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Breaking the Succession of Evil

  • Franklin H. Littell
Chapter

Abstract

We are met in the name of Memory. Yet for many reasons the ‘dialogue with the past’ is difficult to sustain. In speaking of a massive traumatic event, both the victims and the perpetrators are driven to suppress recollection — the victims in order to get on with life, the perpetrators to deny their full measure of guilt. In both groups there is a noteworthy psychological drive to thrust the event into the storeroom of forgetfulness, to lose and bolt the door.

Keywords

Early Warning System Civil Religion Genocide Convention Legitimate Government Jewish Experience 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    James F Young, The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993 ), pp. 28–37.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For a fine recent comparison of the Armenian and the Jewish experience of genocide, see Rubina Peroomian, Literary Responses to Catastrophe ( Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1993 ).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    José Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses ( New York: New American Library, 1950 ), p. 10.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe ( Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment, 1944 ), p. 79.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Franklin H. Littell, Wild Tongues ( New York: Macmillan Co., 1969 ).Google Scholar
  6. 15.
    For 13 common characteristics of the Armenian and Jewish genocides, see Franklin H. Littell, ‘Holocaust and Genocide: The Essential Dialectic’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies 2, no. 1 (1987): 98–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 17.
    Robert Melson, Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), part I.Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    Cited in Cyrus Adler, ed., The Voice of America on Kishnieff (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1904), pp. 159, 161.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    On Christendom’s development of the three levels of Christian anti-Semitism (theological, cultural, political), see Franklin H Littell, The Crucifixion of the Jews (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1986), passim.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    See Hans Buchheim, Glaubenskrise im Dritten Reich (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1953), passim;Google Scholar
  11. Ujriel Tal, ‘Nazism as a “Political Faith”’, The Jerusalem Quarterly 15 (1980): 71–89, and ‘Forms of Pseudo-Religion in the German Kulturbereich Prior to the Holocaust’, Immanuel 3 (1974): 68–73.Google Scholar
  12. 22.
    A point well made in Mary Mangigian Tarzian, The Armenian Minority Problem (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1992), pp. 48–9.Google Scholar
  13. For example, Talaat Pasha was descended from the sectarian movement around Shabtai Zvi; Hitler was a Viennese street person who gained German citizenship through a back door action by the City of Braunschweig. The factor of genealogical, ethnic, social, psychological and educational marginality in the Pan-Turanist and Nazi elites has been well presented by R. Hrair Dekmejian in ‘Determinants of Genocide: Armenians and Jews as Case Studies’, in Richard G. Hovannisian, ed., The Armenian Genocide in Perspective ( New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1986 ), pp. 92–4.Google Scholar
  14. 23.
    This ‘spiritual’ aspect of the totalitarian ‘political party’ has been well discussed by Florence Mazian inWhy Genocide? The Armenian and Jewish Experiences in Perspective (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1990), chapters 3 and 9.Google Scholar
  15. 25.
    According to Jacob Talmon, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy (London: Secker & Warburg, 1952), the tracks between true democracy and false democracy separated following the French Revolution.Google Scholar
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    Karl Jaspers, The Question of German Guilt ( New York: Capricorn Books, 1961 ), p. 82.Google Scholar
  18. 30.
    To distinguish between terrorists and freedom fighters is also imperative. In the Armenian situation in 1915–21 the distinctions can be made rather precisely. Neither the regime of the old order nor the regime of the Young Turks was legitimate. The action of Soghomon Tehlirian, who killed Talaat Pasha — an escaped but condemned criminal — in Berlin, was not an act of terrorism. See Edward Alexander, A Crime of Vengeance (New York: Free Press, 1991) for the narrative. Whether later assassinations of Turkish officials by Armenian patriots were acts of terrorism or legitimate acts of resistance by freedom fighters depends upon whether or not the later government of Turkey fulfils the definition of a legitimate government.Google Scholar
  19. 31.
    Three versions of Hitler’s speech, with slight variations in text but substantial agreement, have survived. See Kevork Bardakjian, Hitler and the Armenian Genocide ( Cambridge, MA: The Zoryan Institute, 1985 ), pp. 43–51.Google Scholar
  20. 32.
    Vahakn N. Dadrian, ‘The Historical and Legal Interconnections between the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust: From Impunity to Retributive Justice’, Yale Journal of International Law 23, No. 2 (1998): 531–7.Google Scholar
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  22. 34.
    See Paul Mojzes, Yugoslavian Inferno (New York: Continuum, 1994) on the role of debased journalism, p. 54f; on the component of debased religion, p. 125f; on the populist stance of the politicians, p. 156f.Google Scholar
  23. 35.
    For a recent exposé of the politics of the denial of the genocide of the Armenians, see ‘Professional Ethics and the Denial of the Armenian Genocide’, by Roger W. Smith, Eric Markusen, and Robert J. Lifton, in Holocaust and Genocide Studies 9, no. 1 (1995): 1–22, with substantial footnotes on the documentary evidence in American, British and German archives, as well as Armenian and Turkish records.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 36.
    John S. Kirakossian, The Armenian Genocide (Madison, CT: Sphinx Press, 1992) translated by Shushan Altunian from the 1983 Russian edition, chapter 9.Google Scholar
  25. 37.
    Hovannisian, 127; on the patterns of official denial see chapters by Dobkin, Hovannisian and Guroian. See also Roger W Smith, ‘Genocide and Denial: The Armenian Case and Its Implications’, Armenian Review 42, no. 1 (1989): 1–38; on the US government role in denial, 20–4.Google Scholar
  26. 38.
    News items were carried in The New York Times on 3 June, 4 June, 5 June and 22 June 1982. See especially the narrative published by the convenor of the conference, Prof. Israel Charny: Israel Charny and Shamai Davidson, eds., The Book of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide (Tel Aviv: The Institute on Holocaust and Genocide, 1983), pp. 270–315.Google Scholar
  27. 39.
    See Deborah E. Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust (New York: Free Press, 1993), passim.Google Scholar
  28. For an early and detailed summary of the political and ecclesiastical network behind the denial of the genocide of the Jews, see Franklin H. Littell, ‘A Report on “Historical Revisionism ” ’, in Report of the 1981 International Council Meeting ( Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1982 ), pp. 39–58.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

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  • Franklin H. Littell

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