advanced military communications, legislation and the nationalist ideology for the purpose of eradicating a targeted ethnic group in a certain period of time.”
The more you know
The film’s star, Christian Bale didn’t know anything about the Armenian genocide before he took on the role. In an interview with Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub for Collider.com, Bale described his feelings upon learning the history.
“Since this film has been made, the very critical awareness we’ve had of just how important good journalism is and we continue to have that debate, it’s existed forever but it’s become very obvious in America now,” Bale said.
He added that all of the proceeds earned by the director and producers of the film will be donated to the Enough Project which aims to hold people accountable for genocide.
Facing history on Armenian genocide
The significance of the Armenian genocide to history is in how other nations reacted to it. Turkey, which carried out the ethnic cleansing, continues to claim that the thousands of deaths were due to the ravages of World War I and not to a systematic campaign of extermination.
At the time, President Woodrow Wilson declined to intervene because the Turks had not violated the rights of Americans. And, even today, no sitting U.S. President has described this murder of thousands as a “genocide.” One can speculate that the lack of criticism could be related to Turkey’s strategic location and the role it now plays in supporting the U.S. in the Middle East.
When reviewing this chapter of history, it’s easy to draw connections with the situation in Syria today. What should the U.S. response be when tens of thousands of people are seeking sanctuary because of the ethnic cleansing that is taking place under the guise of a civil war?
Learn more about critical events in history at Questia.
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