by United States Congress
Posted: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 at 12:26 PM CT
Experts from Congressional Speeches on the Armenians
SENATOR RUDY BOSCWITZ, R-Minn. (CR-Senate, 4/25/84, p. S4852): When Hitler first proposed his final solution, he was told that the world would never permit such a mass murder. Hitler silenced his advisers by asking, "Who remembers the Armenians?"
Today, I join my colleagues in answering Hitler by pledging the truth.
SENATOR CARL LEVIN, D-Mich. (CR-Senate, 4/24/84, p. S4703): But, regrettably it was soon forgotten, not by the surviving Armenians, but by most of the rest of the world. So that when Adolf Hitler planned his invasion of Poland and the destruction of the Jewish people, he was able to scornfully state, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
SENATOR HOWARD METZENBAUM, D-Ohio (CR-Senate, 4/24/84, p. S4719): Three years ago, in a speech given here in the Capital rotunda, Elie Wiesel, Chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, made a telling point.
Professor Wiesel said: "Before the planning of the final solution Hitler asked "Who remembers the Armenians?" He was right. No one remembered them, as no one remembered the Jews. Rejected by everyone, they felt expelled from history."
CONGRESSMAN LES ASPIN, D-Wis. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2977): Two decades later, when adolf Hitler was planning the elimination of the Jewish people, he is reported to save said, "Who remembers the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN HOWARD BERMAN, D-Calif. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p.H2982): It should be a source of concern to all of us that to this day Turkey does not acknowledge, despite eyewitness accounts, either the facts or its historical responsibility; for the line from Armenia to Auschwitz is direct. The holocaust of European Jewry has its precedence in the events of 1915 to 1922. "Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians, " Hitler told his generals on the eve of the extermination of the Jews. The horrendous events of World War II overshadowed the Armenian genocide, and it is only recently, through the peaceful efforts of the Armenian groups, that the rest of the world has once again begun to recognize the collective agony of the Armenian people.
CONGRESSMAN THOMAS BLILEY, R-Va. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2979): Mr. Speaker, I know that the actions of the Ottoman Government did not lead directly to the forced starvation of the Ukraine by Josef Stalin, the gas chambers of Auschwitz, the gruesome slaughter of the Cambodians. Idi Amin's death campaign in Uganda, and the more recent actions in Matabeleland in Zimbabwe, but I know that human nature, even a warped and infamous human nature, needs the comfort of believing that it can get away with something before it proceeds. As an example I would cite Adolf Hitler's statement concerning the final solution for the Jews of Europe when he said, "Who now remembers the Armenians?" If more proof is needed then we can all look up Idi Amin's frequent statements of his adoration for Adolf Hitler as a man who knew how to handle a problem.
CONGRESSMAN EDWARD BOLAND, D-Mass. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2975): The silence with which the community of nations greeted the decimation of the Armenian people may have emboldened those who would later perpetrate similar acts. It certainly had an effect on Adolf Hitler who while planning the extermination of millions of Jews was asked how the world would respond a program of mass murder. In reply Hitler said, "Who remembers the Armenians?"
CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA BOXER, D-Calif. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2977): The repeated denials of these well documented crimes of the Ottoman Turkish regime call to mind the Nazi maxim that a big lie if often repeated becomes truth. Hitler himself cited the Armenians massacres as evidence that humanity cares nothing for the murder of a people.
CONGRESSMAN JIM COURTER, R-N.J (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2977): But here can be no could that this ignorance of history's darker events aids those who perpetrate them, and those who would do son in the future. It is known that Hitler cited that fact that the Armenian genocide was little known, little discussed and little remembered in his time. We can only imagine the conclusions he drew from this fact.
CONGRESSMAN MERVYN DYMALLY, D-Calif. (CR-House, 4/12/84, p. H2924): Today, historians argue about the number of Armenians actually killed. Others claim that no genocide took place at all. This is a devastating conclusion to the survivors, whether they be Americans, Lebanese, Egyptians, French or citizens of any other country..... If we deny the Armenian Genocide - a historical event that has been well documented - we echo the words of Adolph [sic] Hitler who said, "Who still talks nowadays, of the extermination of Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN EDWARD FEIGHAN, D-Ohio (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2971): But only twenty years after the fact, the century's first genocide was the "forgotten genocide." As Hitler paused on the edge of his own reign of terror, he asked "Who remembers the Armenians?" And no one had. A world blind to the lessons of history saw them repeated on a wider scale.
CONGRESSWOMAN GERALDINE FERRARO, D-N.Y.(Quoted in the Armenian Reporter, July 26, 1984, p.2.) I have dwelled on the Armenian genocide not because it is unique as a flagrant abuse of human rights, but precisely because it is not unique. The world knew about the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews ñand failed to act. Those failures spread the shame of these unspeakable crimes against humanity far beyond those directly responsible for them.
The events in Turkey in 1915 and in Germany in World War II, and in Cambodia in the 1970's, are of course not directly related. The madness and brutality of the perpetrators of each genocide had their own tragic basis.
But there is a strong tie in the world's silence in the face of each of these horrors. We can only be haunted by the words of Adolph Hitler, who said, in embarking on his "crazed attack" on the Jews. "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
Now, today, years too late for the millions killed in the Nazi gas chambers and Khmer Rouge execution centers, we stand to say that we speak of the annihilation of the Armenians. And of the Jews, and of the Cambodians. We stand to remind the world of these crimes against humanity, that we may prevent future crimes.
CONGRESSMAN HAMILTON FISH, R-N.Y. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2982): In speaking of the consequences of the Jewish Holocaust, Adolf Hitler once remarked: "Who remembers the Armenians?" Indeed it is our responsibility to do just that; remember that which we would rather choose to forget.
CONGRESSMAN WILLIAM FORD, D-Mich (CR_House, 4/24/84, p. H2981): Even Adolf Hitler used past events to shape his own policies. In 1939 as he was beginning his invasion of Poland, Hitler ordered the mass extermination of its inhabitants, commenting, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" Humanity's failure to remember the genocide of an entire people scarcely 25 years earlier gave Hitler the go ahead to exterminate millions of innocent people.
CONGRESSMAN SAM GEJDENSON, D-Conn. (CR-House, 4/25/84, p. E1766): In the now infamous quote, Adolf Hitler, before beginning his Holocaust against the Jews, referred to international indifference in the face of the Armenian genocide, "Who," he asked, "remembers the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN WILLIAM GREEN, R-N.Y. (CR-House, 4/2/84, p. H2972): When Hitler was about to begin the Holocaust and a member of his staff asked him what the world would think, Hitler is reported to have replied, "Who remembers the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN RICHARD LEHMAN, D-Calif. (CR-House, 4/12/84, p.H2793): Questioned by an aide about his policy of Jewish genocide, Hitler said: "Who after all now remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN BRUCE MORRISON, Conn. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2979): Adolf Hitler took advantage of the world's amnesia, looking at the Armenian genocide as a precedent for his own Holocaust perpetrated against Europe's Jews. Hitler said, in a chilling remark made in 1939. "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN NICHOLAS MAVROULES, D-Mass. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2979): Sadly, however, the Armenian genocide would be surpassed by the Nazi holocaust in the 1930's and 1940's. Adolf Hitler, in an attempt to explain away his maniacal slaughter, would ask with a laugh: "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
CONGRESSMAN CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2976): It is of paramount importance that we do not let this tragedy be forgotten with the passage of time. This act of inhumanity, based on religious and nationalistic grounds, was as terrible as any manmade catastrophe to that time yet only two decades later Hitler could ask, "Who remembers the Armenians?" Perhaps if the world had paid more attention to the plight of the Armenian massacre later tragedies could have been averted.
CONGRESSMAN JAMES SHANNON, D-Mass. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2973): This act of wholesale annihilation set the stage for Hitler's attempted extermination of the Jewish people. He justified his plan to doubting coconspirators with the reasoning that no one remembered the Armenian genocide which had taken pace only 15 years earlier.
CONGRESSMAN HENRY WAXMAN, D-Caliph. (CR-House, 4/24/84, p. H2981): This day server to remind us that this first genocide of our century served as a precedent for the holocaust of World War II when more than 6 million people were destroyed by a government leader who responded: "Whoever cared about the Armenians?" When it was suggested that world opinion would not allow the Nazis to get away with their attempt to eliminate the Jewish people.
APPENDIX II: Excerpts from the Lochner Version of the August 22, 1939, Obersalzberg Speech Dealing with the Planned Invasion of Poland Lochner, 1942, p.2: Our strength consists of our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter ñ with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It's matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me.
I have issued the command ñI'll have anybody who utter 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 formations in readiness ñ for the present only in the East ñ with orders to them do 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 today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
NCA, Volume VII, p. 753: Our strength is in our quickness and our brutality. Ghenghis Khan had millions of women and children killed by his own will and with a gay heart. History sees only in him a great state builder. What weak Western European civilization thinks about me does not matter.
I have given the order, and will have everyone shot who utters one word of criticism that the aim of the war is not to attain certain lines, but consist in the physical destruction of the opponent. Thus for the time being I have sent to the East only 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 in such a way will we win the vital space that we need. Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?
The Times, November 24, 1945, p. 4: Our strength is in our quickness and our brutality. Ghengis Khan had millions of women killed by his own will and with a gay heart. History sees in him only a great State-builder. What the weak European civilization thinks about me does not matter.
I have given the order, and will have everyone shot who utters one word of criticism...
Thus for the time being I have sent to the East only 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. Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?
APPENDIX III: Excerpts from the Nuremberg Versions of the August 22, 1939, Obersalzberg Speech Dealing with the Planned Invasion of Poland Us-30 [1014-PS]
TMWC, Vol. II, pp. 290-291NCA, Vol. III, pp. 665-666DGFP, Vol. VII, pp. 205-206
Destruction of Poland in the foreground. The aim is elimination of living forces, not the arrival at a certain line: Even if war should break out in the West, the destruction of Poland shall be the primary objective. Quick decision because of the season.
I shall give a propagandistic cause for starting the war ñ never mind whether it bi plausible or not. The victor shall not be asked, later on, whether we told the truth or not. In starting and making a war, not be Right is what matters but Victory.
Have no pity. Brutal attitude. 80 million people shall get what is their right. Their existence has to be secured. The strongest has the right. Greatest severity.
Quick decision necessary. Un shakable faith in German soldier. A crisis may happen only if the nerves of the leaders give way.
First aim: advance to the Vistula and Narew. Our technical superiority will break the nerve of the Poles. Every newly created Polish force shall again be broken at once. Constant war of attrition.
New German frontier according to healthily principles. Possibly a protectorate as a buffer. Military operations shall not be influenced by these reflections. Complete destruction of Poland is a military aim. To be fast is the main thing. Pursuit until complete elimination.
Boehm, August 22, 1939 TMWC, Vol. XLI, p.25: The goal is the elimination and destruction of Poland's military power even if war should begin in the west. A swift, successful outcome in the east offers the best prospects for restricting the conflict.
A suitable propaganda cause will be advanced for the conflict. The credibility of this is unimportant. Right lies with the victor.
We must shut and harden our hearts. To whomever ponders the world order it is clear that what is important are the war ñlike accomplishments of the best....
We can and must believe in the value of the German soldier. In times of crisis he has generally retained his nerve, while the leadership has lost theirs....
Once again: the first priority is the swiftness of the operations. To adapt to each new situation to shatter the hostile forces, wherever they appear and to the last one.
This is the military goal which is the prerequisite for the narrower political foal of later drawing up new frontiers.
Halder, August 22, 1939, DGFP, Vol. VII, p. 559: Aim: Annihilation of Poland ñ elimination of its vital forces. It is not a matter of gaining a specific line or new frontier, but rather the annihilation of an enemy, which constantly must be attempted by new always.
Solution: Means immaterial. The victor is never called on to vindicate his actions. We are not concerned with having justice on our side, but solely with having justice on our side, but solely with victory.
Execution: Harsh and remorseless. Be steeled against all signs of compassion!
Speed: Faith in the German soldier, even if reverses occur.
Of paramount importance are the wedges [which must be driven] from the southeast to the Vistula, and from the north to the Narev and the Vistula.
Promptness in meeting new situations; new means must be devised to deal with them quickly.
New Frontiers: New Reich territory. Outlying protectorate territory. Military operations must not be affected by regard for the future frontiers.