Quotes stated by heads of states and witnesses of the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenian Genocide:

Adolf Hitler, 22 August 1939. In preparation for the impending invasion of Poland, to Reichmarshal Hermann Goering and the commanding generals at Obersalzberg.

“Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter – with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilisation will say about me.

“I have issued the command – and I’ll have anybody who utters but 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 – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to 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?

Henry Morgenthau, Sr, U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, 1919.

“When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact… I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared to the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915.”

Count Wolff-Metternich, German Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, 10 July 1916. Cable to the German Chancellor.

“In its attempt to carry out its purpose to resolve the Armenian question by the destruction of the Armenian race, the Turkish government has refused to be deterred neither by our representations, nor by those of the American Embassy, nor by the delegate of the Pope, nor by the threats of the Allied Powers, nor in deference to the public opinion of the West representing one-half of the world.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 11 May 1918. Letter to Cleveland Hoadley Dodge.

“…the Armenian massacre was the greatest crime of the war, and the failure to act against Turkey is to condone it…the failure to deal radically with the Turkish horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense.”

Gerald Ford. Addressing the US House of Representatives. Congressional Record, Pg. 8890.

“Mr. Speaker, with mixed emotions we mark the 50th anniversary of the Turkish genocide of the Armenian people. In taking notice of the shocking events in 1915, we observe this anniversary with sorrow in recalling the massacres of Armenians and with pride in saluting those brave patriots who survived to fight on the side of freedom during World War I.”

Jimmy Carter, 16 May 1978. White House ceremony.

“It is generally not known in the world that, in the years preceding 1916, there was a concerted effort made to eliminate all the Armenian people, probably one of the greatest tragedies that ever befell any group. And there weren’t any Nuremberg trials.”

Ronald Reagan, 22 April 1981. Proclamation.

“Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it,…the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.”

George W. Bush. In a letter dated 19 February 2000 to two of his leading Armenian American supporters, then presidential candidate George W. Bush stated…

“The twentieth century was marred by wars of unimaginable brutality, mass murder and genocide. History records that the Armenians were the first people of the last century to have endured these cruelties. The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people.”


Various quotes by Turkish leaders, beginning with multiple quotes from the three rulers of wartime (WWI) Turkey:

Enver Pasha

One of the triumpharate rulers publicly declared on 19 May 1916…
“The Ottoman Empire should be cleaned up of the Armenians and the Lebanese. We have destroyed the former by the sword, we shall destroy the latter through starvation.”

In reply to US Ambassador Morgenthau who was deploring the massacres against Armenians and attributing them to irresponsible subalterns and underlings in the distant provinces, Enver’s reply was…
“You are greatly mistaken. We have this country absolutely under our control. I have no desire to shift the blame onto our underlings and I am entirely willing to accept the responsibility myself for everything that has taken place.”

Talat Pasha

In a conversation with Dr. Mordtmann of the German Embassy in June 1915…
“Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate (grundlich aufzaumen) its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.”

After the German Ambassador persistently brought up the Armenian question in 1918, Talat said “with a smile”…
“What on earth do you want? The question is settled. There are no more Armenians.”

Cemal Pasha

To a German officer upon seeing the deportations in Mamure said…
“I am ashamed of my nation (Ich schame mich fur meine Nation).”

Minister of the Interior of Turkey publicly declared on March 15 that on the basis of computations undertaken by Ministry Experts…
“800,000 Armenian deportees were actually killed… by holding the guilty accountable the government is intent on cleansing the bloody past.”

Prince Abdul Mecid

Heir-Apparent to the Ottoman Throne, during an interview…
“I refer to those awful massacres. They are the greatest stain that has ever disgraced our nation and race. They were entirely the work of Talat and Enver. I heard some days before they began that they were intended. I went to Istanbul and insisted on seeing Enver. I asked him if it was true that they intended to recommence the massacres which had been our shame and disgrace under Abdul Hamid. The only reply I could get from him was: ‘It is decided. It is the program.'”

Mustafa “Ataturk” Kemal

Founder of the modern Turkish Republic in 1923 and revered throughout Turkey, in an interview published on August 1, 1926 in The Los Angeles Examiner, talking about former Young Turks in his country…
“These left-overs from the former Young Turk Party, who should have been made to account for the millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse, from their homes and massacred, have been restive under the Republican rule.”