Episode 22 – Viscount Bryce Part 1: British propagandist, Turk-hater, Islamophobe

James Bryce was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1838. He was educated at the University of Glasgow and Trinity College, Oxford where he became a professor of Civil Law, a position he held from 1870 to 1893. In 1876 he ventured through the Russian empire to the Ottoman Empire where he climbed Mount Ararat. There he found a piece of hand-chopped timber and concluded that he found Noah’s Ark, in line with the Armenian Church’s belief. James Bryce developed a deep sympathy for the Armenians during this trip. He felt free to even incite Armenians into rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. In 1880 Bryce, was elected to the House of Commons. In 1885 he was made Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under Gladstone. Bryce became famous in America for his 1888 book The American Commonwealth where he examined the American institutions from the point of view of a historian/constitutional lawyer and characterized America as distinctively Anglo-Saxon, dismissing all other cultures that make up America. In 1894 was appointed President of the Board of Trade in the new cabinet of Lord Rosebery. In 1905, Bryce became Chief Secretary for Ireland in Prime Minister Campbell-Bannerman’s cabinet. Bryce remained a Member of Parliament until 1907 when he was appointed British Ambassador to the United States, an office he held until 1913. He made many personal friends among American politicians, including President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1914, after his retirement as Ambassador and his return to Britain, Bryce was raised to the peerage as Viscount Bryce, thus making him a member of the House of Lords. Following the outbreak of the First World War Bryce was commissioned by Prime Minister Asquith to write what became known as The Bryce Report in which he misrepresented and embellished German atrocities in Belgium. Later, he used the young historian Arnold J. Toynbee, an employee of the British Propaganda Office, to produce a wartime disinformation piece defaming Turks that was published as a Blue Book by the British government in 1916. Toynbee later confessed on page 50 of his 1922 book “The Western Question…” that the Blue Book was wartime propaganda. Toynbee felt so embarrassed, that he never listed the Blue Book among his works until the day he died 53 years later. Bryce, on the other hand, forever the slave of his anti-Turkism and Islamophobia, expanded his attacks on Turks and Muslims until he died in 1922. Bryce has never acknowledged the much bigger Turkish suffering caused by brutal British aggression, invasion, and occupation, raining death and destruction upon Turkish lands and naval blockade causing wide scale starvation. During the last years of his life Bryce served as a judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. If he honestly believed all those outrageous falsifications and fabrication in his wartime propaganda Blue Book, then why did he not encourage Armenians even once to go ahead and sue Turkey at the ICJ? And why did the crown prosecutor refuse to use the Blue Book to prosecute the Ottoman leaders during the Malta Tribunal and had to set them free after two years of frantic search for evidence? That answer is, because the Blue Book was wartime propaganda based on hearsay, distortions, and misrepresentations none of which could withstand the scrutiny of a court room. So, here is the man behind systematic vilification of Germans and Turks during the World War One. Thomas Fleming wrote a remarkably insightful article about Bryce titled “The Historian Who Sold Out” , published in the History News Network on June 10th , 2003. You can read more here: https://historynewsnetwork.org/articl… . It was the stewardship of Bryce, along with his chief writer Arnold Toynbee, during their time at Britain’s propaganda office, also the Wellington House, that forms the backbone of the alleged evidence for the alleged “Armenian Genocide.” Genocide advocates, 100+ years, still refer to the wartime disinformation in the Bryce-Toynbee Blue Book in order to establish credibility for their long-discredited political claim.

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