The foreseen paper will follow the developments of public talk about human rights from the end of the 19th century to the early 1920s in the light of the fate of the Ottoman Armenians. In detail it will focus on the activities, ideas and concepts of Johannes Lepsius, who became a central figure in the European Pro-Armenia movement by the mid-1890s. Strongly influenced by what Hans Lukas Kieser has called an informal liberal »Protestant International«, his humanitarian network has always also been a political one. His first book on the Armenian question, Armenien und Europa (»Armenia and Europe«), dealing with the Hamidian massacres, was published in 1896 and short afterwards translated into English by Rendell Harris, followed by translations into French and Russian. He called it »An Accusation against the Great Powers«, two years before this attitude became famous by Emile Zola's J' accuse in the case of Alfred Dreyfus, handling the question in the same spirit of a then new »Moral Politics«. Two aspects in my opinion are important in this context. First the growing importance of public opinion and civil society in the sector of humanitarian and human rights affairs. Secondly, especially in the case of the Armenian question, the decline of the so called European Concert as an anchor of the Ius Publicum Europaeum. Public »Moral Politics« proved to be the only feasible weapon against the »Realpolitik« of the cabinets in the late 19th century, especially in the Wilhelmine German Empire. It also paved the later way to a broader - democratic - legitimation basis of international institutions that were first to appear after WW I with the League of Nations.
Freitag, 03.04.2015 | Vortrag
Dr. Rolf Hosfeld (Lepsiushaus Potsdam)
From Moral Politics to International Justice
Moderation: Veranstaltungsort: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor