The Ottoman Armenian Tragedy is a Genuine Historic Controversy
Paul Henze
Feroz Ahmad
Arend Jan Boekestijn
Brendon J. Cannon
Mary Schaeffer Conroy
Youssef Courbage
Paul Dumont
Bertil Duner
Gwynne Dyer
Edward J. Erickson
Philippe Fargues
Michael M. Gunter
Paul Henze
Eberhard Jäckel
Firuz Kazemzadeh
Yitzchak Kerem
William L. Langer
Bernard Lewis
Guenter Lewy
Heath W. Lowry
Andrew Mango
Robert Mantran
Justin McCarthy
Michael E. Meeker
Hikmet Ozdemir
Stephen Pope
Michael Radu
Jeremy Salt
Stanford Shaw
Norman Stone
Hew Strachan
Elizabeth-Anne Wheal
Brian G. Williams
Gilles Veinstein
Malcolm Yapp
Thierry Zarcone
Robert F. Zeidner

Ph.D., Harvard University. Paul B. Henze served at the US embassy in Ethiopia, from 1968 to 1972. He left the administration in 1980, and became a consultant for the Rand Corporation and the Smithsonian Institution.

major publications

  • The Plot to Kill the Pope, 1983.
  • Soviet Strategy and Islam, 1989 (with Alexandre Bennigsen and George K. Tanhman)
  • The Horn of Africa, 1991.
  • Turkey and Atatürk’s Legacy: Turkey’s Political Evolution, Turkish-US Relations, and
    Prospects for the 21th Century, 1998.
  • Layers of Time. A History of Ethiopia, 2001, 2nd edition 2004.

RELEvANT publications

Source: "The Roots of Armenian Violence", 1984

"Bulgaria gained independence. Bulgarians were a people whom Armenians regarded as having a much less distinguished history than their own. If Bulgaria deserved to be independent, why not Armenia? Revolutionary nationalists who embraced such argumentation in the 1880s and 1890s willfully avoided facing the essential difference between their situations and that of the Bulgarians. Though there was serious controversy about Bulgaria’s proper boundaries, and though Bulgaria contained sizable minorities, the newly independent country was nevertheless a coherent geographical entity inhabited by a majority of Bulgarians.

Nothing comparable existed in territories claimed by the Armenians. They were outnumbered by Muslims in every one of the six eastern provinces traditionally called Armenian. In the city of Erzurum, which many nationalists regarded as their natural capital, Armenians were a distinct minority. […]

So by the end of the 1880s we see the roots of Armenian violence ― and violence against Armenians ― in full view. Violence became inevitable because the Armenian demands which were most vigorously pressed had become irrational, impossible of attainment. The irrationality did not deter the Czarist government from supporting Armenian extremists for their own political purposes even as they increasingly restricted the activities of Armenian nationalists in their own territories. […]

For an Ottoman bureaucracy pressed to meet demands for political and administrative reform among subject peoples as well as Turks, maintenance of order in outlying regions became increasingly difficult. Once clashes began to occur and other down, no one ― government or local communities ― possessed the physical strength, the political skill or the powers of persuasion to contain disaster. It was not only Armenians of the Ottoman Empire who were affected, but Muslims as well. Everyone lost." Pp. 199-200

"When war broke out in 1914, the Russians again encouraged Armenian expectations and exploited the eastern Anatolian Armenians as a fifth column. In the end they did not intervene to protect Armenians when Ottoman authorities, in a life-and-death wartime situation, moved to deport them, nor were the Russian able to protect their collaborators against the vengeance of local Muslims when Ottoman authority collapsed. As had happened so often before during the preceding 150 years, Russia was willing to exploit Armenians for her own purposes but unprepared to make sacrifices on their behalf.

Armenian embitterment and chagrin at the disaster which intemperate and irrational nationalism brought on the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire have perished through three generations. Violence against Turkish officials in the 1920s proved to be a less characteristic reaction than the publicity campaigns and lobbying which long prevented resumption of U.S.-Turkish relations, though the U.S. had never actually declared war on the Ottoman Empire. […] They are many reasons to suspect that the campaign [of terrorism, after 1973] is a part of the massive effort to destabilize Turkey and destroy democracy there to which the Soviet Union devoted major resources during the 1970s ― and which may still not have been entirely abandoned.

Armenian communities in many parts of the world ― notably in France and the U.S. ― have been remarkably equivocal about (if not openly supportive of) such terrorism. The terrorists are remembered in Armenian Church services and large sums are collected in Armenian communities for their defense when they are put on trial. The climate of this astonishing advocacy of violence is maintained by an emotionalized version of Armenian history which is propagated in the ethnic press, taught in cultural programs and pressed on school authorities for inclusion in curricula. Even in the 1970s it has been hard to find a more extreme version of what one American historian called ‘creedal passion’, which provokes populations to irresponsible behavior. Armenian-origin intellectuals and journalists have become viciously intolerant of non-Armenian-origin colleagues who do not accept their biases and who venture to question Armenian statistics or try to examine Armenian, Ottoman and relevant Russian historical records according to recognized standards of objectivity and respect of methodology.
One is driven to wonder, for example, whether an essentially honest example of scholarship such as Louise Nalbandian’s Armenian Revolutionary Movement, which originally appeared [in 1963] would even be published by a scholar of Armenian origin today." Pp. 201-202

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