The First World War and the fall of the Ottoman Empire are defining moments in the political history of the modern Middle East. This narrative is usually told through the lenses of the breakup of empire, the successes and failures of national movements, and the colonial involvement of British and French Mandates in the region. In this episode, Keith Watenpaugh offers a different approach to this story through a critical look at the role of American humanitarian organizations such as Near East Relief admist the war and its aftermath, which is the subject of his new monograph entitled Bread From Stones (UC Press, 2015). In the podcast, we discuss how the massive displacement of the First World War, the Armenian genocide, and the need to care for refugees in the postwar Middle East contributed to the evolution of aid and charity organizations and the creation of what scholars see as modern humanitarian structures and ideologies. Prof. Watenpaugh describes how Americans came to see their unique humanitarian relationship with Armenians and other communities in the Middle East, and we discuss how the historical study of humanitarianism as an ideology in its own right changes not only the historiography of the region but also the way we think about present-day humanitarian crises.