Genocidal Policy Within 20th Century. Description, Analysis, and Prevention:
Armenocide, Serbocide, Holocaust As Basic Genocidal EventsDuring the World Wars *)
“Nothing but a memory is productive which does not only
remember what happened but also what still is to be done“
In this smart piece the author, an experienced German social psychologist, and political scientist, tries to sum up the very content of his own approach to genocide, genocidal action, genocidal policy, and genocidal mentality as a general pattern which was worked out, at first, in his inaugural lecture February 1st, 1989 (Albrecht 1989), and which the author recently published in his books on Genocide and Armenocide when discussing comparative and theoretical aspects of genocidal policy within 20th century (Albrecht 2006); the third volume of the authors trilogy on genocidal policy within 20th century (“Genozidpolitik im 20. Jahrhundert”), presenting the first scholarly verification of the notorious speech Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), as chancellor of the German Reich and Führer of the German people, delivered to his Supreme Commanders at Obersalzberg, on August 22nd, 1939 was published actually: the key sentence can be valued as a sort of “genocidal connection” between Armenocide and Holocaust:
„Who [the fuck] is, after all, today speaking about the destruction of the Armenians?“
Needlessness to state that the author, who, as a scholar of genocide, recently published a short piece summing up the second genocide during World War II - named Serbocide  - is by no means one of that dubious guys self-naming ´genocide scholar´ but, in fact, either ouvert or covert, proclaiming such cloudy issues like hierarchies of the three genocidal victim-groups during the two World Wars – the Ottoman Armenians (1915/16), the European Jews, and the Serbs in “Satellite Croatia” (1941/45) which the author looks upon as the three basic genocidal events during the two World Wars.
Whenever looking on genocide politically, the author feels that the best anti-genocidal perspective in fact is an anti-fascist and anti-racialist one – although whenever looked upon the genocidal phenomenon as a scholar that cannot be regarded as a vital essential condition or conditio sine qua non: according to the dialectics of general and special features of the genocidal field and its sufficient condition(s), empirical details, and random aspects, a society must neither be classified as a ´fascist´ one to be regarded as a ´genocidal´ society: the Italian society between the World Wars indeed was a ´fascist´ but by no means a genocidal one like the South African, which basically was a racial one (like some of the Southern US-states were at that time). Any genocidal society is a racial one but non vice versa: not any racialist society is a genocidal or a fascist one. Moreover, the German society since 1933 soon became both a fascist and a racial societal basic structure causing another Great War (like in 1914) which also belongs to the historical context in which both the very genocidal crimes committed in Ottoman Turkey (1915/16) during the First and in Satellite Croatia (1941/45) during the Second World War – another feature which demonstrates the very meaning of the event Great or World War within 20th century either caused by a genocidal regime like the German or actively using the given occasion (in the meaning of opportunity structure/s) either by Young Turk or by Ustase leadership in 1915 and 1941 under the umbrella of the German Reich as the most powerful ally.
I take the liberty – if I may – and address me scholarly readers, she or he, that I will, for reasons, not name what happened in 1915 “the Armenian Genocide” as “the terrible Holocaust” (Bernard Lewis) with about one and half a million Ottoman Armenians exterminated – “unquestionable the greatest crime of the First World War” Hirschfeld/Gaspar 1929: 510). For I know, of course, that not only in the so called ´scientific community´ this terrible slang-version is more and more used instead of what must be precisely indicated, like the Encyclopaedia Britannica does in her latest CD-Rom version (2004²), “the Turkish genocide of the Armenians in 1915”. Insofar I agree to distinguished genocidal scholars like Irving Louis Horowitz and Vahakn N. Dadrian when talking about the “Turkish Genocide” and the “Genocide against the Armenians”. Moreover, I feel that as rubbish as moronic talk - “Armenian Genocide” - is, indeed, not only as confusing as cretinous but also a sort of complete reversal – and perverse reversal, too – in the very sense of Umwertung aller Werte (Friedrich Nietzsche) under most relevant moral, intellectual, political, historical, and linguistic aspects, declaring victims for perpetrators, and perpetrators for victims. I am not sure but do hope that, three generations later, the linguistic reversal as expressed in that false metaphor “Armenian Genocide” neither mirrors nor expresses the victory of the former genocidal violators as another final solution ... I may also remind me readership of three facts of life the German poetical playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) had worked out in other contexts: (i) whenever injustice happens too often it will not become justice because it happens very often; (ii) in the last instance the truth cannot be suppressed but must be publicly repeated again and again even after it had been once recognized as the very truth; (iii) within the intellectual field democracy indeed means transforming the small circle of connoisseurs towards the large circle of connoisseurs – a ´sociological experience´ which should never be forgotten by any genocidal scholar whenever engaged in preventing genocidal action/s, too, for a basic virtuality must be taken into consideration: “Human actions are not destined be the very facts but by the perceptions of the facts acting humans have got.” (Alexander v. Humboldt)
Finally, I will by no means apologize for the very fact that the following scholarly piece is neither composed nor written due to the Zeitgeist which (to quote a German ´classic´ literary figure) is, as spirit of the age, more or less mirrowing the very ideology of the masters race (Goethe: Faust I: 577-579) but is partisan in the sense of saving life-policy (Albrecht 1989) which basically means the very contrary of genocidal or taking-life-policy (Irving L. Horowitz). Whoever expects an attitude like that one I have recently named the „wikipedianization of knowledge and cognition“ (Albrecht 2008: 13) claiming the overwhelming NPOV („Neutral Point of View“: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:NPOV ) may, please, use that postmodern „open source“ encyclopaedia called wikipedia. For what I am still standing, and working, for as a scholar is that dedicated anti-genocidal perspective disposing, of once and for all, every point of origin for genocide and, consequently and in the last instance, any genocidal research work, too (Albrecht 2006: Armenozid, 3).
I. Genocide is not only mass killing and killing masses as traditionally well-known like massacres, mass atrocities, pogroms, riots, and slaughter, but ´modern´ serial killing, strategically planned and organized, not only of masses but of peoples as entire populations for racial, religious, ethnic, political, and even ideological reasons: neither traditional massacres and atrocities nor well-known mass slaughters, pogroms, and riots, and also not only administrative murder of masses (as a conventional measure applied by absolute rulership, dictatorship, tyranny, colonialism etc. before World War I.), but of people. After World War I. traditional „administrative mass-murder” (Al. Carthill) became modern „administrative mass-murder as organised by a state” (Hannah Arendt) which later on was described as “policy of extermination” (Majorie Housepian), and as „organized state murder” (Helen Fein), and defined as „structural and systematic destruction of innocent people by a state bureaucratic apparatus” (Irving Louis Horowitz), indeed, as an outstanding „crime against mankind and civilisation as planned and organized by a state” (Richard Albrecht), “the blackest page in history” (H.A. Gibbons). Insofar any genocidal action may include “ethnic cleansing“ and its violent methods of ejection, expulsion, and displacement, as applied by the perpetrators – but genocidal policy has got a pecularity (Albrecht 2006: Völkermord[en], 124-125) demonstrating that genocide is more than “ethnic cleansing”, “demographical engineering”, “homogenisation of population” as accompanied by massacres to fulfil a specific policy to “systematically eliminate another group from a given territory on the basis of religious, ethnic or national origin.” (Petrovic 1994)
II. Needlessly to stress that not only these but all the pieces on genocide worked out and published by the author within the last two decades are lead by a central principle according to a grounded problem of any research work on genocide which the author himself once named, in summer 1989, the urgent „development of an early warning system against genocidal tendencies” („Entwicklung eines Frühwarnsystems gegen Völkermordtendenzen. Pilotstudie zu einem unbearbeiteten Grundproblem einer kultur-, sozial- und politikwissenschaftlichen Friedensforschung“ 1989, 2 p., not printed [in German]). Given this setting, the author emphasizes the very meaning of a basic ´historical memory´ (Jorgé Semprún) which inevitably also includes „what still is to be done” (Ernst Bloch) as one of the central presuppositions and conditio sine qua non for preventing genocide.
III. According to me own research work on genocide as the most destructive event in the history of mankind and state-sponsored ´crime against humanity and civilisation´ (as published in 1989) I take the liberty - if I may - and quote the basic definition of genocide as worked out by Raphael Lemkin:
„In this respect genocide is a new technique of occupation, aimed at winning the peace even though the war itself is lost.” (Lemkin 1944: chp. XI: Genocide, 81)
Following this concept means that within 20th century there do exist until now three outstanding events, two of them well-documented as genocides and crimes against humanity and civilisation: ´Armenocide´ (1915/18) and ´Holocaust´ (1941/45), the third, ´Serbocide´ (1941/45), still under-documented. Any specific silence as practised by German historians traditionally and actually until the first ´colonial genocide´ in German South West Africa (GSWA), 1904-07, is also a relevant subject: this „smart genocide” (Micha Brumlik) started when the German representative declared the native ethnic group (Nama) no longer as subjects of His Majesty, The German Kaiser William II (v. Trotha, October 2nd, 1904):
„The Herero people is no longer subject of the German crown. They have murdered and stolen […] The Herero people has to leave this country. If the Herero people will not follow this order, I will force the Herero people by using my Great Fire Gun.” (Bley 1968, 204)
This specific command, which indeed did exist, and its consequences, and very meanings express of what can be regarded as ´genocidal mentality´ due to the mainstream of German colonial and imperial ideology before World War I. (Herrenmenschen, later on Herrenvolk) according to the whites as the mastery race (Herrenrasse). Moreover, another relevant aspect of this early annihilation order given in 1904 lays in its very secrecy as a general feature of all genocidal actions within 20th-century-genocides. Finally, the image and the perception of German rules in GSWA as mirrored in diary and letters written by the Nama-leader Captain Hendrik Witbooi, 1884-1894, are of scholarly relevancy, too. This native individual indeed felt military measures against his people as, in the last instance, both destructive and lethal policy of the German occupants. In a way the Witbooi-writings can be regarded as the first (written) document which gave testimony of the underlying concept of any ´modern´ genocide and genocidal action within 20th century at all: the very destruction of an entire population as planned and organised by a state and his (military, administrative, cultural, medical, ideological etc.) officials.
IV. The mass murdering of about one and half a million Armenians (fifteen hundred thousand humans) in the Ottoman/Turkish State 1915-1922 was „the first planned and organized genocide within 20th century” (Edgar Hilsenrath). Without studying this outstanding destructive event as the most nasty crime a state can ever commit any scholarly understanding of genocide is hardly possibly. Finally, the Armenocide (in German: Armenozid) was, in fact, not only an outstanding crime but also the „essential prototype of genocide in the 20th century” (Irving L. Horowitz) applying modern techniques, too. The former (West) German Chancellor, Dr. Helmut Kohl, stressed, in April 1987, the very argument his ghost-writer at that time, Dr. Klaus Hildebrandt, gave according to the uniqueness of the Holocaust, his instrumental modernity and economic efficiency, following Hannah Arendts consideration on the Holocaust as state-sponsored killing:
„The crime of the Holocaust named genocide is indeed unique within human history whenever looking on the cold inhuman planning and its lethal efficiency”.
Meanwhile there does exist a translation of relevant documents of the Turkish post-War military trials into German, and also into American English. In 1919, the Stambul Trial condemned to death 17 Young Turk politicians - one of them the prominent CUP-leader Talaat Pasha, the former Ministry of the Interior (1913-1918) - as responsible for the destruction of the Armenian people as „organised by a united state-power”. Moreover, the genocidal actions followed the official order as given against „persons acting against the Ottoman government at war times” (Akcam 2004, 178)
The Ottoman Ministry of the Interior and member of the most powerful triumvirat, Talaat Pasha, declared, in August 1915, that the ”Armenian Question” does not exist any longer (Lepsius 1919, 146):
„La question arménienne n´existe plus.“
In so far Talaat followed Abdul Hamid II who was as the absolute ruler until the Young Turks overtook political power in 1908 responsible for two well-know atrocities against and massacres of Armenians in 1895/96 and in 1903/04. This man publicly stated in 1896 [The Nation, 14th January, 1897]:
„The way to get rid of the Armenian question is to get rid of the Armenians“
The interview Talaat gave in 1916, two decades later, expresses the specific modernity of the first genocide within 20th century. In his statement the most prominent CUP-leader publicly declared on „the Armenian question” (Morgenthau 1918, p. 336)
„We have been reproached for making no distinction between the innocent Armenians and the guilty; but that was utterly impossible, in view of the fact that those who were innocent today might be guilty tomorrow”
To quote a legitimate US-scholar (of religious history) commenting the Talaat-interview (Rubinstein 1983, 19):
„The Armenians were slaughtered not for what they did but for what the Turks suspected some of them might do in the future.”
What Talaat expressed in 1916 when he stresses „that those who were innocent today might be guilty tomorrow” anticipates possible developments, created (what Hannah Arendt later on identified as) ´the objective enemy´ (Arendt 1989, 654), and expresses the modern scientific idea of latent potentiality (as worked out by theoretical physics, especially the ´quantum theory´). As the author mentioned when looking on relevant documents according to the Croatian genocide of the Serbs living in the Ustase state 1941/45 (Albrecht 2006, Völkermord[en]: 71-93), the principal concept of ´the objective enemy´ was also graphically applied by the murderous perpetrators and Croatian elitist political figures as a sort of “lumpen-intelligentia” (Yehuda Bauer): on November 26, 1941, the Croatian government ordered that repressive measures are to be applied against those “unwanted persons who might threaten the very achievements of the Croatian Ustase Movement for liberation.” (quoted in ibid: 89) Given this setting, the concept “objective enemy” as, at first, scholarly sketched by Hannah Arendt (1951) might serve as a relevant key feature for scholars whenever analysing ´modern´ genocide under comparative aspects and perspectives (Albrecht 1989).
V. The intellectual political philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), a German emigré to the United States of America (USA) in the Second World War, sketched her basic concept of “the objective enemy” (“objektiver Gegner”) as part of her ´diagnosis of our time´ at the beginning of the 1950´s. Every totalitarian regime applies an ideology due to that leading figure which the author filtered out of the fascist “juridical” writings highly powerful German politicians like Reinhard Heydrich (1904-1942) and Werner Best (1903-1989) did when stigmatizing humans publicly naming as the “objective enemy” and the very “people´s enemy” – “an everlasting enemy” of the German people: “the very enemy of the racial, cultural, and spiritual being, and substance, of our people.” (Heydrich 1936: 121-123) Moreover, it is one of the main tasks of the totalitarian political police within the nationalsozialistische Führerstaat as a specific institution “which is thoroughly, and permanently, monitoring the body of the German people, which is timely detecting every symptom of illness, and her destructive germs, and which is eliminating all of it totally by applying effective methods” – “ferretting out and monitoring the enemies of the state for disposing them of at the right moment – that is the preventive-police task of a political police.” (Best 1936: 125-128)
Of course those “preventive-police task” does mean the complete reversal of any rule of law and her leading principles – “nullum crimen sine lege“ [no crime without law], “nulla poena sine lege” [without law no punishment], and “nulla poena sine culpa” [no punishment without guiltiness] – which basically guarantees not only the presumption of innocence – nobody who is accused has to establish the innocence of the defendant in general – but also “fair trial” especially. According to the political system of historical Stalinism in the 1930´s, Susanne Leonhard (1895-1984), in the end of 1918 a founding mother of the authentic Communist Party in Germany (SPARTAKUSBUND), who became, as an emigré to the USSR, a political prisoner from 1935 to 1948, later remembered the way the secret police oppressed its “presumptive enemies” (Leonhard 1959):
“There was no individual guiltiness at all – on the contrary: any individual ´crime´ was constructed lateron to that end that the individual ´case´ could be classified under the given category of political suspect persons […] That the secret police will arrest somebody because this person belonged to a specific group whose members are looked upon as potential rebels by the government was a specific insight” – the author added – “which most of us unfortunately realised much more later.”
VI. The very ´modernity´ of the Genocide against the Armenians 1915/16 is also expressed within the forms of genocidal actions Ottoman Turks really did. Mass killing as serial killing was organised in an highly efficient manner due to the logic of economic efficiency whenever executing the genocidal business. When during World War II. in Europe gas-chambers were economically the most efficient instrument of mass-killing Jews – mass-killing Armenians during World War I. in Minor Asia complied another economic rationality according to any logic of saving material: they did not involve the waste of powder and shell (Morgenthau 1918, 321):
„As the Turks themselves boasted they were more economical since they did not involve the waste of powder and shell.”
In a specific way the most destructive event during the First World War, the „administrative holocaust” (Winston Churchill) called Armenocide, which began in April 24th, 1915, in Constantinople as the first „modern“ genocide within 20th century, expresses, although until now not mentioned at all, what the encyclia „Evangelium vitae“, eighty years later, emphasised as the very „value and inviolability of human life“ in general, when characterising any „culture of death“, whenever „taken as a whole“, as the result of a policy of „the strong“ against the weak who have no choice but to submit“ (Ioannes Paulus PP. II [Carol Woytila, 1920-2005]: Evangelium vitae To the Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Men and Women religious lay, Faithful and all People of Good Will, on the Value and Inviolability of Human Life [March 25th, 1995]), cpt. 19).
VII. In June 2005, the German Federal Parliament („Bundestag”) made up her mind and decided a modest critique of the Turkish denial of what happened but neither used the expression „genocide” nor „Armenocide”. Like all governments of the Turkish Republic since 1923 when at first a sort of culture of impunity was legally created within ´New Turkey´, the current one denies not only any Turkish Genocide but also continues that as official as rubbish talk on „tragic events during the war”. Moreover, and as far as I know, a chequered group, politically unified under the umbrella that an Turkish Genocide in 1915/16 is the very fiction of a so-called plot or conspiracy of the world-wide Armenian community, when organising her „March Towards Berlin” where the official Turkish community hold a demonstration on March 18th, 2006, the day Talaat died of an assassination an Armenian student executed, 85 years ago (in Berlin, 1921), demanding that the German Federal Parliaments (for one voice) declaration is to cancel (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: February 4th, 2006, 39). Obviously these daisy bones do not at all know that Kemal Pasha („Atatürk”), the founding father of the Turkish Republic, before the Lausanne Treaty (1923), in 1920, several times talked on „the Armenian catastrophe”. Moreover, in October, 1920, Kemal mentioned about 800.000 killed Armenians and damned the act (Akcam 2004², 123-125).