Armenian Massacres
(1894–1896)
   The first wave of genocidal massacres of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks. At the end of the nineteenth century, Armenians were the largest Christian minority in the Anatolian region of the Ottoman Empire. In the 1890s, Sultan Abdul Hamid II ordered a series of massacres that resulted in the rapes and brutal deaths of about 200,000 Armenians. The United States responded with humanitarian relief that involved the combined efforts of individuals like Clara Barton, Julia Ward Howe, and John D. Rockefeller and organizations like the Red Cross. The Europeans powers also condemned the atrocities, setting up an investigatory commission and appealing for reforms, but the Ottoman Empire was never really held accountable. Consequently, the Hamidian massacres delivered the unfortunate message that large-scale murder could be committed with impunity, thus paving the way for the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
   See also Gladstone, W. E.; Appendix: Words and Deeds, Document No.11.
   FURTHER READING:
    Balakian, Peter. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and Americas Response. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2003;
    Morgenthau, Henry. Ambassador Morganthaus Story. Preface by Robert Jay Lifton, introduction by Roger Smith, afterword by Henry Morganthau III. Edited by P. Balakian. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2003.
   LEE A. FARROW

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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