Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Missionaries and Propaganda  
First Page


Major Players
Links & Misc.



Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

"For nearly a century, the American missionaries have been maintaining contacts with the Armenian minority. (...) It is by this canal that one learnt in the United States the troubles from which suffered the Armenians under the Hamidian regime (...) But the missionaries were not able to or did not want to explain to their coreligionists that the Turks bore exactly the same troubles. As a result, instead of giving to the Americans an impartial image of the situation of all the peoples of the Empire, instead of explaining clearly that it was Hamidian regime who was the oppressor and the Turks suffered as much as the Armenians, the missionaries drew the attention of America only on the misfortunes of the Armenians."

Clair Price, "The Rebirth of Turkey," New York, 1923, pages 79-80


Below are looks at the missionaries from various sources:

1. Who were the Missionaries, by Prof. Justin McCarthy

2. Morality of the Missionaries

3. Extensiveness of the Missions, by Guenter Lewy

4. Equal Time: An Armenian Overview, by Dr. Adalian

5. Excerpts from The Armenian File, by Kamuran Gurun

           a. The Activities of Missionaries

           b. Propaganda

6. The Ninth Commandment

7. Excerpts from American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips


Who were the Missionaries?

Here are some excerpts from Justin McCarthy's excellent Presentation on British Propaganda:

...On Missionaries: The American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief was founded in November of 1915. There were other Armenian relief organizations before that.

Propagandists could play upon the great respect Americans held for the missionaries who had gone to the Ottoman Empire, and who often appeared in the newspapers as national heroes for a Christian Nation.

The Relief Organization engaged in an eight-year policy of vilifying Turks, from 1915 to 1923. It is interesting that in 1923, once the Turks had won and the Mission obviously would not survive unless they got along with the Turks, suddenly all changed. Suddenly Turks were being praised by missionaries. But until then, the Turks were evil. To build their missionary organization was one of their purposes, but their main purpose was a good one. Their main purpose was to collect money for what indeed were starving Armenian and Syrian (Assyrian) Christians, to try to make sure that these people had food and the orphans had shelter. It was a good purpose. They used a not-so-good means to get the money, which was to vilify the Turks in every way, because there is nothing that draws in funds like portraying a horrible enemy that is oppressing these people and will succeed unless you help, unless you contribute. Which is what they did.


Studying what they preached unfortunately takes a long time. You must read much truly disgusting literature. What they wrote was not what one would expect of clergymen. Yet one reason they were so successful is exactly that people expected that clergymen would not lie.


In all of the writings of the missionaries Turks were never victims; Armenians were always victims. Armenians never killed; Turks always killed. Turks, and I am not exaggerating in any way, Turks persecuted orphans; Turks were cannibals; Turks held auctions of Armenian women; Armenians were a majority all over the east of Anatolia; all young Armenian males had been killed by Turks; all women, every one, were raped by Turks; the Turks hated education and always persecuted the educated; no Christians had ever been part of the Ottoman government. Turks needed Christians because the Turks were racially incapable of being "doctors, dentists, tailors, carpenters, every profession or trade requiring the least skill." And the missionaries wrote that now that the Turks had killed the Armenians, Westerners who were going to have to come in and take over Turkey, because the Turks had rid themselves of the only people with brains, the Armenians, and the Turks could not run the country themselves.


The main Protestant missionary propaganda was, or course, religious. James Levi Barton, the leader of the relief organization, wrote "[Armenians] are suffering for no fault of their own, but because their lot was cast in a land where no Christian power was able to protect and because, forsooth, they would not remove the Lord Jesus Christ from their altars and put Mohammed in his place."

The fact that the Turks had been running what was called Armenia for eight hundred years and the Armenians were still there would seem to argue against that. Of course the propagandists didn't bother with that sort of explanation. To us today these kinds of things are crude and unbelievable, and I imagine you would probably be laughing if you didn't think this was a serious topic. But Americans especially, and many other people in the world, including most people in Britain, knew little of Turks or of Muslims in general. Such descriptions of Turks would have seemed perfectly reasonable to them.

The most important factor about the missionaries as far as I am concerned is that they did not hesitate to lie, most of these lies being lies of omission. For example, there were two major books written about the rebellion of the Armenians in the city of Van, one by a missionary named Ussher, another by a missionary named Knapp. The Knapp book was excerpted in the Bryce Report. To the missionaries, no Turks or Kurds ever died in Van, except for four sentences in the three hundred and fifty-page book written by Ussher in which he stated that Armenians sometimes took revenge against the Muslims. Ussher mitigated that by stating that these were people who deserved to die.

The fact is that Armenians had slaughtered every Muslim man, woman, and child they caught in the city of Van. They rounded up the Kurds in surrounding villages and killed them in the great natural bowl at Zeve. If the missionaries missed that, they must have been both blind and hiding in the basement. Yet you read all the missionary literature and the only people who died were Armenians. This makes one wonder what happened to all those dead Muslims. They must have committed suicide.

This campaign, the missionary campaign, was a great success. It gained a hundred and sixteen million dollars, which, if you calculate it in modem money, was the most successful private charity campaign in American history. Posters in public buildings, sermons in churches, door-to-door campaigns, pamphlets, press releases — it was the biggest such campaign ever seen in America. It has never been superseded in its scope or in the amount of money that was spent or that was taken in. Leading every one of the missionaries' pleas to charity was an attack on Turks. 

Arnold Toynbee

Arnold Toynbee

There was complete cooperation between the missionaries and the British Propaganda Bureau. They sent materials to Toynbee; in turn the missionaries distributed Wellington House propaganda material. For example, three thousand copies of Toynbee's Armenian atrocities were distributed in America by the missionary relief organizations. The United States Government forwarded missionary materials on using government distribution systems. The government gave secret documents to the missionaries, who extracted sections from them. These eventually made their way to Toynbee with the statement, "Under no circumstances reveal source."

The missionary establishment leaders most involved in providing propaganda to Toynbee were James Barton and William Rockwell. Barton had been a missionary in Anatolia. He was a Congregational minister and the head of the American Board of Commissioners For Foreign Missions, the largest of the American missionary groups. He had become the head of the main relief organization, the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief. William Rockwell was also a minister, at Columbia Theological Seminary, I believe a Presbyterian. He was the Chief Propagandist of the American Committee. They were joined as Toynbee's prime sources by a gentlemen in Switzerland, Léopold Favre, who had published the first of the World War I Armenian atrocity books, Quelcques, Documents sur le sort des Asmeniens en l915. And, of course, there was Boghos Nubar Pasha who had been the Prime Minister of Egypt and was now the head of what was called The Armenian National Delegation, of which he had named himself head. He was a well-known Armenian apologist.

Barton, Rockwell, Favre, Nubar, all these people provided materials to Toynbee, read the manuscripts, suggested emendations, and read the proofs. At one point Nubar wrote to Toynbee conceming one document, "Drop the phrases that make Turks look good." Which Toynbee then did. The original source of nearly all the documents were the missionaries and the Armenians. And I think you can probably see that these were the two least reliable sources one can imagine.


The Morality of the Missionaries

Most (especially) Church-influenced Western writers have rarely failed to accuse Islam of spreading by coercion. The causes of this prejudice lie mainly in the fact that the spread of Islam has often occurred at the expense of Christianity. While Islam has for centuries obtained numerous conversions from Christianity without much effort or organized missionary activities, Christianity has almost never been able to achieve conversions from Islam in spite of sophisticated means and well-organized missionary activities, and it has always been at a disadvantage in its competition with Islam for fourteen centuries. This has caused its missionaries and most of the Orientalists to develop a complex within themselves by depicting Islam and introducing it as a regressive, vulgar religion of savage peoples. (John Cogley, Religion of Secular Age; Muhammad Asad, The Road to Mecca)

Trekking to a New Mission Site

The caption under this newspaper image
read: "Trekking to a New Mission Site."
This is what fanatical missionaries did all
over the world... forced their values
upon "savages" with different beliefs.

 The missionary writer Sir Thomas W. Arnold  (THE PREACHING OF ISLAM, A HISTORY OF THE PROPAGATION OF THE MUSLIM FAITH, London, 1896) wrote that during the reign of Amir Tuqluq Khan, 160,000 Mongols embraced Islam voluntarily in one day. There could be no underhanded or deceptive coercion methods employed for this mass conversion as employed by missionaries over the centuries. Arnold wrote further: "...of any organized attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain... the very survival of these Churches to the present day is a strong proof of the generally tolerant attitude of Mohammedan governments towards them"

These are the roots of the morality of the missionaries. One day, TAT hopes to feature the shocking missionary prayers during the Ottoman period where these fanatical people regarded the Muslims in such bigoted ways, they swore to God on a daily basis to regard the Muslim in anything but a "Love Thy Neighbor" manner. Honestly believing the worst of the "savage" Muslims or outright lying and deception came easily to these people of the book.

The missionary Dr. Nichols, in charge of the Near East Relief work for the territory embraced within Syria and Cilicia after the end of World War I, was one such deluded individual. J. H. S. Dessez, the American Commanding Officer of the U. S. S. Smith Thompson,  reported to Admiral Mark Bristol on May 3, 1920 that American missionaries were playing an important role in the slaughter perpetuated by Armenians; missionaries stirred up the local Christians against their Muslim neighbors through the spreading of anti-Muslim hatred and by providing hiding places for the arms and ammunition which was being used against the settled Turkish population:

"Dr. Nichols I consider a very dangerous man who can do a great deal of harm if given a free hand. He is a religious fanatic apparently, and anxious to have something sensational take place between Turks and Americans, in order to influence public opinion in the United States. He impressed me as rather glorying in the fight between the Armenians and Turks at Aintab....[I]t developed that the first shots fired at the American Orphanage were by armed Armenians from the orphanage with the full knowledge and encouragement of some Americans.... Turkish police and army searches found anti-Muslim propaganda along with arms and ammunition hidden in American missionary centers in various parts of Anatolia."

...Turkish police and army searches found anti-Muslim propaganda along with arms and ammunition hidden in American missionary centers in various parts of Anatolia."

 [Examples of police reports substantiating the claim may be found in 25 May 1921, regarding missionary activities at Mamuretülaziz--CA (Ankara), BBK/30/10 kutu 206/dosya 406/doc. 3), report of 30 June 1921 on Talas--CA (Ankara), BBK/30/10 kutu 206/dosya 406/doc. 4. Source:Prof. Stanford Shaw's "The Armenian Legion and Its Destruction of the Armenian Community in Cilicia" chapter from the book, "The Armenians in the Late Ottoman Period.]

Another American military man's views on the missionaries were  published in The New York Herald on August 18, 1895:

"Rear-Admiral Kirkland, commanding the European station, whenever he speaks upon the subject, is empathic in his condemnation of the missionaries in Turkey. He says that he has found that one of the most prominent Sunday-school teachers in Syria spent three years in the Penitentiary at Pittsburgh, Pa., and that, taken altogether, they are a bad lot. The cause of all the trouble, Admiral Kirkland asserts, is that, relying upon the protection of the American government, the missionaries defy local laws, and do not merit the dispatch of a warship at every appeal made by the missionaries, most of which appeals are not true."



Protestant missionaries and their schools played an important role in this process of [Armenian] radicalization. Both the government and the Armenian church tried to discourage the influx of these foreigners and their Western ideas, but the number of missionaries, most of them American and German, kept growing. By 1895, according to one count, there were 176 American missionaries, assisted by 878 native assistants, at work in Anatolia. They had established 125 churches with 12,787 members and 423 schools with 20,496 students. [4] Even though the missionaries denied that they instilled Armenian nationalistic, let alone revolutionary, sentiments, the Ottoman government saw it differently. As Charles Eliot, a well-informed British dipomat with extensive experience in Turkey, put it:

The good position of the Armenians in Turkey had largely depended on the fact that they were thoroughly Oriental and devoid of that tincture of European culture common among Greeks and Slavs. But now this character was being destroyed: European education and European books were being introduced among them... The Turks thought that there was clearly an intention to break up what remained of the Ottoman Empire and found an Armenian kingdom... "Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war," in English is a harmless hymn, suggestive of nothing worse than a mildly rituatlistic procession; but I confess that the same words literally rendered into Turkish do sound like an appeal to Christians to rise up against their Mohammedan masters, and I cannot be surprised that the Ottoman authorities found the hymn seditious and forbade it to be sung. [5]

[4] Jeremy Salt, Imperialism, Evangelism and the Ottoman Armenians, 1878-1896, p. 31.
[5] Charles Eliot, Turkey in Europe, pp. 400-402. See also the observations of Selim Deringil in The Well-Protected Domain; Ideology and Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire 1876-1909, pp. 128-29.

Prof. Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey, A Disputed Genocide, 2005, p. 4


Equal Time: An Armenian Overview


Missionaries were the first foreign eyewitnesses of the Armenian Genocide. With their successful evangelizing among Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, Protestant missionaries, mostly associated with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), had created an extensive network of school, orphanages, hospitals, and colleges across Anatolia and Armenia. On account of US neutrality during the first three years of World War I, the missionaries were allowed to stay in the Ottoman Empire. Their institutions, however, were devastated by the destruction of the Armenian population. The missionaries made heroic attempts to provide for the care and feeding of the destitute, especially orphans, only to face hardships of their own at the hands of Turkish officials. Attempts to provide refuge proved futile and only provoked the ire of the government, which came to look upon them with increasing suspicion. Next to the US consuls, the American missionaries collectively became the second most important group of witnesses to the Armenian Genocide. Virtually every mission sent reports, which together with the official consular communiques, came to constitute the body of English-language eyewitness and documentary evidence about the Ottoman policy of extermination filed with the American Embassy in Constantinople and forwarded to the US Department of State in Washington. Many of these reports were compiled by Arnold Toynbee, then a young historian, and were published in Lord (James) Bryce's The Treatment of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire presented to the British Parliament in 1916 as proof of "the gigantic crime that devastated the Near East in 1915." While the Department of State classified the cables from the Embassy in Constantinople as confidential, the ABCFM was able to release the contents of the reports it received and alerted the US media and the American public. Formal US reaction to the deportations and massacres did not go beyond verbal protests to the Ottoman government. Strong public sympathy generated by the atrocity reports, however, helped in subsequent relief efforts. Swiss, Danish, and German missionaries also witnessed the Armenian Genocide. Johannes Lepsius of the Deutsche-Orient Mission, whose wartime report was suppressed by Germany upon the protest of the Turkish government, with the authorization of the postwar German government published Deutschland und Armenien 1914-1918: Samlung diplomatischer Aktenstucke (1919), the second important volume of documentary evidence released during the time of the Genocide.

Rouben Paul Adalian



Talat Pasha allowed the American missionaries to do relief work among the Armenians, in spite of the fact that Turkey and the United States were on the opposing camps during the war. How many examples are there in history of a combatant country permitting the citizens of another country fighting in the other camp to stay, feed, cloth and educate the people it is accused of exterminating?

Professor Türkkaya Ataöv, The 'Armenian Question' Conflict, Trauma & Objectivity. (Holdwater Note: Talat Pasha is recognized by Armenians as the mastermind behind the Armenian "Genocide.")




Their (the Armenians') country is controlled by a rich and powerful potentate of another race, who with his court and army would be neither cruel nor revengeful except for their religion. They are Mohammedans and they have been taught for centuries that a Christian slain was the surest passport to the favor of God and the enjoyment of eternal happiness. Under the insane spell of this awful fanaticism, they have come down like wolves on the gentle Christian people under their sway, and within the last year have slaughtered men, women, and children without mercy, noi4for any wrong that they have done, but only because they are Christians.

This passage is taken from the preface of Bliss's book. Bliss spent many years in Turkey, where he was a missionary.

If such a remark could be made in blind partiality in 1896 about Islam, which was established more than 1,270 years ago, and which more than 200 million people had chosen as their faith (a fact recorded by Bliss on pages 57-8 of his book), and about the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire whose religious tolerance is recognized by the entire world, then one can imagine, without reading the book, what could be said about events which had taken place a year earlier, in an area in which the world and especially Americans were almost uninterested.

It is true that the religious factor has always played an important role in relations between Turks and the Christian nations. One has always treated Turks differently, not because they were Turks, but because they were Muslims, and the Christian community has treated them as outcasts. This treatment was not restricted to Turks, but to other communities in Europe as well. Hungarians and Bulgarians were subjected to the same treatment until they accepted Christianity.


While Russia claimed to be the protector of the Orthodox, and France of Catholics, the interest of the American public turned towards Turkey. This was due to the conversion of Armenians to Protestantism by American missionaries. This change of interest carried with it a negative attitude. Powell wrote:

The extent of American missionary effort in the old Ottoman Empire is quite generally known, but its effect on American public opinion is not, perhaps, so widely recognized. Very early in their work the American missionaries discovered that Moslems do not change their faith, so, debarred from proselytism among the Turks, they devoted their energies to religious, educational, and medical work among the Christian minorities, particularly the Armenians. For half a century or more, these missionaries provided our chief sources of information on conditions in the Near and Middle East, and by them public opinion in the United States on these subjects was largely molded. Having been rebuffed by the Moslem Turks and welcomed with open arms by the Christian Armenians, it is scarcely surprising that they espoused the cause of the latter and that the reports which they sent home and the addresses which they delivered, when in America on leave of absence, were filled with pleas for the oppressed Christians and with denunciations of their Turkish oppressors. The congregations which supported the missionaries accepted this point of view without question, and there was thus gradually developed, under the aegis of our churches, a powerful anti-Turkish opinion. (21)

On the missionaries, Clair Price recorded:

That the Armenians were grossly maladministered by the modern Sultans in Constantinople, there can be no manner of doubt. And so were their Turkish neighbours. It was in this very maladministration that the problem of the modern Ottoman Empire lay, and that problem was a Turkish problem as well as an Armenian problem. . . .

American missionaries established contact with the Armenian minorities nearly a century ago. . . . It was inevitable that the very real and undoubted wrongs which the Armenians were suffering under Hamidian administration should become known in the United States. This was in itself an entirely healthy process, but its tragedy lay in the fact that because the missionaries either could not or would not make it plain in the United States that the Hamidian regime in Constantinople was the oppressor and that Turks and Armenians alike were its victims, the result of American missionary endeavour was to focus American concern on the Armenians' sufferings alone.(22)

Just as Russia, France and the United States were interested in Turkey for religious reasons, Britain acted no differently, as Valyi explained:

After the Congress of Paris (1856) Russia invented a system which simply meant the suicide, limb by limb, of Turkey. The plan of fostering antagonism between Christianity and Islam, and of preventing by subterranean methods, the application of the principles of conciliation, professedly supported before public opinion in Europe, was an adroit policy al1 the more certain of success as the theocratic elements in Turkey were for a long time opposed to progress. If the Tanzimat, the first great attempt at reform in Turkey, ultimately failed, this was largely due to muddled foreign interference. To accustom the Christians of the Near East to constant interference from abroad and to a system of incessant meddling, amounting to a regular tutelage over Islam, was to give them carte blanche against the Turks. Beaconsfield thought the Musulmans as worthy of participating in the work of modern civilization as they had participated in the powerful civilizations that had preceded our own. He wished this country to preside in brotherly collaboration over the economical education of the Moslim peoples, and over the vast movements which have been agitating the minds of Musulmans for the last hundred years. Unfortunately England, which was soon to be absorbed in domestic troubles in which Gladstone was to play a high-handed part, did not understand Lord Beaconsfield. Hatred of Islam was, as everybody knows, one of the strongest actuating motives of Gladstone, deeply impregnated as he was by Christian theology. Under his ill-omened influence, the Eastern policy of Great Britain changed completely and she became, in fact, the unconscious ally of Tsarism against Islam.

The Activities of Missionaries


The first Protestant missionaries to come to Turkey were members of the British and Foreign Bible Society, which, soon after its foundation in 1804, started to send distributors of Bibles inland from Izmir (Smyrna).(24)

American missionaries started to arrive from 1819. In 1832 the station of Istanbul (Constantinople) was founded. At first, the activities of the missionaries were directed towards Muslims and the Oriental Churches. Work among the Jews was carried out chiefly by Scottish Presbyterians and members of the Church of England, but did not prove very successful.

After having realized that there was little opportunity of successful work among Muslims, the missionaries turned their attention towards the Oriental Churches, which included the Armenian, the Greek, the Bulgarian, the Jacobite, the Nestorian, the Chaldean, and the Maronite Churches.

Bliss explained the situation that the first missionaries encountered:

The first missionaries entered upon their work with no thought whatever of proselytising. They recognized the essential Christian character of the churches and their object was to set before them not a new creed, or a different form of church government, but simply a higher conception of what constituted Christian life. They found almost absolute ignorance of the Bible; complete domination by an ignorant and superstitious hierarchy; and a general feeling that their church life was so thoroughly identified with national life that to leave the church was to leave the nation, and that every heretic was also a traitor. (p. 303)

An Armenian or a Greek who incurred the hostility of a Bishop and was placed under the ban had no rights that any one was bound to respect. He could neither be baptized nor be buried; he could neither marry nor purchase; no baker would furnish him with bread and no butcher with meat; no one would employ him and no court recognized his defence so as to give him the most ordinary protection. [p. 304)

It is apparent that in this situation, the missionaries won the Armenians over to the Protestant Church. As for the Greeks, Bliss wrote: `There were missionaries who sought to reach the Greeks, but their efforts met with very little success. Their national and ecclesiastical pride was too strong, and their nearer relation to Western life made the new teaching appear less attractive than to those to whom it was in great degree a revelation. [p. 309]'

Naturally a question comes to mind. Since the situation of the Greeks was the same as that of the Armenians, and the reason why the Greeks were not interested in the new teaching was their close links with the Western world, then the Western world must have objected to the spreading of Protestantism. Indeed, Bliss writes (p. 312) that such an objection came not only from the Armenian and Greek Patriarchates, but from the Papal representative, as well as from the French and the Russian ambassadors.

These objections are more clearly expressed by Cyrus Hamlin: `This democratic spirit of freedom was extravagantly attributed to the influence of the missionaries, who had nothing directly to do with it. But, above all, Russia pressed the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin to stop the progress of this heresy, and clear the empire of it. The decisive influence came from St. Petersburg through Etchmiadzin.(25)

The decisive influence mentioned by Hamlin, who himself was a Protestant missionary who founded the Robert College in Istanbul, refers to the excommunication of those who had established contact with the Protestant Church.

In spite of this, the Ottoman administration officially gave permission to the Protestant Church, through the intervention of England, and thus a Protestant Armenian community was born.

In 1896, missionaries from seven separate churches from the United States and four churches from England were present in the Ottoman Empire. There were as many as 176 Americans and 869 local helpers who worked with them (Bliss p. 313). The main Anatolian cities where a mission was established were: Bursa, Izmir, Merzifon, Kayseri, Sivas, Trabzon, Erzurum, Harput, Bitlis, Van, Mardin, Antep, Maras, Adana, Hacin Ankara, Yozgat, Arapkir, Malatya, Palu, Diyarbekir, Urfa, Birecik, Elbistan, and Tarsus.

Bliss wrote as follows about the activities of the missionaries:

The question is frequently asked, What are the relations between the missionaries and the Turkish government? Repeatedly the statement is made by that government that the influence of the missionaries is antagonistic, disturbing, and that they are the enemies of the present rule. This is in no sense true. American missionaries have invariably ranked themselves on the side of the law. They have taken the position that the Turkish Government is the government of the land and its law must be obeyed. If those laws are oppressive they will do their best to secure a change, but so long as the law is law it must be obeyed. In all the various attempts to stir up revolutionary feeling among the people, they have opposed such movements with all their influence. It is undoubtedly the fact that the general result of their instruction by stirring intellectual development, has been to make men restive under oppression. Undoubtedly their preaching has created an intense desire for true religious liberty. Undoubtedly they have brought light into the empire, and light is always a disturbing element where there is corruption; it creates fermentation, and such fermentation as is not pleasant to oppressors. (p. 321)

It is not easy to say whether this statement praises the missionaries or condemns them. It is clear from Bliss's statement that the Ottoman government was not pleased with the activities of the missionaries, and saw them as enemies of the regime. If a government accuses a foreigner in this manner, it may be expected to expel him from the country. Because the missionaries remained in the country, it is apparent that the government was not able to expel them. Bliss says that the missionaries will do whatever they can to change repressive laws, but will also respect the law. Is it the people who decide whether the law is repressive, or the missionaries? Bliss states that people, as their intellectual level rises, become dissatisfied with repression. One is then led to assume that missionaries gave rise to dissatisfaction which did not previously exist, and were the ones who decided that the laws were repressive. Moreover, what is understood by `true religious liberty' is not clear. The Ottoman Government not being interested in the religion of non-Muslims, and having allowed the establishment of the Protestant Church, who will then be blamed for the lack of religious freedom? Bliss asserts that missionaries oppose revolutionary movements, yet he accepts that as a result of the missionaries' activities a revolutionary climate was born, and that the missionaries took it upon themselves to extinguish it. If they had reported this climate to the government forces, then they could indeed have prevented the rebellions.

For all these reasons it is difficult to understand whether the statements made by Bliss are apologetic or accusatory. Other writers have expressed their ideas more clearly. We quote from Clair Price, Elie Kedourie and Sydney Whitman:

Moslems are usually hospitable to all foreigners and they frequently respect missionaries personally. They use mission hospitals and occasionally they avail themselves of the advantage of foreign schools. But for missionaries as Christians, engaged in spreading a gospel of peace while their contemporaries at home invent poison gas, Moslems have neither understanding nor respect. In their Christian capacities, missionaries are tolerated as long as they do not offend.

The older missionaries know these things. They know that in their effort to , spread Christianity, their greatest enemies have been the Christians, and most of their work in the Ottoman Empire has been an effort to convert Eastern Christians to a Western interpretation of Christianity. But this their supporters in the United ! States have to this day never realized. Americans at home have assumed that the word Christian is an all-sufficing label, that the communicants of the Orthodox and Gregorian Churches in the East are Christians as Western Protestants understand the term, that Eastern Moslems are heathen in the Western meaning of the word; and on this assumption they have built up out of the mutual tragedies of racial and religious disentenglement in the Ottoman Empire, their Christian martyr-legend and the sorry butcher-legend which they have attached to the Turks.

The missionaries' supporters at home are firm believers in prohibition, but the missionaries themselves know that the liquor traffic in the Ottoman Empire has been in the hands of native and Western Christians, protected under the Capitulations by Christian Governments. Yet so habitual has the Christian attitude of superiority become, that American churchmen have actually gone to Constantinople within these last four years and have come away unhumbled.(26)

The religion of Armenians was their distinctive badge in an Ottoman society regulated and governed according to denominational distinctions. This religion was not only a matter for the individual conscience, for personal and private devotions; it was a rule of life regulating all social activities and all relations with the suzerain power, itself suzerain by virtue of professing the dominant religion. And the internal government of the community was similarly the prerogative of the religious hierarchy, which drew its civil power from the fact of its ecclesiastical authority.

Into these long standing and well understood arrangements the West, round about 1830, suddenly intruded. It came in the shape of American Protestant missionaries. They arrived with arguments and contracts and funds. Their purpose, they said, was to infuse vitality and spirit into the unprogressive and dormant eastern Christian communities. The established hierarchy resisted these encroachments. It exiled and imprisoned Armenian converts to Protestantism. It approached the Ottoman government with a request to forbid the activities of these missionaries.

What actually were the doctrines that the missionaries, arousing so much opposition and anger from so many different quarters, were teaching? Dwight defines them for us: `The standard doctrine of the Reformation - salvation by grace alone, without the deeds of the law-was usually the great central truth, first apprehended by their awakened and inquiring minds, and made the ground of satisfactory repose.'

The introduction of these ideas, then, could not fail to affect the internal affairs of the Armenian community, as well as its relations with the Ottoman Power. To start with, a schism, encouraged by the missionaries, took place between the Orthodox majority and the converts to Protestantism, and a new Protestant Armenian community was formed. Then, within the Orthodox community itself, parties of `Enlightened' and `Reactionaries' were formed. After a while, the `Enlightened', as is proper, won and reorganised the government of the Armenian community. Extensive powers were taken away from the ecclesiastical hierarchy and vested in a new elective Communal Council of Deputies.(27)

This is a large Moslem country. It is ruled by a sovereign whom International Law recognizes as the Sultan of Turkey. This country belonged to the Turks even before the discovery of America. Today it is honeycombed with Christian, and mostly Protestant missionary schools, the avowed object of which is to educate a small Christian minority - be it admitted the most thrifty, shrewd, pushing, and intriguing of all Eastern races - in the Christian religion and at the same time in modern European ideas, and to bid them look to the Western world outside Turkey as their natural protector. This was bound to make these Asiatics discontented with their Asiatic status. . . .

I willingly believe that they never really intended to provoke disturbances or encourage rebellion against the Turkish authorities. Still there cannot be any doubt that their teaching - not their doctines, perhaps - had the result, probably never intended, and one it has taken a couple of generations to attain-of fostering the Armenian revolutionary movement throughout Asiatic Turkey. (28)

Henry Tozer, who was himself a Church member, wrote about his conversation with M. Wheeler, the President of the American College in Harput:

Thus the missionaries, though they abstain on principle from taking any part in politics, exercise indirectly something of the inftience of a European consul. Mr. Wheeler told me that he was frequently in communication with Sir Henry Layard (the British ambassador to Istanbul), who requested him to supply him with information about what was passing. In consequence of this, some time ago, a pasha, who openly manifested his ill-will towards them, received a sharp reprimand from Constantinople.(29)

These quotations show that the activities of missionaries, even if they did not buttress the Armenian rebellions, played an active part in laying the foundation of the rebellions.

The activities of the missionaries were covered extensively before and after the rebellions in reports coming from the provinces. We will return to this subject in Chapter 4.


Generally, in almost every country, there is a tendency to believe that a newspaper article or a piece of news is naturally accurate.

We have stated above that the religious factor and political considerations have helped to establish an anti-Turkish climate. When conscious propaganda is added to this, then not only do we have biased news, but inaccurate news as well.

The following statements (by Powell and Whitman) confirming this assertion are worth reading:

Atrocity stories have been vastly overdone; some of the more recent massacres have been wholly nonexistent. One of the local (Constantinople) members of the press end of a relief organization told some friends openly that he could only send anti-Turkish despatches to America because that is what gets the money!(31)

Shortly after the news had spread to Europe of the attack on the Ottoman Bank and the subsequent massacre of Armenians, a number of artists of illustrated newspapers arrived in Constantinople, commissioned to supply the demand for atrocities of the Million-headed Tyrant. Among these was the late Mr. Melton Prior, the renowned war correspondent. He was a man of a strenuous and determined temperament, one not accustomed to be the sport of circumstances, but to rise superior to them. Whether he was called upon to take part in a forced march or to face a mad Mullah, he invariably held his own and came off victorious.

But in this particular case, as he confided to me, he was in an awkward predicament. The public at home had heard of nameless atrocities, and was anxious to receive pictorial representations of these. The difficulty was how to supply them with what they wanted, as the dead Armenians had been buried and no women or children had suffered hurt, and no Armenian Church had been desecrated. As an old admirer of the Turks and as an honest man, he declined to invent what he had not witnessed. But others were not equally scrupulous. I subsequently saw an Italian illustrated newspaper containing harrowing pictures of women and children being massacred in a church.(32)

Among the men who were credited with a large share in the cruel measures of repression said to have been carried out by different Turkish high officials against the Armenians, the name of Marshal Chakir Pasha, Imperial Commissioner for the introduction of reform in Anatolia, stood foremost. The story that the Marshal, who was at Erzeroum in the month of October 1895, at the time of the Armenian rising, had, like a human bloodhound, stood, watch in hand, when asked for orders, and decided that the work of knocking the Armenians on the head was to continue for another hour and a half - some versions say two hours-went almost round the world. . . With the object of our journey in view we called successively upon Mr. Graves, the British Consul; Mohammed Sherif Raouf Pasha, the Governor-General (Vali); M. Roqueferrier, the French Consul; and M. V. Maximov, the Russian Consul-General. To each of these gentlemen we put the question whether he believed in the truth of the tale about Chakir Pasha, and the watch-in-hand episode. M. Roqueferrier ridiculed the story. `These are stories that have been invented ad lib', he said, and added a few words of high personal appreciation of Chakir Pasha.

The Russian Consul-General, M. Maximov, said: `It is not my business to deny the truth of such tales. All I can tell you is, that Chakir Pasha is a worthy man - a very good natured man. I have known him for years, he is a friend of mine.' Mr. Graves, the British consul, said: `I was not here at the time, nor have I spoken to Chakir Pasha about the matter, but the Vali assured me that it wasn't true, and that is quite sufficient for me, as I should believe implicitly any personal statement of Raouf Pasha.'

`Do you believe that any massacres would have taken place if no Armenian revolutionaries had come into the country and incited the Armenian population to rebellion?' I asked Mr. Graves.

`Certainly not,' he replied. `I do not believe that a single Armenian would have been killed.(33)

These reports, however, have never been echoed in the Western press. The following report by Clair Price is another example:

By the end of October, the late Miss Annie T. Allen and Miss Florence Billings, the Near East Relief's representative in Ankara (Angora), compiled a report on the state of the Turkish villages which the Greeks had burned during their retreat and forwarded it to the Near East Relief's headquarters in Constantinople. But the Near East Relief has never published that report, just as Mr. Lloyd George never published the Bristol report on Greek misdeeds at Izmir (Smyrna).(34)

Indeed, Lloyd George had not allowed publication of the Bristol report, as Toynbee noted:

Their unwillingness to publish the report is not incomprehensible and besides, Mr. Venizalos threw all his personal influence into the scale. He objected to the publication of evidence which had been taken by the Commission without the presence of a Greek assessor, and in which the names of the witnesses were withheld. There was, of course, a good reason for this, which reflected on the local Greek authorities and not on the Western Commissioners. The individuals giving damaging evidence against the Greeks were living under a Greek military occupation and could not safely be exposed to reprisals. There were the same legal flaws in the Bryce Report on Alleged German Atrocities in Belgium and on The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. But the Allied governments did not hesitate to publish these documents on that account.(35)

The Bryce Report mentioned by Toynbee is the Blue Book of the British, of which Toynbee was the editor. We shall return to this topic.

At times completely opposite situations could also arise.

In 1918 the British had been forced to set Baku free. Newspapers, while reporting this, had also mentioned the treachery of the Armenians. The British propaganda services were then alarmed, and they wanted to erase any effect such news would have. The following lines are taken from a memorandum prepared to that effect:

To lessen the credit of Armenians is to weaken the anti-Turkish action. It was difficult to eradicate the conviction that the Turk is a noble being always in trouble. This situation will revive this conviction and will harm the prestige not only of Armenians, but of Zionists and Arabs as well.

The treatment of Armenians by the Turks is the biggest asset of his Majesty's Government, to solve the Turkish problem in a radical manner, and to have it accepted by the public.(36)

The author of these sentences, A. J. Toynbee, was working for the British propaganda agency when he wrote this memorandum on 26 September 1919.

To understand the importance of propaganda, it is useful to take a look at Lucy Masterman's account of the agency founded for this purpose.

The earliest news that I personally had of a propaganda department was a conversation after a Sunday luncheon at Walton Golf Club during August 1914, when Mr. T. P. O'Connor pressed on Mr. Lloyd George the necessity for countering the propaganda already begun by the Germans in the United States in the form of leafiets given away in the streets, and thrust into the hands of passengers arriving by steamer. Mr Lloyd George used the phrase: `Will you look into it, Charlie, and see what can be done.' Masterman agreed. (37)

Mr. Masterman, a member of Parliament, was a former member of the cabinet.

It is known that, after this date, Mr Masterman founded a bureau of propaganda, and directed it. The existence of the bureau was kept secret. Mr Masterman having resigned from his office in the National Health Commission, `Wellington House', where the Commission operated, was converted into the headquarters of the bureau, and the name of the bureau was entered in the registers as `Wellington House'.

The object of Wellington House is stated in the following quotation: the dissemination of facts on "the Allied Cause, the British effort, the work of the Navy, the Army, the Mercantile marine and the munition factories, the economic and military resources of the Empire, the causes and aims of the war the crimes and atrocities of Germany and her allies, the cause of Belgium the submarine outrages". It is noticeable that "crimes and atrocities" come ?a long way down the list. The means used were "Books, pamphlets, periodicals, diagrams, maps, posters, postcards, .drawings, photographs and exhibitions".(38)

It is reported that the bureau issued 17,000,000 copies of various publications in England alone, including fifteen daily illustrated magazines.

The British, instead of distributing these publications in the streets, as the Germans were doing, chose to find individuals and organizations which could influence public opinion, and distribute the publications through them. Moreover, by getting in touch with circles and publishing houses in neutral countries, they were able to issue their publications while remaining in the background.

The main goal of the bureau was to ensure, by making public the atrocious and inhuman actions of Germany and her allies, that neutral countries, and especially the United States, would enter the conflict on their side.

I remember at the end of the war I met Mr. Henry White, formerly American Ambassador in England and in Germany at the outbreak of the war. On hearing who I was he countered the observation of Lord Bryce, who was of the party, stating that nothing had been done in propaganda, by saying: "I beg your pardon, it was the best thing done in the war. If it was your husband (turning to me) that did it, please give him my compliments. The Germans bothered and harassed us. You nursed us along till you got us just where you wanted us, and we never knew9we were being brought there. We thought we were coming there of ourselves. (39)

I now refer to the third report concerning the activities of the Masterman bureau.4o At the end of the 118-page report is a list of the books and pamphlets which were published. At the end of the first half of 1916,182 had been published. Among the authors were Max Aitken, William Archer, Balfour, James Bryce, E. T. Cook, Conan Doyle, Alexander Gray, Archibald Hurd, Rudyard Kipling, A. Lowenstein, C. F. G. Masterman, A. J. Toynbee and H. G. Wells. One of the books written by Toynbee was entitled Armenian Atrocities, The murder of a nation.

Although we shall deal later with the topic of propaganda against the Ottoman Empire throughout the war, we find it useful to include here a few passages from the report:

Within this development policy framework, we have ensured the possibility of publishing most of our publications in neutral or allied countries. Wellington House publications (in addition to those published in London), are at present being published and distributed in Paris, Madrid, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. Many countries, especially small countries having a common border with Germany, are very sensitive to organized propaganda carried out by foreign states, and in some of them, especially in Sweden and Switzerland our publications have been censored, and have had difficulties in the customs. For this reason, the sale and the free distribution of our publications, their publication by the local publishing houses, without any apparent relationship to the British government's propaganda has been very useful. [p. 4]

One has witnessed the development of illustrated newspapers in this period. At the present time, 6 such newspapers are being published and distributed by Wellington House. [p. 5J. [One of these illustrated newspapers was Al-Hakikat (The Truth) published twice a month in Arabic, Turkish Persian and Urdu.]

A former Turkish Consul distributes Al-Hakikat to local Moslems in Argentina. [p.7]

Wellington House was an organization formed by eight different propaganda divisions: America, France, Spain and Portugal, Scandinavia, Italy and Switzerland, Greece and Rumania, Eastern, and Islamic countries. In addition there were the divisions of painting, photography and film, and the intelligence and distribution divisions. Although it had such a wide area of activity, only 74 people worked for the organization, including the president and the secretary. The organization worked in cooperation with the publishing houses.

Naturally there is no information as to how the propaganda material was gathered.

Lucy Masterman, who wrote her husband's biography, undoubtedly did not include anything that might be used against her husband. We even come across the following statement: `What he objected to was the demand that his department should lose all integrity or sense as a condition of the work they were doing' (p. 275). This statement, however, does not tell us whether the bureau of propaganda conveyed only news that was accurate. Lucy Masterman states that her husband had nothing to do with the unfounded news that appeared from time to time in certain newspapers.

Nevertheless, to show how propaganda was gathered, we may consider the preparations of the blue book on the Armenians published in 1916.

Apparently the first text of the blue book was the pamphlet entitled Armenian Atrocities, The murder of a nation by Toynbee, published, as mentioned above, by the Masterman bureau. We do not have this first text as a Wellington House publication. However, the book was reprinted in 1975 by an Armenian publishing house in the United States.4l It is impossible for us to know whether Toynbee, the author of The Western Question in Greece and Turkey, would have permitted this new edition of his book, if he had been alive in 1975.

The references given in this book are the Armenian newspapers Horizon published in Tiflis, the Ararat in London, the Gotchnag in New York, and the Armenian Atrocities Committee in the United States, which reported the information it had been given by the missionaries. What will be written in a book which relies on these sources is obvious. It may be mentioned that while the Armenians of Istanbul and Izmir were not deported, a map in the book indicates that they were. In the third report of the Masterman bureau it was stated that Toynbee's book aroused much interest.

The British documents describe the following situation (the numbers in brackets are those of the documents).

The British Consul in Batum, Stevens, writes in a telegram (F.O. 371/2488/140259) to his Ministry on 10 September 1915 that he had his information from the Armenian newspapers in Tiflis, that Ottomans had destroyed Sasun and killed many people, that 1?15,000 refugees per day were coming to the region of Erivan, and that so far 160,000 refugees had come.

Lord Cromer writes in a memo dated 2 October 1915 that it is useful to publicize what the Turks have done, and thus prevent educated Muslims in India from associating the Islamic cause with the Turks. It is stated in subsequent memos that no other information was available, except that from newspapers.

These news items were made public in American newspapers on 4 October.

On 6 October, a question on this matter was directed to the Government in the House of Commons. (Records of Parliament, 6 October 1915, pp. 994-1004.) Spokesman for the government Lord Cromer states that they have heard of the massacre of 80,000, and repeats his opinion as stated in the memo.

Toynbee's book was published after this. We see that Toynbee, from February 1916 on, stating that he is acting on behalf of Lord Bryce, asks for information against Turkey from various countries and individuals, as well as from Armenian Committees (F.O. 96/205). These items of information were sent to Toynbee without details of their sources. All these writings are present in the above-mentioned dossier; among them was the following letter sent by Toynbee on 11 May 1916 to Lord Bryce:

Mr. Gowers from our office discussed with Montgomery from the Foreign Office how to publish the Armenian documents. They [the Foreign Office) claim that if you were to send these documents with an introductory note to Sir Edward Grey [Foreign Secretary) and state that they have been prepared under your supervision, that they are trustworthy, then your letter would be published by the Foreign Office as an official document, and the documents would constitute an appendix to your letter. The problem of publication would thus be solved. While giving the book an official character, it would free the Foreign Secretary from the obligation to take upon himself the proving of the accuracy of every matter mentioned in these documents.

Thus, the blue book was prepared by the Masterman bureau — by putting together documents without having checked their accuracy, documents exclusively collected from Armenian sources or from people sympathetic to Armenians from second or third hand — and was published with official status.

We would like to quote now from two authors who have studied how propaganda material was gathered.

The first is Arthur Ponsonby and the title of his book is Falsehood in WarTime.4z Ponsonby was a member of the Liberal Party in the House of Commons from 1910 to 1918. He then transferred to the Labour Party and was opposed to war. He published his book in 1928. We quote hereunder some particularly interesting passages concerning the propaganda-gathering process.

A circular was issued by the War Office inviting reports on war incidents from officers with regard to the enemy and stating that strict accuracy was not essential so long as there was inherent probability [p. 20]

Atrocity lies were the most popular of all, especially in this country and America; no war can be without them. Slander of the enemy is esteemed a patriotic duty. [p. 22J

Even in inconsequential events the testimony of individuals is never absolutely convincing. But when prejudices, emotions, passions and nationalism are present, an individual's statement becomes worthless. It is impossible to describe all the types of atrocity stories. They were repeated for days in brochures, posters, letters and speeches. Renowned persons, who otherwise would be hesitant to condemn even their mortal enemies for lack of evidence, did not hesitate to accuse an entire nation of having committed every imaginable savagery and inhuman action. [p.129]

For those who are unaccustomed, a photograph creates an inherent element of trust. For them there can be nothing more authentic than a snapshot. No one thinks of questioning the veracity of a photograph. For this reason even if they are subsequently shown to be fakes, the damage has already been done. During the war the faking of photographs became an industry. Every state engaged in this activity, but the French were the real experts. [p.135]

During the massacres of 1905 many photographs were taken. One of these, a group of people surrounding a row of corpses, appeared on June 14,1915 in `le Miroir' with the headline: `The Murders of the German Gangs in Poland.' Many other similar examples appeared in other newspapers. [p.136]

The photograph of a German soldier leaning over his dead comrade was published on April 17, 1915 in `War Illustrated' (published by the Masterman Bureau), as definite proof that the Huns were violating war regulations, `a German savage robbing a dead Russian'. (p.137]

The second author is Cate Haste and the title of her book is: Keep the Home Fires Burning.(43) A speech of US President Coolidge to the Association of Newspaper Editors is cited on the first page of the book: `Propaganda seeks to present part of the facts, to distort their relations, and to force conclusions which could not be drawn from a complete and candid survey of all the facts.'

We quote some passages from the book:

The essence of propaganda is simplification. Through the methods adopted by the media and the organizations engaged in propaganda, a fabric of images about war was gradually built up, by endless repetition over a long period, to provide indisputable justification for the fighting. Propagandists create images with simple human content which are believable because they chime with what people have already been taught to believe. As Goebbels put it in a later war the task is `to provide the naively credulous with the arguments for what they think and wish, but which they are unable to formulate and verify themselves. [p. 3]

In wartime, this means firstly building up an image of `the enemy' which accords with preconceived ideas of the behaviour which can be expected of `enemies'. It entails constantly denigrating the enemy in such a way as to inspire hatred of him, and excluding information which is sympathetic to his cause. [p. 3)

Atrocity stories have appeared in all wars, before and since. The intention is to create an image which acts as a repository for all the hatred and fear inspired by war. [p. 3)

The war is justified in the name of simple and universal ideals which everyone has learnt and with which nobody can be expected to disagree. Ideals like Freedom, Justice, Democracy and Christianity, which are the embodiment of prevailing national virtues. (pp. 3-4]

The characteristic atrocity story came from `a correspondent' some distance behind the scene of operations. It was invariably a supposedly verbatim account by an unidentified Belgiƒn or French refugee. . . . Even these accounts were usually second-hand. [p. 84]

On page 87 an example of how a piece of news is transformed is given: `

When the fall of Antwerp got known the church bells were rung.' - K"lnische Zeitung.

`According to the K"lnische Zeitung, the clergy of Antwerp were compelled to ring the church bells when the fortress was taken.' - Le Matin (Paris).

`According to what The Times has learned from Cologne via Paris, the unfortunate Belgian priests who refused to ring the church bells when Antwerp was taken have been sentenced to hard labour.' - Corriere della Sera (Milan).

`According to information in the Corriere della Sera, from Cologne via London, it is confirmed that the barbaric conquerors of Antwerp punished the unfortunate Belgian priests for their heroic refusal to ring the church bells by hanging them as living clappers to the bells with their heads down.' - Le Matin (Paris).

The sixth chapter of this book reports the hostility shown by the people towards persons of German origin living in England, and their being gathered and sent to specific camps. We shall not dwell on this subject, for it has little to do with propaganda per se. We shall only cite the following sentence from p.121: `Louis, Prince of Battenberg, son of Prince Alexander who has a high-ranking position in the Austrian army, has been forced to resign from his post as First Lord of the Admiralty.'

Propaganda during war was effective to this extent. But in the case of the Ottoman Empire, the propaganda had started long before the war, and continued, was even itensified, after the truce.

We shall conclude this subject by quoting C. F. Dixon-Johnson:

We have no hesitation in repeating that these stories of wholesale massacre have been circulated with the distinct object of influencing, detrimentally to Turkey, the future policy of the British Government when the time of settlement shall arrive. No apology, therefore, is needed for honestly endeavouring to show how a nation with whom we were closely allied for many years and which possesses the same faith as millions of our fellow-subjects, has been condemned for perpetrating horrible excesses against humanity on `evidence' which, when not absolutely false, is grossly and shamefully exaggerated. (44)


"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." Ex. 20, 16.

To accuse a man by bearing false witness against him, either in the court of law officially. or in public in order to destroy his dignity, is a sin not only before God, but even before man, according to the ordinary standards of life. This act is not merely a lie; it is spiteful joy at the expense of an innocent person. To bear false witness, against one's neighbor is a vice which includes lying and defamation, as well as mockery, calumny and profanity.

It is an offense with the armour of manyfold weapons of destruction. The writer of the Epistle of James 1, 3-5, describes in a vivid manner the use of human abilities against one's neighbor and society. Such behavior is the opposite of the truth by which the Church of Christ is sustained and nourished by Almighty God.. The commandment not only admonishes us to avoid bearing false witness or even neutrality, but also encourages us to promote the fruits of the Truth as it is described by our Savior in the Sermon on the Mount.



Kevin Phillips
- Viking; excerpted by Sukru S. Aya

Page 100: Christianity in the United States, especially Protestantism, has always include had an evangelical — which is to say, missionary — and frequently a radical or combative streak. Some message has a1wa s had to be preached, punched, or proselytized. Once in a while that excitability has been economic — most notably in the case of the Social Gospel of the 1890s, which searched through Scripture to document the Jesus who emphasized caring fir the poor and hungry. In the twentieth century, though, religious zeal in the United States usually focused on something quite different: individual pursuit of salvation through spiritual rebirth, often in circumstances of sect-driven millenarian countdowns to the so-called end times and an awaited return of Christ. These beliefs have often been accompanied by great revivals; emotionalism; eccentricities of quaking, shaking and speaking in tongues: characterization of the Bible as in errant; and wild-eyed invocation of dubious prophecies in the Book of Revelation. No other contemporary Western nation shares this religious intensity and its concomitant proclamation that Americans are God’s chosen people and nation. George W. Bush has averred this belief on many occasions.

In its recent practice, the radical side of U.S. religion has embraced cultural antimodernism, war hawkishness, Armageddon prophecy, and in the case of conservative fundamentalists, a demand for governments by literal biblical interpretation. In the 1800s, religious historians generally minimized the sectarian thrust of religious excess, but recent years have brought more candor.

Page 251: We have seen that between 1870 and 1914 the British developed a “national psychosis” of war expectation, and the United States displayed a lesser version in 1917 -1918. Several hooks have been written about the U.S. churches’ militance, for the rhetoric among U.S. clergy was as overblown as any in Europe’

Page 252: Thus, just as scholars of the British war mentality in the years prior in 1914 do well to study the patriotic bombast of the music halls, the stanzas of “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” and the endless books predicting German invasions, fathoming the Bush electorate requires its own study materials.

Page 255: … However, before we look at premillennialism’s impact on U.S. policy in the Middle East, it is useful to recall the calamitous pre—World War I legacy of British evangelicalism, moral imperialism, and religious hawkishness. In some ways, although certainly not all, the United States picked up the evangelical baton Britain dropped nearly a century ago — and ironically, few Americans were more aware of Britain’s 1917 invasion of the Turkish-controlled holy land than George W. Bush.

… An itinerant preacher, Chambers spent his last days bringing the gospel to Australian and New Zealand soldiers massed in Egypt in late 1917 for the invasion of Palestine and the intended Christmastime capture of Jerusalem.

… By 1914 many British churches were all but draped in flags. According to historian Arthur Marwick, …

Page 257: "'war that will end war,’ caught the public fancy because it appeared to fulfill St. John’s prophecy of the war between the legions of God and Satan, conveniently defined as England and Germany, respectively.”

… The romance of the Crusades was alive and breathing strongly. As French and British imperialism moved into the lands of Islam during the nineteenth century, both nations turned out books with titles like The Cross and the Crescent and art like Delacroix’s painting The Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople.

… German East Africa had been captured, Egypt became a formal British protectorate in 1919, and Persia became an informal one, leaving the holy Iand—Palestine, Jordan, and Mesopotamia—as the missing link in complete British dominance from Cape Town to Burma.’ Pushed by Lloyd George, Britain had by the end of 1918 sent 1,084,000

Page 258: British and Commonwealth troops into Ottoman territory to control the carving up, and the so-called settlement of 1922 fulfilled British ambition.

Nevertheless, by 1922-1923 British policy makers knew that the foundations of these ambitions had collapsed. Mary troops had been with drawn in 1919, and then Britain’s economy fell into a deep downturn in 1920 and 1921 ...

… As early as 1919 Britain urged the United States to take up a peacekeeping role in Constantinople and Armenia, but Congress declined.

Slippage at home was visible in the inability of British churches to command their former respect and Sunday attendance. The Church of England lost public confidence through its thoughtless wartime flag-waving, and the largely evangelical nonconformists lost ground because their war support—many had been caught up in the drumbeat of moral imperialism by 1914—mocked their earlier peacetime priorities and pre- occupation with social progress.

Page 259: and irrevocably” and “become and more ablaze for the glory of God.” For Chambers, said The Times, “the enemy was ‘evil,’ religious duty was clear, and Christian soldier marched onwards in a straight line.”

Events in the Middle East had been part of Britain’s post-World War I debacle. Nearly a century later error was about to be blindly repeated by a president of the United States who shared Lloyd George’s biblical frame of reference, thought the enemy was “evil,” and failed to profit from the larger lesson taught by history.

Since the collapse of the Union, America has taken up the war whoops of militant Protestantism, the evangelical Christian missionary hopes and demands, the heady talk about bringing liberty and freedom to new shores, the tingle of the old Christian-Muslim blood feud, the biblical preoccupation with Israel and the scenarios of the end times and Armageddon—the whole entrapping drama that played in British political theater a century ago. American evangelical, fundamentalist, and Pentecostal churches, in turn become the new flag bearers of crusades against Islam’s “evil ones.”


Yet much of their activity purports to be missionary. Instead of British church people and Bible societies accompanying Queen Victoria’s soldiers to India, we have U.S. missionaries following the flag to the Middle East. Prior to World War Il he mainline U.S. churches led missionary work, but today, says historian Paul Harvey, “American foreign mission efforts are dominated by conservative evangelical groups (the Southern Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination, are the two largest senders of career missionaries) and Mormons (by far the largest sender of non-career missionaries).”

Page 260: By 2003, after a decadelong drumbeat by religious organizations Urging the United States to defend foreign Christian populations—another page taken from British nineteenth century experience —the principal evangelical churches were not just war supporters but active mission planners. A year after the military took Baghdad, a survey by the Los Angeles Times found thirty evangelical missions in the city Kyle Fisk, executive administrator of the National Association of Evangelicals, told the newspaper that “Iraq will become the center for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to Iran, Libya and throughout the Middle East.”...

... ” Later, even during World War I, the Ottoman Empire was cast in the antichrist role, and by the 1970s fundamentalists were transferring that evil to the Arab world.

Page 298: The only thing new in the world is the history we don’t know, — Harry S Truman

The lesson of history is that we don’t learn the lessons of history. – Thomas G. Donlan, Barron’s, 2005

Page 383: ... But when the Armageddon of 1914-1918 brought forty million deaths instead of Christ’s return, the embarrassment was not limited to flag bedecked Anglican churches or nonconformist chapels that had joined in the parade. Religion in general seemed to have failed, and British church attendance shrank — and then shrank again. it is not hard to imagine something similar happening in the United States by 2030 or 2040 as two or three decades of cynicism claim religious as well as economic and political victims.




Ottoman Official Attitudes Towards American Missionaries

Godly go-ahead for hate from 16th century Pope



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