SHARING THE BURDEN: The Armenian Question, Humanitarian Intervention and Anglo-American Visions of Global Order
by Charlie Laderman
The destruction of the Armenian community in the Ottoman Empire was an unprecedented tragedy. Even amidst the horrors of the First World War, Theodore Roosevelt insisted that it was the greatest crime of the conflict. The wartime mass killing of approximately one million Armenian Christians was the culmination of a series of massacres that Winston Churchill would later recall had roused publics on both sides of the Atlantic and inspired fervent appeals to save the Armenians.
Sharing the Burden explains how the Armenian struggle for survival became so entangled with the debate over the international role of the United States as it rose to world power status in the early twentieth century. In doing so, Charlie Laderman provides a fresh perspective on the role of humanitarian intervention in US foreign policy, Anglo-American relations, and the emergence of a new world order after World War I. The United States' responsibility to protect the Armenians was a central preoccupation of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Both American and British leaders proposed an Anglo-American alliance to take joint responsibilities for the Middle East and envisioned a US intervention to secure an independent Armenia as key to the new League of Nations. The Armenian question illustrates how policymakers, missionaries, and the public grappled for the first time with atrocities on this scale. It also reveals the values that animated American society during this pivotal period in the nation's foreign relations.
Deepening understanding of the Anglo-American special relationship and its role in reforming global order, Sharing the Burden illuminates the possibilities, limitations, and continued dilemmas of humanitarian intervention in international politics.