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Gallipoli link to the Armenian genocide - UC historian

Gallipoli link to the Armenian genocide - UC historian

As Germany recognises the Armenian genocide upsetting relations with Turkey, University of Canterbury historian Dr David Monger is adding to the body of knowledge surrounding this pivotal First World War event and says there is a New Zealand link.

101 years on, the genocide remains a controversial topic not officially recognised by the Turkish, British or New Zealand Governments. It was brought to public attention in 2015 when Vladimir Putin and then Kim Kardashian, who is of Armenian heritage, attended commemorative events.

An emerging academic and archival researcher, Dr Monger is developing a database based on a 1916 book, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, using his expertise in propaganda to test genocide deniers’ complaints about the book’s evidence.

A life-long interest in the First World War led Dr Monger to explore British propaganda and patriotism at PhD level, and then his latest work.

“The military history side of the First World War is pretty much done, and it goes over the same ground again and again – much like the battles themselves.

“There is still a lot that can be learned from how societies behave during war socially and culturally. We think of the terrible effects on soldiers from war, but there were massive knock-on effects on people at home too – those things are just as important.

There's a New Zealand link to the genocide, he says.

“Historians should be assisting people to put historical information into context. The events of Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide are linked. Orders for the deportations of Armenians occurred the same day British warships arrived in the Dardanelles to begin the Gallipoli campaign.

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“There’s this romantic view in this part of the world of a coming of age in a noble fight against a brave enemy, and you can’t take away from that, but the most important consequence of Gallipoli is the impetus it gave to the deportation and murder of around a million minority Armenians.”

Funding has been an issue but progress has also been slow because of the need for great care in designing a database relating to such sensitive material.

“The book has been dismissed as evidence by genocide deniers and others as fabricated British propaganda. I hope this work, informed by my expertise in propaganda, will finally set the record straight.”


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