History 410/ Contemporary History

Assignment: Case Study – Imperialism and Genocide         
Required Resources

Read/review the following resources for this activity:

Textbook: Chapter 2, 4
Minimum of 1 scholarly source (in addition to the textbook)

See additional required resources within the option instructions.

For this assignment, select one of the following options:
Option 1: Imperialism

The exploitation of  colonial resources and indigenous labor was one of the key elements in  the success of imperialism. Such exploitation was a result of the  prevalent ethnocentrism of the time and was justified by the  unscientific concept of social Darwinism, which praised the  characteristics of white Europeans and inaccurately ascribed negative  characteristics to indigenous peoples. A famous poem of the time by  Rudyard Kipling, “White Man’s Burden,” called on imperial powers, and  particularly the U.S., at whom the poem was directed, to take up the  mission of civilizing these “savage” peoples.
Read the poem at the following link:

Link (website): White Man’s Burden (Links to an external site.) (Rudyard Kipling)

After reading the poem, address the following in a case study analysis:

Select a specific part of the world (a country), and examine  imperialism in that country. What was the relationship between the  invading country and the native people? You can select from these  examples or choose your own: 

Belgium & Africa
Britain & India
Germany & Africa
France & Africa

Apply social Darwinism to this specific case.
Analyze the motivations of the invading country?
How did ethnocentrism manifest in their interactions?
How does Kipling’s poem apply to your specific example? You can quote lines for comparison.

Option 2: The Armenian Genocide

Ethnic hatred is  not new to the human race and ethnic hatred also goes hand in hand with  some of the causes of World War 1 that we have discussed this week,  namely nationalism and imperialism. In nationalism, the people not only  believe their countrymen (those who look, talk, sound, and believe like  them) are not only “better” than people of certain other countries but  they also have the right and possibly even the responsibility to conquer  areas with those inferior to them and take whatever resources they feel  they need. Add to this the need for the leader of a country to be able  to blame a certain ethnic group within that country for their problems.  Such was the case in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Turks launched a  winter offensive into the mountains of southern Russia early in the war  and suffered a severe defeat, both at the hands of the Russian army and  the terrible weather they encountered. The Sultan needed a scapegoat to  blame the loss on, so he picked an unpopular ethnic minority, the  Armenians. Since the people seemed to believe the story, the Ottoman  military rounded up as many Armenians as they could and marched them  away to their fate.
Watch the following videos on the Armenian genocide:

Link (video): Armenian Diaspora (Links to an external site.) (32: 43)
Link (video): Battle over History (Links to an external site.) (12:04)

After viewing the videos, conduct research on the topic and develop a case study based on the following questions:

How did the Armenian genocide play on the root causes of World War  I, including nationalism, imperialism, social Darwinism, ethnic hatred,  and the gullibility of the Turkish people who allowed this to happen and  often even supported it.
What were the main motivations of the Ottoman rulers who decided to  try and eliminate an entire ethnic minority within their country?
What was the process the Ottomans went through to round up the  Armenians and march them to their deaths? Describe the process of the  march and eventual genocide of the Armenians.
Why do terrible crimes against humanity always seem to happen during a war?
How do foreign governments recognize and deal with this event in their relationship with Turkey?

Writing Requirements (APA format) 

Length: 2-3 pages (not including title page or references page)
1-inch margins
Double spaced
12-point Times New Roman font
Title page
References page

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