Armenian quote: Wikis

  
  

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Adolf Hitler's alleged observation about how the world forgot the Armenian Genocide

The Armenian quote is a paragraph allegedly included in a speech by Adolf Hitler to Wehrmacht commanders at his Obersalzberg home on August 22, 1939, a week before the German invasion of Poland.[1]

The authenticity of the quotation has been disputed. The key area of contention regarding the "Armenian quote" is a reference to the Armenian Genocide, an episode during World War I in the Ottoman Empire, during which an estimated one to one-and-a-half million ethnic Armenians were killed.[2][3][4] The authenticity of the quotation has become hotly contested between Turkish and Armenian political activists. The quotation is now inscribed on one of the walls of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C..

Contents

Origin of the document

According to the American journalist Louis P. Lochner, while stationed in Berlin he received a copy of a speech by Hitler from his "informant", which he published (in English translation) in his book What About Germany? (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1942) as being indicative of Hitler's desire to conquer the world. In 1945, Lochner handed over a transcript of the German document he had received to the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials, where it was labeled L-3. Hence it is known as the L-3 document.

The Times of London quoted from Lochner's version in an unsigned article titled The War Route of the Nazi Germany on November 24, 1945. The article stated that it had been brought forward by the prosecutor on November 23, 1945, (i.e. the previous day), as evidence. However, according to the Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik (ser. D, vol. 7, 1961), the document was not introduced as evidence before the International Military Tribunal and is not included in the official publication of the documents in evidence. Two other documents containing minutes of Hitler's Obersalzberg speech(es) had been found among the seized German documents and were introduced as evidence; neither, however, contains the Armenian quotation.

In Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression (colloquially also known as "the Red Set"), a collection of documents relating to the Nuremberg trials prepared by the prosecutorial team, the editors describe the relation between the documents concerned as follows:[5]

Just one week prior to the launching of the attack on Poland, Hitler made an address to his chief military commanders, at Obersalzberg, on 22 August 1939. [Three reports of this meeting are available: (L-3; 798-PS and 1014-PS). The first of the three documents (L-3) was obtained through an American newspaperman, and purported to be original minutes of the Obersalzberg meeting, transmitted to the newspaperman by some other person. There was no proof of actual delivery to the intermediary by the person who took the notes. That document (L-3) therefore, merely served as an incentive to search for something better. The result was that two other documents (798-PS) and (1014-PS) were discovered in the OKW files at Flensberg [sic]. These two documents indicate that Hitler on that day made two speeches, one apparently in the morning and one in the afternoon. Comparison of those two documents with the first document (L-3) led to the conclusion that the first document was a slightly garbled merger of the two speeches, and therefore was not relied upon.]

German and English wording

The third paragraph of the L-3 document is as follows:

Unsere Stärke ist unsere Schnelligkeit und unsere Brutalität. Dschingis Khan hat Millionen Frauen und Kinder in den Tod gejagt, bewußt und fröhlichen Herzens. Die Geschichte sieht in ihm nur den großen Staatengründer. Was die schwache westeuropäische Zivilisation über mich behauptet, ist gleichgültig. Ich habe den Befehl gegeben — und ich lasse jeden füsilieren, der auch nur ein Wort der Kritik äußert — daß das Kriegsziel nicht im Erreichen von bestimmten Linien, sondern in der physischen Vernichtung des Gegners besteht. So habe ich, einstweilen nur im Osten, meine Totenkopfverbände bereitgestellt mit dem Befehl, unbarmherzig und mitleidslos Mann, Weib und Kind polnischer Abstammung und Sprache in den Tod zu schicken. Nur so gewinnen wir den Lebensraum, den wir brauchen. Wer redet heute noch von der Vernichtung der Armenier?

The above is a verbatim rendering of that paragraph, as included in a footnote in the Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik (ser. D, vol. 7, 1961, p. 193).

In his book What about Germany?, Lochner offered the following English translation of the document then in his possession:

Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter—with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command—and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad—that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness—for the present only in the East—with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?
—p. 11–12

A variety of different wordings have been published since World War II, mostly retaining linguistic accuracy nevertheless. The following tries to be closer to the original:

Our strength is our quickness and our brutality. Genghis Khan had millions of women and children hunted down and killed, deliberately and with a gay heart. History sees in him only the great founder of States. What the weak Western European civilization alleges about me, does not matter. I have given the order—and will have everyone shot who utters but one word of criticism—that the aim of {translator: this} war does not consist in reaching certain {translator: geographical} lines, but in the enemies' physical elimination. Thus, for the time being only in the east, I put ready my Death's Head units, with the order to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of the Polish race or language. Only thus will we gain the living space that we need. Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?

Contesting interpretations

A Turkish commentary says:

This so-called Hitler statement is accepted as a "historical fact" and has been quoted by numerous politicians who support the Armenian cause, in parliamentary debates in North America. It also appears routinely in Armenian propaganda publications.

... The problem with this linkage is that there is no proof that Hitler ever made such a statement. It is claimed that he referred to the Armenians in the manner cited above, while delivering a secret talk to members of his General Staff, a week prior to his attack on Poland. However, there is no reference to the Armenians in the original texts of the two Hitler speeches delivered on August 22, 1939, published as the official texts in the reliable Nuremberg documents. [6]

On the other side, Dr. Kevork B. Bardakjian, in a publication entitled Hitler and the Armenian Genocide, published by the Armenian-American Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation, argues that the L-3 document originates in the notes secretly taken by Wilhelm Canaris during the meeting of August 22, 1939:

To conclude, although its author is unknown, L-3 and its unsigned counterparts 798-PS and 1014-PS originate from the notes Wilhelm Canaris took personally as Hitler spoke on 22 August, 1939. ... Although not an “official” record, L-3 is a genuine document and is as sound as the other evidence submitted at Nuremberg.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ Dadrian, Vahakn (2003). The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus. Berghahn Books. pp. 408. ISBN 1571816666. 
  2. ^ Dictionary of Genocide, by Samuel Totten, Paul Robert Bartrop, Steven L. Jacobs, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008, ISBN 0313346429, p. 19
  3. ^ Intolerance: a general survey, by Lise Noël, Arnold Bennett, 1994, ISBN 0773511873, p. 101
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society, by Richard T. Schaefer, 2008, p. 90
  5. ^ Office of the United States Chief of Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality (1946). "Chapter IX – Launching of wars of aggression". Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. 1. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/chap_09.asp. 
  6. ^ Armenian Forgeries and Falsifications
  7. ^ K. B. Bardakjian (1985). Hitler and the Armenian Genocide. Special Report No. 3, The Zoryan Institute. ISBN 978-0916431181. Available on-line (8.1 MB).

External links








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