Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide

Hardcover | January 15, 2015

byThomas De Waal

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The destruction of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-16 was the greatest atrocity of World War I. Around one million Armenians were killed, and the survivors were scattered across the world. Although it is now a century old, the issue of what most of the world calls the ArmenianGenocide of 1915 is still a live and divisive issue that mobilizes Armenians across the world, shapes the identity and politics of modern Turkey, and has consumed the attention of U.S. politicians for years. In Great Catastrophe, the eminent scholar and reporter Thomas de Waal looks at the aftermath and politics of the Armenian Genocide and tells the story of recent efforts by courageous Armenians, Kurds, and Turks to come to terms with the disaster as Turkey enters a new post-Kemalist era. The story ofwhat happened to the Armenians in 1915-16 is well-known. Here we are told the "history of the history" and the lesser-known story of what happened to Armenians, Kurds, and Turks in the century that followed. De Waal relates how different generations tackled the issue of the "Great Catastrophe" fromthe 1920s until the failure of the Protocols signed by independent Armenia and Turkey in 2010. Quarrels between diaspora Armenians supporting and opposing the Soviet Union broke into violence and culminated with the murder of an archbishop in 1933. The devising of the word "genocide," the growth ofmodern identity politics, and the 50th anniversary of the massacres re-energized a new generation of Armenians. In Turkey the issue was initially forgotten, only to return to the political agenda in the context of the Cold War and an outbreak of Armenian terrorism. More recently, Turkey has startedto confront its taboos. In an astonishing revival of oral history, the descendants of tens of thousands of "Islamized Armenians," who have been in the shadows since 1915, have begun to reemerge and reclaim their identities.Drawing on archival sources, reportage and moving personal stories, de Waal tells the full story of Armenian-Turkish relations since the Genocide in all its extraordinary twists and turns. He looks behind the propaganda to examine the realities of a terrible historical crime and the divisive"politics of genocide" it produced. The book throws light not only on our understanding of Armenian-Turkish relations but also of how mass atrocities and historical tragedies shape contemporary politics.

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From the Publisher

The destruction of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-16 was the greatest atrocity of World War I. Around one million Armenians were killed, and the survivors were scattered across the world. Although it is now a century old, the issue of what most of the world calls the ArmenianGenocide of 1915 is still a live and divisive is...

Thomas de Waal is a writer and scholar on the Caucasus and Black Sea region and currently Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of three books, including The Caucasus: An Introduction. Previously, de Waal worked as a newspaper and radio journalist in London and Moscow.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:January 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199350698

ISBN - 13:9780199350698

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Requiem in Diyarbakir1. The Catastrophe, 1915-162. The Historical Reckoning3. From Van to Lausanne, 1915-234. The Forgetting, 1924-19415. From War to Cold War, 1941-19646. The Armenian Awakening, 19657. Terrorism and Politics, 1966-918. A Turkish Thaw9. The Armenia-Turkey Protocols10. Remembering - Oral History in AnatoliaConclusion: Memory, Genocide and Dialogue

Editorial Reviews

"Great Catastrophe is a frank, honest, humane effort to understand the events surrounding the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath. Thomas de Waal writes with empathy and respect for the various contending narratives while avoiding an equivocating 'balance' that dishonors the events and thevictims themselves. Meticulously researched and scrupulously fair, it attempts to comprehend and recount for a broad audience the complexity and pain of the MedZ Yeghern in the hope that average Turks and Armenians might continue the process of recognition, repentance and reconciliation that willallow them both to heal and be redeemed." --Michael Lemmon, Former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia