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Flashcards in Armenia Deck (132):

Lifton (talk, 1996), significance of Armenian genocide

Armenian genocide crucial - led Hitler to say 'whoever nowadays thinks about the extinction of the Armenians?' genocide contagious, spreads


Bloxham on Armenia

Stone (2004)

• Gd example of nation-building

• Reproaches mainstream historiography for trying to see genocide of the Armenians in the light of a Holocaust paradigm

• Places acts of Ot Emp in relation w global politics of the day - conflict between Eur/ Americal great powers, hist of Christian-Muslim relations w Ot world

• Traditional nation-state framework insufficient for understanding evolution of genocide

• Even in case of Rwanda, approach does not deal adequately w the facts


Bauer (2001), pragmatism

• To estab Pan-Turkic emp, had to do away w Armenians who occupied stretches of Anatolia

• Armenians tended to seek support from Russians, bitter Ot enemies

• By implication, independence-seeking Armenian political parties were in Turkish eyes, threat at v heart of Turkish ethnic territory

• Armenian genocide served pragmatic purposes of political expansion, acquisition of land, confiscation of riches, elimination of economic competition


Bauer (2001), repression of memory of the genocide

Kemalist govt of Republican Turkey became determined to suppress mem of the genocide. Was able bc became a victorious power, reversing defeat and forcing exchange of pops w Greece


origins of the genocide - long-term, deep roots

• 1453, May 29th, date Ot Emp conquered Constantinople

• Ot emp now included area known as Armenia

• From this moment, Armenians 2nd class status

• This meant granted religious freedoms but did not have equal legal standing

• From moment of integration of these lands into emp, a type of political othering begins

• 16th-17th C, Ot emp at height. Multi-religious

• Jews and Christians living there subordinate but autonomous. Their presence part of multi-ethnicity/ multi-nationalism

• 19th C, Ot emp starts to decline

• Economy begins to stagnate

• When these kinds of pressures start to build, nationalistic fervour started to ferment

• Armenian groups advocated for series of reforms to be granted equality under reform and protection of civil rights - beginning of agitation. Not nationalistic initially (?)

• Decline of Ot emp = geopolitical. Area began to shrink

• 1832, Greece gained independence

• Eng, Fr and Russia intervened on behalf of Greece

• Pressure from within and without

• Whole series of parts of emp start to fall away over next 80 yrs or so

• 1878, Treaty of Berlin, final act of Congress of Berlin

• AT this congress, UK, Aus-Hung, It, Ger, Russia, Ot emp, revised treaty of San-Stefano, signed just that yr

• After war between Russia and Ot emp, russia gained lands, including Armenian - treaty of san-stefano

• In treaty of Berlin, Russia pressured to withdraw troops from Armenia

• Diff claims to armenians' land. Set up some of othering that later takes place

• Jan 1st 1887, Hunshackian Party formed. Armenian students formed in Switzerland, goal of independence from Ot Emp

• Same time as this territory contested, agitation from interested parties to give territory autonomy. Sets stage for Armenians/ Armenia to become threat - internal and external

• Nov, 1894-6, Hamidian massacres, Hundreds of thousands of Armenians murdered

• Attracted worldwide attention. US congress debated intervention

• Red cross - 1st internat missions, for these Armenian victims

• Aug 1896, major Ot bank in Constantinople occupied by mems of the Armenian Revolutionary foundation, to attract attent of major European powers. Death of 10 Armenian men and Ot soldiers

• Sultan promised end to massacres, but over 6000 Armenians immediately killed by Ottomans in capital in retaliation

• Ratcheting-up of tensions between Ot and Armenians, internal and external

• Contested lands

• 10 yrs of quiet

• July 24 1908, Young Turks - Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) took power in Ot Emp

• Young Turk Revolution - overthrew Abdul Hamid, Bloody Sultan

• Raised hopes of new constitution to protect and enhance rights. CUP proclaimed end to religious discrimination

• Deposed Abdul Hamid following attmpts countercoup 1909 and denounced massacres of Armenians which had accompanied it

• However, hopes dashed swiftly

• Young Turks wedded to idea of greater Turkish state - pan-Turkism. This nationalism, which we will see again and again in genocidal episodes, was employed as method to try create cohesion w/in the state/emp

• Aim for homogenous state

• Armenians massacred at Adana massacre, justified w reference to pan-Turkish philosophy

• Still not state-led attempt to annihilate entirety of a group

• Ottomans lost almost all land in Europe - loss of Bulgaria in Balkan War

• Seemed to wider world Ot Emp in terminal decline


Role of war yrs

War yrs vital in allowing for the above series of events to accelerate and transform into something that could be genocidal:

• Bombed Russian Black Sea Ports

• Sultan Mehmet V, one of leaders of Young Turk Revolution, proclaimed the conflict jihad - turned into something rooted in religion

• Also saw as opportunity for Young Turks to fundamentally re-fashion empire and pop of empire

• Beginning of WW1, estimated Armenian pop in Turkey of about 2.1 million

• Armenians participated in war effort on side of Turkish emp initially

• Minister of War Enver Pasha commended Armenian soldiers' service in Ot army to Armenian patriarch

• Not all armenians participated in war effort - part of the problem

• Total war required mobilisation of the whole population

• Before war, Armenian pop considered itself neutral, bc of contentious nature of Armenian land. Wanted to avoid fratricidal war

• Neutrality couldn't be sustained once war began

• Some armenians on Turks' side but also Armenian presence in Russian army

• This became argument used by Turkish army to try to justify measures they took to destroy the Armenian ppl

• Jan 1915, Enver Pasha defeated at Sarikamish at hands of Russian troops, containing elements of Armenian pop

• Young Turk govt proceeded openly to ident Armenians as internal enemy

• Ot declared demobilisation of all Armenians in Ot army. Used for menial jobs e.g. garbage collection

• Many of these marched or killed or used for target practice

• Emergence of refugees being driven out of Armenian villages

• 13 Jan 1915, A F Kerensky - described plight of Armenian refugees. Declared when Turkish attacks on Russian positions began, rivers of Armenians stretched to the north. This not escape but great demise of a whole nation


26 Feb 1915, war minister Enver Pasha convenes 75 top ranking Ittihadists...

• Organised propagation of sharia law w/in muslim community

• Sought to prevent formation of independent groups

• Meeting seeking way of purging Christian elements

• Final details of secret genocide plan finalized

• Evd to suggest decision to carry out genocide actually made earlier

• From April 1915, this process begins in earnest - process of removing Armenian villages. Achieved through mass deportations, which were immediately organised

• Many men executed outright. Most ppl sent on long marches

• Ot all the way to Iraq and Syria

• On these marches, only food and water allowed was that which they could carry at the beginning

• Convicts released en route for purpose of murdering Armenian exiles

• Depredations committed by army escorting them too


15 April, the three Pashas sent secret order to all local govts, commanding removal and extermination of the Armenians in Turkey...

• 15-18 April, some 18 villages sacked

• 24,000 Armenians in one settlement murdered

• Justification for all of this was collaboration of the Armenians in the Russian Army

• 20th April, following news of massacres, Armenians of Van took to barricades. This cited as justification for deportation - argued this was enemy within


As well as attack on pop itself, attack on culture:

• 24 April 1915, 800 Armenian leaders, writers, etc murdered in Constantinople

• Churches destroyed, place names changed

• 24 April = date for commemorating Armenian genocide throughout the world

This was moment it became clear Turks' campaign was about elimination


At this point, foreign powers beginning to understand magnitude of what's going on here

In house of Lords, Lord gru declared info received from Ministry of Foreign affairs show increase in scale of violence. All on pretext of forced trans-migration

6 Oct 1915, Lord James Bryce denounced Turkish campaign, declared time now passed when public statements could cause harm. Public statements wld only bring good bc could prevent carnage

Lord Bryce - every effort should be made to send help for survivors

No help sent


May/ June

Law of May 16, 1915 - dwellings removed

Law 27 May 1915, displacement of suspected persons - empowered Turk army to relocate pops merely if they suspected treason, or for some other military reason. Empowering groups to remove some Armenian population

16 June 1915 - 21 leaders of Hnchukyan party for Armenian independence hung publicly in Constantinople


conservative estimate of death toll by Oct 1915

about 800,00



• 1916 - passed the peak - most happens in 1915

• 7 March 1916, Talaat orders extermination of children at military installation

• 19 Aug 1916 - decree abolished national Armenian constitution of 1863. Abolishes the nation

• March 1918, Treaty of Brest-Litovsk between Russia and Turkey, after Russian withdrawal brought about Russian revolution. Treaty created vaccuum. Respite for Armenians still in Armenian lands but left them quite vulnerable

• 28 May 1918, Armenian National Council announces itself the supreme and only administrative body for what was Russian Armenia. Avoided talk of independence or republic. Trying to protect selves from charges of treason

• 4 June 1918, Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed at Batum between Ot Turkey and Republic of Armenia. Hollowly declared friendship. Armenian Republic only small fraction of Armenian lands

• Still periodic incidents of violence at common border

• 30 Oct 1918, armistice of Moudros ended war between allies and Turkey

• Close to 1.5 mil Armenians dead by this point

• French forces withdrew, Turks took advantage, invaded and murdered 30,000 Armenians

• Treaty of Sevres, Turkey accepted responsibility for crimes against Armenians. Agreed to hand over those responsible for massacres to allies and compensate Armenians


After 1918

1921, Armenian republic absorbed into USSR

Sept 1922, Ataturk's forces seized and set fire to city of Smyrna, killing Armenians and Greeks


genocide denial

Guenter Lewy - Armenian Massacres in Ot Turkey: A Disputed Genocide.

Tries to argue we cannot call this genocide. Does so for strong ideological reason - to try to prove Holocaust exceptional, unique

admits not v knowledgable about Turkish sources and language

Massive endorsement by Turkish govt - campaigns to distribute

Lewy - doesn't deny suffering imposed, but argues we cannot conceive of this as genocide


Smith and Booth (2002), dates of Armenian genocide



Smith and Booth (2002), parallels between Armenian genocide and Holocaust

Some see as direct precedent for Hitler's genocidal policies:

• Germany = most import ally of Ot Emp in WW1

• No evd Nazi leaders generally seized upon Armenian genocide as model for Final Solution

• Parallels unmistakable

• Radical nationalism, manipulation of religious prejudice, use of deportations and concentration camps, pretext of war

But must be considered in own terms


Smith and Booth (2002), religion

• Factor in Armenian genocide

• For hundreds of years Ot sultant recognised Armenians as semi-autonomous religious community -millet

• Admin system asserted superiority of Islam while reflecting Koran's acknowl of Jews and Christians as people of the book


Most important figures in Armenian genocide

Smith and Booth (2002)

• Talaat Pasha, minister of the interior

• Enver pasha, minister of war

• Djemal Pasha, minister of the navy


Smith and Booth (2002), deportations

• Routes generally southwards

• Stated destination series of camps in Syrian and Iraqi deserts

• (54) Small % of deportees ever reached these camps

• Many who survived subsequently murdered outright or left there to die
1-2 mil deaths


Smith and Booth (2002), Ambiguity of responsibility and complicity in genocide:

• Emph individ leaders in mass atrocities simplifies complex events and focuses moral outrage

• Attrib of collective guilt - same simplification

• Perps of Armenian genocide typically ident as Young Turk triumvirate - Talaat, Enver, Djemal

• All later tried and convicted as war criminals and sentenced to death in absentia

• No doubt Armenian genocide ordered and organised by Young Turk leadership

• many Armenians spared through complex cases of intervention of Turks on their behalf


Smith and Booth (2002), international response

• Military assistance for Armenians - e.g. spectacular rescue of besieged defenders of Musa Dagh by French warship owner on patrol in the Med - mostly incidental

• Internat com recognised the genocide as atrocity distinct from general conduct of the war

• Allied powers ultimately decided to condemn massacres against them openly - joint declaration May 24 1915 - GB, Fr, Rus - denounced 'new crimes against humanity and civilisation'

• US Ambassador Morgenthau used 'neutral' position to fullest - protesting Ot govt, bringing genocide to world attent, opening channels for humanitarian aid


Smith and Booth (2002), German govt complicity in Ot atrocities?

Many have made this accusation:

• Some truth - Ger officers closely involved in activities of Turkish military at time of genocide

• Ger govt attmptd to conceal Turkish atrocities from the public

• Ger govt - repeated protest against the genocide through private channels

• Ger govt remained Ot's most import ally

• Johannes Lepsius - Ger pastor - after end of war, published collect of Ger govt docs entitled Geutschland und Armenien, seeking to dem extent of genocide and prove that his govt had taken efforts to prevent it


Smith and Booth (2002),

Aftermath and legacy of Armenian genocide characterised above all by unresolved issues:

• Uprooted from historic homeland and dispersed across the globe, many Armenians today face complex choices concerning their cultural identity and their relationship to the past

• Internat concern over the genocide remarkably short-lived

• Settlement after WW1 provided for trial of the perps and estab of independent Armenia

• Turkish nationalists who overthrew postwar Ot govt and estab Republic of Turkey 1923 rejected these terms and continued persecution and expulsion of the Armenians

• Br, Fr, US, reconciled themselves to these devels

• Only v small num of Armenians remained in what is not Turkey

• Largest group of Armenians in Republic of Armenia

• Sizeable diasporas in former USSR, throughout Europe and the Middle East, in the US

• Dilemma of integrating into new socs w/o losing identity

• Turkish govt still denies genocide vs Armenians occurred


Pan-Turkism: Excerpt from Ambassador Morgenthau's Story by Henry Morgenthau

• Long before Eur war, Turkish democ had disappeared

• Pan-Turkism

• Simply attempt to revive barbaric ideas of ancestors

• Atavistic reversion to original Turk

• Turk leaders talking about liberty, equlity etc were children repeating phrases - using word democracy as ladder to climb to power

• Same conception of state as in Middle Ages

• Inborn preconception - just 2 kinds of people, conquering and conquered

• Determination to uproot Christian schools = detail in same racial progress towards Pan-Turk ideal

• (160) mania for suppressing all languages except Turkish

• French removed from signs in Constantinople


Excerpt from Report of Lieutenant Sayied Ahmed Moukhtar Baas, Dec 26, 1916

• April 1915 - order from Constantinople that Armnians inhabiting frontier towns and villages be deported to interior

• This said to be only precautional measure

• July 1915 - order to deport to interior all Armenians in Vilayet of Trebizond

• Being a mem of the Court Martial I knew deportations meant massacres

• Gumush-Khana - armenians arrving - women and children sent on, told final destination Mosul and no harm would come to them - men kept behind, taken out of town in (161) batches of 15 and 20, lined on edge of ditches prepared beforehand and shot and thrown in

• Hundreds of men shot every day

• Women and children attacked on their way

• Armed bands organised by Turkish Govt attacked them and seized a certain num

• Children also deported and massacred

• Infants in care of American Consul of Trebizond taken away w pretext going to be sent to asylum in Sivas Takn to sea in little boats, stabbed to death, put in sacks, thrown into the sea

• Between Gumish-Khana and Erzinjian, saw thousands of bodies of Armenians unburied

• Left about 300 children w Moslem fams willing to care for and educate them

• Shota raids

• cases of rape of women and girls even publicly are v numerous

• Systematically murdered after the outrage

• Shotas chief = Kurd Murzabey who boasted he alone had killed 70,000 Armenians


Talaat: Excerpt from Ambassador Morgenthau's Story by Henry Morgenthau

• Talaat - Armenians in constant correspondence w the Russians

• Talaat gave impression he desired to crush Armenians

• Repeated appeals for him to show mercy

• Talaat, in mtg w M - base our objections to Armenians on 3 distinct grounds:

1. Enriched themselves at Turks' expense

2. Determined to domineer over us and to estab separate state

3. Openly encouraged our enemies. They have assisted the Russians in the Caucasus and our failure there is largely explained by their actions

• Talaat - we have already disposed of 3/4 of the Armenians

• Talaat - we care nothing about the commercial loss. Have figured out that will not exceed 5 million pounds

• Talaat - we will not have the Armenians anywhere in Anatolia. They can live in the desert but nowhere else

• Had many talks w Talaat on the Armenians. Never succeeded in moving him. He seemed to have the deepest personal feeling in the matter

• Talaat - no Armenian can be our friend after what we have done to them

• Talaat - asked for lists of holders of American life insurance policies. M refused


An Ambiguous Rescue Story: Excerpt from Testimony of Aram Kilichjian

• Taken in as a child by brother's commander, Zia Bey

• Taken from fam - mum gave him up knowing what happened to children normally and what wld happen if she refused

• Loved and looked after

• Forcibly circumcised along w Zia Bey's son

• Well fed in difficult times

• Zia Bey's wife and daughter wld get cloth from store and sew clothes for mum and sis

• Mum and sisters Islamicized

• Sisters married Turkish boys

• Zia Bey told mum that she didn't have to lose religion, but must show herself on the surface to be Turkish so as not to get killed


Report to the German Government: Letter from Ambassador Wolff-Metternich to Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, July 10, 1916

- Persecution of Armenians in eastern provinces has reached final stages

- Turk govt not daunted in carrying out program - solution of Armenian question

- Prepping to dissolve last clusters of Armenians who survived 1st deportations

- Armenians who stayed behind in northern Syria and some of the larger localities in Asia Minor (Angora, Konia) - those who were sent there in the transports or migrated there earlier

- Some remnants being sent to Mesopotamia, others being Islamicised

- Threatening few remaningAmerican and German organisations maintained on behalf of Armenian pop - orphanages, hosps, schools, etc - w deportation of ppl

- Turk govt has correctly recognised that schools and orphanaes directed by foreigners have had great influence on awakening and devel of national feeling among Armenians

- We have done our best to ease the lot of the unfortunate Armenian nation, through influence on govt and through humanitarian aid


Germany's Interests: Meeting of the Imperial Budget Committee, September 29, 1916, Notes of the State Secretary

• Intervened energetically w the Porte on the Armenian question from the very beginning

• Our ambassador has gone so far as to incur personally the resentment of the minister of the interior

• Personally raised serious objections that Armenian orphanages being dissolved and at forced Islamicisation to the Turkish Foreign Minister, who was in Ger

• Can't break alliance w Turkey - must think first of sons and brothers having to shed blood who are partly dependent on support of Turks, covering our southeastern flank


Starting Over? Excerpt from Black Dog of State: An American Son Uncovers His Armenian Past by Peter Balakian

• Facts of genocide buried by fam, only to erupt in certain odd moments, when gran told story or dream

• Parents making sure we were Americans 1st - free

• Gran, Nafina Aroosian - witnessed mass murder and endured death march in the desert w her two babies, death of 1st husband, disease-filled refugee quarter of Aleppo

• Outwardly, grandparents carried out productive, humanly engaged lives

• Gran Nafina - silent for more than 2 decades after the Genocide

• She may have lived in state of numbness - diff to repression bc in numbing one still has potential for insight and some reclamation of nightmarish past

• W/o social and political movements no public meaning


Bloxham (2003), escalation

• Late summer 1914, settlements on either side of Ot borders w Persia and Causasus plundered by Ot forces. Armenian menfolk killed

• 24 April 1915 on, prominent mems of the Ot Armenian community incarcerated en masse in Constantinople

• Late March to late May, arrests and limited deportations from Armenian communities in Cilicia region to the south-east

• After, in wave spreading westwards and southwards throughout empire from provinces of eastern Anatolia - areas of heaviest Armenian pop - Turkish govt implemented increasingly radical programme of deportation and murder

• Mid-1916, further space of massacres in desert concentration centres

• 5-10% Ot Armenians forcibly converted to Islam

• Up to 400,000 survived WW1 w/in the em, w partic concentration in Constantinople, from which only selective deportations of the leadership and provincial sojourners


Bloxham (2003), Armenian diaspora historians:

explaining killing entirely in terms of prior genocidal intent of CUP - have sometimes employed dubious evd to suggest destruction plans conceived well in advance of the genocide

tend to downplay Armenian agency lest this be read as 'justifying' CUP action as a pragmatic response


Bloxham (2003), Turkish nationalist historians

denial. Fate of Armenians justified by national security in the face of Armenian insurgency


Bloxham (2003), cumulative radicalisation summary

• No a priori genocide blueprint

• Emerged from series of more limited regional measures in process of cumulative policy radicalisation

• Until late May 1915, anti-Armenian ops oft carried out reactively as well as proactively

• Only by early summer 1915 can we speak of crystallised policy of empire-wide killing and death-by-attrition


Bloxham (2003), three elements of milieu for radical trajectory of CUP ideology:

• Rise of nationalism among emp's subject peoples

• Ot territorial disintegration

• Hegemonic Great Power intervent


Bloxham (2003), Demographic Islamacisation of Ot emp from mid-19th C:

• Muslim refugees flooding in from Balkans and Caucasus

• Muhacirler

• Brought competition for space and resources and bitterness about treatment at hands of Christian regimes

• Marginalisation of Anatolian Christian pop

• Helped to ensure infrastructure and mindset for orchestrated population movements in place by 1915 - Armenian deportations marshalled by dept for settlement of tribes and immigrants w/in ministry of interior

• Emp's centre of gravity shifted eastwards

• Muhacirler heavily repd in gendarmerie and irregular forces taking active part in murdering Armenians on deportation convoys

• Many CUP leadeers who later seized power originated in (149) peripheral Ottoman lands


Bloxham (2003), other Ot emp communities suffering WW1

• Kurds - deportations of hundreds of thousands 1916-7

• Greeks, Nestorians - victims of massacres in Anatolia


Bloxham (2003), significance of Eastern crisis of 1875-8 and ensuing conflict w Russia

• Bulgaria success in freeing itself in all but name from Ot suzerainty left deep impression on new sultan, Abdülhamid II - fear of great power-sponsored nationalism

• Model of agitation it provided for Armenian leaders

• Armenian nationalist polit parties - e.g. Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Hunchaks - formed in 1880s in light of failure to secure enforcable reforms, led to movement to recapture attent of Great Powers, sometimes by ostentatious, terrorist methods

• Armenians in eastern Anatolia came to be seen as internal obstacle to ethnoreligious homogeneity and potentially disloyal/ separatist community


Bloxham (2003), 1909

• Year after coup introducing second Ot constitutional period

• CUP forces implicated in massacre of around 20,000 Armenians in Adana province in Cilicia

• Supposedly to repress increasingly forthright calls for Armenian separatism, during crackdown on reactionary counter-revolt


Bloxham (2003), Ot emp losses from 1908

• Bosnia-Herzegovina annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908

• Revolts in Albani and Yemen 1910 and 1911

• Tripolitanian war - losses to Italy

• Balkan wars 1912-3

• Ceding of most of Rumeli - former European heartlands of emp - to Bulgaria

• Secession of Muslim province of Albania


Bloxham (2003), prewar 'reform plan'

• Turk sovereignty in eastern Anatolia challenged by revival of 'reform plan', first brought up 1877-8, to curb abuses against Christians

• Plan suggested by Russia 1913 w encouragement of pro-Russian Catholicos of all Armenians in Etchmiadzin in Caucasus

• Plan foisted upon Turkey in conference at London = creation of two zones of the 6 'Armenian provinces' (Erzurum, Van, Bitlis, Harput/ Mamuret-ul-Asis, Diyarbakir, Sivas) and Trebizond/ Trabzon, to be administered by neutral European inspectors approved by the Porte

Reform scheme discarded on Turkey's entry into War:

Armenian leaders had looked to Russia and Br for support
CUP viewed Russian sponsorship of reform plan as prep of ground for subsequent direct intervention

• Talât rebuked Armenian leaders for raising issue at dangerous time for Turkey. Stated intent to make it redundant concern for 50 years


Bloxham (2003), Turk policy from the time of the reform plan

Reform scheme discarded on Turkey's entry into War:

Armenian leaders had looked to Russia and Br for support

CUP viewed Russian sponsorship of reform plan as prep of ground for subsequent direct intervention

• Talât rebuked Armenian leaders for raising issue at dangerous time for Turkey. Stated intent to make it redundant concern for 50 years


Bloxham (2003), No evd that policy of physical destruction of community forged prior to 1914:

• Deportations only began after 6 months of war

• Development of the Special Organisation - irregular military force used 1st during Balkan wars, but mobilised again for the world war - is not reliable indication of genocidal intent


Bloxham (2003), why did Turkey fight war 1914-8

• To regain control of fiscal policy from Br and Fr and escape from semi-colonial subservience

• Abrogation of reform plan and capitulations - extra-territorial privileges enjoyed in Turkey by Great Powers' reps

• To supplant import commercial function of Christian minorities w forced creation of Turkish bourgeoisie


Bloxham (2003), importance of territory

Preserving territorial integrity = the precondition for any national renewal:

Threat of loss of territory in war:

• Nationalist feminist Halidé Edib - from begin of War there was general belief about secret recognition by Eng and Fr of Russia's claims on Constantinople and eastern provinces

• March 1915 Manchester Guardian - Russia assigned territory of Armenia in Entente carve-up, w Syria to France and Baghdad railway to Br (was to become Sykes-Picot agreement)


Bloxham (2003), Armenian stereotype

Stereotype of Armenians as proxies of Great Powers in peacetime extended into stereotype of military collab during warfare


Bloxham (2003), Dadrian on the Van Uprising

• desparate and last-ditch effort to thwart Turkish design to proceed w their matured plan of genocide by launching the massacre of that province's Armenian population as an initial step

• Ended in May 1915 w estab of Armenian rule in a major eastern Anatolian city

• This was by consensus the pretext CUP wanted to begin predetermined, empire-wide anti-Armenian programme

• 1st measure of this programme, acc to the argument = decapitation of Armenian nation w mass arrests of 24 April


Bloxham (2003), explaining April arrests (no plan for genocide yet)

CUP probably regarded arrests and arms searches as preventative measures, designed to forestall predicted Armenian support for Entente forces:

• 24 April arrests as reaction to anticipated Anglo-French landings at Gallipoli on 25 April

• 19 April arrests in Trebizond (156) province immediately before Russian destroyers attacked port of Kerasond/ Giresun on 20 April


Bloxham (2003), explaining Armenian disarmament (no plan for genocide yet)

• Motivated by distrust of Armenians

• However fed into tradition of discrimination against all non-Turkish soldiers in allocation of military functions, through which Greeks also suffered


Bloxham (2003), Devel of measures vs Armenians began as measures vs Christians more generally:

Initially in tandem w general anti-Christian chauvinism, encouraged by declaration of cihad (holy war) in November 1914
Christians and Entente nationals cast as collective targets

• At evacuation of Gallipoli peninsula on 10 April, Christian pop of 22,000 given 2 hours' notice and scattered in small groups amongst the predominantly Turkish populations of western Anatolia

• After attmpted Dardanelles landed this measure was to be extended to all Christian - predom Greek - settlements on the coast of Sea of Marmara since some Greeks suspected of supplying enemy submarines w provisions and fuel - in excess of 40,000 thus deported to the interior


Bloxham (2003), ARF refuse to help CUP

• August 1914, before war's outbreak, CUP emissary tried unsuccessfully to encourage Turkish section of the ARF to sponsor anti-Russian insurrection among the Caucasus Armenians in the event of war

• Emissary condemned the treacherous Armenians and ordered assassination of ARF leaders in 1st movements of the Special Organisation's participation in mass murder



Armenian Revolutionary Federation


Bloxham (2003), jihad and the Germans

announced w German encouragements to help undermine by stimulating anti-imperial insurgency


Bloxham (2003), Russia

• War strategy predicated upon defeating Germany in the west

• Only active defence foreseen in conflict w Turkey

• Military commander and viceroy of the Caucasus = Vorontsov-Dashkov

• encouraged revolt among Turkish Armenians

• November, Tsar - brilliant future awaited the Armenians. Armenian q will be resolved in accord w Armenian expectations

• Delib deception - autonomous Armenia anathema


Bloxham (2003), Vorontsov-Dashkov plan for Armenian revolt described in Sept 1914

• Creation of armed Armenian bands under military command in Caucasus at Olty, Sarikamish, Kagysman, Igdyr, Persia

• That month, four volunteer battalions formed - 2 added later - w (160) support of ARF-domd Armenian National Bureau in Tiflis to fight alongside Russian army

• Ignored in the literature - smaller irregular volunteer battalions were to provide stimulus to Ot Armenians to take up arms - as recalled by Boghos Nubar, leader of the Armenian Natioanl Delegation (AND), estab 1912 by the Catholicos to forward the cause of reforms on the international scene

• From Nov 1914, the volunteer units assisted Anatolian Armenian communities in prepping 4 self-defence


Bloxham (2003), Pro-Entente incidents:

• E.g. assaults on gendarmerie or cutting of telegraph cables in Van from late 1914

• Localised clashes between Armenian groups and Turkish forces in Bitlis in Feb 1915

• Small in scale, suggesting lack of enthusiasm among Armenian pop as a whole

• Lack of discernible organisation


Bloxham (2003), Ot awareness of Russian plans

• Ot intelligence aware of Russian plans from beginning

• Russian promises trumpeted by Russian ARF leaders


Bloxham (2003), Seemingly threatening actions:

- Civil authorities in Bayazid in eastern Erzurum reported flight of army deserters to Russia and many Armenians from villages of the region w help of some Kurds to join bands formed in Igdyr - bands later estimated to be 6000 strong

- Turkish accusations of widespread desertion and of Armenian soldiers and civilians passing to Russian territory are corroborated by German, Austrian and American sources

- In response to pre-war thrust towards Urmia at begin of Oct 1914, Russian authorities expelled Muslim inhabitants of the local villages (164) and installed Christians in their place

- Armenians in adjoining parts of Van region in Turkey evicted in tit-for-tat process


Bloxham (2003), At 1st, atrocities corresponded to signif degree to geographical locus of Armenian bases and action:

• Russian victory at battle of Sarikamish wiped out almost entire Ot Third Army and was greatly aided by delaying actions of a volunteer battalion

• Led to much CUP propagandising about treachery of Armenians as a whole

• Backdrop for disarming of Armenian soldiers Feb 1915 and massacres perpetrated by retreating Turkish forces

• Immediately upon outbreak of war in Nov, volunteer unit led by Andranik assisted the Russian column crossing the Turkish border from Persian Choi in conquest of Saray in east of Van province

• Another force to north occupied Bayazid w assistance of a second battalion of Armenian volunteers

• these expeditions to move on the city of Van

• Third preliminary strike from Erzurum was halted near border after taking of Karakilisse

• When Russian and volunteer forces withdrew from Bayazid and Karakilisse on 12 Dec, Special Organisation wrought destruction on some 18 villages, murdering the males of 270 fams

• Pattern repeated in Caucasus

• W withdrawal from Saray amid general Russian retreat from Persia at end of December, Saray and surrounding districts also became sites of extensive massacres on accusations of collaboration

• Pursuant to practice conceived before the outbreak of war which involved punishment for villages which shelter and protect the gangs and the dispersing of such villages

• If it was ethnic reprisal policy, many reprisals were for imaginary transgressions


Bloxham (2003), Van Province

• Most intense killings

• Perhaps 10,000 Armenians murdered in region between Saray and Bashkale before Van rising

• Van significant strategic point - launching point for half of Enver's pan-Turkish offensive through Persia

• Prominent ARF presence and dense Armenian population, w established pre-war connections w the Russian consulate

• ARF had secretly imported and distributed quantities of arms in the course of 1914

• W appearance of Andranik's volunteers at Saray in Nov, Turkish authorities demanded of the city's ARF leaders the immediate return of Armenian deserters

• Beginning in Nov, extortions, search for deserters and slashing of telephone lines degenerated into clashes between soldiers, gendarmes and cheté [Muslim brigand] bands, on the one side, and Armenian self-defense groups, on the other

• begin of March, governor Cevdet defeated in Choi region by Russia

• C responded to minor occurrence in Shatakh district in mid April by demanding all Armenian men aged 18-45 enlist as military labourers

• 17 April C dispatched his self-styled 'butcher battalions' to annihilate Shatakh

• The ill-disciplined irregular forces opted instead to attack closer Armenian settlements

• Ensuing chain of massacres drove Armenians of Van and Shatakh to their well-known resistance

• Based doubtless on his Persian experiences, C was persuaded that the Armenians of Van were in collusion w the Armenian volunteer detachments

• To ascribe hatching of a plan to either side is wrong


Bloxham (2003), Beginning of Anglo-French assault on the Dardanelles:

• 1st major stage of attack on outer forts from 5th to 17th March

• In Constantinople, preparations made for previously planned movement of capital and its pop to the interior of western Anatolia

• Parliament suspended as part of this process, removing an important check on govt actions

• Intention to deport all Armenians from area between Constantinople and projected provisional govt base, Eskishehir

• Series of mtgs of CUP central comte Mid March

• Shakir, director of the Spec Org, presented evd of the activities of the Armenian bands in eastern Anatolia. Argued CUP should fear inner enemy as much as outer enemy

• Was delegated extended authority and independence to combat the former


Bloxham (2003), what suggests that by the end of March 1915, Armenian policy was still contingent upon course of the War, and was not fully proactive or general across the empire?

Fact that projected deportations from Constantinople and its hinterlands did not occur, owing to Entente failure to break through to the capital


Bloxham (2003), end of March deportations

began from Cilicia, but they too regionalised measures


Bloxham (2003), Cilician uprising?

• Armenian comtes or comtes for 'Armenian National Defence'

• Nubar's AND and multinational Armenian comtes undertook 2-pronged diplomatic offensive:

• Trying to persuade western Entente govts of benefits for imperial balance of power of an internationally administered, neutral Armenian Cilicia

• Promoted use of volunteer units from diaspora, envisaged to help form an Entente bridgehead and precipitate general rising led by militants w/in key Cilician communities

• Feb 1915, Armenian reps from mountain town of Zeytun contacted Russian Caucasus army HQ to say if supplied w arms and ammunition via Alexandretta they could provide 15,000-strong interior uprising at that place

• Plan for Cilician uprising reached Ot authorities' ears and was contributory factor in forthcoming deportations


Bloxham (2003), early deportations - Zeyton

• Began early in April from Zeytun after small num of Armenian deserters attacked Turkish troops then barricaded themselves inside Monastery in mid-March

• Majority of local Armenian civic notables among leading opponents of deserters' actions

• CUP ended up w a 'problem' population and ultimately replaced Armenians w a more compliant, ethnically compatible pop of muhacirler, and town renamed Suleymanli


Bloxham (2003), escalating deportations from April

General military-strategic significance of the region spelled danger for every Armenian village in this atmosphere

Villages along military supply lines forcibly evacuated


Bloxham (2003), radicalization of policy towards armenians

• April - regional comtes for the solution of the Armenian question formed

• Ittihadist clubs - regional agents of the party centre - agitating for massacres

• 18 April mtg in Erzurum to address growing tensions - prominent Ittihadists agitated for immediate massacre

• Army at forefront of pressure for draconian measures - 2 May military leadership requested of the Interior Ministry that Armenians in 'rebellious' regions in Van either be forced over the Russian border or dispersed in Anatolia

• Week later, Interior Ministry issued corresponding orders for Van and parts of Erzurum and Bitlis provinces in face of Russian advance, formalising policy begun w settlement, in Mush district of Bitlis, of Muslim refugees from Alashkert


Bloxham (2003), Arrival in Van 18 May of Russian forces w Armenian volunteers as advance guard seemed to confirm every Turkish suspicion:

• Van Armenians looked to Russia for aid at this dire moment

• Russian army came as ad hoc measure

• By disrupting the rear and occupying Turkish troops, the rising was instrumental in failure of Persian part of Enver's pan-Turkish campaign

• As were Armenian volunteers fighting in persia by their delaying actions at battle of Dilman at end of April

• Both before and after 'liberation', indeterminate num of Muslims massacred


Bloxham (2003), deportation policy in reaction to Russian advance

• Inhabs of Khnyss on Van-Erzurum border massacred in retreat from other prong of the 2-prong Russian invasion

• Interior Ministry instructed governor of Erzurum to deport those Armenians thus far evicted southwards from their homes to the areas of southern Mosul, Der-el-Zor and Urfa

• 23 May, Russians and some volunteers pushed on from Van towards Bitlis, decision extended throughout provinces in closest proximity to Russian forces: Erzurum, Van, Bitlis


Bloxham (2003), Plausible explanation for absence of comprehensive anti-Armenian measures up to this point:

• Talât's own claim that he feared the international condemnation general deportation would bring

• 24 May, Entente issued declaration promising to hold Ot leaders and officials accountable for atrocities against Christians


Bloxham (2003), differences w new deportations after 27 May

• Sent to desert regions where natural attrition wld take toll

• In Erzurum deportations from begin of June, (181) irregulars and Kurdish and other Muslim tribesmen descended on the deportees at strategic points

• Barely 20% deportees reached destinations

• pattern of deportations and massive killings repeated throughout expulsions from eastern Anatolia

• Not in western provinces - deportees passed relatively unmolested to desert


Bloxham (2003), Move to decision for general deportation:

• Matter of logistics

• Concern for Turkey's image

• Imagination - seizing moment finally to solve Armenian q

• Didn't mean Talât and Enver wanted every Armenian to die

• Death of all not crucial for fulfilment of aim of destroying Armenian nat presence in Anatolia and Cilicia

• Small pockets of Armenians remained in emp after war and practice of allowing some converted Armenians to remain in situ

• Unlikely CUP leaders instantly develd precise template of how their inherently murderous scheme would unfold across emp

• provisional nature of estab of desert concentration camps in the south for Armenians that survived deportations suggests ongoing, rather improvised nature of whole destruction process


Bloxham (2003), Beginning of accepted practice of general destruction - June:

• Prisoners incarcerated in Constantinople 24-6 April and deported to Ankara murdered w v few exceptions from mid-June

• By June, Cevdet turning Bitlis into charnel house and slaughter of Erzurum Armenians fully underway

• Latter given sanction 14 June by Talât's authorisation of the killing of resistors and escapees in the deportation columns

• 17 June Talât averred the Porte's intention to use the cover of war to finish for good with its 'inner enemies', thereby avoiding the problems of external diplomatic interference

• 9 June, Talât's Ministry of the Interior had directed the governor of Erzurum to auction off the property of the deported Armenians of the province: they were clearly not expected to return

• Unlikely CUP leaders perceived quite so sharply the dividing line that has been drawn in recent genocide scholarship between 1st deportations from Cilicia and those from Anatolia


Bloxham (2003), Assessing the Armenian Nationalists

• Leaders of every Armenian polit party culpable for not heeding early voices of caution from w/in communities, subord interest of Ot Armenian masses, ignoring their fears, inveigling them in nationalist scheme w which many did not identify

• Show of force to indicate they were worthy nationalists in Darwinian international system the Great Powers had done so much to create

• No matter how callous some leaders, nowhere else during WW1 was revolutionary nationalism answered w total murder - the crux of the issue


Bloxham (2003), importance of specific Ot definition of 'national security'

Security assumed its significance bc of linkage in CUP thought w drive for ethnic homogeneity and national territorial integrity in heartlands of Ot emp


Bloxham (2003), more useful than thinking in terms of 'genocide' in this context?

If we think more along lines of a 'policy of annihilation' (as develd by Peter Longerich in Holocaust context), we get the idea of a general consensus of destruction of the Armenian national community

Consensus develd and was augmented over time around broad principles of discrimination and xenophobia, progressing from notions of removal by dilution and/or assimilation to physical removal by deportation and/or murder

Phases of acceleration and radicalisation become more appropriate terms of reference than discernible, discrete shifts in intent

Process of cumulative radicalisation


Bloxham (2003), significance of Van episode

unlike accounts of Turk nationalist scholars and other 'side', Van episode contribd to exacerbation of (191) existing CUP policy and unleashing of its most extreme tendencies


Winter (2003), total war and genocide

Total war did not produce genocide - created military, political and cultural space in which it could occur

Total war - both context and outcome of genocide

Genocide part of landscape of total war


Winter (2003), total war as a particular 'pathway' to genocide

W/o the Great War and its precendents, Auschwitz unthinkable

Other pathways to genocide existed before 1914 and after 1918 - my argument is about subset of the category, genocide - the one located indelibly in the cultural hist of the Great War


Winter (2003), WW1, first total war

• Zeppelin attacks reached London causing civilian casualties

• Eastern front, massacres of civilians in Serbia and what is now Poland

• boundaries between civilian and military targets fading Industrial power increased lethality of batt

• France and Germany - 80% of men 15-49 yrs on eve of war conscripted


Winter (2003), facets of total war

1. Crossing military participation threshold

2. Direct and ongoing linkages between front and home front

3. Redefinition of the military as the cutting edge of the nation at war

4. Mobilisation of the imagination

5. Cultural preparation of hatred, atrocity and genocide


Winter (2003), cultivation of hatred central to total war makes genocide possible:

Total war made genocide poss - enabled brutalisation of millions and thereby raised radically the tolerance of violence in some socs caught up in armed conflict

Total war like infection - most pops thru legal systems, education, religious beliefs, milit trads, etc, are inoculated against
Those w/o the antibodies succumb


Winter (2003), Armenian genocide and the Holocaust

Armenian genocide = clear precedent for Nazi extermination of Jews


Winter (2003), Van 'uprising'

April 20, 1915 - armed attack by Turks on Armenians in eastern city of Van repulsed by armed Armenians - 18 Turks killed. This 'uprising' = excuse for nocturnal arrest and murder of prominent Armenians 4 days later


Winter (2003), Armenian genocide arose from waging total war against internal enemy by corrupt and incompetent army:

• Poorly paid soldiers and irregulars had to forage for their food

• Just to survive, Turkish units engaged in armed skirmishes or raids

• From mid-1915 these raiding parties destroyed Armenian villages and towns

• Bandits in Turkish uniform and underpaid and undernourished soldiers killed w impunity


Winter (2003), Armenian genocide and race?

What Turks did to Armenians not racially motivated - some Armenian women cld avoid death by conversion to Islam


Winter (2003), total war and Armenian genocide

Armenian genocide bridged 19th and 20th C's - describing what cld happen when motives of ethnic greed and hatred were mobilised by unscrupulous elites in context of total war


Kaiser (2010), long-term genocidal planning?


Has become evident that the development of the war determined the timing of deportations and massacres


Kaiser (2010), non-Armenian communities in the Ot Emp

Genocide cannot be separated from demographic policies that targeted other communities - e.g. Greeks, Nestorians, Syrian Orthodox Christians


Kaiser (2010), CUP goal

stablishment of total control over state and society


Kaiser (2010), deportation as a strategy pre-genocide

late 19th C - Sublime Porte settled Muslim immigrants to strengthen control over areas feared to be threatened by foreign occupation or national movements

Lacking funds, govt regularly abandoned settlers w/o supplies, tacitly supporting their occupation of non-Muslim property


Kaiser (2010), Leading Armenian party, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), broke w CUP



Kaiser (2010), ethnic cleansing of Greeks and Bulgarians

Balkan Wars 1912-3 - coalition of Balkan states defeated Ot Emp:

• Lost Macedonia, Epirus, Kosovo, and Western Thrace

• All states massacred and displaced civilians

• At least 339,074 Muslims fled to Ot-held territory

• 376,186 remained behind by Jan 1915

• Govt unprepd for influx of refugees

• In response, CUP clandestine campaign agaisnt Ot Greeks and Bulgarians

• Party cadres and govt officials coord attacks along Aegean littoral

• State coord displacements and settlemnt of immigrants, obstructing return of legal owner

• Campaign continued into WW1

• Minimum of 163,975 Greeks expelled or fled to Greece

• At least 93,088 deported to interior provinces

• As many as 58,039 Bulgarians were expelled to Bulgaria


Kaiser (2010), Nestorians/ Syrian Orthodox

• 26 Oct 1914, Talaat ordered deportation of Nestorians from Hakkari to western provinces where they should be dispersed among Muslims

• 3 days later, scheme postponed due to lack of forces

• Deportation scheme probs connected w imminent Ot attack on Russia - Fear Nestorians wld join w Russia

• Suspicions didn't materialise so project shelved

• Massacre during Ot cross-border raids into Iran

• Syrian Orthodox Christians massacred alongside Armenians in Diarbekir province

• Their killing appears not to have been part of central govt policy - provincial authorities repeatedly instructed to treat Syrian Orthodox differently than Armenians


Kaiser (2010), Van

• Elimination of suspected internal foe at Van given priority over combating Russians

• Attack on 20 April 1915

• In the city, govt forces defeated and withdrew 17 May 1915 before Russian forces reached the city


10 June 1915, Ministry of Interior regulated liquidation of Armenian property:

• All property to be registered

• Perishable goods and livestock to be auctioned off immediately


23 Nov 1916:

• Govt also sanctioned the seizure of property of Armenians who had not been deported


Kaiser (2010), Initial Deportations

• 2 May 1915, Ministry of War suggested deportation of all Armenians from the eastern border regions too the Russian lines or interior provinces

• w/in a week, (7) governors of Erzerum, Bitlis, Van, ordered to deport, in coop w army, Armenians towards Syrian Desert and Mosul

• 23 May 1915, deportations extended to districts in historic Cilicia and border areas of Mosul province

• Armenians to never exceed 10% of Muslim pop

• 24 May 1915, Entente powers declared would hold all Ot citizens and officials personally accountable for their role in persecution of Armenians

• Declaration defined outrages thus far as crimes against humanity

• Ot govt responded on 27 May 1915 w provisional law giving Ot military commanders right to deport anyone they wished to

• 3 days later, Ministry of Interior issued manual for its Department for the Settlement of Tribes and Immigrants - Armenian immovable property to be seized and used for settlement of Muslims


Kaiser (2010), Second wave of deportations

Extension of deportations far beyond war zone demonstrated that MILITARY CONSIDERATIONS NOT DRIVING FORCE BEHIND DEPORTATION PROGRAMME

• 19 June 1915, Third Army ordered extension of deportations and removal of all Armenians from the Erzerum, Trebizond, Van< bitlis, Harput, Diarbekir, and Sivas provinces

• 22 June 1915, Armenians converted to Islam allowed to stay behind for time being and had to undergo special registration

• Region around Diarbekir earmarked for Turkification and settlement of other Muslim nationalities prohibited

• Govt had to face increasingly large 'surplus' population that survived the death marches from the eastern provinces. Settlement zones broadened w/in Mosul and Aleppo and extended to today's Southern Syria and Jorda


Kaiser (2010), stages of killing

• men and boys not in armed forces separated from caravans during 1st days of deportation, taken away and killed

• Deportees oft informed massacre imminent and asked to give up children and teenage girls or buy their way out of predicament by paying ransom

• Convoys passed successive notorious massacre sites, where those who could no longer pay murdered

• Killing squads under command of trusted CUP mems


Kaiser (2010), rape, gender, family

History of Armenian genocide largely that of women and children following murder of most men and older boys during initial phase of deportations:

• Random and systematic rape

• Violence targeted at destroying Armenian individs' and community's self-perception by inflicting lasting psychological harm

• Rape meant irreparable transgenerational loss of self-esteem

• Women's counter-strategies - disguising age, forms of physical individual or joint resistance, suicide

• Elder women gave up food ration for children and girls given up before the boys. Once only boys left, mother tried to protect at least one male descendant at cost of her own life

• Women focused not on individ survival but that of the family as they understood it


Kaiser (2010), Third Wave of Deportations

• Early Aug 1915 - govt extended deports to central and western provinces

• Govt sanctioned ongoing dispersion of young Armenian children among non-Turkish Muslim villages

• Govt's own assimilation efforts gathered new momentum 1916

• Authorities relied on private and foreign institutions to keep children alive until govt institutions put in place

• Large nums of Armenians deported by railway

• Catholic and Protestant Armenians who had so far not been deported were exempted unless constituted a concern, following protests from US, German and Austro-Hungarian embassies

• Protests and production breakdowns secured permanent or temp exemption of Armenian (379) specialists and workers

• Already at end of Aug 1915, Talaat certain the Armenian Q had been solved

• Chaos around Aleppo, cross-roads of the deportation

• Deportee convoys from central and eastern regions increasingly re-directed towards Mosul

• 18 Sept 1915, many districts had already been entirely emptied

• Exempted Armenians hd been dispersed among Muslim villages up to 5% of the pop

• 2 months later - Talaat decreed those exempted must become Muslims

• 7 Oct 1915, Sukru Bey issued new regs for deportations to Syrian Desert - optimal size of deportation caravan = 1000 deportees

• Spring 1916, deportations from interior and eastern provinces to a halt as relatively few Armenian women and chldren left - these to be dispersed in exclusively Muslim villages or taken into orphanages

• Women of childbearing age had to marry Muslim men


Kaiser (2010), organized mass murder

Survivors reaching Syrian Desert:

• System of camps

• Contagious diseases e.g. typhus

• Aug 1916, gov of Der Zor organised large-scale massacres, burning alive 1000 Armenian children

• At Khabur River, Chechen killing squads that had already massacred the inhabs of the Rasulain camp slaughtered, under govt supervision, Armenians by the 10s of thousands


Kaiser (2010), Restructuring of Ot demographic map:

• 1916, Armenian real estate used in western and central provinces for settlement of Kurdish tribal confeds

• Area around Diarbekir, Urfa, and Adiaman received Muslim migrants, esp Albanians, and was designated as a Turkification region


Kaiser (2010), resistors - Kurds of Dersim

• Alarmed by extermination of Armenians as early as July 1915

• Feared they were (382) next

• In response, they sheltered Armenian refugees and formed joint Kurdish-Armenian resistance groups


Kaiser (2010), Treaty of Lausanne

International community sanctioned realities created by the CUP during Armenian genocide, and furthered ethnic homogenisation of Anatolia by sanctioning Greco-Turkish population exchange


Kaiser (2010), lack of long-term genocidal plan

• Initial deportations resembled earlier measures vs Greeks, Nestorians, Zionists

• Dramatic extension of deportations May 1915 showed signs of improvisation

• Execution of deports largely left to provincial administrators

• CUP used opportunity to acquire Armenian communities' assets and finance govt's budget and ambitious demographic engineering programme - Turkification of emp's core provinces

• Assimilation of Armenian children and women overwhelmed state's resources and local Muslim initiative became decisive. Hence, many Armenian women and children entered Kurdish and Arab households while state intended Turkification of Armenian children and young Armenian women


Kaiser (2010), intent!

• Central authorities monitored deportations and tried to keep precise counts of deportees

• Loss of life along routes seems to have been part of govt's programme

• Deaths caused by starvation appear to be systematic - to remove Armenian pop surplus to the 10% of local Muslim pops decreed in sparsely populated areas

• Same for deaths by disease

• May 1915, Ot authorities had adequate info about prevention of infectious diseases, partic typhus, but delib exposed Armenian deportees to infection

• Armenian survivors due to survival strategies and undercover relief work

• In response, summer 1916, central authorities coord concentration of survivors in a few localities and slaughtered under govt supervision

• 1915, seems CUP no coherent single plan for Armenian extermination

• More likely Talaat + assocs accepted mass murder as policy option to be employed in case problems arose

• CUP leadership habitually opted for genocide in interest of Turkish nationalism



US congressional panel narrowly voted that the incident was a genocide - decision the Turkish govt criticised, saying it had been accused of a crime it 'had not committed'


The Armenian Genocide - Donald Bloxham, Fatma Müge Göçek

two mutually exclusive historiographies on the Armenian deportations and deaths of 1915 - one constructed by the international community and approved by the Armenian survivors and the other assembled by proponents of the Turkish state

The deportation orders themselves contain no explicit sanction of mass murder. Doubtless the CUP leaders did not want to leave incriminating docu- mentary evidence, but – presumably – nor did they wish to risk potential oppo- sition from anyone in the larger governing structure with any qualms.27 Yet testimony from various executors of the genocide at the few post-war trials conducted under the auspices of the new Ottoman government exposes the deliberate use of euphemism and camouflage in the instructions for ‘care’ of the deportees. It reveals that the onus was on outright killing, and the existence of oral and secret telegraph orders from Istanbul and local CUP functionaries to this effect,28 though regional differences in the death-tolls exacted from the deportation convoys suggests that there was not complete uniformity in this ‘second track’ of orders.

Further to the issue of concealment, the fact that much of the killing was done by irregulars does not alleviate the responsibility of the power centre, since the deployment of irregulars for ‘dirty work’ was an Ottoman (and Balkan) tradition

The point of emphasizing contingency is not the issue of precise ‘timing’ per se. Its weight lies in suggesting that the perpetrators’ con- ception of the Armenians as a collective, and of what to do with them, was still being shaped until quite late in the day – and in the truth that there is still a distance to travel between persecution and even localized murder and outright genocide. Uncomfortable though it may be, some – indefinable – part of the dynamic shaping this construction was the activity of some Armenian nationalists both within and beyond Ottoman territory

More importantly, however, talking about an ongoing process of construction of ‘the Armenians’ during a crisis moment helps to de-essentialize the debate in that it undermines any notion of inevitability based on readings of pre-existing inter-communal relations.

It should be underlined that any claim that the murder of the Armenians when it unfolded was not a genocide, simply because there might not be unequivocal evidence of genocidal intent prior to May 1915, is as absurd as the suggestion that the Nazi ‘final solution’ was not a genocide because it was not inscribed before the invasion of Poland or the USSR that every Jew was to be murdered.

wartime radicalization model.
At particular moments before 1914-5 the late Ottoman state could tolerate the mass murder of Armenians - e.g. 1909 Adana massacres of around 20,000 in the CUP era

guiding state ideology during 1894-6 killings = pan-Sunniism.
However some space for existence of an Armenian community remained if remained in its politically prescribed place

genocide is always the result of political choices, albeit at very particular, generally crisis, moments.

Intentionality/ contingency dichotomy is a false one, not just in 1915 but across the span of the decline of the Ot Emp


The Armenian Genocide - Donald Bloxham, Fatma Müge Göçek, reasons for anti-Armenian prejudice

Stephan Astourian has focused on the question of contested land- ownership in Anatolia as a spur to anti-Armenian prejudice in the light of the Tanzimat reforms that changed the traditional prescriptions on the issue, and in light of the sedentarization of Kurdish tribes and the settlement of Muslim refugees to the empire – the muhacir – from persecution in the Tsarist domains and in the Balkans. Kieser has emphasized the destabilization inherent to the attempt to import, force-paced, a modernity à la française to an empire run on entirely different principles. Other interpretations place the emphasis more on the international politics of the eastern question in exacerbating Ottoman sen- sitivities towards subject minorities.

Where there is general agreement is on the significance of the changes in the physical and political constitution of the empire in its declining decades as Ottoman geography and demography were fundamentally altered.59 Many aspects of this immensely complex, society-wide process did not primarily concern Ottoman–Armenian relations per se until around the second half of the nineteenth century, and they were as much as anything else a function of the changing nature of Ottomania from early modern empire to centralizing, modernizing state and, finally, to a supposedly homogeneous republican nation-state.

One of the many pieces of evidence supporting interpretations of the origins of genocide in changing state socio-economic structure is the comparative sta- bility of Ottoman–Armenian relations before the mid-nineteenth century.
Arminians = dhimmis

This system of sta- bility through institutionalized prejudice worked on condition that the dhimmis continued to accept the hierarchical status quo


D. Bloxham (2002) Three imperialisms and a Turkish nationalism: international
stresses, imperial disintegration and the Armenian genocide, Patterns of Prejudice, 36:4, 37-58

questions the
historiographical trends that have, on the one hand, established Germany as a coperpetrator
during the First World War and, on the other, blamed the Entente
powers for their longer-term failure to intervene more effectively in the interests of
the Ottoman Armenians. Instead, he places each of the powers on a continuum of more diffuse, less direct, but equally significant responsibilities for the exacerbation
of inter-group tensions in the Ottoman empire.

Two episodes illustrate that the murder of the Armenians was not a selfenclosed
action, but was rather influenced by international, inter-imperial
dynamics. Mass arrests of Armenian communal leaders in Constantinople
on 24–6 April—commemorated in Armenian communities today as the
beginning of the genocide—occurred exactly at the time of the first AngloFrench
landings on the Gallipoli peninsula

The passing on of the benefits of the ‘capitulations’—the system of extraterritorial
privileges enjoyed on Ottoman soil by representatives of the
Christian powers—to native non-Muslim ‘protégés’ was a source of permanent
irritation for the Porte,

Great Power-sponsored national secession, Ottoman reactions to internal
socio-economic changes, combined with outright Russian conquests in
the Caucasus in the wars of 1828 and 1877–8, fundamentally altered the character
of the Ottoman empire

The Balkan territories of Rumeli had once been
viewed as the empire’s centre of gravity; as the Ottoman Balkan possessions
were eroded, that centre was shifted to Anatolia.

With those territorial losses
too, the ethnic proportions of the empire shifted heavily in favour of the

The Anatolian Christians, seen increasingly after the Balkan insurgencies
as potentially if not actually disloyal, unwilling and unreliable members
of the Ottoman community, were pushed to the periphery of the ‘universe of
obligation’, as the 1894–6 massacres showed

The Turkish ethno-nationalism that was an increasing feature of the
Young Turk movement was influenced by the nationalisms that had grown
up around it. The secession of Albania during the Balkan wars of 1911–13
showed that even a Muslim province was susceptible to the lure of nationalism;
Islam, though, remained as one unifying force in the Young Turk
worldview. But the Balkan wars certainly represent the moment at which
Muslim-Christian pluralism was finally killed off

If Russia had instrumentalized the plight of Armenians proactively,
Germany did so by default, as it were. Yet, no less than the other powers,
Germany’s own economic strategies sought to bring territories within its geo-strategic and economic orbit. And in this process, like any other power,
they ran roughshod over the established social order of the empire, as in, for instance, the distinctly ethnically oriented stratification of labour on the Baghdad
railway, the critical spine of German imperialism in the Near East

on a general level,
we may borrow a concept introduced by Christoph Dinkel in the midst of his
accusations of complicity in genocide against the German officer corps. With
the idea of a war-time ‘insurrection hysteria’, he identifies a self-explanatory
rationale for the extreme views of the officers in question: a fear that Armenian
revolutionary action in the rear would jeopardize the central powers’ prosecution
of the war.3

German officers were also involved with the reorganization of the infamous
‘special organization’, the irregular units that would gain notoriety
during 1915 as the principle murderers of the Armenian deportees.

With the Turkish entry into the First World War, Britain finally abandoned
its longstanding policy of supporting Turkey, which it had tempered
over the previous two decades. Yet this did not mean that it was free to express
solidarity with the imperilled Armenians, as was shown in reaction to a Russian
(!) proposal in spring 1915 to issue an inter-Allied warning to the Turkish
government of the consequences of its policies towards the Armenians

Turkish announcement of cihad had, it seems, worried the British as to the reactions of Indian Muslims, and they did not wish to be seen invoking a
Christian cause against a Muslim power.

One justification for British opposition to the inter-Allied declaration,
which was finally made in a modified form on 24 May 1915, was that it might
only exacerbate Turkish fury against the Armenians

3 This was true,54 but it
would be rather easier to believe the line of humanitarian concern were it not
for the later reluctance of the British authorities to allow the survivors of the
famous last-ditch Armenian resistance at Musa Dagh on the Mediterranean
coast in autumn 1915 to be transported to the safety of Cyprus or Egypt

Salahi Sonyel’s suggestion that the Armenians were
merely ‘victims of great power diplomacy’ will clearly not do, for it fails to
account for Ittihadist agency in driving the most violent of agendas

and legal responsibility lies entirely with the Ittihadist leaders and their functionaries.
The ambit of historical responsibility, however, judged in terms of
broader, longer-term causes, and circumstantial influences must incorporate the Great Power politics of the Eastern Question and then of the First World War.

This is not so much a question of the pernicious influence of western
ideas of nationalism on the Ottoman construct. The flow of ideas is beyond
the control of any, though evangelical missionary activity surely contributed
inadvertently to the infiltration of nationalism

Germany provides us with a very interesting study of Great Power structural
involvement in the Turkish genocide. To reiterate: this involvement is
not primarily, as has been asserted, one of direct complicity in the murders.
Few if any Germans wished to see the Armenians killed. Though a small
number were implicated in approving certain deportations, and a larger number
expressed strong anti-Armenian sentiments, this is not the same as complicity
in a scheme to destroy the Armenian nation, to the genesis of which they
were not privy.

Its role mirrored that of
Russia in sponsoring nationalist insurgency behind enemy lines, thereby
promoting irregular warfare in which civilians were implicated as combatants
and/or as ‘legitimate’ targets for reprisal actions.

In the specific matter of the murder of the Armenians, the weakness of
the German protests were obviously influenced by the state of the war-time
alliance, but it was also a direct continuation of Germany’s policy established
in the 1890s of not exercising political influence against persecutions in order to
gain competitive advantage in its economic penetration of the Ottoman empire.
The humanitarian assistance that German consuls and missionaries rendered
during the genocide did not tend to agitate the Ittihadists but, when this was
expressed as strong political pressure by Count Wolff-Metternich, the German
ambassador, in the autumn of 1916, it provoked an equally strong reaction. German protest was here stymied by the logic of pre-existing policy

continued geo-strategic importance on Russia’s border during the Cold War
was important in determining the reluctance of successive American governments
to recognize the Armenian genocide, but it emerged from an established
relationship in which American quiescence could be easily bought. ‘Noninterventionism’
notwithstanding, in the US refusal to address the simple truth
of the terminal point of Turkish–Armenian relations, they found themselves
also drawn into the ‘whirlpool of Old World Imperialism’,79 compromising
themselves in a manner with which Whitehall and the Wilhelmstrasse were
well acquainted.


Vahakn Dadrian’s critique of the powers,

the fault of the European polities lay in their
failure to intervene in Turkish affairs with greater sincerity and more altruistic


From empire to republic: Turkish nationalism and the Armenian genocide - Taner Akȧm, dawsonera 2004, Turkish national identity

The weakness of one’s own state in comparison with other states creates, among other things, special, extraordinary conditions for persons affected by this weakness. Such persons are psychologically oppressed by feelings of insecurity, they are plagued by doubts about their own worth, feel themselves debased and humiliated, and feel the strong desire to avenge themselves on those who have brought about this state of affairs.145

These observations by Elias, a sociologist, are confirmed by Bernard Lewis, the eminent historian of Turkey.

We have seen that a similar process was at work among the Ottomans. Military defeat and political humiliation had indeed shaken the torpid and complacent trust of the Turks in their own invincible and immutable superiority, but the ancient contempt for the barbarian infidel, where it yielded, often gave place to rancour rather than emulation.146

Indeed, Turkishness and Turkism were advocated as the way to restore the Ottomans’ wounded pride before the ‘Bulgarian dairymen, Serbian swineherds and Greek tavern owners’ whom they had lorded over for five hundred years

The Western powers exploited every opportunity they had to interfere in Ottoman internal affairs. The oppressive measures taken against the Chris- tian population gave them plenty of pretexts

The perception of having to contend with a broad coalition arrayed against the Ottoman Empire, which was intent on its partition and destruction, the sense that they were members of a declining empire, that their homeland was slipping away from them and that it needed to be saved established itself as an idée fixe in the minds of Turks. ‘Sedition was rampant, Crete was gone, Tripoli was about to go, Turkey was going, Islam was going…’191 ‘I looked at the map this week. Most of [the Empire’s territories] is gone and only a small bit remains. It, too, shall go soon.’192 The situation was one of extreme panic.

How to stem the tide of decline and partition became the most important question to engage the intellectual life of Ottoman society, including both the rulers and the ruled. In 1878, the Ottoman newspaper Tercüman-ı Ahval conducted a survey of its readers, asking, what were the problems with which the Ottomans were most concerned? The most frequent answer was, ‘How is it possible to preserve the life of the Exalted State with all its remaining territories?’195 The panic produced the idea that unity would inevitably prevent collapse and partition.

As these thinkers saw it, the Ottomans faced a common threat and they would have to replace the notions of personal liberty and individual- ism (ferdi ¸ sahsiyet) with the guarding of independence and defense of the nation.196 The group would have to be emphasized in place of the individual. To say ‘we’ meant to say ‘one.’ You and I shall subject ourselves to ‘it...’ There is no ‘you,’ or ‘I’—only ‘we.’

What is being suggested is that the distinction between reality and fantasy in Turkish history is not the main point. If fantasies are believed to be real, then they can have the same effect as if they were real. The distinction loses its importance.

Turkish national identity was prone to view the last remaining Christian minority group within its control as responsible for all the 'negative' developments


From empire to republic: Turkish nationalism and the Armenian genocide - Taner Akȧm, dawsonera 2004, homogeization

Although the CUP took over the government in January 1913 through a military coup, it was only on June 11, 1913 that the party achieved full control of the power of the state, when Grand Vizier Mahmut Sevket ¸ Pas¸a was assassinated by opposition forces. This event gave the CUP the pretext to seize the reins of power and eliminate the opposition once and for all.84 ‘In June and July, following the killing of Mahmut Sevket ¸ Pas¸a, the leaders of the CUP decided on the main outline for the policies they would pursue.’85 Thorough and comprehensive efforts encompassing all areas—economics, politics and administration—were immediately embarked on and detailed plans were drawn up for each area in order to bring to life a general policy that could be characterized as a reliance on the Turkish element inside the country and the inclusion of the Turkish-Muslim peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia into the imperial edifice. The first priority for the CUP was to relieve themselves of the non-Muslims within this construct.

Through policies that can be characterized as creating a Turkish bour- geoisie, the Muslim-Turkish elements began to employ political force to remove non-Muslims from their economic position and to replace them

Kus ¸çubası ¸ provides important information. At the beginning of 1914 the Ottoman rulers determined that they were faced with two important problems: ‘(1) an immoderate opposition that was prepared to exploit and abuse their liberties in all manner of ways; (2) separatist, non- Turkish elements who threatened the integrity and unity of the Empire through both open and secret means. [The first problem]…was a political phenomenon that could be solved. But the second one was more difficult, a deadly illness whose cure called for grim measures.’98 In response to the ‘deadly illness’ within the non-Muslim communities, ‘[t]he government struggled [to take] preventive measures outside of its normal activities against the damage of a fait accompli within the [CUP] Central Committee and the Ministry of War. Secret meetings were convened within the Ministry of War whose main focus was [militarily] strategic points and the elimination of concentrations of non-Turks who were connected to negative foreign influences.’99 In his own memoirs, Kus ¸çubası ¸ says that these meetings also continued to be held in May, June and August of 1914

Detailed reports were prepared as part of this planning, which can be characterized as the Turkification of Anatolia through the elimination of the Christians. As a result, the measures decided upon were put into effect in the Aegean regions long before the beginning of the war. ‘The CUP was going to eliminate the Greeks, who they saw as the ‘head of the boil’ in Anatolia, through the implementation of both political and economic measures.

The Armenian Genocide = the Last Wave of Turkification:

the pre- conditions for the establishment of the Turkish Republic were in large measure created by means of this massacre. It is significant that the leaders of the period did not even refrain from expressing this fact openly. Halil Mentes ¸e says in a letter he wrote during his exile in Malta that ‘[if] we had not rid our eastern provinces of those Armenian revolutionary bands (komitacılar) that were collaborating with the Russians, there would have been no possibility of establishing our national state.

During the first National Assembly of the new Republic in Ankara, discussions were held in which it can be seen that the Turks dare to call themselves ‘murderers’ for the purpose of saving the homeland: The question of the deportations was, as you know, an event which set the world in an uproar, and which caused us all to be perceived as murderers. Even before this was done, we knew that the Christian world would not stomach this, and would turn all their wrath and anger upon us because of it. [But] why have we attached the title of murderer to ourselves? Why have we gotten involved in such an immense and problematic cause (dava)? These things were done for the sole purpose of ensuring the future of our homeland, which we know is more beloved and sacred than our own lives


From empire to republic: Turkish nationalism and the Armenian genocide - Taner Akȧm, dawsonera 2004, homogeization - summary

The Armenian Genocide was largely a by-product of the First World War —as far as its successful execution is concerned. But the preconditions were already created through an ideology that aimed at transforming the troublesome heterogeneous social structure of the Ottoman Empire into a more or less homogenous one. The success with which the Ottoman Turkish leaders, namely the new Young Turk nationalists, through a combination of overt and covert-legitimate and surreptitious criminal means, managed to expel huge portions of the Greek population of western Turkey, served to embolden that leadership to proceed against the Armenian population of the Empire under cover of the exigencies and emergencies of the First World War.


From empire to republic: Turkish nationalism and the Armenian genocide - Taner Akȧm, dawsonera 2004the decision for genocide in light of Ottoman-Turkish Documents

The information shows that the overall coordination of the Genocide was taken over by Talât Pas¸a. German ambassador Metternich described Talât Pas ¸a as the ‘soul of the Armenian persecution.’99 The indictment of the Main Trial includes some of the confiscated telegrams he sent to the regions. These telegrams cover such matters as removing corpses from the roads and punishing those who did not follow orders. For instance, a coded telegram, which was sent to the governors of Diyarbakir, Mamuretülaziz, Urfa and Zor on July 21, 1915, ordered that the corpses left on the roads be buried and not be thrown into streams, rivers or lakes, and that the belongings of the dead left on the road be burned

The role of Talât Pas¸a as the head organizer and coordinator of the Genocide is clear in the telegram of the German consul in Jerusalem. He reported on September 9, 1915 that Cemal Pas¸a told him that he was only responsible for the military implementation of the decrees issued by Department of the Interior. Cemal added, ‘Talât Pas¸a decided on the extent of the deportations.’


Pouring a People into the Desert
Fuat Dündar

The fifth and final stage of the deportations included all the remaining Armenians. June 21, 1915, marked a turning point for the Armenian plight as this was the date when Tâlât Pasha commanded the deportation of “all Armenians without exception” (istisnasız bütün Ermeniler) who lived in the ten provinces of the eastern region, including Trabzon, Diyarbakır, Canik, Sivas, and Ma’muretü’l-aziz. Henceforth, all Armenians—except the ones considered useful to the state—were to be deported to Musul, Urfa, and Zor

In the beginning of the deportation process, the Ottoman state had excluded from the deportations those Armenians who had converted to Islam. But the CUP changed its policy within a few weeks and ordered the deportation of Armenians who had become Muslims as well. Some months later, conversion would also be forbidden, except for those Armenian women who had been married to Muslim men and therefore converted.

Despite the order to deport “all Armenians without exception” Armenians in some regions as well as a few Armenian families were spared. Even though the causes often varied, the provinces of Edirne, İstanbul, and İzmir generally witnessed the expulsion of Armenian revolutionary committee (p.284) members, with the majority of the population not included in the deportation. The main reason for the expulsion of Edirne was geopolitical: as the city was on the European border, any drastic movement could easily be observed by foreigners. A large number of foreigners also resided in İstanbul, the capital. For the case of İzmir, the deciding factor was the governor Rahmi Bey within the CUP and his belief that the removal of the Armenians would be the death sentence for the commerce of the city.


3 The Silence of the Land
Stephan H. Astourian

Agrarian relations played a central role in the emergence of the Armenian Question and in interethnic relations. They were shaped by extralegal factors such as land usurpation, illegal taxation, and violence; by legal changes (the Land Law and its partial implementation); and by political transformations. The relatively stable early nineteenth-century order prevailing in eastern Anatolia under Kurdish rule and in Cilicia under Egyptian rule was replaced by anarchy and interethnic competition resulting from the modernizing projects of the Tanzimat, of Sultan Abdülhamid II, and of the Young Turks. These aimed at greater administrative centralization, the sedentarization of nomadic populations, the resettlement of Muslim refugees, and more effective Ottoman state intervention.

The causes of interethnic tension varied from region to region. In eastern Anatolia, Muslim power, weak centralization until the 1870s, and the prevalence of nomadic, seminomadic, and settled Kurdish tribalism allowed usurpation of Armenian lands and growing tensions among the various nationalities. In Cilicia, Armenian economic success, which resulted from the development of cotton production under Egyptian rule and the subsequent integration of that region in the world economy, from their predominance in the crafts and trade, and from the delayed application of the land laws, led to resentment. Both patterns fueled the hatred that made riots, massacres, and genocide possible.

In the final analysis, the role of state power must be emphasized, for the state initiated and administered the sedentarization programs and refugee resettlement policies that are essential to our understanding of agrarian relations and interethnic conflict. The Ottoman State determined the geographic patterns of refugee resettlement and of land allocation, and it alone (p.81) had the ability to manipulate interethnic relations, which in turn had consequences for landholding and land usurpation.128 From the 1870s onward, the role of the state became even more significant as Sultan Abdülhamid II encouraged anti-Armenian exactions and the Young Turks condoned them and refused to correct the injustices of the sultan’s reign. To be sure, the state and its Land Law were not the only agents shaping land allocation and landholding patterns. State and “society”—provincial administrators, notables, and tribal leaders—“negotiated” both allocation and landholding. However, extralegal processes—land usurpation and what looks like fraudulent land registration—as well as power relations were often central to the negotiation.

The case of Cilicia after the Constitutional Revolution of 1908 suggests that “modernization” in the Ottoman context contributed to bringing ethnicity and interethnic competition into prominence.

It is worth noting that “globalization,” which includes the spread of some form of free market economy and of democracy among the less developed countries, has also led to an accentuation of ethnic identities and a proliferation of ethnic antagonism in the late twentieth century


7 The Politics and Practice of the Russian Occupation of Armenia, 1915–February 1917
Peter Holquist

This chapter is not intended as an apology for the Russian occupation, but rather to complicate our understanding of Russian intentions and Russian policy. At the time, the CUP was convinced that the Russian state was seeking to dismember the Ottoman Empire and annex vast swaths of territory. Historical studies have tended to reflect this fear, seeing in disparate Russian measures a coordinated and predatory Russian policy—either anti-Muslim or anti-Armenian, depending on the literature. This study, rather, supports Michael Reynolds’s observation that we need to treat the Russian and Ottoman empires as “state actors,” and not simply as vessels for emerging national movements.128 And as a “state actor,” it is imperative to (p.174) treat the Russian state as a complex—multifaceted and compound—institution. Specifically, I wish to underscore the complex and multilayered nature of Russian decision making. The policies in Russian Armenia were not the expression of some unified program by the Russian government. Rather, policy changed over time. Moreover, to grasp the dynamics of Russian policy in Armenia, it is essential to place them in the larger context of Russian domestic and foreign policy. I hope to suggest a method of evaluating both Russian foreign policy and military conduct. The foreign policy of the Russian government was doubtless cynical in certain respects, but it is a gross simplification to leave the story at that—as it would be for any of the other powers. We must view foreign policy both as the interplay of state actors—as Reynolds insists—and as existing within an arc of institutional and political agendas.129 The military, for its part, was certainly callous, but it did not always pursue a nationalizing or ethnicizing goal. The presence of multiple, at times conflicting, programs within the Russian government’s overall policy explains, in part, why scholars have been able to read Russian occupation policy is such remarkably divergent ways.


Germany and the Young Turks
Eric D. Weitz

This chapter considers the role of the Germans in the Armenian Genocide and attempts to present a nuanced picture of Ottoman-German relations. While no monolithic position existed among Germans in regard to the Ottoman Empire, official Germans as well as businessmen, academics, and missionaries active in the area agreed on three points: firstly, the Ottoman Empire was a prime area of German interests; secondly, to achieve those interests, Germany required, above all else, stability; and, thirdly, stability meant a strong state. German diplomats, army officers, and intellectuals recognized a kinship with the authoritarianism of Ottoman rule, both of the sultanate and of the CUP. The elites in both countries also underwent a parallel radicalization process that made them prone to adopt reckless and aggressive policies, domestically and internationally.

At the uppermost reaches of the state and with a slew of academics, publicists, and others in tow, German military and civilian officials supported the Young Turk government and, thereby, became complicit in the Armenian Genocide although they were hardly the initiators or organizers of the event. Their complicity stemmed from inaction, willful self-deception, and the perception of military necessity in the age of total war, when the status of civilian populations had become ever more critical to the logic of warfare.

Two other factors were critical in the German accommodation of Ottoman atrocities.
the strategy of deportations and killings that the Young Turks initiated constituted a policy that was all too familiar to German officials.

Finally, the pursuit of these kinds of policies marked a serious radicalization of governmental policy

The engagement of war was a (p.198) risky business, but also provided their leaders with great opportunities. In the context of war imaginations soared ever higher. German military and civilian officials envisaged a German imperium from France to Ukraine and into Anatolia and the Middle East. The Young Turks thought of war as the means of resolving all of the perceived problems of the empire—encroachments of foreign powers on Turkish sovereignty, the loss of territory through the Bosnian annexation and the Balkan Wars, and nationalist movements from within, in particular among the Armenians. It all ended in political disaster for both imperial Germany and the Ottoman Empire, but not before atrocities had been enacted upon a number of populations.

In late 1916, Ambassador Kühlmann wrote to Chancellor Bethmannn-Hollweg. He mentioned nothing about the Armenian deportations and massacres, except for a veiled reference to the “exaggerated nationalism” of the Young Turk government. About Tâlât, who as Minister of the Interior was one of the main organizers of the Armenian Genocide and was about to become Grand Vizier, Kühlmann wrote that “from [Tâlât] one can reliably expect a decisive and clear direction of the entire scope of Turkish politics.” He was the strong man that Germans always felt the empire needed.

From dangerous revolutionaries in the 1890s the Young Turks had become, in German eyes, responsible statesmen with whom they could work—even when “work” meant complicity in the destruction of the Armenian population.


Zeytun and the Commencement of the Armenian Genocide,
Aram Arkun

In short, only a minority of Zeytun Armenians attempted to oppose the Ottoman government with force, against the wishes of the majority. Only a few Ottoman officials, however, openly accepted this explanation. Aleppo governor-general Celal Bey was one of them. He wrote at the end of World War I that there was no need for the deportation of the Zeytun people to Konya, as there were only a small number of military deserters, and minor incidents. It was the governor of Maraş subprovince, Ali Haydar, who gave the situation a political coloration

Most Ottoman officials, like Cemal Pasha, averred that the Zeytun Armenians were in revolt, and were collaborating with the enemy

Though Minister of the Interior Tâlât Pasha expressed his satisfaction to the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople sometime in March 1915 that the Zeytun population had joined Ottoman state forces against the army deserters,154 he declared on March 29 to the German ambassador in Constantinople that he believed that foreign agitators had had a hand in the recent Zeytun events.155 Tâlât in his telegrams, public statements, and later memoirs portrayed the Zeytun Armenians as a community participating in a general Armenian uprising in collaboration with foreign powers, and this is how mainstream Ottoman and Turkish historiography continues to portray them

Aside from the question of why Armenians were still being sent to Konya province after April, the broader issue is how government officials in disparate and distant parts of Asia Minor knew to send Armenian deportees to Konya, and what this implies about any possible planning and organizational process.

Second, some sort of decision seems to have been reached regarding Zeytun by February 1915, as evidenced by several warnings of the Aleppo governor-general Celal to Catholicos Sahag.160 Furthermore, a knowledgable Armenian priest related after the war that a Cilician merchant had been warned in mid-February of a deportation decision which concerned Zeytun, Dörtyol, Hajin, and Adana, and probably other parts of Cilicia

On February 28, 1915, Cemal Pasha wrote to Enver from Jerusalem that, among other things, troops were ordered to remove Armenians from the areas in which they lived in Aleppo province—meaning, though not specifying, Zeytun first of all—in order to prevent an imminent Armenian rebellion.
The Armenians of Zeytun were not deported until April, and those of Dörtyol, after the males were placed into forced labor battalions, in May.167 Why was there this time lag
Deportations as reactive or part of broader plan?


Hilmar Kaiser (2010) Regional resistance to central government policies:
Ahmed Djemal Pasha, the governors of Aleppo, and Armenian deportees in the spring and summer
of 1915, Journal of Genocide Research

the first deportations were initiated locally
and not by the central government. Moreover, later deportations met often with resistance
by provincial and military authorities who followed own their agenda. Consequently,
theses suggesting long-term genocidal planning and its coherent execution at all levels of
government empire-wide need to be revised.

The time between the Zeitun affair and the end of September has been called the
‘first phase’ of the Armenian genocide. Allegedly, a secret CUP conference passed
the decision for genocide in March 1915 and set into motion a process that would
bring about the destruction of the Ottoman Armenian communities

The case of Zeitun, however, demonstrates that no prior planning existed to
replace the local Armenians with Muslim settlers. Far from being part of a
central government scheme, the limited settlement of Muslim refugees was the
result of local initiatives. It was implemented without the prior consent of the
central authorities, without budgetary allocations, and against some objections
of the Ministry of Interior. The fate of the Armenian deportees from Zeitun and
other places demonstrates an absence rather than the existence of preparations.
Coordination and planning entered the picture in May and June 1915. It was a
response to the ensuing chaos along the deportation routes and in the destination
areas. The incoming reports, like those from Aleppo, forced the central authorities
to implement some degree of coordination while insisting on pushing through at
any cost the deportation scheme, which they had now adopted. The provincial offi-
cials’ concerns about the well-being of deportees were secondary at best for Talaat
and his associates in Constantinople. The central government used some of the
consequences of the unfolding human disaster caused by the deportations to
further its policies against Armenian communities. Thus, Armenian orphans
were targeted for assimilation instead of allowing them to stay with relatives or
their communities.

Djelal and Bekir Sami Beys opposed parts of the central government’s policies.
They delayed deportations, sought to alleviate the fate of deportees, and even tried
to stop the entire deportation programme at least temporarily. Far from being the
simple tools of Talaat and the CUP, both governors dared to challenge the government’s
policy even in their official communications. The true extent of their
dissent went, however, beyond that and was occasionally revealed during their
meetings with Western representatives. Both governors shared information and
were aware that the information would be used by embassy staff to lobby the
Ottoman government.

It has to
be emphasised that in general, the correspondence between central and provincial
authorities does not suggest that racism had been a prominent ideological motive
for the deportations. While racist thinking was not unknown in 1915, it did not
signify that racist thoughts and anti-Armenian atrocities were necessarily
linked. On the contrary, a man who entertained racist notions at times stood up
against the central authorities and pleaded for Armenians. Bekir Sami was probably
a racist; he was, however, not willing to engage in acts of genocide

Ahmed Djemal Pasha was the supreme authority within the 4th Army area and
made sure that this was understood by the civil authorities. If there ever was a
secret CUP conference passing a decision on the deportations, CUP leader
Ahmed Djemal had failed to learn about it. He had his own ideas about settlement
areas, the execution of deportations, the provisioning and reimbursement of deportees
and, most importantly, also on their protection. Briefly put, he advocated
some deportations and even initiated some others, but wanted to have them organized
in a way that did not mean destruction. His orders for the protection of
deportees were not empty words, as prominent CUP operatives found out when
they were convicted by a 4th Army court martial and executed

Authors claiming a widespread Armenian conspiracy in 1915 causing the CUP
to embark on its destructive deportation programme have similarly failed to
account for the historic record. Neither the military nor the civil authorities
within the 4th Army region managed to detect the imagined rising, wide-spread
conspiracy, or dangerous threat. It did not exist and they informed their superiors
accordingly. Ahmed Djemal bluntly stated that political and social reasons were
the causes of the deportation programme. While such statements might be understood
as supporting notions of demographic engineering, the commander saw the
measure as being a temporary one, limited to the duration of the war. He was either
unaware of or opposed to the Ministry of Interior’s more long-term planning. In
the spring and summer of 1915, the latter’s intentions were, however, followed
up with belated planning. The deportations did not start when the long awaited
‘opportunity’ arose and no long-time anticipated programme was set into
motion. As the evidence shows, the CUP started a deportation programme
without extensive prior planning or preparation.

This article exposed fundamental differences of opinion of policy at the highest
level of Ottoman political, civil and military leadership during World War I

refutes the idea of a unified or monolithic CUP or that of a dominant group within
the CUP that could overcome resistance within its ranks at will.

Within the 4th
Army’s region, opposition against the destructive impact of the deportation programme
was not the domain of isolated mavericks. Instead it was a coherent
policy implemented and, when necessary, reinforced. Ahmed Djemal received sufficient evidence from other areas to know that conditions and policies existing
there were atrocious. He lobbied Talaat to bring about change in those locations. However, neither he nor the two governors did stop onward deportations to these
areas thereby allowing deportees to be sent to what would most likely mean their destruction. Thus, at times collaboration and resistance were close neighbours.

Nevertheless, Armenian survival depended more on the intervention of Djemal
than on all Western humanitarian or political efforts. The case of the 4th Army cannot be taken as being representative for other Ottoman armies. It shows, however, that the notion of an empire-wide genocide of Ottoman Armenians perpetrated
by a unified CUP is untenable


Creating a Modern "Zone of Genocide": The Impact of Nation- and State-Formation on Eastern Anatolia, 1878-1923 - M. Levene 01/01/1998

The persistence of genocide or near-genocidal incidents from the 1890s
through the 1990s, committed by Ottoman and successor Turkish and Iraqi states against Armenian, Kurdish, Assyrian, and Pontic Greek communities
in Eastern Anatolia, is striking

the creation of this "zone of genocide" in Eastern Anatolia cannot be understood
in isolation, but only in light of the role played by the Great
Powers in the emergence of a Western-led international system

The emergence of competing nationalisms in Eastern Anatolia has been inextricably
linked to the parallel emergence of a modern international political and economic
system dominated by the Western powers.

Armenians and Kurds were thus used at Sevres as temporary props to bolster
Allied interests, particularly the British interest in Mosul.116
But the real tragedy
lies in the degree to which they and others fell into the trap. Their nationalism had
been inspired, encouraged, and in part created by the Great Powers in order, Arnold
Toynbee believed, "to salvage something from the wreck of their own grand
schemes." He continues: "The victims . . . caught in order to be exploited . . . could
not resist the bait . . . they did not suspect how quickly pawns in distress become an
embarrassment, or how little the players care if they disappear from the board."1

Once the ephemeral props of Sevres had been unceremoniously removed, a post-Ottoman genocidal order underwritten by the West was, in effect, confirmed.

Kemal's mass murders, as those of his predecessors, were soon ignored,
excused, or even justified. As early as 1926, Americans could write that Turkey "is
now a homogeneous nation, but to achieve this homogeneity it was necessary for her
to drive out the Armenians and the Greeks... . Whether it was right or wrong .. .
peace now reigns within her borders."

What is clear, however, is that zones of genocide are created when traditional,
multi-ethnic societies are subject to outside pressures in ways that impede and ultimately
cancel out paths of pluralist accommodation. The faction at the Young Turk
Liberal Congress of 1902 that rejected the idea of a decentralized Empire, including
some element of ethnic autonomy, and went on to become the kernel of the CUP,
did so because they perceived that if they were to build an independent modern state
which could effectively reassert sovereignty throughout its entire area, this could be
achieved only in a zero-sum fashion that excluded any alternatives

The linkage between
the social and ethnic composition of the empire and the realities of an emerging
global, but Western-dominated economic and political system, could be said to
have been made at this decisive point.

In both Turkish and Russian cases, an implicit if paradoxical goal was to
cancel out the disparity between themselves and the dominant global players. In both
instances, their achievement was predicated on transforming society into a homogeneous
and streamlined instrument. Turkish nationalists, like Russian Bolshevists, already
had a mental conception of their model human being for this purpose

Modern genocide, in conclusion, is developmental. United States Ambassador
Henry Morgenthau and his consular officials in this region were mistaken when they
argued that the CUP's extermination of the Ottoman Armenians would return the
country to the Middle Ages.140
On the contrary, the party's seizure of the commercial
and industrial assets of murdered Armenians was part of a conscious effort to facilitate Turkey's drive to modern nation-statehood.

y adopting a Western formula
of nationalism, the leaders of post-Ottoman Turkey punched their way towards modern
nation-statehood and sovereign independence. Western states reciprocated not
only by recognizing the state, but by entering into national political arrangements
with it which, in turn, were cemented by economic ones

The fact that Turkey had
torn up the official rules in the process and taken a series of "accelerated" shortcuts,
including genocide, were conveniently ignored

Their predilection for pan-Turan—a vast state that would link all Turkishspeaking
peoples both in and outside the Ottoman Empire—was a mirror image of
pan-Germanism or pan-Slavism.5S
In returning to a mythical Turkish tribal genesis,
they proposed to strip themselves of all the elements which had diluted the unique
nature of the historic Turkish mission. By recovering the nation, made up of authentic,
warrior Turks, one also rediscovered the ingredients with which to transform the
empire into an entity which could truly compete with the West on military, political,
and technological terms. No wonder so many of these young Turcophiles also looked
to Japan and Germany as their models par excellence


Leo Kuper, UN and genocide

"For all practical purposes,"
even the United Nations will defend the right of "the sovereign territorial state ... to
commit genocide" within its own territorial boundaries


STACEY GIBSON (2003) The role of structure and institutions in the genocide
of the Rwandan Tutsi and the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, Journal of Genocide Research

It is suggested by this
study that, in pluralized societies, the occurrence of total genocide depends largely
on the level of legitimacy acquired by governing institutions and the acceptance
of these institutions by the dominant elite. The institutions in question are those
that had been put into place for the purposes of improving conditions within the
state which had been rapidly deteriorating due to economic decline and various
other forms of crisis. In this respect, the institution of government acts as an
intervening variable between the societal structure in place, as well as the
particular crises which occur, and the outcome of genocide.

The evidence outlined above suggests that in both cases, despite any differences
between Rwanda and the Ottoman Empire, the intent to destroy a long-despised
minority group came about largely as a result of the introduction of relatively
“foreign” governing institutions into a society marked by rigid social structures.
Institutions helped to pave the way for genocide by fueling the discontent of
extremists. These extremists, and all others adhering to their xenophobic ideology,
did not in either case accept the legitimacy of the new institutions which
had been created following the advent of certain crises, economic or otherwise.

These representative institutions lacked an effective
sponsor, which is a factor considered by Jacoby as being necessary for their
survival. The only sponsors these institutions had were relatively powerless
groups within each society against whom the deck was heavily stacked against them

the move towards democracy in each case had the unfortunate result of allowing extremists the ability for
greater involvement in the governing process and the means with which to get
their xenophobic message to the public.

The governing institution that was installed following the Young Turk
revolution of 1908 met with a similar fate as that in Rwanda. It was a system
which had been designed to allow for the greater protection of the few remaining
minority groups left within the Empire, restored the 1876 Constitution and also
allowed for the participation of minorities within government. However, the fact
that one of the groups now enjoying greater rights and freedoms was the
Armenian minority did not bode particularly well for many of the Turkish elite.

Due to the greater infiltration of extremist adherents to “Pan Turkism” within
the governing structure, any progress which the new regime had been making
towards improving conditions within society was effectively ground to a halt.


Vahakn N. Dadrian (1999) The determinants of the Armenian genocide,
Journal of Genocide Research, definition of genoicde

genocide may be said to represent the confluence of four major
determinants: (1) the history of a protracted conflict, (2) critically disparate
power relations, (3) the opportunity structure, and (4) an attempt at a radical
resolution of the conflict through organized and massive violence.


Vahakn N. Dadrian (1999) The determinants of the Armenian genocide,
Journal of Genocide Research

overriding, role
that a monolithic, political party played in its overall enactment. The significance
of this fact is that the state is seen here playing a subsidiary or ancillary role as it is reduced to a manipulable instrument of party ideology and party policy. Theability of such a party to succeed in the genocidal initiative is inextricably
interwoven with not only the party structure in general, but with the secretive,
conspiratorial component of that structure, in particular.

Another striking feature
of the case under review is the disparity of the power relations between victimand
victimizer-group; counterposed to the overwhelming power of the latter is
the apparent and near-total powerlessness of the former.

perpetrator groups.
The deliberate and systematic release of bloodthirsty criminals from the
prisons of the empire is reflective of the resolve of the perpetrators to be
optimally effective through mercilessness


Vahakn N. Dadrian (1999) The determinants of the Armenian genocide,
Journal of Genocide Research, Armenia-Holocaust comparison

most overriding feature of the Armenian genocide, i.e. the decisive role of a monolithic, political
party in the conception, decision making, organization and implementation of the
Armenian genocide. A parallel role played by the Nazi party in the enactment
of the Jewish Holocaust is sufficiently relevant and significant to warrant a brief
juxtaposition of the two cases in terms of this single common denominator,
namely, the overriding genocidal role of monolithic, political parties.

t the focus of attention should be shifted from states to political parties capable of displacing state power and substituting
for it party power and leverage

in order to examine and comprehend the overt as well as covert aspects of both genocides it is necessary to examine the leadership, ideology,
structure, and inner workings of the two political parties that, in fact, became
substitutes for the governments they supplanted and usurped

Ittihadist operatives, agents, and killer-band leaders were sworn
party loyalists and felt hardly any obligation to the state. Their oath included the commitment that should they ever reveal a party secret or disobey a command
of the central authorities of the party they would be targeted for destruction.

Informal authority has
optimal scope for exercise, because, unlike a state organization, it does not have
to observe fixed or preordained rules and regulations. Precisely for this reason,
it can afford to be irresponsible and dispense with the need for accountability to
established and legitimate authorities

The Third
Reich of the Nazis was administered and controlled by a network of Gauleiters,
all of whom were devoted—if not fanatic—party luminaries. The entire system
of internal security, police, intelligence, and the rest was run by select and
trusted party zealots

As in the case of the Nazis, so in the case of
the Ittihadists, a system of adroitly arranged rewards elicited a high level
of compliance from party members to requests and commands that were such as to compromise the integrity of the latter, reduce their capacity for compunction,
and obviate guilt feelings. When guilt is shared with fellow partisans within the
context of pressing party desiderata, inhibitions tend to attenuate themselves and guilt feelings are more or less smothered. There arise so-called emergent norms that elicit from the party faithful a deviant form of conformity

To sum up, in the course of the genocides under review here, the state
organizations in the Third Reich and the Ottoman Empire were almost reduced
to irrelevance as the Nazis and the Ittihadists gained optimal control of these

The target population of the Armenian genocide—as well as of the Jewish Holocaust—largely became a victim of the
resulting coercive interplay of these two types of authority. In other words, when informal authority overwhelms formal authority, given the existing secret agendas of the former, it does not necessarily supplant the latter but is reinforced
by it for operational, functional efficiency.


A Theoretical Inquiry into the Armenian Massacres of 1894-1896 - Robert Melson 1982

In the case of the sultan, the evidence is not conclusive but it is suggestive.
First, massacre was not a new policy in the area. Massacre had been used
against Christians before, most notably in Bulgaria, and it had been used
against Armenians even before the period 1894-96. Thus the regime may
have been well aware of the retardant features of massacre before that time

tradiction. The
sultan, and indeed the Ottoman system as a whole, could not, at one and the
same time, accomodate both the Armenian renaissance, with its implications
of Armenian equality, and the millet system, with its implications of Muslim

As we have seen, the sultan was not prepared to move in the
direction of genuine equality

Our study suggests three propositions or lessons and one corollary which
may apply to other cases of massacre:
1. A communal group may appear to the establishment as being threatening enough
to massacre not because of what that group intends to do or does but because of
the ideology of those who feel threatened by it or because of changes in the
context in which it is being perceived.
2. No matter how small or inoffensive it really is, a communal group may appear as
being threatening enough to massacre if it appears that it is linked with an
external power dangerous to the ruling class or to the state.
3. In culturally plural societies undergoing the rigors of rapid change, upwardly
mobile communal groups are likely to generate intergroup tensions. The more steep and rapid a group's ascent-from alien or pariah to elite status-the sharper
the reaction against it. In cases where traditional elites are losing their grip on power or have already lost it, the rapid rise of low-status communal groups can lead to violence, including massacre

must recognize that the threat derives not just from geographical location but
from an alleged connection between the group and an external enemy of the
state. In the Armenian case, the enemy was Russia. In the Jewish case under the Russian empire, it was the influence of the West. In the Jewish case under the Nazis, it was Soviet communism or the Western powers, depending upon which external force was felt to be most threatening at the particular time

dy, it is striking that
the Armenian massacres of 1894-96 occurred not when Armenian peasants
lived out an isolated, backward, and obscure existence in the eastern vilayets
but when they experienced a renaissance

In all the cases cited above, the ruling elites suffered a period of disintegra
tion and decline. Massacre was used not in an effort to eliminate communal
groups from society but to restore an old order

Pragmatic repression???

genocide may be too broad an option
because it eliminates a communal group from the social structure when the
goal may be only to halt its progress or reduce its status. Conversely, police
repression may be too narrow an option. The arrest of leaders and the destruc
tion of political parties may not serve to slow the progress of a communal
group in the economic, cultural, social, and political spheres. Forced emigra
tion, though it has been used successfully by Vietnam in recent years, may not
be a possibility because it may create unmanageable international tensio


Truth in Telling: Reconciling Realities in the Genocide of the Ottoman Armenians - RONALD GRIGOR SUNY 2009

The workshop process reached an unexpected climax when Turkish scholars in
Turkey decided to hold their own conference on "The Ottoman Armenians during the Era of Ottoman Decline" in May 2005. Spearheaded by several veterans of
WATS and sponsored by three leading Istanbul universities—Bosphorus, Sabanci,
and Bilgi—the conference was abruptly postponed by its organizers the day before
it was to open because of an aggressive campaign of "pressure, threats and slander."
The minister of justice, Cemil £igek, had pronounced that holding the conference
would be tantamount to stabbing Turkey in the back

There may be no escape from the political aspects of setting the record straight
on any genocide, and the Armenian Genocide has been the exemplary victim of
deliberate, sustained falsification. Historians are implicated in these politics no matter how faithfully they attend to the obligations of their craft

For historians, who have done so much to construct the past with which each nation now lives, the task of reconstruction has become imperative. Essentializing the other as irremediably evil leads to endless repetition of the debilitating conflicts and deceptions of the last century.
the last century.

At present, the histories preferred by most Armenians and nd Turks remain embedded in their respective nationalist master narratives, which
portray the other people as perpetrator and their own as victim. Yet the simplicities
of national myths, themselves the handiwork of historians as well as politicians, must
continually be challenged by more critical historical work, so that "realities" created
instrumentally to defend particular power and knowledge structures can be replaced
by shared, subversive narratives that move us beyond nationalism toward truer un