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Title: Why Armenia Should Be Free - Armenia's Role in the Present War
Author: Pasdermadjian, G. (Garegin)
Language: English
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Armenia's Rôle in the Present War

[Illustration: DR. G. PASDERMADJIAN (Armen Garo)]


Armenia's Rôle in the Present War



Ex-Deputy from Erzeroum in the Ottoman Parliament
Former Commander of the Second Battalion of the Armenian
Volunteers on the Caucasian Front
Representative in America of Armenian National Council of the

With an Introduction by George Nasmyth, Ph. D.

Former President of the Central Committee of the International
Federation of Students
Secretary of the Massachusetts Joint Committee
for a League of Free Nations


Hairenik Publishing Company

Written at Washington, D. C., October, 1918.
All Rights Reserved

Published, December, 1918

The Blanchard Printing Co.
Boston   Massachusetts.



INTRODUCTION                                                           1

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE                                                   5





   COLLAPSE                                                           34


CONCLUSION                                                            42


Armenia has become a touchstone of victory in the great war for freedom
and humanity.

If Armenia is granted national independence it will mean that in the
making of the peace treaty the forces of democracy and human progress
have triumphed over the forces of imperialism and short-sighted
reaction. It will mean that in the future the rights of the small
nations are to be recognized as well as those of the great. It will mean
that international justice is to be the foundation of the new world
order. The triumph of the principle that is involved will mean that the
war has been won because its moral aims have been achieved.

But if the Armenians were to be thrust back under the yoke of Turkey, it
would mean that injustice, massacre and atrocity are to be permanent
features of the world of the future. It would mean that the
justice-loving nations of the world will prepare for inevitable
conflicts that are to come. It would mean that the war which was fought
to end war has been lost.

National independence for Armenia will mean that the old order of secret
intrigue and orthodox diplomacy has given way to a new order of open
democratic diplomacy, based on the self-determination of nations and the
principles of international justice. It will mean that the peace which
ends this war will be a democratic peace, a peace of the peoples, a
peace that will last. It will mean that imperialistic aims, secret
treaties and selfish greedy interests have given way before the
conception of a world organized for righteousness and permanent peace.

National independence for Armenia will mean that the Balance of Power,
which has always considered the subject nations of Turkey as mere pawns
in a diplomatic game, has been replaced by a League of Free Nations
opening the way towards a world federation and the parliament of man. It
will mean that the old chaos of international anarchy is to be replaced
by a new world order in which peoples and nations shall be free to live
their own lives, to speak their own language, to worship in their own
religion and to develop their own civilization, in the fullest
friendship and democratic co-operation with the other free nations of

National independence for Armenia is a touchstone of victory because it
will mean that mankind has come to recognize that there is a moral law
in the world, which applies to nations as well as to individuals. It
will mean the overthrow of imperialism, militarism and the philosophy of
force. It will mean an invaluable extension of the principle of
democracy in the world. It will mean that the way will be open to
develop the great highway between Europe and Asia amid political
conditions of a stable and durable peace. It will mean that mankind can
proceed to cultivate again the valleys of the Tigris and the Euphrates
and that once more after centuries of desolation this region will become
one of the garden spots of the earth.

What should be the boundaries of the new Armenian nation? I have before
me Stanford's Linguistic Map of Europe, a map based upon the most
careful scientific research and conscientious scholarship. This map
shows the area in which the Armenian speaking population is dominant as
extending to Adana and Alexandretta on the Mediterranean, almost to the
Black Sea near Trebizond, to Tiflis in the Caucasus Mountains and to
Lake Urmia near the western boundary of Persia on the East.

At the edges this Armenian territory shades over into regions occupied
by Turks and Kurds. In the interest of international justice and
permanent peace in the future, the boundaries of the new Armenia ought
to be extended as far as the Armenian race extends as an important
element of the population, because the Armenians have proved their
capacity for self-government even under the almost impossible conditions
of Turkish misrule, while Turks and Kurds have again and again proved
incapable of governing themselves, much less of governing others. The
hope for toleration of racial minorities, which is the indispensable
condition for peace in areas of mixed population, would be many times
greater in a government by the Armenians than in a government by Turks
and Kurds.

Armenia is a touchstone of victory in this war because, unlike Belgium,
it lies so far beyond the range of accurate news reports and the
limelight of public opinion, that it is likely to be overlooked unless a
settlement is approached in a new spirit of international justice. The
horrors of the Armenian massacres have been so unendurable that many
people have had to try to escape from thinking about Armenia in order to
keep their sanity in the midst of such wholesale horror. But oblivion is
no remedy for the problem of Armenia and the world of the future will
not be safe for democracy or for anything else unless Armenia and the
problem which it represents is permanently solved in the Peace
Conference. I do not believe that any indemnities or annexations of
territories or any imperialistic gain of this war is worth the life of a
single American soldier, but I do believe that only by giving Armenia
its independence, by establishing the principle of international
justice, of which Armenia is a concrete example, and by creating a
League of Free Nations as the basis of the new world order, will we be
enabled to say that the sacrifices of these young men shall not have
been in vain. Thus Armenia becomes the touchstone of victory in this
great war for freedom and humanity.


DECEMBER 12, 1918.


Dr. Pasdermadjian, the author of this pamphlet, is a native of Erzeroum,
and a member of a family which, both in the past and in the present, has
been an object of barbarous persecution at the hands of the Turks. When
the Russians in 1829 captured Erzeroum for the first time, 96,000
Armenians, with the encouragement of the Russian government, left that
city and the outlying villages with the Russian army, and emigrated
towards the Caucasus, where they founded three new cities, Alexandropol,
Akhalkalak, and Akhaltsikh. Only 300 Armenian families remained in
Erzeroum, refusing to leave their homes, even in face of the Turkish
despotism. Among these was the Pasdermadjian family.

In 1872 the Turkish government had Khatchatour Pasdermadjian killed,
simply because he was a well-to-do and influential Armenian, and,
therefore, undesirable. In 1877 during the Russo-Turkish war, the
Pasdermadjian family was subjected to the basest kind of persecution by
the Turkish government, which still owes the Pasdermadjians 36,000
Turkish _liras_ ($180,000), the value of a quantity of wheat wrested
from them by the military authorities. During those same hostilities,
taking advantage of the war conditions, the Turkish government planned
to hang Haroutiun Pasdermadjian, on the ground that he was in
communication with the Russian army; but he was saved through the
intervention of the British consul. When the Russian army occupied
Erzeroum in 1878, the Pasdermadjians naturally gave a very hospitable
reception to the two Armenian Generals, Loris Melikoff and Lazareff.
After learning of the family's history, Loris Melikoff asked Haroutiun
Pasdermadjian to emigrate to the Caucasus. He promised to bring the
influence of the Russian government to bear on Turkey and to claim the
family's extensive real estate and various sums of money which the
Turkish government owed them. But Haroutiun Pasdermadjian refused the
kind offer, saying that he could not leave the country which contained
his martyred father's grave. When the Russians, in accordance with the
terms of the Berlin Treaty, were forced to evacuate Erzeroum, the Turks
came back and began anew to persecute the Pasdermadjians in every
possible way. In 1890 the Armenians of Erzeroum made a protest against
Turkish despotism, and demanded to have the reforms promised in the
Berlin Treaty carried out. The first bullet fired by the Turkish
soldiers during those disturbances was aimed at Haroutiun Pasdermadjian;
but he was saved through the heroism of a group of young Armenians. In
the massacres of 1895, the Pasdermadjians were again attacked by an
armed Turkish mob, but were saved from plunder and murder through the
stubborn resistance of all the members of the household, including the
servants. Afterwards, three members of the family, Hovhannes, Tigrane,
and Setrak, were imprisoned for a long time as revolutionists. In
reality, they were imprisoned simply because they had not allowed
themselves to be slaughtered like sheep by the Turkish mob. In February,
1915, when the present Turkish government began its organized slaughters
to eliminate the Armenians from the world, the first victim in Erzeroum
was Setrak Pasdermadjian, because he was an influential Armenian and had
had the courage several times to protest against the unlawful acts of
the government. The remnants of this numerous and ancient Armenian
family are now scattered throughout Mesopotamia.

The author of this booklet, Garegin Pasdermadjian, is the son of
Haroutiun Pasdermadjian and the grand-son of Khatchatour Efendi. He was
born in 1873, and received his elementary education at the Sanasarian
College of Erzeroum, being one of its first graduates (1891). In 1894 he
went to France and studied agriculture in the college at Nancy,
intending to return and develop the lands belonging to his family
according to the modern agricultural methods of Europe, and in that way
give a practical lesson to the Armenian peasants. He had hardly begun
his course when the great massacres of 1895 revolutionized the plans of
the younger generation of Armenian students. Out of the 26 young
Armenians at the University of Nancy, four, Sarkis Srentz, Haik
Thirakian, Max Zevrouz, and Garegin Pasdermadjian, left their studies
and returned to participate in the effort at vengeance which the
Armenian Revolutionary Dashnaktzoutiun (Federation) had decided to
organize in Constantinople. In 1896, Garegin Pasdermadjian and Haik
Thirakian, under their assumed names of Armen Garo and Hratch
respectively, took part in the seizure of the Ottoman Bank. This
European institution, with its 154 inmates and 300 million francs
($60,000,000) of capital, remained in the hands of the Armenian
revolutionists for fourteen hours as a pledge that the European
ambassadors should immediately stop the Armenian massacre in
Constantinople and give assurances that the reforms guaranteed to the
Armenians in the Treaty of Berlin should be carried out. On behalf of
the six great powers, signatories to the Berlin Treaty, the chief
interpreter of the Russian embassy, Mr. Maximoff, made a gentleman's
agreement with the young Armenian revolutionists to fulfill their
demands. Trusting to Mr. Maximoff's word of honor, the Armenians left
Constantinople. But immediately after their departure, the massacres
were resumed with more intensity, while the reforms have remained a dead
letter to this day. Such were international morals in 1895.

After these events Garegin Pasdermadjian returned to Europe to continue
his unfinished studies. Mr. Hanoteau, however, the French foreign
minister at that time, would not allow the Armenians who had been
connected with this affair to remain in France, so young Pasdermadjian
went to Switzerland and studied the natural sciences at the University
of Geneva. In 1900 he completed his course and received the degree of
Doctor of Science. Unable to return to Turkish Armenia, as was his
desire, Dr. Pasdermadjian went to the Caucasus and settled at Tiflis in
1901. There he opened the first chemical laboratory, for the purpose of
investigating the rich mines of that region.

National events, however, prevented him from pursuing his research work.
Having been a member of the responsible body of the Armenian
Revolutionary Dashnaktzoutiun (Federation) since 1896, he took part in
all the movements which aimed to protect the moral and physical well
being of the Armenian people from Turkish and Russian despotism. For
example, in 1905, when the Caucasian Tartars, with the approval of the
Russian government, began to massacre the Armenians in divers parts of
the Caucasus, Dr. Pasdermadjian became a member of the Committee created
by the Armenian Revolutionary Dashnaktzoutiun (Federation) to organize
defence work among the Armenian people. In November of the same year,
when the Armeno-Tartar hostilities began right in Tiflis, under the very
nose of the Russian administration, he was entrusted with the command of
the Armenian volunteers to protect Tiflis and its environs. During the
seven-day struggle which took place in the streets of Tiflis, 500
Armenian volunteers faced nearly 1400 armed Tartars, and drove them back
with heavy losses.

The situation in the Caucasus was almost normal, and Dr. Pasdermadjian
and his idealistic colleagues were about to resume their main
object,--to carry arms and ammunition from the Caucasus to the Turkish
Armenians in order to prepare them for self-defense,--when the Turkish
revolution came in 1908. The Armenians in Erzeroum, as well as the party
to which he was a member, telegraphed to Dr. Pasdermadjian and strongly
urged him to become their candidate in the coming elections for
Representative to the Ottoman Parliament. After seven years of
professional studies, Dr. Pasdermadjian had been able to create for
himself in the Caucasus a life fairly prosperous financially. He had
just secured the right to develop a copper mine, and was about to work
it in partnership with a large company. His business required that he
should stay in the Caucasus to continue his successful enterprise, but
he yielded to the moral pressure of his comrades and left his personal
affairs to go to Constantinople as a deputy from Erzeroum.

During his four years in Constantinople as a deputy, Dr. Pasdermadjian
devoted his entire time to better the economic conditions of the
Armenian vilayets, and especially worked for the railroad bill, of which
he was the real author, but which was known to the public as Chester's
bill. Its main object was to build railroads as soon as possible in
those vilayets of Armenia which were considered to be Russia's future
possessions. For that reason neither France nor Germany wished to
undertake it, lest they should arouse the enmity of Russia. Another
fundamental object was to build those lines with American capital, which
would make it possible to counteract the Russo-Franco-German policies
and financial intrigues, for the benefit of the Armenian people. But in
spite of all his efforts, Dr. Pasdermadjian was unable to overcome the
German opposition in Constantinople, although, as the outcome of the
struggle in connection with that bill, two ministers of public works
were forced to resign their post. Both of the ministers were absolute
German agents under the name of Turkish ministers. It may also be worth
mentioning that during his four years at Constantinople as a deputy from
Erzeroum, at three different times, Talaat Bey (who became the butcher
of the Armenian people in 1915), on behalf of the "Committee of Union
and Progress," offered the portfolio of public works to Dr.
Pasdermadjian, as the most competent man for the post. Dr.
Pasdermadjian, however, refused these proposals, for the simple reason
that he did not wish to compromise in any way with the leaders of the
Turkish government, as long as they continued their chauvinistic and
anti-Armenian policy.

In the parliamentary elections of 1914, the "Committee of Union and
Progress" used every means to defeat the election of Dr. Pasdermadjian
in Erzeroum. On account of this attitude of the Turks, all the Armenian
inhabitants of the Erzeroum vilayet refused to take part in the last
elections. This intense opposition of the Turks to the candidacy of Dr.
Pasdermadjian was due to the fact that he had taken too active a part in
1913 in the conferences held for the consideration of the Armenian
reforms, and especially because, while parliamentary elections were
going on in Turkish Armenia during April, 1914, he was in Paris and
Holland, as the delegate of the Armenian Revolutionary Dashnaktzoutiun
(Federation), to meet the inspectors general who were invited to carry
out the reforms in Turkish Armenia.

In the autumn of 1914, a month and a half before the beginning of
Turco-Russian hostilities, Dr. Pasdermadjian went to the Caucasus on a
special mission, and joined the committee which had been appointed by
the Armenian National Council of the Caucasus to organize the Armenian
volunteer movement. In November of the same year, when the Russo-Turkish
war had begun, he accompanied the second battalion of the Armenian
volunteers, as the representative of the executive committee of Tiflis,
to prepare the local inhabitants of Turkish Armenia for self-defence, as
the Russian army was about to advance into the captured territories of
that country. On November 14 the second battalion of the Armenian
volunteers engaged in battle for the first time, near Bayazid, with the
Turkish soldiers and the Kurds. In the course of a bloody combat which
lasted twenty-four hours, Dro, the brave commander of the battalion, was
seriously wounded, and Dr. Pasdermadjian was forced immediately to take
his place. From that day to March of the following year, he remained at
the head of that battalion, and led it into eleven battles in the
neighborhood of Alashkert, Toutakh, and Malashkert, until Dro recovered
and returned to resume the command. In the summer of 1915, Dr.
Pasdermadjian (again as a representative of the executive committee of
Tiflis) went to Van. He was there when the people migrated en masse to
the Caucasus (when the Russian army was forced to retreat to the old
Russo-Turkish frontiers) and shared their untold hardships.

In the spring of 1917, when the Russian Revolution turned all the
defence work of the Caucasus up-side down, Dr. Pasdermadjian, with Dr.
Zavrieff, was sent from the Caucasus to Petrograd to negotiate with the
temporary Russian government concerning Caucasian affairs. From
Petrograd he left for America in June of the same year as the
representative of the Armenian National Council of Tiflis and as the
special Envoy of His Holiness the Catholicos of all the Armenians, to
lay before the American public and government the sorrows of the
Armenian people with the view of winning their sympathy and protection
for the indisputable rights of Armenia. He is still acting in that
capacity with all the energy at his command. His last effort has been
the preparation of this pamphlet, in which the reader will find a part
of these biographical facts under his assumed name of Armen Garo.

A word or two more about this booklet, which has been written in the
nick of time.

The critical days in the spring of this year are over, and the complete
victory of the Allies and of the United States has been won. "The day is
not very far," in the words of the writer, "when ... the representatives
of all the nations of the world,--guilty or just,--are to receive their
punishment or reward...." It is the purpose of this pamphlet to
demonstrate beyond any shadow of doubt, with most authentic facts, that
Armenia has fulfilled her duty to the allied cause in full measure (and
suffered untold sacrifices in doing so), and, therefore, is entitled to
her just claims as an Independent Armenia.

One other purpose the writer had in view in writing this booklet: to
make the great and generous American public realize that Armenians are
not an anaemic and unaggressive people, with no fighting blood in their
veins; that the Armenians have not been butchered like sheep, but, on
the contrary, have fought most bravely and resisted most stubbornly the
savage attacks of the Turks whenever they had an opportunity.

If the translation can possibly convey the spirit of the original, the
sustained eloquence and suppressed emotion with which the author pleads
the cause of his unfortunate but brave people, should be intensely
effective because they are not mere words, but are based on actual,
real, undeniable facts, and are the expression of a soul wholly
dedicated to a sacred cause.

A. T.

Cambridge, Mass.
December, 1918.


"The interest of the weakest is as sacred as the interest of the

New York, Sept. 27, 1918.

[Illustration: A seventy-year old Armenian priest leading the volunteers
to the battlefield.]


In the early days of August, 1914, when civilized nations took up arms
against the German aggression, only three of the smaller nations of
Europe and the Near East had the courage, from the very first days of
the war, to stand by the Allies without any bargaining or dickering, and
they still stand at their posts on the ramparts, in spite of the immense
sacrifices they have already made.

The first member of this heroic triad was brave Serbia, which was the
first victim of Austrian aggression, and whose sons, after four years of
heroic struggle, are about to regain their lost native land. The second
member was little Belgium, whose three weeks of heroic resistance
delayed the German advance of 1914 and enabled gallant France to crown
with success the historic battle of the Marne. The third member of this
heroic triad was the Armenian people, who for four years and without an
organized government or a national army, played the same role in the
Near East by preventing the Turco-German advance toward the interior of
Asia as the Belgians played in the West by arresting the march of
Germany toward Paris. The Armenians, however, paid a higher price to the
God of War than either the Belgians or the Serbs. Out of four and
one-quarter millions of Armenians living in Turkey and Russia at the
beginning of the war, scarcely three millions remain at the present
time. What were the conditions under which the Armenians sided with the
Allies, and why were they forced to bear so great a sacrifice for their


In the beginning of this world conflagration, in 1914, both the Russian
and the Turkish governments officially appealed to various Armenian
national organizations with many promises in order to secure the active
participation of the Armenians in the military operations against each
other, the principal stage of which would be Armenia itself. Both
Turkey and Russia were very anxious to win the co-operation of the
Armenians, because, judging from their past experience, they were
convinced that without such co-operation they would not be able to
accomplish the much desired military successes on the Armenian plateau.

With such aims in view, Russia, through Count Varantzoff Dashkoff,
informed the Armenian National Council (then in existence at Tiflis)
that if the Armenians would unreservedly give their support to the
Russian armies during the course of the war, Russia would grant autonomy
to the six Armenian vilayets. The Russian Armenians, however, through
bitter experience, knew very well what little practical value could be
attached to the promises of Russian Czarism. During the course of the
19th century at three different times the Russians had made similar
promises to the Armenians when they waged war with Turkey and Persia,
and, although the self-sacrificing co-operation of the Russian Armenians
enabled the Russians to capture the districts of Elizavetpol, Erivan and
Kars in 1806, in 1828, and again in 1878, at the end of these wars their
flattering promises to the Armenians were promptly forgotten. But this
time the Armenians thought that Russia was not alone; the two great
liberal nations of the West, France and England, were her Allies. After
long and weighty consultation, with their hopes pinned on France and
England, the Armenians resolved to aid the Russian armies in every
possible way.

While Russian diplomacy was in the midst of these diplomatic
negotiations at Tiflis, during the last days of August, 1914, a Turkish
mission of twenty-eight members (the object of which was to organize a
Pan-Islamic and a Pan-Turanian movement among all the races of the Near
East against Russia and her Allies) left Constantinople for Armenia. The
leaders of that mission were Omar Nadji Bey, Dr. Bahaeddin Shakir, and
Lieutenant Hilmy, all of them very influential members of the "Committee
of Union and Progress." The mission included representatives of all the
Eastern races, such as the Kurds, Persians, Georgians, Chechens,
Lezgies, Circassians, and the Caucasian Tartars, but not the Armenians.
During those same days the annual Congress of the Armenian National
Organization was in session at Erzeroum. In the name of the Turkish
government the above mentioned mission appealed to the Armenian
Organization with the following proposition:

[Illustration: Armenians of Van defending themselves against the Turkish
and Kurdish raids in 1915. The volunteers in their trenches.]

     "If the Armenians,--the Turkish as well as the Russian
     Armenians--would give active co-operation to the Turkish armies,
     the Turkish government under a German guarantee would promise to
     create after the war an autonomous Armenia (made up of Russian
     Armenia and the three Turkish vilayets of Erzeroum, Van, and
     Bitlis) under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire."

The Turkish delegates, in order to persuade the Armenians to accept this
proposal, informed them also that they (the Turks) had already won the
co-operation of the Georgians and the Tartars, as well as the
mountaineers of the northern Caucasus, and therefore the noncompliance
of the Armenians under such circumstances would be very stupid and
fraught with danger for them on both sides of the boundary between
Turkey and Russia. In spite of these promises and threats, the executive
committee of the Dashnaktzoutiun (Federation) informed the Turks that
the Armenians could not accept the Turkish proposal, and on their behalf
advised the Turks not to participate in the present war, which would be
very disastrous to the Turks themselves. The Armenian members of this
parley were the well-known publicist, Mr. E. Aknouni, the representative
from Van, Mr. A. Vramian, and the director of the Armenian schools in
the district of Erzeroum, Mr. Rostom. Of these Mr. Aknouni and Mr.
Vramian were treacherously killed a few months later for their audacious
refusal of the Turkish proposals, while Mr. Rostom luckily escaped the
murderous plots against his life.

The bold retort of the Armenians to the Turkish proposal mentioned
above, intensely angered the Turks, and from that very day the
extermination of the Armenians was determined upon by the Turkish
government. And in reality, arrests and persecutions within the Armenian
vilayets began in the early part of September, 1914, a month and a half
before the commencement of the Russo-Turkish war. The speed of the
persecutions gained greater momentum as the months rolled by and tens of
villages in different parts of Armenia were subjected to fire and sword.
In the district of Van alone, during February and March of 1915,
twenty-four villages were razed to their foundations and their
populations put to the sword. Early in April of the same year, they
attempted the massacre of the inhabitants of the city of Van as well,
but the Armenians took up arms, and, guided by their brave leader, Aram,
defended their lives and property for a whole month, until the Armenian
volunteers from Erivan with Russian soldiers came to the rescue and
saved them from the impending doom. This resistance on the part of the
inhabitants of Van gave the Turkish government a pretext to deport in
June and July of the same year the entire Armenian population of Turkish
Armenia, with the pretended intention of transporting them to
Mesopotamia, but with the actual determination to exterminate them. Out
of the million and a half of Armenians deported, scarcely 400,000 to
500,000 reached the sandy deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia, and most of
these were women, old men, and children, who were subjected in those
desolate regions to the mortal pangs of famine. More than a million
defenceless Armenians were murdered at the hands of Turkish soldiers and
Turkish mobs. The gang of robbers, headed by Talaat and Enver, resorted
to this fiendish means to eliminate the Armenian question once for all,
because the Armenians had had the courage to oppose their Pan-Turanian
policies. The barbarities of Jenghiz Khan and Tamerlane pale in
comparison with the savageries which were perpetrated against the
Turkish Armenians in the summer of 1915 during this wholesale massacre
organized by the Turkish government. Mr. Morgenthau, who was the
American ambassador at Constantinople during those frightful months, has
proclaimed all these atrocities by his authentic pen to the civilized
nations. This was the price which the Armenian people paid within the
boundaries of Turkey for refusing to aid the Turco-German policies.

Now let us see what positive services from a military point of view this
same martyred people rendered to the allied cause on both sides of the
Turco-Russian boundary line.


In order to have an adequate comprehension of the events which took
place on the Caucasian front, it would be well to bear in mind that all
the peoples of Trans-Caucasia, including the Armenians, felt great
enmity toward the government of the Czar, whose treatment of them in the
past had been very tyrannical and very brutal. For this very reason, the
Turco-German propaganda had easily won the sympathy of nearly 3,000,000
Tartars and 2,000,000 Georgians. The dream of the Tartars was to join
the Ottoman Turks and re-establish the old great Tartar Empire, which
was to extend from Constantinople to Samarkant, including all the lands
of the Caucasus and Trans-Caspia, while the Georgians, through their
alliance with the Turco-Germans, hoped to regain their lost independence
in the western Caucasus. Only the 2,000,000 Armenians of the Caucasus
were not influenced by the Turco-German propaganda, although they hated
the Russian despotism as much as their neighbors. But, on the other
hand, having very close acquaintance with the psychology of the Turkish
race and with their ulterior aspirations, the Armenians had the
political wisdom and courage to put aside their petty quarrels with
Russian Czarism and throw in their lot with the allied cause.

[Illustration: Armenian volunteers of the Caucasus taking the oath of
allegiance administered by the church dignitaries before leaving for the
battlefield in October, 1914.]

These were the circumstances under which the mobilization of 1914 took
place in the Caucasus. The Armenian reservists, about 160,000 in number,
gladly responded to the call, for the simple reason that they were to
fight the arch enemy of their historic race. Besides the regular
soldiers, nearly 20,000 volunteers expressed their readiness to take up
arms against the Turks. The Georgians, on the other hand, answered the
call very reluctantly, and the Armenian-Georgian relations were greatly
strained from the very beginning. The attitude of the Armenians toward
the despotic Russian government was incomprehensible to the Georgians,
who thought that, because the Armenians sided with Russia,--the
oppressor of all the Caucasian races,--they must be unfriendly to the
Georgians. Many Georgian young men crossed the border from Batoum, went
to Trebizond, and prepared bands of volunteers under the leadership of
Prince Abashizé in order to aid the Turks. As to the Tartars, not being
subject to call, they assumed the role of spectators on the one hand,
and on the other used every means to arm themselves, impatiently
awaiting the arrival of the Turks. The great land-owners of the
provinces of Erivan, Elizavetpol, and Baku began to accumulate enormous
stores, and prepare a huge reserve of sugar and wheat. The price of one
rifle, which was 100 rubles ($50), rose to 1500 rubles ($750). Through
Persia, the Germans took to the Caucasus great sums of money in order to
push forward the task of arming the Tartars from the very first days of
the war. Great numbers of young Tartars went to Persia and joined the
Turkish armies. And all this was carried on in broad daylight under the
very eyes of the short-sighted Russian bureaucracy.

The Russian administration of the Caucasus was more concerned with the
Armenian "danger" and had no time to pay attention to the Georgians and
the Tartars. Was it not a fact that officially no Georgian or Tartar
question was placed on the diplomatic table, whereas the Armenian
question was there? And for that very reason, before the commencement of
the Russo-Turkish hostilities, the second and third army corps of the
Caucasian army, the majority of which were Armenians, were transferred
to the German front and were replaced by Russian army corps. Moreover,
out of the 20,000 Armenian volunteers who responded to the call, only
7,000 were given arms; the authorities objected that they had no rifles
ready, while a few months later the same administration distributed
24,000 rifles to the Kurds in Persia and in the district of Van. It is
needless to say that all the Armenian officers and generals were
transferred to the Western front; only one Armenian general was left as
a specimen on the entire Caucasian front, General Nazarbekoff, and he
was transferred to Persia, away from the Armenian border. Under these
trying conditions commenced the Russo-Turkish war and the
Armenian-Russian co-operation on the Caucasian front in the autumn of
1914. But, in spite of this suspicious and crafty attitude assumed by
the Russian administration, the Armenian inhabitants of the Caucasus
spared nothing in their power for the success of the Russian armies. In
the three main unsuccessful Turkish offensives the battalions of
Armenian volunteers played a great role. Let us now see just what took
place during those offensives.


Commanders of Armenian volunteers; Keri, of the 4th battalion; Hamazasp,
of the 3rd battalion, and Vartan, of the regiment of Ararat.]

The first serious Turkish offensive took place in the beginning of
December, 1914, when Enver Pasha attempted to reach Tiflis by shattering
the right wing of the Russian army. The Turkish "Napoleon" was anxious
to connect his name with that great victory which seemed certain to his
puny brain. And with that very purpose in view he boarded Goeben, the
German cruiser, and left Constantinople, amid great demonstrations. He
reached Erzeroum in three days, thanks to the German automobiles which
were ready for him at different stops between Trebizond and the
frontier. The offensive was planned with great care, and had great
chances of success if all the three wings of the Turkish army had
reached their objectives on time. Enver had under his command three army
corps--the ninth, the tenth, and the eleventh. The ninth army corps was
to advance toward Ardahan by way of Olti and from there to march on
Tiflis by way of Akhalkalag, when it should receive word that the tenth
army corps had already captured Sarikamish and cut off the retreat of
the Russian army of 60,000 men; while the eleventh army corps was to
attack the centre of the Russian army near the frontier. The ninth army
corps, in three days and without difficulty, reached Ardahan, where the
local Moslem inhabitants assisted it in every possible way. The tenth
army corps, during its march from Olti to Sarikamish, suffered a delay
of twenty-four hours in the Barduz Pass, due to the heroic resistance of
the fourth battalion of the Armenian volunteers which made up the
Russian reserve. This delay of twenty-four hours enabled the Russians to
concentrate a sufficient force around Sarikamish (which had been left
entirely undefended) and thereby force back the ninth corps of the
Turkish army. The Turks were so certain of the success of their plan
that they had no transports with them and no extra supply of provisions.
Opposite Sarikamish, where a battle was waged for three days and three
nights, the Turks suffered a loss of 30,000 men, mostly due to cold
rather than to the Russian arms. But if the Turkish army corps had
reached Sarikamish twenty-four hours earlier, as was expected, it would
have confronted only one battalion of Russian reserves, and that without
artillery. This was the invaluable service rendered to the Russian army
by the fourth battalion of the Armenian volunteers under the command of
the matchless Keri. Six hundred Armenian veterans fell in the Barduz
Pass, and at such a high price saved the 60,000 Russians from being
taken prisoners by the Turks. This great service of the Armenians to the
Russian army was announced at the time by Enver Pasha himself, when he
returned to Constantinople immediately after his defeat. From that time
on the government at Constantinople laid the blame of its defeat at the
door of the Armenians, as a preliminary step in its preparation for the
execution of its already-planned massacres of the Armenian people.

After their defeat at Sarikamish, the Turks attempted in April of 1915
to turn the extreme left wing of the Russian army by marching to Joulfa
through Persia, and from there (in case of success) moving on to Baku,
with the hope that the Tartar inhabitants of the eastern Caucasus would
immediately join them and enable them to cut the only communicating
line of railroad of the Russians, and thereby force the entire Russian
army to retreat toward the northern Caucasus. The work of the
intelligence department of the Turks was very well organized, especially
as the Tartar and Georgian officers of the Caucasus rendered them
invaluable services. The Turks knew very well that the Russians in
Persia at that time had only one brigade of Russian troops under the
command of the Armenian General Nazarbekoff and one battalion of
Armenian volunteers scattered throughout Salmast and Urmia, while their
own army was made up of one regular and well-drilled division of troops
(sent especially from Constantinople) under the command of Khalil Bey
and nearly 10,000 Kurds. Khalil Bey with his superior forces captured
the city of Urmia in a few hours (taking prisoner nearly a thousand
Russians) and victoriously marched on Salmast. Here took place one of
the fiercest battles between the Armenians and the Turks. The first
battalion of the Armenian volunteers, under the command of the veteran
Andranik, strongly enforced in its trenches, repulsed the attacks of
Khalil Bey for three days continuously, until the Russians, with the
newly-arrived forces from the Caucasus, were able to put to flight the
army of Khalil Bey. Thirty-six hundred Turkish soldiers lay dead before
the Armenian trenches in the course of those three days.

In that very month of April, while Khalil Bey was confidently
attempting, as we have seen, to surround the left wing of the Russian
army in Persia, over in Van the Armenians had taken up arms in
self-defence, and for one whole month were fighting another division of
Turkish troops and thousands of Kurds until the first days of May, when
three other battalions of Armenian volunteers, under the command of
General Nikolaeff, came to the rescue, riding a distance of 250
kilometers (155 miles)--from Erivan to Van--in ten days. For one who is
acquainted with the local conditions, it is an undisputed fact that if
the Armenians of Van in April, 1915, by their heroic resistance had not
kept busy that one division of regular Turkish troops and thousands of
Kurds, and had made it possible for them to join the army of Khalil Bey,
the Turks undoubtedly would have been able to crush the Russian forces
in Persia and reach Baku in a few weeks, for the simple reason that from
the banks of the Araxes to Baku the Russians had no forces at all, while
the local Tartar inhabitants, armed and ready, were awaiting the coming
of the Turks before rising en masse to join them. From the very
beginning of the war, Baku has been the real objective of the Turks,
just as Paris has been the objective of the Germans, and that for two
reasons: first, as a fountain of wealth, the Turks knew very well that
the Russian government received from the oil wells of Baku an annual
income of more than 200,000,000 rubles ($100,000,000), a sum which is
more than all the revenues of the bankrupt Turkish government put
together, and they looked upon these financial resources as
indispensable for the accomplishment of their plan of a Pan-Turanian
Empire; second, because the very plan of their Pan-Turanism had been
introduced in Constantinople after 1908 by these very Tartars of Baku.
The commanders of the Turkish forces engaged in Persia and Van--Khalil
and Jevded--understood very well why their plans failed in the month of
April, 1915; and that failure is the explanation of those frightful
massacres which took place on the plains of Bitlis and Moush in June of
the same year, when the armies of the same Khalil and Jevded, defeated
in Persia and Van, were forced to retreat under the pressure of the
Armenian volunteers.

[Illustration: ANDRANIK

The commander of the first battalion of Armenian Volunteers]

The third Turkish offensive took place early in July, 1915. This time
the Turks, with all their available forces--eleven divisions of regular
troops, again under the command of Khalil Bey--attacked the very center
of the Caucasian army. In a few days they re-occupied Malashkert,
Toutakh, and the greater part of the plains of Alashkert. During one
week the center of the Russian army retreated more than 100 kilometers
(62 miles) leaving behind the district of Van entirely unprotected, and
in danger of being surrounded at any moment. If the Turks had had one or
two more divisions of troops at their service in those days, they would
have been able very easily to take prisoners the entire fourth army of
the Russian left wing and cut off their way of retreat. In order to
escape from this dangerous situation, the Russian left wing was forced
to retreat hastily toward the Russian frontier and sent a part of its
forces to aid the central army. Only at the end of July did the Russian
army, having received aid from its left wing, and under the leadership
of the Armenian General Nazarbekoff, succeed in forcing back the Turks
to their former line. These were the conditions under which nearly
150,000 Armenian inhabitants of the district of Van were compelled to
leave all their property at the mercy of the enemy's fire and flee
toward Erivan.


It is true that the battalions of Armenian volunteers took no active
part in the battles of July, for they were then in the district of Van
and undertaking the heavy duty of rear guard work for the Russian army
and the Armenian refugees. But the Turkish Armenians behind the front,
who were being deported and massacred as early as the month of July, by
their heroic resistance, occupied the attention of four Turkish
divisions and tens of thousands of Kurds just at the time when the Turks
had such great need of those forces to aid them in their July drive. It
is worth while, therefore, to point out here that, during the
deportations and massacres of 1915, whenever the Armenians had any
possible means at all of resisting the criminal plans of the Turkish
government, they took up arms and organized resistance in different
parts of Armenia.

Even before the deportations had begun, toward the latter part of 1914,
the Turkish government cunningly attempted to disarm the Zeitunians, the
brave Armenian mountaineers of Cilicia, who had taken up arms against
the Turkish government at three different times in the nineteenth
century, and each time had laid down their arms only on the intervention
of the European powers, believing that they would put an end to the
Turkish barbarities. This time the government filled the prisons with
the prominent Zeitunians and persuaded the young warriors to surrender,
promising to set them free if they did so. After accomplishing its
deceitful plan, the government put to death most of the young men,
deported the inhabitants, and made the mouhajirs from Balkans inhabit
Zeitun, even changing the name of the place to Soulaymania, in order to
erase the memory of those brave mountaineers. A group of warriors,
however, found means to take up their arms, climb the mountains, and
fight the Turkish soldiers. They are still free, and live among the
mountains of Giaur Dagh. In the following year the inhabitants of
Suediah were the first to defend themselves against the Turks. In April,
when the Turkish government ordered the Armenian peasants of Suediah to
leave their homes and emigrate toward Der-El-Zor, the inhabitants of
four or five villages, nearly 5,000 in number, refused to obey this
unlawful order of the Turkish government. With their families they
climbed the Amanos mountains and for forty-two days heroically resisted
the cannonading of the regular Turkish forces. Their situation was of
course critical. The desperate villagers sewed a large red cross on a
white sheet to inform the fleet of the Allies in the Mediterranean that
they were in danger. The French cruiser, Guechène, got in touch with the
Armenian peasants, informed its war department of the situation, and
obtained permission to remove them by transports to Port Said (Egypt).
Most of them are still there, cared for by the British, while the young
warriors went to join the French Oriental Legion, and fought on the
Palestine front under General Allenby.

[Illustration: Turkish cannons captured by the Armenians of Van in
April, 1915.]

The resistance at Van has already been spoken of. The next place of
importance must be given to the brave mountainous district of Sasoun,
that very Sasoun which had retained its semi-independent position in
Turkish Armenia up to the beginning of the last century, and had taken
up arms at three different times in the present generation to defend its
independence against the Ottoman troops--in 1894, in 1904, and again in
1915. This last time, toward the end of June, when the troops of Khalil
and Jevded began to lay waste with fire and sword the city of Moush and
the unprotected villages of the outlying district, the gallant
Sasounians, under the guidance of their two idealistic leaders, came
down from their mountains and made several raids on the city to drive
away the Turks. One of their leaders was Roupen, a self-sacrificing and
highly educated young man who had received his university training in
Geneva, Switzerland, and had shouldered his gun in 1904 and had
dedicated himself to the task of defending Sasoun. The name of the other
was Vahan Papazian (a native of Van, but educated in Russian
universities), who had been elected representative from Van to the
Ottoman parliament. This daring step on the part of Sasoun forced the
Turkish commanders to march on Sasoun with two divisions of troops and
with nearly 30,000 Kurds. From the first days of July to Sept. 8, the
Sasounians were able to resist the Turco-Kurdish attacks, always with
the hope that the Russian army would come to their assistance. During
that interval of time, the Sasounians sent several couriers to the
Russian army and asked for help, but the Russian commanders remained
indifferent, in spite of the fact that the extreme front line of the
Russian army was scarcely 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from Sasoun, and
the sound of the Turkish artillery aimed at the Sasounians could be
heard very distinctly by the Russian army. One of the commanders of the
Armenian volunteers, Dro, appealed to the Russian commander and asked
for one battery of cannon and a score or two of machine guns, which
would have enabled his men to break the Turkish front and join the
Sasounians. That request likewise was refused by the heartless
commanders of despotic Russia. These were the conditions under which
fell the historic Verdun of Armenia, heroic little Sasoun which, with
its 10,000 mountaineers, succeeded in facing 50,000 Turks and Kurds for
two months, with antiquated weapons and without adequate food or

Making all due allowance for the relative magnitude and importance of
the Near Eastern and the Western fronts, we may safely say without
exaggeration that Van and Sasoun, on the Caucasian front in the year
1915, played exactly the same role which Liege played in 1914 and Verdun
in 1916 on the Western front. Had it not been for these two points of
stubborn resistance against the Turkish troops in the summer of 1915,
the two Turkish offensives, already spoken of, would have had great
chances of success. This is an undisputed fact with all the inhabitants
of the Near East. And indeed, three months after these events, when the
Armenian volunteers together with the Russian troops recommenced their
drive and captured the cities of Moush and Bitlis, in the diary of a
Turkish officer, who was taken prisoner in Bitlis, was found the
following item, which appeared at the time in the Russian press:

     "We are asked why we massacre the Armenians. The reason is quite
     plain to me. Had not the Armenians fought against us, we should
     have reached Tiflis and Baku long ago."

In addition to Van and Sasoun, during the same July when deportations
and organized massacres were going on, three other places might be
mentioned where hopeless attempts at resistance were made by the
Armenians against the savage Turks and Kurds. These places were Sivas,
Urfa, and Shabin-Karahissar. At Sivas the heroic resistance of Mourat
and his comrades and their escape were so full of thrilling events that
they have been likened to the adventures of Odysseus. Mourat is a brave
warrior who, together with his companion, Sepouh, had fought at Sasoun,
in 1904, and had taken part in the Armenian and Tartar clashes of 1905
and 1906 in the Caucasus. When deportations and massacres commenced in
1915, Turkish gendarmes were sent to capture Mourat, who was living with
his wife and child in a village near Sivas. Realizing the coming danger,
Mourat climbed the mountains with his band of warriors and resisted the
raids of the enemy. After a year and a half of stubborn resistance, he
descended one day to the shore of the Black Sea, captured a Turkish
sail-boat near Samsoun, and, putting his comrades into it, ordered the
Turkish sailor to steer the boat toward Batoum, a Russian port.
According to cable messages, Mourat was chased by a Turkish gun-boat.
Several battles took place in which he lost a few of his men, but
finally repulsed the Turks and reached Batoum safe and sound. At Urfa
the Armenians were able for forty days to repulse the attacks of one
Turkish division, but finally fell heroically under the fire of Turkish
artillery, commanded by German officers, having previously destroyed all
their property so that it would not fall into the hands of their
enemies. In the ruined Armenian trenches at Urfa, by the side of
Armenian young men there had fallen dead also Armenian young women who,
arms in hand, were found all mangled by the German bombs. At
Shabin-Karahissar, nearly 5,000 Armenians, for twenty-seven days without
interruption, in the same month of July, kept busy another division of
Turkish troops with their artillery. There took place one of the most
tragic and heroic episodes of the present war. When the ammunition of
the Armenians was almost gone, on the last day of the struggle, nearly
3,000 Armenian women and girls drank poison and died in order not to
fall alive into the hands of the savage Turks. If the supply of poison
had not given out, all the women would have done likewise. An
eye-witness, one who had taken part in the struggle and who succeeded in
reaching the Caucasus in 1916, after wandering in the mountains and
valleys of Armenia for a whole year, related how on that last day
Armenian mothers and girls, with tears in their eyes and with hymns on
their lips, received poison from the Armenian physicians and
apothecaries for themselves and their little ones. When the supply of
poison gave out, those who were unable to obtain any uttered terrible
wailing, and many of the girls cast themselves down from the rocks of
the Karahissar citadel and committed suicide.

[Illustration: DRO

The commander of the second battalion of Armenian volunteers.]

These events reveal the following facts: first, that in spite of all the
precautions which the Turkish government employed to disarm the
Armenians before carrying out its fiendish design, the Armenians found
means to organize in the four corners of Armenia hopeless but serious
plans of resistance against the swords of their enemy; second, that in
order to eliminate these Armenian points of resistance during the summer
of 1915, five Turkish divisions and tens of thousands of Kurds were kept
employed, and were unable to add their immediate co-operation in those
very days to the other Turkish forces engaged in their two offensives on
the Caucasian front. These were the positive services which the martyred
Armenian people rendered to the allied cause in the Near East. Their
active resistance to the Turco-German plans, however, cost the Armenians
more than one million men massacred under the most savage conditions,
and the deprivation of their means of livelihood in Turkish Armenia.
But, to complete the description of the Armenian Calvary, it is
necessary to picture also in a few words the attitude assumed by the
government of the Russian Czar toward the very Armenian people whose
active participation on Russia's side enabled the Caucasian front to
repulse the Turkish attacks in 1914 and 1915, and, moreover, to
accomplish definite successes during the following year, 1916.


As we have already mentioned, from the beginning of the war the Russian
bureaucracy tried on the one hand by various false promises to win over
the sympathy of the Armenians, while on the other it tried by every
means to keep the Armenian military forces away from the Caucasian
front. Only seven battalions of Armenian volunteers were kept on the
Caucasian front. As we have already seen, those few battalions even, in
1914 and 1915, rendered to the Russians invaluable services, twice
saving the right and left wings of the Russian army from an unavoidable
catastrophe by their heroic resistance; but the Russian official
communiqués do not contain one line in which the battalions of Armenian
volunteers are even mentioned. The same silence was maintained by the
Russian communiqués concerning the heroic resistance of the Armenians at
Van, and with regard to the assistance which the Armenian volunteers
rushed to that city. This was the policy of the government of Russian
Czarism from the beginning of the war to the end of its existence,--to
avoid in every way speaking about the Armenians and Armenia. The
Russian press was even forbidden to speak about the massacres carried on
in Turkish Armenia at the hands of the Turkish government. Therefore,
when the capture of Erzeroum in 1916 made the immediate co-operation of
the Armenian volunteers unnecessary to the Russians, the
commander-in-chief of the Caucasian army at the time, Grand Duke Nicolas
Nicolaevitch, ordered the disbanding of all the battalions of the
Armenian volunteers. Besides this amazing treatment of the Armenian
military forces, the Czar's government removed from the Caucasus before
the war all the Armenian officers and replaced them by generals
(manifestly anti-Armenian in spirit) from the Russians, Georgians, and
other Caucasian races. The object of this move was to enable the
government to check the national aspirations of the Armenians, and to
give it a plausible opportunity at the end of the war to take over the
Armenian vilayets without gratifying the demands of the Armenians for

[Illustration: The civilian Armenians of Urfa who defended themselves
against the Turks and the Kurds in July, 1915.]

From the third month of the war, it became clear to us that the Russian
government pursued unswervingly its Lobanoff-policy toward the
Armenians. What was that policy? In 1896, when an English correspondent
interviewed the Russian minister of foreign affairs, Count Lobanoff
Rostowsky, and asked him why Russia did not occupy the Armenian vilayets
of Turkey in order to save that Christian people from the Turkish
massacres, the Russian minister cynically replied: "We need Armenia, but
without the Armenians." It is worth while, then, to give here a few
actual facts which reveal this fiendish policy pursued by the Russian
government toward a people which was the only one of all the peoples of
the Caucasus and the Near East to help the Russian army by its
unreserved co-operation, and which was the only factor that saved the
Caucasian front from an unavoidable catastrophe in 1914 and 1915.

ONE. Every time that the Russian army was forced to retreat from the
recaptured parts of Turkish Armenia, no precautionary measures were
taken in order to save the local Armenian inhabitants from the
inevitable massacres. For example, in December, 1914, when the Turks
advanced as far as Sarikamish and Ardahan and forced the central Russian
army to retreat from the neighborhood of Alashkert and Bayazid, the
commander of the local forces, General Abatzieff (an Acétine Moslem who
had joined the Greek church) strictly ordered the local Armenian
inhabitants, nearly 32,000 in number, not to stir from their places, and
in order to have his command accurately carried out he placed mounted
Cossack patrols in the plains of Alashkert lest the Armenian peasants
should emigrate toward the Russian frontier, in which direction the
Russian army with its transports had already been moving since December
13. Three days later the second battalion of the Armenian volunteers,
which had been fighting in the first-line positions for over two months
under the command of the same general, returned to the army headquarters
for a well-earned rest, and there only it heard about the serious
happenings already mentioned, and the extraordinary attitude assumed by
the Russian general. The Armenian peasants from every side appealed to
the Armenian volunteers with tears in their eyes and begged to be saved
from an inevitable massacre. The commander of the Armenian volunteers,
Armen Garo, and his brave assistant, Khetcho, who died like a hero in
July, 1915, on the shores of Lake Van, went immediately to General
Abatzieff and asked him to revoke his order and permit the Armenian
inhabitants to move with the army toward Igdir. The hostile general
refused their request, his answer being that, if the people stirred from
the place, he would be unable to remove the army transports soon enough.
When he heard this answer, Armen Garo immediately telegraphed to Igdir
and appealed to the commander-in-chief of the fourth army, General
Oganowsky, and in touching words asked for his intervention. On the
following day only, thanks to the intervention of General Oganowsky, the
Armenian volunteers received permission to organize the retreat of the
Armenian inhabitants of the plains of Alashkert toward Igdir and to
defend them from the attacks of the Kurds. During the seven days that
the retreat lasted the Armenians lost only 400 persons, and most of
those on account of the severe cold. Another example of this hostile
treatment of the Armenians by the Russian authorities might be
mentioned,--the retreat from the Van district in July, 1915. There
General Nikolaeff for eight continuous days deceived the Armenian
leaders and made them remain idle (telling them every day that he would
not retreat under any circumstances, and that therefore it was entirely
needless to remove the people), until behold, one day, July 18, he
suddenly sent for the mayor of Van, Aram, and the commander-in-chief of
the Armenian volunteers, Vartan, and informed them that he had received
orders to retreat immediately, but in order to make it possible for the
people to prepare for departure, he would wait until the 20th of the
month. Thus the Armenian leaders were forced to remove in two or three
days nearly 150,000 people of the Van region, and if those three
battalions of Armenian volunteers had not been there to protect the
people from Kurdish and Turkish raids, the loss of life during the
journey would have been tenfold more than it actually was. Whereas, if
the Russian general had not been so deceitful in his behavior but had
given an opportunity of seven or eight days to organize the retreat, it
would have been possible to direct the people to Erivan without the loss
of a single life. The Armenians suffered a loss of 8,000 to 10,000 men,
women, and children during the retreat.

[Illustration: KHETCHO

The commander of the cavalry corps of the Armenian volunteers, who was
killed in July, 1915, near Bitlis.]

TWO. When Turkish Armenia was almost wholly emptied of its Armenian
inhabitants, due to these successive retreats, the Russian government
raised all sorts of barriers before the refugees to prevent them from
returning to their former homes when the Russian army recaptured the
Armenian vilayets. For example, in 1916-1917, scarcely 8,000 to 10,000
Armenians were permitted to go back and inhabit the region of Van; the
rest were compelled to stay within the borders of the Caucasus as
refugees. Toward the latter part of 1916, even among Russian
governmental circles there was talk of transferring to Siberia nearly
250,000 Turkish Armenian immigrants who had sought refuge in the
Caucasus, because it was objected that no available lands existed there
for them. Russians considered it a settled question that even after the
war the Turkish Armenians would not be permitted to return to their own

On the other hand, the same Russian bureaucracy resorted to every means
to win the sympathy of the Turkish and Kurdish inhabitants remaining in
Armenia. With that purpose in view, in the spring of 1916, on behalf of
the ministry for foreign affairs at Petrograd, Count Chakhowsky with his
own organization established himself in Bashkalé (a city in the district
of Van) and distributed nearly 24,000 rifles to the Kurds of the
neighboring regions. It is needless to say that not long after those
very rifles were used by the Kurds against the Russian army both in
Persia and Armenia. This amazing action of Count Chakhowsky was taken so
openly that it was even known to ordinary Russian soldiers, who were
extremely enraged against the Count, a fact which accounts for the
murder of the same Count Chakhowsky in Persia by Russian soldiers, when
the discipline of the Russian army was relaxed on account of the
revolution which took place in the spring of 1917.

THREE. While the Russians were preventing the Turkish Armenian
immigrants from returning to their own lands, they, in the spring of
1916, commenced to organize in Turkish Armenia colonies of Cossacks. The
Russian administration sent special propagandists to the northern
Caucasus to persuade the Cossacks living there to move to Armenia, and
during that same year 5,000 of them, under the name of agricultural
battalions, were already cultivating the plains of Alashkert, lands
which rightly belonged to the Armenians. This last act of the Russian
government was so revolting that even the liberal organs of the Russian
press complained of the government for such inhuman proceedings, while
in the Russian Duma two Russian representatives, N. Milukoff and A.
Kerensky (both of whom played such great roles the following year in the
downfall of Czarism), publicly criticised the government of the Czar for
its base treatment of the Armenians. Documentary evidence relating to
this disgraceful action of the Russian government, which incensed the
ire of prominent liberals in the Duma, may be found in the July 28,
1916, issue of the _Retch_, the organ of the Constitutional Democrats in
Russia. In order to characterize this criminal action of the Russian
bureaucracy against the Armenian people who were martyred for the allied
cause, it may be worth while also to cite the following details:

In the month of July, 1915, the Armenian inhabitants of Erzeroum, nearly
25,000 in number, were likewise deported by the Turkish government,
leaving all their real and personal property at the disposal of the
Turks. The governor of the place, Tahsin Bey, arranged a scheme by means
of which every Armenian before leaving the city could store his goods
and household furniture (with the name of the owner on each article) in
the cathedral, with the apparent purpose of returning them to their
owners after the war, but with the real purpose of preventing so much
riches from falling into the hands of the Turkish mob, in order to
appropriate them later for the government. The cathedral of Erzeroum was
packed with the goods of the exiled Armenians when the Russians captured
the city in February, 1916. Ordinary human decency demanded that the
Russians should not have touched the articles stored in that sacred
edifice, especially as they belonged to the very martyred people whose
professed sympathies for them (the Russians) were the cause of their
being exiled to the deserts of Mesopotamia. But the fact is that the
commander of the Russian army, General Kaledine himself, set the example
of desecration; he personally entered the cathedral first, and selected
for himself a few car-loads of rugs and sundry valuable articles. Then
the other officers of the Russian army followed his example, and in a
few days half of the contents of the church was already pillaged before
the representative of the Armenian Committee, Mr. Rostom, after repeated
telegrams, was able to receive an order from Tiflis to stop the plunder.
In that same summer of 1916, the Buxton brothers (representatives of the
Armenian Committee of London) and other English Armenophiles came to
Armenia. When they witnessed all these disgraceful particulars they
could not believe their own eyes, so monstrous was the attitude of the
Russian government toward the Armenians. The English and American
friends of Armenia consoled them by saying that on their return they
would have the privilege of explaining this state of affairs to their
government and that they would doubtless do all in their power to
protect the rights of the Armenians. These were the circumstances under
which the Armenian people joined its fate to the allied cause from the
very beginning of the war, and, having made colossal sacrifices during
three whole years, was almost crushed to death in the claws of Turkish
and Russian despotism.

[Illustration: The mounted troops of the second battalion of Armenian
volunteers of the Caucasus, November, 1914.]

In that same sorrowful summer of 1916 the Armenians heard the news that
England, France, and Russia had signed an agreement concerning Armenia.
According to that agreement Russia was to take over the three vilayets
of Turkish Armenia, Erzeroum, Bitlis, and Van, while southern Armenia
and Cilicia were to be put under the guardianship of France. One must be
an Armenian in order to feel the depth and intensity of the bitterness
and disappointment which filled the hearts of all the wandering
Armenians from the Caucasus to Mesopotamia. Every Armenian asked himself
or herself: Was this to be our recompense?

In those very days (September, 1916) one of the agents of the German
government in Switzerland approached Dr. Zavrieff (one of the
representatives of the Armenian Committee of that place) with the
following proposal:

     "You Armenians made a great mistake when you joined your fate to
     that of the Allies. It is time for you to rectify your mistaken
     policy. Your dreams with regard to the historic Armenia are
     unrealizable. You may as well accustom yourselves to that fact, and
     before it is too late you will do better to join the fate of your
     people with the German policies, and remove the remnants of the
     Armenian people to Mesopotamia, where the Germans will put at the
     disposal of the Armenians every means which will enable them to
     create for themselves a new and a more fortunate fatherland under
     their (German) immediate protection."

In order to persuade his Armenian opponent, the German agent constantly
reminded him of the agreement (between England, France and Russia), and
especially of the hostile attitude of the Russians up to that time
towards the Armenians. The news of this German proposal reached the
Caucasus in December of the same year. It was made the subject of
serious consultation among the Armenian leaders. The writer of these
lines was present at those conferences, and his impression was this: Had
there not been that superhuman adoration (so peculiarly Armenian) which
every Armenian has for his ancestral home and recollections so
sanctified by blood, the German proposal would very likely have been
accepted by the Armenians at that psychological moment when their hearts
were overflowing with bitterness and disappointment toward the Russian
government,--a member of the allied nations. The outcome of those
conferences was that we decided to continue our former policy toward the
Entente, in spite of the base behavior of the Russians towards us, and
at the same time to invite the serious attention of our great Allies of
the west to our hopeless situation.


This was the state of affairs when there came the crash of the Russian
revolution. The heart of every Armenian was greatly relieved, thinking
that the greater part of their torments would come to an end. And in
truth, during the first few months of the revolution, the temporary
government of Kerensky made definite arrangements to rectify the unjust
treatment of the Armenians by the government of the Czar. But events
progressed in a precipitate manner. The demoralization of the Russian
troops on all the fronts assumed greater proportions as the days went
by. Foreseeing the danger which threatened the Caucasus, the Armenian
National Organization of the Caucasus, as early as April, 1917, sent to
Petrograd on a special mission Dr. Zavrieff, already mentioned, and the
writer of these lines, in order to have them obtain permission to
transfer to the Caucasus some 150,000 Armenian officers and men
(scattered throughout the Russian army), by whose assistance the
Armenians might be able to protect their own native land against the
Turkish advance. Mr. Kerensky, who was well acquainted with the abnormal
conditions reigning in the Caucasus, agreed to grant the request of the
Armenian delegates, but, on the other hand, for fear of receiving
similar requests from the other races in case he granted an order
favorable to the Armenians, he decided to fulfill our request
unofficially, that is, without a general ordinance, to send the Armenian
soldiers to the Caucasus gradually, in small groups, in order not to
attract the attention of the other races. And he carried out this plan.


The staff of the second battalion of Armenian volunteers in the Caucasus
in November, 1914.]

But unfortunately, scarcely 35,000 Armenian soldiers had been able to
reach the Caucasus by November, 1917, when Kerensky himself fell at the
hands of the Bolsheviks, and there was created a chaotic condition the
result of which was the final demobilization of the Russian army. During
December, 1917, and January, 1918, the Russian army of 250,000 men on
the Caucasian front, without any orders, abandoned its positions and
moved into the interior of Russia, leaving entirely unprotected a front
about 970 kilometers (600 miles) in length, extending from the Black Sea
to Persia. As soon as the Russian army disbanded, the 3,000,000 Tartar
inhabitants of the Caucasus armed themselves and rose en masse. Toward
the end of January last, the Tartars had cut the Baku-Tiflis railroad
line as well as the Erivan-Joulfa line, and now began to raid and
plunder the Armenian cities and villages, while behind, on the frontier,
the regular Turkish army had commenced to advance in the first days of
February. Against all these Turks and Tartars the Armenians had one army
corps made up of some 35,000 regular troops under the command of General
Nazarbekoff, and nearly 20,000 Armenian volunteers under the command of
their experienced leaders. Armenia's only hope of assistance was their
neighbors, the Georgians, who were as much interested in the protection
of the Caucasus as the Armenians were, because the Turkish demands of
the Brest-Litovsk treaty included definite portions of Georgia, as well
as of Armenia; for example, the port of Batoum. And in fact, during the
months of January and February they seemed quite inclined to help the
Armenians, but when the Turks captured Batoum on April 15 and came as
far as Usurgeti, the morale of the Georgians was completely broken, and
they immediately sent a delegation to Berlin and put Georgia under
German protection. From this time on the 2,000,000 Armenian inhabitants
of the Caucasus remained entirely alone to face, on the one hand, the
Turkish regular army of 100,000 men, and on the other hand, the armed
forces of hundreds of thousands of Tartars. From the end of February the
small number of Armenian forces commenced to retreat step by step before
the superior Turkish forces, from Erzingan, Baiburt, Khenous,
Mamakhatoun, Erzeroum, and Bayazid, and concentrated their forces on the
former Russian-Turkish frontier. Here commenced serious battles which
arrested for quite a long time the advance of the Turkish troops. It
took them until April 22 to arrive before the forts of Kars, where the
first serious resistance of the Armenians took place. The fierce Turkish
attack which continued for four days was easily repulsed by the
Armenians, owing to the guns on the ramparts of Kars.

During these events a temporary government of the Caucasus existed in
Tiflis, composed of representatives of three Caucasian races--Georgian,
Armenian, and Tartar. This Caucasian government was formed immediately
after the _coup d'etat_ of the Bolsheviks, and conducted Caucasian
affairs as an independent body. It refused to recognize the authority of
the Bolshevik government, or the terms of the Brest-Litovsk treaty
signed by its accredited delegates. The president of the government was
Chekhenkeli, a Georgian. Immediately after the capture of Batoum the
Caucasian government opened peace negotiations with Turkish delegates in
Batoum itself. The Turks, by their usual crafty tricks, persuaded the
Georgian delegates that they would return Batoum to the Georgians if
Kars surrendered without resistance. Feeling assured of this Turkish
promise, the Georgian president of the Caucasian government,
Chekhenkeli, on the night of April 25, without consultation with the
other members of the government, telegraphed the commander of Kars that
an armistice had been signed with the Turks on condition of surrendering
Kars, and therefore to give up the forts immediately and retreat as far
as Arpa-Chai. On the following day the commander of the Armenian
soldiers who were defending Kars delivered the fortress into the hands
of the Turks and retreated to Alexandropol. Then it became known that
Chekhenkeli had sent the fateful telegram on his own responsibility, but
it was already too late. This event occasioned very strained relations
between the Armenians and Georgians. Not long after, on the 26th of May,
the Georgians, assured of German protection, declared in Tiflis the
independence of Georgia. Thus the temporary Caucasian government

[Illustration: MOURAT

Who lead the volunteers at Erzingan after the Russian collapse and died
heroically in the fighting at Baku.]

After the separation of the Georgians the Armenian National Council of
the Caucasus declared Armenian independence, under the name of the
Republic of Ararat, with Erivan as its capital. While the negotiations
were going on in Batoum--always between the delegates of the Turks and
the three Caucasian races comprising the Caucasian temporary
government,--the Turkish armies, after the occupation of Kars, became
more aggressive and commenced to advance toward Alexandropol and
Karakilissa. Concentrating their forces around Karakilissa and Erivan,
early in June, the Armenians in two fierce battles drove the Turks back
almost to their frontier. In the battle of Karakilissa, which lasted
four days, the Turks left 6,000 dead before the Armenian posts, and
escaped to Alexandropol. When the Turks felt that their position in the
face of the Armenian resistance was becoming more and more hopeless and
that it would cost them dear to continue the fight, they immediately
began to make concessions. Up to that time the Turks had not yet
recognized the right of Russian Armenia to independence, their objection
being that they only recognized in the Caucasus Georgian and Tartar
countries. But when they heard the news of the last military victory of
the Armenians, on June 14, in Batoum, the Turkish delegates, together
with the representatives of the Republic of Ararat, signed the first
terms of armistice, leaving the final peace signature to the congress of
Constantinople, where the final negotiations were to take place.

The delegates of the three nations of the Caucasus reached
Constantinople on June 19. They were 32 in number. Among them were also
the representatives of the Republic of Ararat, Mr. A. Khatissoff, the
minister of foreign affairs, and Mr. A. Aharonian, the president of the
Armenian National Council. In that congress, which convened in presence
of the delegates of the German and Austrian governments, the Turks
signed peace treaties with each of the newly-formed Caucasian Republics.
It is needless to say that those treaties had as much value as that
which the Roumanian government was forced to sign a few months before by
the central powers. And, as was expected, the Turks and the Germans
rewarded the Georgians and the Tartars at the expense of the Armenians.
They gave the greater part of the Armenian territories to the other two
nations, and the remainder was claimed by Turkey, with the exception of
32,000 square kilometers (about 12,350 square miles), with 700,000
Armenian inhabitants, which were left to the Republic of Ararat.
According to these terms only one-third of the Armenians of the Caucasus
are included within the Republic of Ararat, while the remaining
1,400,000 Armenians are left in territories allotted to the Tartars or
the Georgians.

That portion of the Armenians which inhabits the mountainous regions of
Karabagh (which was assigned to the Tartars), up to this very day,
October, 1918, resists the Turco-Tartar hordes and refuses at any price
to be subjected to the unjust terms of the treaty of Constantinople,
while beyond, the Armenians at Van, when their military forces realized
that their retreat was cut off early last May, after being sheltered for
two whole months in Van, moved toward Persia, there joined the Christian
Assyrians in the neighborhood of Urmia, repulsed for a long time the
Turkish and Kurdish attacks, and only early in September succeeded in
shattering the Turkish lines and thereby reached the city of Hamadan in
Persia, where they entrusted to the care of the British forces the
protection of about 40,000 Armenian and Assyrian refugees. In order to
complete this picture of the heroic resistance of the Caucasian
Armenians, let me say a few words more about the struggle at Baku.

As already mentioned, early in May, 1917, through the efforts of the
Armenian National Organization of the Caucasus, the Armenian soldiers
and officers scattered throughout Russia were gradually brought together
and mobilized on the Caucasian front. With that purpose in view an
Armenian Military Committee was formed in Petrograd with General
Bagradouni as president. Bagradouni was one of the most brilliant young
generals of the Russian army. He had received his military training at
the highest military academy of Petrograd, and, during Kerensky's
administration, was appointed Chief of the Staff of the military forces
at Petrograd. When the Bolsheviks assumed power they ordered him to take
an oath of loyalty to the new government. General Bagradouni refused to
do so, and for that reason he was imprisoned, with many other high
military officials. After remaining in prison two months, through
repeated appeals by the Armenian National bodies, he was freed by the
Bolsheviks on condition that he should immediately leave Petrograd.
After his release from prison, General Bagradouni, accompanied by the
well known Armenian social worker, Mr. Rostom, with 200 Armenian
officers, left for the Caucasus to assume the duties of
commander-in-chief of the newly-formed Armenian army. This group of
Armenian officers reached Baku early in March, where it was forced to
wait, for the simple reason that the Baku-Tiflis railroad line was
already cut by the Tartars. During that same month of March from many
parts of Russia a large number of Armenians gathered at Baku and waited
to go to Erivan and Tiflis in response to the call issued by the
Armenian National Council. Toward the end of March nearly 110,000
Armenian soldiers had come together at Baku.

[Illustration: Armenians valiantly defending Baku against the Tartars.

_Taken from "Asia."_]

By the 30th of March the news of German victories was spread throughout
the Caucasus by the Turco-German agents. On the same day in Baku and
other places appeared the following leaflets:

     "Awake, Turkish brothers!

     "Protect your rights; union with the Turks means life.

     "Unite, O Children of the Turks!

     "Brothers of the noble Turkish nation, for hundreds of years our
     blood has flowed like water, our motherland has been ruined, and we
     have been under the heel of thousands of oppressors who have almost
     crushed us. We have forgotten our nation. We do not know to whom to
     appeal for help.

     "Countrymen, we consider ourselves free hereafter. Let us look into
     our conscience! Let us not listen to the voice of plotters. We must
     not lose the way to freedom; our freedom lies in union with the
     Turks. It is necessary for us to unite and put ourselves under the
     protection of the Turkish flag.

     "Forward, brothers! Let us gather ourselves under the flag of union
     and stretch out our hands to our Turkish brothers. Long life to the
     generous Turkish nation! By these words we shall never again bear a
     foreign yoke, the chains of servitude."

And on the following day (March 31) from all sides of the Caucasus the
armed hordes of Tartars attacked the Armenians. The leaders of the
Tartars at Baku were convinced that they would easily disarm the
Armenian soldiers, because they were somewhat shut up in Baku, but they
were sadly mistaken in their calculations. After a bloody battle which
lasted a whole week the Armenians remained masters of the city and its
oil wells. They suffered a loss of nearly 2,500 killed, while the
Tartars lost more than 10,000. The commander of the military forces of
the Armenians was the same General Bagradouni, who, although he lost
both of his legs during the fight, continued his duties until September
14, when the Armenians and the small number of Englishmen who came to
their assistance were forced to abandon Baku to the superior forces of
the Turco-Tartars, and retreat toward the city of Enzeli in the northern

During these heroic struggles, which lasted five and a half months, the
small Armenian garrison of Baku, together with a few thousand Russians,
defended Baku and its oil wells against tens of thousands of Tartars,
the Caucasian mountaineers, and more than one division of regular
Turkish troops which had come to the assistance of the latter by way of
Batoum. Time after time the Turkish troops made fierce attacks to
capture the city, but each time they were repulsed with heavy losses by
the gallant Armenian garrison. The Armenians had built their hopes on
British assistance, since nothing was expected from the demoralized
Russian army. But, unfortunately, the British were unable to reach Baku
with large forces from their Bagdad army. Nevertheless, on August 5,
they landed at Baku 2,800 men to help the Armenians. The arrival of this
small British contingent caused great enthusiasm among the tired and
exhausted defenders of the city. But meanwhile the Turks had received
new forces from Batoum and renewed their attacks. After a series of
bloody battles the armed Armenian and British forces were forced to
leave Baku on September 14 and retreat toward Persia, taking with them
nearly 10,000 refugees from the inhabitants of the city. As to the
condition of those who were left behind, this much is certain; that on
the day the city was occupied by the Turco-Tartars, nearly 20,000
Armenians were put to the sword, the greater portion of them being women
and children. According to the news received from Persia, after that
first terrible massacre, other massacres likewise have taken place. The
number of the losses is not known; but it may safely be surmised without
any exaggeration that out of the entire 80,000 Armenian inhabitants of
Baku, all those who were unable to leave the city in time were
slaughtered by the revengeful Turks and Tartars. Thus ended the
resistance of five months and a half by the Armenians at Baku against
the Turco-Germans.

[Illustration: Young Armenian students in France, who took part in the
immortal defence of Verdun in 1916.]

The remnants of the retreating Armenian garrison of Baku, at the time of
writing, are located in the Persian city of Enzeli, where, under the
command of their heroic leader, General Bagradouni, they are
recuperating before hastening to the aid of the Armenians in the eastern
Caucasus, who, as already mentioned, up to this very day are resisting
the forces of the Turco-Tartars in the mountains of Karabagh.


The Armenians, besides battling on the Caucasian front, where they have
been fighting in their own native land, have co-operated unreservedly
with the Allies on far distant fronts, as for example on the French
front. At the beginning of the war the young Armenian students living in
France--about 900 in number--volunteered to serve in the French army for
the defence of civilization and freedom. Today, scarcely 50 of them are
alive; the majority of the 850 others gave their lives in 1916 in the
immortal defence of Verdun. This small episode in this universal drama
will not be forgotten by either France or the Free Armenia of the
future. Glory to the memory of those immortal heroes! Beyond, on another
front of the war, by an extraordinary coincidence of fate, in the deadly
blow which fell on the head of the criminal Ottoman Empire in the Holy
Land, the sons of the sorrowful people whom it had ruthlessly
slaughtered had their just share of active participation. And indeed, in
General Allenby's victorious army, which saved Palestine and Syria from
Turkish tyranny in September, 1918, by General Allenby's own testimony,
the eight battalions of the Armenian volunteers (who took part in those
battles under the French flag) were conspicuous for their bravery. In
response to a congratulatory telegram from the chairman of the Armenian
National Union of Egypt for the victories on the Palestine front,
General Allenby said: "I thank you warmly for your congratulations, and
am proud of the fact that your Armenian compatriots in the Oriental
Legion took an active part in the fighting and shared in our victory."


If we wish to condense all we have said in a few pages, we shall have
the following picture:

In 1914 both Turkey and Russia appealed to the Armenians by various
promises of a future autonomous Armenia to secure their assistance in
their respective military operations. Through their long and bitter
experience the Armenians knew very well that the imperialistic
governments of both Turkey and of Russia were opposed to their national
aspirations and therefore those promises had no value whatever. But,
realizing the universal significance of the present war, and considering
the fact that justice was on the side of the Entente, the Armenians, in
spite of their distrust of the Russian government, from the very
beginning, unreservedly bound themselves to the allied cause.

This decision of the Armenians cost them the sacrifice of more than
1,000,000 men in Turkish Armenia, and complete devastation of their
native land even in the first year of the war.

In spite of this terrible blow, the Armenians did not lose their vigor,
and, even though the autocratic Russian government, up to the time of
the Revolution, created all sorts of obstacles to impede their
activities, they still continued their assistance to the allied cause.
In bringing about the failure of the three Turkish offensives in 1914
and 1915 the Armenians gave the allied cause important armed assistance,
on both sides of the Turco-Russian frontier.

After the Russian Revolution, when, the Russian military forces fled
from the Caucasian front and left it unprotected from January, 1918, to
the middle of the following September, the Armenians were the only
people who resisted and delayed the Turco-German advance toward Baku.
Moreover, the Armenians accomplished all this with their own forces, all
alone, surrounded on all sides by hostile elements, without any means of
communication with their great Allies of the West. As an evidence of
this we may mention the fact that during the last eight months and a
half the Armenians have received from the Allies only 6,500,000 rubles
($3,250,000) of financial assistance, and the 2,800 British soldiers who
were too few and arrived too late to save Baku.

[Illustration: Armenian volunteers who fought on the Palestine front in
September and October, 1918, under the command of Gen. Allenby.]

Let us now look at the other side of the picture.

Had the Armenians assumed an entirely opposite attitude from what they
actually did; in other words, had they bound their fate in 1914 to the
Turco-German cause, just as the Bulgarians did in 1915, what would have
been the trend of events in the Near East? Here is a question to which,
it is quite possible, our great Allies have had no time to give any
consideration. But that very question was put before the Armenians in
1914, and with no light heart did they answer it by their decision to
join the Allies. Each and every one of them had a clear presentiment of
the terrible responsibility they assumed. Those millions of corpses of
Armenian women and children which spotted the plains in the summer of
1915, rose like phantoms before our very eyes in the August of 1914 when
we decided to resist the wild Turkish revengefulness and its frightful
outcome. Now, in October, 1918, when we are so close to the hour of the
final victory, and feel quite safe and certain that the heavy and gloomy
days of the summer of 1914 will never return, I shall permit myself to
picture in a few words, before I finish, that which would have taken
place if the Armenians had sided with the Germano-Turks in the Near East
from the beginning of the war.

First of all, those frightful Armenian massacres would not have taken
place. On the contrary, the Turks and the Germans would have tried to
win the sympathy of the Armenians in every possible way until the end of
the war.

On the other hand, so long as the Georgians and Tartars of the Caucasian
peoples were only too eager to co-operate with the Germano-Turks, as the
events of 1918 fully demonstrate, had the Armenians likewise joined them
in 1914, by cutting the railroads, the backbone of the Caucasian Russian
army, all the Caucasian country would have slipped out of the hands of
the Russians in a few weeks, and the Turco-Germans would have reached
Baku in the autumn of the same year. The Armenians, Georgians, and
Tartars of the Caucasus, united, would have been able to form with the
greatest ease an army of 700,000 men, by which they would have been able
to defend the Caucasian mountain-ridge against the Russians. Meanwhile,
the entire Turkish army would have been available to advance
immediately toward the interior of Asia and join the 18,000,000 Moslems
of Asiatic Russia. We may safely say, neither Persia nor Afghanistan
could have remained neutral on seeing such successful achievements by
the Turks.

In the course of such events Russia would have been compelled to remove
the greater portion of her forces to the East and would not have been
able to protect her Western frontiers as successfully as she did.
Therefore, quite probably, the Russian collapse would have taken place
in the summer of 1915, when the Germans occupied Russian Poland. On the
other hand, Great Britain would have been obliged to appropriate the
greater portion of her newly-formed land forces for the protection of
India, and would have been unable to rush as great a force to the
defence of heroic France as she actually did. Quite likely, under these
conditions, neither Italy nor Roumania would have abandoned her
neutrality, and thus the war might have ended in 1915 or 1916 with the
victory of the central Powers, at least on land.

It was as clear as day to the Armenians that a Germano-Turkish victory
could never satisfy their national aspirations. The most that those
nations would have done for us would have been to grant nominal rights
to the Armenia of their own choice. But it was very plain to us also
that we should not have suffered such frightful human losses had we not
sided with the Allies. We consciously chose this last alternative,
namely: we tied our fate to the allied victory; we exposed our very
existence to danger in order to realize the complete fulfillment of our
national ambition, that is, to see the re-establishment of the United
Historic Independent Armenia.

With our modest means, we have fulfilled our duty in full measure in
this great struggle in order to save civilization from an impending
doom. Now it is for our great Allies to act.

The day is not very far distant when, gathered around the great tribunal
of justice, the representatives of all the nations of the globe--guilty
or just--are to receive their punishment or reward from the hands of the
four distinguished champions of democracy, President Wilson, Premiers
Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, and Orlando. If the representatives
present themselves in the order of seniority, the first in the rank will
be the representative of the Armenian people--the aged Mother Armenia.
Behold! Into the Peace Congress Hall there enters an old woman, bathed
in blood, clothed in rags, her face covered with wrinkles 3,000 years
old, and completely exhausted. With her thoughtful eyes the venerable
Mother Armenia will survey the countenances of all those present, and
thus will she address the great figures of the world:

     "Century after century my sons took part in all the strifes waged
     to safeguard justice and the freedom of suffering humanity. Three
     thousand years ago my sons struggled for seven hundred years
     against the despotism of Babylon and Nineveh, which eventually
     collapsed under the load of their own crimes. Fifteen centuries ago
     the Armenians resisted for five hundred years the persecutions of
     the mighty Persian Empire to preserve their Christian faith. Since
     the eighth century my sons have been the vanguard of Christian
     civilization in the East against Moslem invasions threatening for a
     while the very existence of all Europe. If you doubt my statements,
     ask the sacred mountain of Ararat; he will relate to you how all
     the nations and empires, which attempted to possess by criminal
     means the indisputable inheritance of my sons, have received their
     just punishment.

     "Let us not go very far. Here, before you, stand the
     representatives of those three nations which tried to destroy my
     sons before your very eyes, in order to rule those parts of our
     ancestral lands, so sanctified by blood, known as Armenia. Look at
     this Turk; it was he who wished to wipe the very name of Armenia
     off the face of the map; but today, foiled in his attempt, he
     stands there like a criminal awaiting his sentence. And where is
     today the Czar of Russia, who planned to occupy Armenia without the
     Armenians,--the representative of that Empire before which the
     world trembled. And what has remained of the policies of the German
     Empire, in whose hands is the Bagdad railroad now, built at the
     cost of the blood of hundreds of thousands of Armenian women and
     children? Thus, those three modern malevolent empires, which tried
     to attain happiness through the blood of my sons, have received
     their just punishment.

     "Such will be the fate in the future of all those who shall attempt
     similar crimes against Armenia. This is the message, gentlemen,
     handed down to us through three thousand years of history.

     "I have nothing more to add. I await your verdict with confidence."

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We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.