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Interpreting the Evidence

Armenian Relief Pamphlet and Adoption Agreement

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Comprehension

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Global History and Geography
    World War I

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    New York State
    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Armenian Relief Pamphlet and Adoption Agreement, July 1918 in Main Image Viewer
  2. Load Armenian Relief Pamphlet and Adoption Agreement, July 1918 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Interviews with members of the Armenian community in Niagara Falls can be found here.

Document Description
Pamphlet and adoption agreement appealing for Armenian Relief, July 1918.

Historical Context
Between 1915 and 1919, conditions in the Ottoman Empire resulted in a vast humanitarian crisis for Armenians. First the nationalistic “Young Turks” and then the new government under Kemal Attaturk waged a brutal campaign to remove Armenians from Anatolia, their ancient ethnic homeland, and the emerging nation of Turkey. Those Armenians that survived mass killings found themselves deported into the desert without food, water, and former possessions. A fight for survival followed without any hope of ever returning to their homes.
Almost immediately after reports of violence hit American and international news agencies, a broad movement to raise funds and bring relief to the war-torn area began. The American Red Cross and later the International Red Cross were the first to bring relief efforts to parts of Armenia. The American government responded by forming the Near East Relief organization and the American Committee on Armenian Atrocities.
Wealthy and connected philanthropists secured millions of dollars to ensure help to displaced Armenians. Additionally, the Near East Relief organized orphanages all across the region. Among the important priorities were reclaiming females from Turk families that either adopted or enslaved them, training the children for self-support, setting up schools and demonstration centers to train them for occupations, and relocating administrations to help find permanent communities in the area and abroad. All told, these groups and efforts of individuals are credited with saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of Armenian refugees.

Essential Question
How does wartime media appeal to the emotions of citizens?

Check for Understanding
Summarize the key points of this pamphlet and evaluate the validity of the message.

Historical Challenges
Explore the effectiveness of relief efforts in Turkey during and after World War I.

Interdisciplinary Connections
ELA: Create your own pamphlet showing how Americans could help.

Art: Create a poster depicting the events in Turkey during WW1.