The United States’ Various Responses to the Armenian Genocide


  • Rebecca Johnson


In 1915, Ottoman Turks killed a significant number of Christian Armenians. The Turkish leaders targeted the Armenian people for allying with Turkey’s traditional enemy, Russia. They deported most Armenians to camps and murdered them but also killed others in their homes and communities where U.S. missionaries and diplomats witnessed it. The Americans then reported these atrocities to the U.S. asking for intervention. These reports brought awareness of the killings and prompted responses from the United States. One popular response came from the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief (ACASR). ACASR successfully raised millions of dollars for Armenian relief through fundraisers and rallies throughout the country. The government responded informally through the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia (ACIA), designed to help Armenia gain independence. This long-range response failed in gaining independence for Armenia because the committee had to persuade another entity, the federal government, to act in a particular way over which the committee had no control. This paper examines the differences between the American’s nongovernmental and governmental response; in particular it maintains that the private committee, the ACASR, was more successful than the quasi-governmental ACIA because ACASR’s goals were more immediate and achievable through its own efforts.