3676) Australia and the politics of the Armenian Genocide, Andrekos Varnava, 2017


Australia and the politics of the Armenian Genocide
Andrekos Varnava
Flinders University, Australia
Armenia, Australia & the Great War , edited by Vicken Babkenian and Peter
Stanley, Sydney, NewSouth Publishing, 2016, 336 pp., AUD$34.99 (paperback),

ISBN: 9781742233994, Publisher ’ s website: www.newsouthbooks.com.au/books/armenia-australia-great-war/

The Great War was momentous for so many people and there is no doubt that this was the case for both the Armenian and Australian peoples. On the eve of the Great War the Armenians were a historic community mostly living in Asia Minor and Transcaucasia who were trying to secure their existence in the face of the violent disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Australia had officially been a nation for barely a generation and was still coming to terms with its role in the world. For the Armenians and the Australians, the Great War proved catastrophic in terms of casualties; the difference being the Genocide which took well over one million non-combatant Armenian lives. Yet for both the war proved instrumental for the character of their subsequent respective nation-states.

This book shows that there are many historic and contemporary connections for Australians and Armenians. Broadly, there are four historic and contemporary themes running through the book: (1) Armenian migration to Australia pre-and-post the Great War; (2) Australian eyewitness accounts of the Armenian Genocide (1915 and 1916) and ethnic cleansing from Asia Minor and parts of Transcaucasia (1920–23); (3) Australian relief efforts during and post the Great War; and (4) the role and position of the Australian federal and state governments in recognising the Armenian Genocide. The authors – Vicken Babkenian, an independent researcher writing his first book, and Professor Peter Stanley, an experienced military historian – have written a richly researched and beautifully written narrative that is easy to follow and understand.

Andrekos Varnava andrekos.varnava@flinders.edu.au

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