America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915
Winter, Jay, editor.
London: Cambridge University Press, 2004, 336 pages. ISBN 0521829585.
"The twentieth century witnessed some of humanities greatest achievements...it was a century for improvement, at times, vast improvement in the quality of life for millions of people; yet the twentieth century was also one of decline in many parts of the world."
Before Rwanda and Bosnia, and before the Holocaust, the first genocide of the twentieth century happened in Turkish Armenia in 1915, when approximately one million people were killed. This volume is the first account of the American response to this atrocity. The first part sets up the framework for understanding the genocide: Sir Martin Gilbert, Vahakn Dadrian and Jay Winter provide an analytical setting for nine scholarly essays examining how Americans learned of this catastrophe and how they tried to help its victims. Knowledge and compassion, though, were not enough to stop the killings. A terrible precedent was born in 1915, one which has come to haunt the United States and other Western countries throughout the twentieth century and beyond. To read the essays in this volume is chastening: the dilemmas Americans faced when confronting evil on an unprecedented scale are not very different from the dilemmas we face today.