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Justifying Genocide

Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler

Harvard University Press

January 2016

The 2017 Sonia Aronian Book Prize for Excellence in Armenian Studies (of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, USA).

Committee pick, The New England Book Show, 2016; finalist, Books of the Year 2016, WORLD Magazine

Reviews in Kirkus Review, the Irish Times, the Athens Review of Books, the Yonkers Tribune, Open Letters Monthly, and many more


“Yet another excellent book by Stefan Ihrig about the uncanny German–Turkish connection. The story of the Armenian Genocide and its reception in post–World War I Germany thus becomes a German, not a Turkish or Armenian, story about racism and the road taken by Germany toward the Holocaust. A surprising answer to the question: How was the Holocaust possible in twentieth-century Germany of all places?”

Moshe Zimmermann, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


“After Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination, Stefan Ihrig again presents an intelligent book of uncommon originality. By exposing how ‘justificationalism’ led to an ethic-free thinking in concepts of ‘final solutions,’ he shows how this became a strong mental link between the Armenian Genocide and the Shoah. Written in the elegant style of a historical drama in several acts, this is a great achievement.”

Rolf Hosfeld, Lepsiushaus Potsdam


“This book is a major contribution to the study of German attitudes toward the Armenian Genocide. It puts German policies and reactions to Ottoman Turkey in the general perspective of Germany’s policies before, during, and after World War I. It deals with the parallels between German attitudes to Armenians and to Jews, and permits us to understand the complexities and problems of different minority groups within German society relative to Turkey.”

Yehuda Bauer, Yad Vashem


“It is striking to see the ideological similarities between Germany in the late 1920s and Kemalist Turkey, or Mussolinian Italy. Written in a lively style, well-balanced and well-documented, this book will advance the debate on the relationship between mass violences that marked the twentieth century.”

Raymond Kévorkian, University of Paris VIII


"A groundbreaking academic study that shows how Germany derived from the Armenian genocide “a plethora of recipes” to address its own ethnic problems." 

Kirkus Review


"[F]ascinating and highly readable..."

Lawrence Douglas, The Irish Times


"[A]nother category-defying historical inquiry... Justifying Genocide is a powerful and unsettling study about how nations – and nationalities – learn to kill, and taken with its predecessor, it forms a refreshingly complicated picture of European intellectual connections, for good or ill, with Western Asia. This latest book also confirms that Ihrig is an author all serious readers of history should be buying."

Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly


read an excerpt on the Harvard University Press blog

reviews (selection)


La Stampa

July 28, 2023

"Secondo la documentata analisi di Ihrig, il legame fra i due Genocidi armeno ed ebraico è diretto. Già molto prima di Hitler i tedeschi di orientamento razzista assimilavano (in negativo) gli armeni agli ebrei; e dopo la guerra 1914-1918, in Germania la propaganda nazionalista indicava (in positivo) nella Turchia una specie di 'Germania parallela'..."

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January 4, 2016

"A groundbreaking academic study that shows how Germany derived from the Armenian genocide “a plethora of recipes” to address..."

The Irish Times

February 20, 2016

"Now comes Stefan Ihrig's fascinating and highly readable account, Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler..."

Open Letters Monthly

15 January 2016

"Stefan Ihrig follows up his fascinating 2014 book Ataturk in the Nazi Imagination with another category-defying historical inquiry, Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler, in which he traces the ideological DNA of the 20th century's genocides back to the mass killings of Armenians..."

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