I never hear that the West is ever talking about Nanjing Massacre.

This is as true as Armenian Genocide.

Why is the international community so vocal about the Armenian genocide?

  • 3
    The key difference here is that Turkey has never admitted that the Armenian genocide ever happened. Also, the Armenian genocide is a lot closer to home (for the West) than the Nanjing massacre.
    – yannis
    Apr 22, 2015 at 17:29
  • 7
    I for instance heard more about Nanjing massacre from the media than Armenian genocide. So this depends on what sources you are exposed to.
    – Anixx
    Apr 22, 2015 at 17:44
  • Seems more like a media question than political.
    – user1530
    Apr 22, 2015 at 18:29
  • @Anixx Living in the US, I was taught in school about both of them, with more focus on Nanjing (so it's not just a Russia/Western thing).
    – cpast
    Apr 26, 2015 at 21:14

3 Answers 3


I can't speak for the international community as a whole, but based on the two wiki pages, I can make some guesses.

  1. Targeting & Perpetrators
    • The Armenian Genocide was a targeted campaign by the government of the Ottoman Empire against the subset of its own citizens who happened to be Armenian.
    • The Nanking Massacre was committed by the soldiers of a victorious army against the city they captured, with no regard to who the residents were.
  2. Actions & Duration
    • The Armenian Genocide involved propaganda, confiscation of property, death marches, concentration camps, and mass executions; systematically committed over a number of years.
    • The Nanking Massacre was a six-week span of rape, murder, and pillaging, with no systematic goal.
  3. Scale
    • The Armenian Genocide led to the deaths of (an estimated) 1-1.5 million people.
    • The Nanking Massacre caused the deaths of (an estimated) 40-300 thousand people
  4. Acknowledgement
    • The Armenian Genocide has repeatedly failed to be recognized as a genocide by the Turkish government and other world leaders. There also (as far as I'm aware) has never been an apology or formal reparations for it.
    • The Nanking Massacre led to a war crimes tribunal, and later an apology by the Prime Minister of Japan. There are still politicians who deny it, but that's not the official governmental policy.

So while both are horrific events, from the perspective of history one was a long, slow, systematic prosecution by a country of its own citizens, while the other was a short, intense burst of violence by an uncontrolled army against the enemy. The Nanking Massacre would be far more headline-grabbing as it happened, but the Armenian Genocide was far bigger overall.

  • 5
    #1 can be summarized as "one was a genocide (crime against humanity in modern scale of things), the other was 'merely' a war crime"
    – user4012
    Apr 22, 2015 at 20:33
  • "The Armenian Genocide has repeatedly failed to be recognized as a genocide by the Turkish government and other world leaders. There also (as far as I'm aware) has never been an apology or formal reparations for it." --- Why should the Turkish government own a crime that was committed by defunct empire?
    – user4514
    Feb 3, 2017 at 7:25

One obvious reason why the international community is particularly vocal about the Armenian genocide right now is that it started on April 24th 1915, i.e. one hundred years ago almost to the day. There is almost always heightened media interest in historical events when their centenary or other round-number anniversary comes round.


There is a big Armenian diaspora in some important countries like USA and France, I can´t speak about the UK. This diaspora is the one trying to keep in memory those events. This is in some way similar to jews and the holocaust. There is no such lobby for Nanjing events outside China.

  • 2
    Please copy edit for spelling before posting. As for the diaspora observation, the Chinese diaspora is much larger then the Armenian one.
    – James K
    Jan 27, 2022 at 21:46
  • @James K Posibly Chinese diaspora is much larger in number, but has no such strong lobby.
    – convert
    Jan 27, 2022 at 21:49
  • 2
    -1 The Chinese diaspora is the largest non-Spanish speaking one in the U.S. and China has a powerful and large lobby in the U.S. There are also large Chinese diasporas in other countries (e.g. Malaysia, Singapore), and China is one of the most powerful actors on the international scene. The Armenian diaspora in the U.S. is smaller, is in fewer places, and is far less politically powerful. This answer is factually false at least in its incomplete form. Lobbying may matter, but the lobbying analysis in this answer is oversimplified and wrong.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 27, 2022 at 22:04
  • @ohwilleke I already said it´s not about the number of people belong to diaspora. The russian diaspora in the US is also biger then armenian one, but there is no russian loby. Also I was not only tallkking about USA but France and some other countries. Posibly I had to go mor in detail, I am going to fix that.
    – convert
    Jan 27, 2022 at 22:12

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