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Starving Armenian (book)

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Starving Armenian (book)
Book-cover-starving armenians-peterson.jpg
Author Merrill Peterson
Publication Year 2004
ISBN ISBN 9780813922676
Publisher University Press of Virginia
Format Softbound
No. of Pages 208
Language English
Category Genocide, Education & Reference

Peterson, both historian & published writer, gives a meaty synopsis of Henry Morgenthau's reporting & observations while Ambassaor to Turkey & follows this with 5 chapters entitled: 1. Awakening, 2. Genocide, 3. Near East Relief (NER) in War & Peace, 4. Chaos, Carnage & Survivors, and 5. The Great Betrayal - he concludes with an enticing Epilogue. Of the now numerous books covering the Armenian Question, Massacres & Genocide - Peterson's is one of the better written & researched chronicles of those events; he provides a good detailed accounting of the NER. In the chapter "The Great Betrayal" he pulls no punches in detailing the machinations behind the overtly indifference of various allied powers on their impotency & failure to taken any military or meaningful political actions; the US resorting instead to basically encourage & promote the US populace to render humanitarian aid via NER & later, its "greatest asset",the "International Golden Rule Sunday" (1924-1931). Standard Oil (New Jersey) under the Rockefeller empire, induced the State Department to use its influence to permit it access to Mesopotamia (Iraqi) oil reserves alongside the Anglo-Persian Company (British) which is akin to BP.

The persecution and suffering of the Armenian people, a religious and cultural minority in the Ottoman Empire, reached a peak in the era of World War I at the hands of the Turks. Between 1915 and 1925 as many as 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children died in Ottoman Turkey, victims of execution, starvation, and death marches to the Syrian desert. In "Starving Armenians," Merrill Peterson explores the American response to these atrocities, beginning with the initial reports to President Wilson from his Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, who described Turkey as "a place of horror." The West gradually began to take notice. As the New York Times carried stories about the "slow massacre of a race," public outrage over this tragedy led to an unprecedented philanthropic crusade spearheaded by Near East Relief, an organization rooted in Protestant missionary endeavors in the Near East and dedicated to saving the survivors of the first genocide of the twentieth century. The book also addresses the Armenian aspirations for an independent republic under American auspices; these hopes went unfulfilled in the peacemaking after the war and ended altogether when Armenia was absorbed into the Soviet Union. Part of a generation who were admonished as children to "remember the starving Armenians," Peterson went to Armenia in 1997 as a Peace Corps volunteer and became fascinated by the country's troubled history. The extensive research he embarked upon afterwards revealed not only the scope of the people's hardship and amazing resilience; it located in the American effort to help the Armenians a unique perspective on our own nation's experience of the twentieth century. "Starving Armenians" is an eloquent narrative of an all but forgotten part of that experience.