The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians by Donald Bloxham - review by David Cesarani

David Cesarani

The Geopolitics of Memory

The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians

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Oxford University Press 311pp £19.99 order from our bookshop
 

This year marked the ninetieth anniversary of the genocide against the Armenians during the First World War. However, apart from a few articles and an occasional documentary, the anniversary of the first major genocide of the twentieth century passed without much public reflection. This mute treatment stands in contrast to the preoccupation with the mass murder of Europe’s Jews or the efforts to memorialise the genocide in Rwanda and the slaughter at Srebrenica. As Donald Bloxham remarks, the genocide carried out on the Armenians was not only the first of its type but also the most successful. Having wiped out a population, the perpetrators then succeeded in virtually erasing any memory of its annihilation.

It may be comforting to blame the Turks for this, but the fact that the genocide ‘has yet to enter the collective consciousness of most non-Armenians’ cannot be ascribed solely to the official policy of denial. Turkey enjoys economic relations and a skein of alliances with other countries that have

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