In the following
letter to the Turkish newspaper, Professor Justin McCarthy explains the
inappropriateness of the "P" word, when the idea is to present the
truth. Note how Armenian "attack dogs" did not lose the opportunity
to harass the professor, at his university.
McCarthy further expounds on the issue of truth, relating to the Armenian
history is enough
Letter To The Editor
Turkish Daily News
23 June 2001
I thank you for your coverage of my recent speech in Istanbul. Unfortunately, one word in
your article, "propaganda," has caused some misunderstanding. The article stated
that I recommended that the Turkish government improve its propaganda. As it is understood
in America, the word propaganda has the connotation of lies — the opposite of what I
advocated. What I said in the speech was:
“My suggestion is very simple —
defeat the lies with the truth. Start to produce the materials that are needed to counter
the lies. Flood the libraries of America and Europe with truthful history — so much good
history that it cannot be ignored. What are needed are books, articles, magazines. It
would be better if these were funded by private organizations — by foundations in
Turkey, America, Germany. And it is necessary that many of them be in European languages
and published in Europe and America. Do not only concentrate on the type of learned books
usually written by professors. Concentrate on books for the public. Especially concentrate
on materials for school children and teachers.”
I did mention government publications
in the question period, stating that they might be improved, but I never suggested or
intended that the Turkish government lie. Indeed, there is no need for the Turkish
government or anyone else to lie in opposing the so-called “Armenian Genocide.”
Truthful history is enough.
I know the Turkish Daily News and its
reporter understood that I was not advocating government lies, but Armenian nationalists
in America have now written to me, and to every official in my university, saying that I
am advising Turks to lie, and that I should be punished. My university knows that I would
never do such a thing. I also want the readers of the Turkish Daily News, including
Armenian nationalists to know that I would never lie or advise others to lie about
Professor of History
Univ. of Louisville, KY
at Nuremberg — 1934
The cleverest trick used in propaganda against Germany during
the war was to accuse Germany of what our enemies themselves were doing.
Political propaganda in principle is active and revolutionary. It is aimed at the
broad masses. It speaks the language of the people because it wants to be understood
by the people. Its task is the highest creative art of putting sometimes complicated
events and facts in a way simple enough to be understood by the man on the street. Its
foundation is that there is nothing the people cannot understand, rather things must
be put in a way that they can understand. It is a question of making it clear to him
by using the proper approach, evidence and language.
Propaganda is a means to an end. Its purpose is to lead the people to an understanding
that will allow them to willingly and without internal resistance devote themselves to
the tasks and goals of a superior leadership.
Der Kongress zur Nürnberg 1934 (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., Frz. Eher Nachf.,
1934), pp. 130-141.
Justin McCarthy: Excerpts from "Armenian
Terrorism History as Poison and Antidote."
The historical truth is that Russian Imperial
expansion upset the traditional balance of the peoples of the Caucasus and Eastern
Anatolia. All the peoples suffered. In terms of number, dead and deportations, those
who suffered most were the Crimean and Caucasian Moslems. If any people were the
victims of genocide, it was the Crimean Tatars, victims in their own homeland of a
planned extermination begun by Catherine the Great and ended by Joseph Stalin. Yet
those who are an too willing to consider Moslems as the agents of genocide seem
strangely unwilling to consider Moslems as its victims.
What I have related is, I submit, the truth, albeit in an abbreviated form. It is
story of human suffering that, like most such stories, has no hero and no villain,
only victims-human victims, whether Turkish or Armenian. But that is not the way the
story has been told. Instead of the truth of a human disaster, a great myth has
arisen, the myth of the Evil Turk and the Good Armenian. The myth has been
perpetuated by stories of the sufferings of the Armenians. The stories are often
true, but they never mention the equal or greater sufferings of the Turks. The myth
has been generally believed by non-Armenians because it fits wed into a larger,
centuries-old myth-the Terrible Turk. To Europeans, who had feared Turks for more
than five centuries, the myth of the Armenian genocide seemed just one more example
of what they had been taught was the savagery of the Turk. It spoke to a prejudice
that had been nurtured by textbooks, sermons, folk tales, and ancestral fears of the
horsemen riding out of the East The false image of the Turks was too strong to be
affected by facts.
When Turks protested that their side should be heard and that their should be
mourned just as Armenian dead were mourned, they found no sympathy and no
understanding. No matter the evidence they presented, nothing they said was
believed, and soon the Turks ceased their protests against the injustice. Under the
leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, they busied themselves with the creation of a
new Republic, assuming that their success as a modern nation would be the best
weapon against the image of the Terrible Turk.
To a great degree, the Turks have succeeded. Politicians and statesmen in Europe and
America have welcomed the Turks as friends and allies. However, Turkish silence has
done nothing to kill the myth of the Armenian genocide. A vocal, well educated, and
media-conscious group of Armenians, believing in their cause and anxious that their
children learn to believe as they do, have kept alive the false picture of the
genocide. They have succeeded in perpetuating the myth and strengthening its grip.
The false picture of Armenian genocide has become the only picture seen.
While I was writing this paper a book appeared in my mailbox. As they do to an
professors, publishers send me copies of textbooks in the hope that I will adopt
them for my classes. The book, The Modern Middle East and North Africa, by Lois
Aroian and Richard Mitchell, is published by Macmillan, one of the largest
publishers in the United States. It is obviously being marketed extensively with, I
expect, a free copy being sent to every professor who teaches Middle Eastern
history. Thousands of American college students win probably read the book.
the "Genocide" is Covered in a Typical Textbook
The Modern Middle East and North Africa contains a
section titled "The Armenian Demise." I will quote only a few sentences from it
Armenians throughout Anatolia began marching southward or eastward into the Syrian desert
wastes. Turkish and Kurdish forces denied them rest, food, and water. Thousands died on
the way. Those who did not were often killed when they reached Dayr al-Zor on the
Euphrates. Most Armenians caught in the east were killed outright.
The book goes on to state "Historians have not determined how many Armenians
died" (a statement that particularly bothered me, since I thought I had done so). The
lack of information on the Armenian dead is explained by the assertion that The Ottoman
government imprisoned and later killed most of the Armenian educated elite-writers,
teachers, businessmen, and prominent clergy who might have written about the event"
In the end, despite the avowed lack of evidence, the authors found a number after
all-"including perhaps 200,000 executed by the government, historians generally
accept that as many as 1.5 million Armenians may have died." Some of what is written
on the Armenians in the book is half true. Some is completely false. None of it is
Of course, one of the great benefits in writing a textbook is that you do not have to
prove your assertions. An occasional reference such as Historians generally accept"
is considered to be proof enough. Reading the text, one could be pardoned for thinking
that only Armenians suffered, since only one part of one sentence is devoted to an of the
Moslem dead of the time- "Greek, Kurdish, and Turkish noncombatants in Anatolia died
during the war of hunger and disease, but they were not singled out for death in an
organized campaign. No mention is made of Armenian or Greek attacks on Moslems, both of
which were organized campaigns. Only two paragraphs are given to the entire Turkish War of
Unlike many books written by Armenian and other scholars, this book is not intended to be
an Armenian polemic against Turks. It is a textbook, well-written and attractive. It win
appeal to many professors and their students. Thus the myth lives on.
The examples of this type of historical distortion of the history of the Armenians and the
Turks are many. The Armenian Question is seldom mentioned in print without half-truths and
falsifications. In fact, in the United States and Western Europe we have seen a new wave
of false history. Armenian apologists have succeeded in tying themselves to those who wish
never to forget the suffering of the Jewish Holocaust, and the Armenian experience has
been portrayed as a "proto-Holocaust". Television shows and newspaper articles
have repeated and reinforced the old myth, accepted because Europeans and Americans have
never been told the truth. A new generation of Armenians is learning the stories that will
produce future terrorists.
The lesson is obvious - silence does not work. Historical lies, unless they are countered,
will perpetuate themselves. As long as Armenian children believe that their great
-grandfathers were murdered by Turks, some Armenian children will kill in what they
believe is revenge. And as long as the world believes in Turkish guilt, little will be
done to stop the killers.
The solution is a difficult one-the truth must be fearlessly proclaimed. I say fearlessly,
because one American professor, Stanford Shaw, and his family have already been physically
attacked for his statements on the fate of the Armenians. Given the intensity of belief in
the myth of the Terrible Turk, it may be that the truth will not be heard. Nevertheless,
the truth must be spoken. Scholars, especially European and American scholars, must call
for the independent and unbiased study of history. As they have begun to do, Turks must
continue to open all archives and records so that this study can be made, demanding that
Russians and Armenians do the same. There will be no quick solution and many years will
pass before young Armenians realize that their cause is not just But I believe that, had
the true history of the Ottoman Armenians been widely known thirty years ago, there would
be no Armenian terrorism today. As historians, it is our duty to insure that thirty years
from now the same statement cannot be made.
I began by saying that the best weapon against Armenian terrorism is the study of history.
It might he better said that the best weapon is truth.
Here is the complete essay.