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This lesson examines the role of the United States in nation building, and specifically the US role in facilitating the establishment of an independent Armenia. After World War I, the "League of Nations" used mandates to rebuild conquered nations (see Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations). A League of Nations mandate gave one of the Allied nations authority (i.e. permission to protect, manage public services, establish a government, etc) over territory gained during WW1. The Allies were willing to support an American mandate for Armenia. Congress was considering whether to accept the League of Nations' mandate over this area. In July 1919, the United States sent Major General James Harbord to Turkey to investigate the status of Armenians in the area between Russia and Turkey. Ultimately, Congress voted not to accept the League of Nations mandate. The independent Republic of Armenia lasted from 1918-1920. Without adequate protection and resources, the Armenian Republic was swallowed by Turkey and the Soviet Union. Armenia regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.This lesson addresses the following essential questions: What is self-determination? Do all groups of people have the right to their own nation? Under what circumstances should foreign powers, such as the US, be involved in nation building?
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