Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Secrets of the Bosphorus
Author: Morgenthau, Henry
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Secrets of the Bosphorus" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                       SECRETS OF THE BOSPHORUS

              [Illustration: Ambassador Henry Morgenthau.

                            [_Frontispiece_
                                   ]



                            SECRETS OF THE
                               BOSPHORUS

                                  By

                      AMBASSADOR HENRY MORGENTHAU

                       CONSTANTINOPLE, 1913-1916

                        _With 19 Illustrations_

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                       LONDON: HUTCHINSON & CO.
                            PATERNOSTER ROW



                                ERRATA

                       [Corrected in this etext]


            Page 16, line 4, read “_without_” for _with_.

            Page 18, line 13, read “_Mexico_” for _Turkey_.

            Page 18, line 35, read “_Humann_” instead of _Enver_.


   PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY THE ANCHOR PRESS LTD. TIPTREE ESSEX.



                           PUBLISHERS’ NOTE


Ambassador Henry Morgenthau requires no introduction to the British
public, but the American diplomat who may with justice be termed _The
Searchlight of Truth at the Golden Horn_, and whose Reminiscences will
rank now and in years to come as historical documents of the first
importance, modestly obscures in his graphic and fascinating narrative
one fact which requires emphasising:

That by his shrewd grasp of enemy psychology, by his unswerving
impartiality, by his tact and dignity, and unflinching courage, he
frustrated again and again the evil designs and machinations of that
trio of arch-schemers and villains, Wangenheim, Talaat, and Enver,
against the Allies, and thus earned a debt of lasting gratitude from the
British people.



                                PREFACE


By this time the American people have probably become convinced that the
Germans deliberately planned the conquest of the world. Yet they
hesitate to convict on circumstantial evidence, and for this reason all
eye-witnesses to this, the greatest crime in modern history, should
volunteer their testimony.

I have therefore laid aside any scruples I had as to the propriety of
disclosing to my fellow-countrymen the facts which I learned while
representing them in Turkey. I acquired this knowledge as the servant of
the American people, and it is their property as much as it is mine.

I greatly regret that I have been obliged to omit an account of the
splendid activities of the American Missionary and Educational
Institutions in Turkey, but to do justice to this subject would require
a book by itself. I have had to omit the story of the Jews in Turkey for
the same reasons.

My thanks are due to my friend, Mr. Burton J. Hendrick, for the
invaluable assistance he has rendered in the preparation of the book.

                                           HENRY MORGENTHAU.

_October, 1918._



                               CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

I. A GERMAN SUPERMAN AT CONSTANTINOPLE                                 1

II. THE “BOSS SYSTEM” IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
AND HOW IT PROVED USEFUL TO GERMANY                                   12

III. “THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE
KAISER”--WANGENHEIM OPPOSES THE SALE OF
AMERICAN WARSHIPS IN GREECE                                           26

IV. GERMANY MOBILISES THE TURKISH ARMY                                39

V. WANGENHEIM SMUGGLES THE “GOEBEN” AND THE
“BRESLAU” THROUGH THE DARDANELLES                                     44

VI. WANGENHEIM TELLS THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR
HOW THE KAISER STARTED THE WAR                                        53

VII. GERMANY’S PLANS FOR NEW TERRITORIES, COALING
STATIONS, AND INDEMNITIES                                             58

VIII. A CLASSIC INSTANCE OF GERMAN PROPAGANDA                         62

IX. GERMANY CLOSES THE DARDANELLES AND SO
SEPARATES RUSSIA FROM HER ALLIES                                      68

X. TURKEY’S ABROGATION OF THE CAPITULATIONS--ENVER
LIVING IN A PALACE, WITH PLENTY OF
MONEY AND AN IMPERIAL BRIDE                                           73

XI. GERMANY COMPELS TURKEY TO ENTER THE WAR                           80

XII. THE TURKS ATTEMPT TO TREAT ALIEN ENEMIES
DECENTLY, BUT THE GERMANS INSIST ON PERSECUTING THEM                  85

XIII. THE INVASION OF THE ZION SISTERS’ SCHOOL                        96

XIV. WANGENHEIM AND THE BETHLEHEM STEEL COMPANY--A
HOLY WAR THAT WAS MADE IN GERMANY                                    103

XV. DJEMAL, A TROUBLESOME MARK ANTONY--AN
EARLY GERMAN ATTEMPT TO GET A GERMAN
PEACE                                                                112

XVI. THE TURKS PREPARE TO FLEE FROM CONSTANTINOPLE
AND ESTABLISH A NEW CAPITAL IN ASIA
MINOR--THE ALLIED FLEET BOMBARDING THE
DARDANELLES                                                          121

XVII. ENVER AS THE MAN WHO DEMONSTRATED “THE
VULNERABILITY OF THE BRITISH FLEET”--OLD-FASHIONED
DEFENCES OF THE DARDANELLES                                          133

XVIII. THE ALLIED ARMADA SAILS AWAY, THOUGH ON THE
BRINK OF VICTORY                                                     143

XIX. A FIGHT FOR THREE THOUSAND CIVILIANS                            153

XX. MORE ADVENTURES OF THE FOREIGN RESIDENTS                         167

XXI. BULGARIA ON THE AUCTION BLOCK                                   173

XXII. THE TURK REVERTS TO THE ANCESTRAL TYPE                         180

XXIII. THE “REVOLUTION” AT VAN                                       193

XXIV. THE MURDER OF A NATION                                         198

XXV. TALAAT TELLS WHY HE “ANNIHILATES” THE ARMENIANS                 215

XXVI. ENVER PASHA DISCUSSES THE ARMENIANS                            226

XXVII. “I SHALL DO NOTHING FOR THE ARMENIANS,”
SAYS THE GERMAN AMBASSADOR                                           240

XXVIII. ENVER AGAIN MOVES FOR PEACE--FAREWELL TO
THE SULTAN AND TO TURKEY                                             253

XXIX. VON JAGOW, ZIMMERMAN, AND GERMAN-AMERICANS                     261



                             ILLUSTRATIONS


AMBASSADOR HENRY MORGENTHAU                                _Frontispiece_

BARON WANGENHEIM, GERMAN AMBASSADOR                     _facing page_ 32

M. TOCHEFF, BULGARIAN MINISTER AT CONSTANTINOPLE                      33

“GOEBEN” IN THE SEA OF MARMORA                                        48

“BRESLAU” (_left_) AT THE GOLDEN HORN                                 49

ENVER PASHA, MINISTER OF WAR                                         112

TALAAT PASHA, GRAND VIZIER                                           112

BUSTÁNY EFFENDI, EX-MINISTER OF COMMERCE AND
AGRICULTURE                                                          113

DJEMAL PASHA, MINISTER OF MARINE                                     113

MR. MORGENTHAU AND SIR LOUIS MALLET                                  116

SIR LOUIS MALLET AND M. BOMPARD                                      116

BEDRI BEY, PREFECT OF POLICE                                         117

TALAAT AND VON KÜHLMANN                                              117

SEDD-UL-BAHR FORTIFICATION                                           144

FORT DARDANOS                                                        145

MOHAMMED V., SULTAN OF TURKEY                                        176

TCHEMENLIK AND FORT ANADOLU HAMIDIÉ                                  177

SHEIK-UL-ISLAM PROCLAIMING A HOLY WAR                                192

THE BOSPHORUS, KEY TO THE BLACK SEA                                  193



                       Secrets of the Bosphorus



CHAPTER I

A GERMAN SUPERMAN AT CONSTANTINOPLE


I am writing these reminiscences of my ambassadorship at a moment when
Germany’s schemes in the Turkish Empire and the Near East have achieved
an apparent success. The Central Powers have disintegrated Russia, have
transformed the Baltic and the Black Seas into German lakes, and have
obtained a new route to the East by way of the Caucasus. Germany now
dominates Serbia, Bulgaria, Rumania, and Turkey, and regards her
aspirations for a new Teutonic Empire, extending from the North Sea to
the Persian Gulf, as practically realised. The world now knows, though
it did not clearly understand this fact in 1914, that Germany
precipitated the war to destroy Serbia, seize control of the Balkan
nations, transform Turkey into a vassal state, and thus obtain a huge
oriental empire that would form the basis for unlimited world dominion.
Do these German aggressions in the East mean that this extensive
programme has succeeded?

As I look upon the new map, which shows Germany’s recent military and
diplomatic triumphs, my experiences in Constantinople take on a new
meaning. I now see the events of these twenty-six months as part of a
connected, definite story. The several individuals that moved upon the
scene now appear as players in a carefully staged, superbly managed
drama. I see clearly enough now that Germany had made all her plans for
world dominion and that the country to which I had been accredited as
American Ambassador was the foundation of the Kaiser’s whole political
and military structure. Had Germany not acquired control of
Constantinople in the early days of the war, it is not unlikely that
hostilities would have ended a few months after the battle of the Marne.
It was certainly an amazing fate that landed me in this great
headquarters of intrigue at the very moment when the plans of the
Kaiser, carefully pursued for a quarter of a century, were about to
achieve their final success.

For the work of subjugating Turkey and transforming its army and its
territory into instruments of Germany, the Emperor had sent to
Constantinople an Ambassador who was ideally fitted for the task. The
mere fact that Wilhelm had personally selected Baron von Wangenheim for
this post shows that he had accurately gauged the human qualities needed
for this great diplomatic enterprise.

The Kaiser had early selected Wangenheim as a useful instrument for his
plans; he had more than once summoned him to Corfu for his vacations,
and here, we may be sure, the two congenial spirits had passed many days
discussing German ambitions in the East. At the time I first met him,
Wangenheim was fifty-four years old; he had given a quarter of a century
to the diplomatic service, he had seen service in such different places
as Petrograd, Copenhagen, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico, and he had been
_chargé_ at Constantinople, several years later coming there as
Ambassador. He understood completely all countries, including the United
States; his first wife, indeed, had been an American, and Wangenheim,
when Minister to Mexico, had intimately studied our country and acquired
that admiration for our energy and progress which he frequently
expressed. He had a complete technical equipment for a diplomat; he
spoke German, English, and French with equal facility, he knew the East
thoroughly, and had the widest acquaintance with public men. Physically
he was one of the most striking persons I have ever known. When I was a
boy in Germany, the Fatherland was usually symbolised as a beautiful and
powerful woman--a kind of dazzling Valkyrie; when I think of modern
Germany, however, the massive, burly figure of Wangenheim naturally
presents itself to my mind. He was six feet, two inches tall; his huge,
solid frame, his Gibraltar-like shoulders, erect and impregnable, his
bold, defiant head, his piercing eyes, the whole physical structure
constantly pulsating with life and activity--there stands, I would say,
not the Germany which I had known, but the Germany whose limitless
ambitions had transformed the world into a place of horror. And
Wangenheim’s every act and every word typified this new and dreadful
portent among the nations. Pan-Germany filled all his waking hours and
directed his every action. The deification of his Emperor was the only
religious instinct which impelled him. That aristocratic and autocratic
organisation of German society which represents the Prussian system was,
in Wangenheim’s eyes, something to be venerated and worshipped; with
this as the ground work, Germany was inevitably destined, he believed,
to rule the world. The great land-owning junker represented the
perfection of mankind; “I would despise myself,” his closest associate
once told me, and this represented Wangenheim’s attitude as well, “if I
had been born in a city.” Wangenheim divided mankind into two classes,
the governing and the governed; and he ridiculed the idea that the upper
could ever be recruited from the lower. I recall with what unction and
enthusiasm he used to describe the Emperor’s caste organisation of
German estates; how he had made them non-transferable, and had even
arranged it so that the possessors, or the prospective possessors, could
not marry without the imperial consent. “In this way,” Wangenheim would
say, “we keep our governing classes pure, unmixed of blood.” Like all of
his social order, Wangenheim worshipped the Prussian military system;
his splendid bearing showed that he had himself served in the army, and,
in true German fashion, he regarded practically every situation in life
from a military standpoint. I had one curious illustration of this when
I asked Wangenheim one day why the Kaiser did not visit the United
States. “He would like to immensely,” he replied, “but it would be too
dangerous. War might break out when he was coming home and the enemy
would capture him.” I suggested that that could hardly happen, as the
American Government would escort its guest home with warships, and that
no nation would care to run the risk of involving the United States as
Germany’s ally; but he still thought that the military danger would make
any such visit impossible.

Upon him, upon more than almost any diplomatic representative of
Germany, depended the success of the Kaiser’s conspiracy for world
domination. This German diplomat came to Constantinople with a single
purpose. For twenty years the German Government had been cultivating the
Turkish Empire. All this time the Kaiser had been preparing for a world
war, and in this war it was destined that Turkey should play an almost
decisive part. Unless Germany should obtain the Ottoman Empire as its
ally, there was little chance that she could succeed in a general
European war. When France had made her alliance with Russia, this placed
the man-power, 170,000,000, on her side, in the event of a war with
Germany. For more than twenty years Germany had striven diplomatically
to detach Russia from this French alliance, but had failed. There was
only one way in which Germany could make valueless the Franco-Russian
alliance; this was by obtaining Turkey as an ally. With Turkey on her
side, Germany could close the Dardanelles, the only practical line of
communication between Russia and her Western allies. This simple act
would deprive the Czar’s army of war munitions, destroy Russia
economically by stopping her grain exports, her greatest source of
wealth, and thus detach Russia from her partners in the world war. Thus
Wangenheim’s mission was to make it absolutely certain that Turkey
should join Germany in the great contest that was impending.

Wangenheim believed that, should he succeed in accomplishing this task,
he would reap the reward which for years had represented his final
goal--the Chancellorship of the Empire. His skill at establishing
personal relations with the Turks gave him a great advantage over his
rivals. Wangenheim had precisely that combination of force,
persuasiveness, geniality, and brutality needed in dealing with the
Turkish character. I have emphasised his Prussian qualities; yet
Wangenheim was a Prussian not by birth but by development; he was a
native of Thuringia, and, together with all the push, ambition, and
overbearing traits of the Prussian, he had some of the softer
characteristics which we associate with Southern Germany. He had one
conspicuous quality, which is not Prussian at all--that is, tact; and
for the most part he succeeded in keeping his less agreeable tendencies
under the surface and showing only his more ingratiating side. He
dominated not so much by brute strength as by a mixture of force and
amiability; externally he was not a bully; his manner was more
insinuating than coercive; he won by persuasiveness, not by the mailed
fist, but we who knew him well understood that back of all his
gentleness there lurked a terrific, remorseless ambition. Yet the
impression left was not one of brutality, but of excessive animal
spirits and good nature. Indeed, Wangenheim had in combination the
jovial enthusiasm of a college student, the rapacity of a Prussian
official, and the happy-go-lucky qualities of a man of the world. I
still recall the picture of this huge figure of a man, sitting at the
piano, improvising in some beautiful classic theme--and then suddenly
starting to pound out uproarious German drinking songs or popular
melodies. I still see him jumping on his horse on the polo grounds,
spurring the splendid animal to its speediest efforts--never making
sufficient speed, however, to satisfy the ambitious sportsman. Indeed,
in all his activities, grave and gay, Wangenheim displayed this same
restless spirit of the chase. Whether he was flirting with the Greek
ladies at Pera, or spending hours over the card-table at the Cercle
d’Orient, or bending the Turkish officials to his will in the interest
of Germany, all life was to him a game, which was to be played more or
less recklessly, and in which the chances favoured the man who was bold
and audacious and willing to pin success or failure on a single throw.
And this greatest game of all--that upon which was staked, as Bernhardi
has expressed it, “World empire or downfall”--Wangenheim did not play
languidly, as though it had been merely a duty to which he had been
assigned; to use the German phrase, he was “fire and flame” for it; he
had the consciousness that he was a strong man set aside to perform a
mighty task. As I write of Wangenheim I feel myself affected by the
force of his personality, yet I knew all the time that, like the
Government which he served so loyally, he was fundamentally ruthless,
shameless, and cruel. He was content to accept all the consequences of
his policy, however hideous these might be. He saw only a single goal,
and, with all the realism and logic that are so characteristically
German, Wangenheim would brush aside all feelings of humanity and
decency that might interfere with success. He accepted in full
Bismarck’s famous dictum that a German must be ready to sacrifice for
Kaiser and Fatherland not only his life but his honour as well.

Just as Wangenheim personified Germany, so did his colleague,
Pallavicini, personify Austria. Wangenheim’s essential quality was a
brutal egotism, while Pallavicini was a quiet, kind-hearted,
delightfully-mannered gentleman. Wangenheim was always looking to the
future, Pallavicini to the past. Wangenheim represented that mixture of
commercialism and medieval lust for conquest that constitute Prussian
_weltpolitik_; Pallavicini was a diplomat left over from the days of
Metternich. “Germany wants this!” Wangenheim would insist, when an
important point had to be decided. “I shall consult my Foreign Office,”
the cautious Pallavicini would say, on a similar occasion. The Austrian,
with little upturned grey moustaches, with a rather stiff, even slightly
strutting walk, looked like the old-fashioned Marquis that was once a
stock figure on the stage. I might compare Wangenheim with the
representative of a great business firm which was lavish in its
expenditure and which obtained its trade by generous entertaining, while
his Austrian colleague represented a house that prided itself on its
past achievements and was entirely content with its position. The same
delight that Wangenheim took in Pan-German plans, Pallavicini found in
all the niceties and obscurities of diplomatic technique. The Austrian
had represented his country in Turkey many years, and was the dean of
the corps, a dignity of which he was extremely proud. He found his
delight in upholding all the honours of his position; he was expert in
arranging the order of precedence at ceremonial dinners, and there was
not a single detail of etiquette that he did not have at his fingers’
ends. When it came to affairs of State, however, he was merely a tool of
Wangenheim. From the first, indeed, he seemed to accept his position as
that of a diplomat who was more or less subject to the will of his more
powerful ally. In this way Pallavicini played to his German colleague
precisely the same part that his Empire was playing to that of the
Kaiser. In the early months of the war the bearing of these two men
completely mirrored the respective successes and failures of their
countries. As the Germans boasted of victory after victory Wangenheim’s
already huge and erect figure seemed to become larger and more
upstanding, while Pallavicini, as the Austrians lost battle after battle
to the Russians, seemed to become smaller and more shrinking.

The situation in Turkey in these critical months seemed almost to have
been artificially created to give the fullest opportunities to a man of
Wangenheim’s genius. For ten years the Turkish Empire had been
undergoing a process of dissolution, and had now reached a state of
decrepitude that had left it an easy prey to German diplomacy. In order
to understand the situation, we must keep in mind that there was really
no orderly established Government in Turkey at that time. For the Young
Turks were not a Government; they were really an irresponsible party, a
kind of secret society, which, by intrigue, intimidation and
assassination, had obtained most of the offices of administration. When
I describe the Young Turks in these words, perhaps I may be dispelling
certain illusions. Before I came to Turkey I had entertained very
different ideas of this organisation. As far back as 1908 I remember
reading news of Turkey that appealed strongly to my democratic
sympathies. These reports informed me that a body of young
revolutionists had swept from the mountains of Macedonia, had marched
upon Constantinople, had deposed the bloody Sultan Abdul Hamid and had
established a constitutional system. Turkey, these glowing newspaper
stories told us, had become a democracy, with a parliament, a
responsible ministry, universal suffrage, equality of all citizens
before the law, freedom of speech and of the press, and all the other
essentials of a free, liberty-loving commonwealth. That a party of Turks
had for years been struggling for such reforms I well knew, and that
their ambitions had become realities seemed to indicate that, after all,
there was such a thing as human progress. The long welter of massacre
and disorder in the Turkish Empire had apparently ended; the great
assassin, Abdul Hamid, had been removed to solitary confinement at
Saloniki; and his brother, the gentle Mohammed V., had ascended the
throne as the first constitutional sovereign of Turkey. Such had been
the promise, but by the time I reached Constantinople, in 1913, many
changes had taken place. Austria had annexed two Turkish provinces,
Bosnia and Herzegovina; Italy had wrenched away Tripoli; Turkey had
fought two wars with the Balkan states, and had lost all her territories
in Europe, except Constantinople and a small hinterland. The aims for
the regeneration of Turkey that had inspired the revolution had
evidently miscarried, and I soon discovered that four years of so-called
democratic rule had ended with the nation more degraded, more
impoverished, and more dismembered than ever before. Indeed, long before
I had arrived this attempt to establish a Turkish democracy had failed.
The failure was probably the most complete and the most disheartening in
the whole history of democratic institutions. I need hardly explain in
detail the causes of this failure. Let us not criticise too harshly the
Young Turks, for there is no question that, at the beginning, they were
sincere. In a speech in Liberty Square, Saloniki, in July, 1908, Enver
Pasha, who was popularly regarded as the chivalrous young leader of this
insurrection against a century-old tyranny, had eloquently declared
that, “To-day arbitrary government has disappeared. We are all brothers.
There are no longer in Turkey Bulgarians, Greeks, Serbians, Rumanians,
Mussulmans, Jews. Under the same blue sky we are all proud to be
Ottomans.” That statement represented the Young Turk ideal for the new
Turkish state, but it was an ideal which it was evidently beyond their
ability to translate into a reality. The races which had been maltreated
and massacred for centuries by the Turks’ could not transform themselves
overnight into brothers, and the hatreds, jealousies, and religious
prejudices of the past still divided Turkey into a medley of warring
clans. Above all, the destructive wars and the loss of great sections of
the Turkish Empire had destroyed the prestige of the new democracy.
There were plenty of other reasons for the failure; but it is hardly
necessary to go into them at this time.

Thus the Young Turks had disappeared as a positive, regenerating force,
but they still existed as a political machine. Their leaders, Talaat,
Enver, and Djemal, had long since abandoned any expectation of reforming
their State, but they had developed an insatiable lust for personal
power. Instead of a nation of nearly 20,000,000 developing happily along
democratic lines, enjoying the suffrage, building up their industry and
agriculture, laying the basis of education, sanitation, and general
progress, I saw that Turkey consisted of merely so many inarticulate,
ignorant, and poverty-ridden slaves, with a small, wicked oligarchy at
the top, which was prepared to use them in the way that would best
promote their private interests. And these men were practically the same
who, a few years before, had made Turkey an institutional State! A more
bewildering fall from the highest idealism to the crassest materialism
could not be imagined. Talaat, Enver, and Djemal were the ostensible
leaders, yet back of them was the Committee, consisting of about forty
men. This Committee met secretly, manipulated elections, and filled the
offices with their own henchmen. It had its own building in
Constantinople, and a supreme chief who gave all his time to its affairs
and issued orders to his subordinates. This functionary thus ruled the
party and the country something like an American city boss in our most
unregenerate days. The whole organisation thus furnished a splendid
illustration of what we sometimes describe as “invisible government.”
This kind of irresponsible control has at times flourished in American
cities mainly because the citizens have devoted all their time to their
private affairs and thus neglected the public good. But in Turkey the
masses were altogether too ignorant to understand the meaning of
democracy, and the bankruptcy and general vicissitudes of the country
had left the nation with practically no government and an easy prey to a
determined band of adventurers. The Committee of Union and Progress,
with Talaat Bey as the most powerful leader, constituted such a band.
Besides the forty men in Constantinople, sub-committees were organised
in all important cities of the Empire. These men met secretly,
formulated their plans, distributed the patronage, and issued orders to
their appointees, who filled nearly all the important offices. These
men, like orthodox department heads in the worst days of American city
government, “took orders” and made the appointments submitted to them.
No man could hold an office, high or low, who was not a part of this
Committee.

I must admit, however, that I do our corrupt American gangs a certain
injustice in comparing them with the Turkish Committee of Union and
Progress. Talaat, Enver, and Djemal had added to their system a detail
that has not figured extensively in American politics--that of
assassination and judicial murder. They had wrested power from the other
factions by a deed of violence. This _coup d’état_ had taken place on
January 26, 1913, not quite a year before my arrival. At that time a
political group, headed by the venerable Kiamil Pasha, as Grand Vizier,
and Nazim Pasha, as Minister of War, controlled the Government; they
represented a faction known as the “liberal party,” which was chiefly
distinguished for its enmity to the Young Turks. These men had fought
the disastrous Balkan war, and, in January, they had felt themselves
compelled to accept the advice of the European Powers and surrender
Adrianople to Bulgaria. The Young Turks had been outside the breastworks
for about six months, looking for an opportunity to return to power. The
proposed surrender of Adrianople apparently furnished them this
opportunity. Adrianople was an important Turkish city, and naturally the
Turkish people regarded the contemplated surrender as marking still
another milestone to their national doom. Talaat and Enver hastily
collected about two hundred followers and marched up to the Sublime
Porte, where the ministry was then sitting. Nazim, hearing the uproar,
stepped out into the hall. He courageously faced the crowd, a cigarette
in his mouth and his hands thrust into his pockets.

“Come, boys,” he said good-humouredly, “what’s all this noise about?
Don’t you know that it is interfering with our deliberations?”

The words had hardly left his mouth, when he fell dead. A bullet had
pierced a vital spot.

The mob, led by Talaat and Enver, then forced their way into the Council
Chamber. They forced Kiamil, the Grand Vizier--he was more than eighty
years old--to resign his post under threat of meeting Nazim’s fate.

As assassination had been the means by which these chieftains had
obtained the supreme power, so assassination continued to be the
instrument upon which they depended for maintaining their control.
Djemal, in addition to his other duties, was Military Governor of
Constantinople, and in this capacity he had control of the police; in
this office he developed all the talents of a Fouché, and did his work
so successfully that any man who wished to conspire against the Young
Turks usually retired for that purpose to Paris or Athens. The few
months that preceded my arrival had been a reign of terror. The Young
Turks had destroyed Abdul Hamid’s régime only to adopt that Sultan’s
favourite methods of quieting opposition. Instead of having one Abdul
Hamid, Turkey now discovered that she had several. Men were arrested and
deported by the score, and hangings of political offenders--opponents,
that is, of the ruling gang--were common occurrences.

The weakness of the Sultan particularly facilitated the ascendancy of
this Committee. We must remember that Mohammed V. was not only Sultan
but Caliph--not only the temporary ruler, but also head of the
Mohammedan Church. In this capacity he was an object of veneration to
millions of devout Mussulmans, a fact which would have given a strong
man in his position great influence in freeing Turkey from its
oppressors. I presume that even those who had the most kindly feelings
toward the Sultan would not have described him as an energetic,
masterful man. It is a miracle that the circumstances which fate had
forced upon Mohammed had not long since completely destroyed him. His
brother was Abdul Hamid--Gladstone’s “great assassin”--a man who ruled
by espionage and bloodshed, and who had no more consideration for his
own relations than for his massacred Armenians. One of Abdul Hamid’s
first acts, when he ascended the throne, was to shut up his
heir-apparent in a palace, surrounding him with spies, limiting him for
society to his harem and a few palace functionaries, and constantly
holding over his head the fear of assassination. Naturally Mohammed’s
education had been limited; he spoke only Turkish, and his only means of
learning about the outside world was an occasional Turkish newspaper. So
long as he remained quiescent, the heir-apparent was comfortable and
fairly secure, but he knew that the first sign of revolt, or even a too
curious interest in what was going on, would be the signal for his
death. Hard as this preparation was, it had not destroyed what was at
bottom a benevolent, gentle nature. The Sultan had no characteristics
that suggested the “terrible Turk.” He was simply a quiet, easy-going,
gentlemanly old man. Everybody liked him, and I do not think that he
harboured ill-feeling against a human soul. He could not rule his
empire, for he had had no preparation for such a difficult task; he took
a certain satisfaction in his title and in his consciousness that he was
a lineal descendant of the great Osman; clearly, however, he could not
oppose the schemes of the men who were then struggling for the control
of Turkey. In exchanging Abdul Hamid, as his master, for Talaat, Enver,
and Djemal, the Sultan had not greatly improved his personal position.
The Committee of Union and Progress ruled him precisely as they ruled
all the rest of Turkey--by intimidation. They had shown their power when
they dethroned Abdul Hamid and locked him up in a palace, and poor
Mohammed naturally lived under the constant fear that they would treat
him similarly. Indeed, they had already given him a sample of their
power; and the Sultan had attempted on one occasion to assert his
independence, and the conclusion of this episode left no doubt as to
who was master. A group of thirteen “conspirators” and other criminals,
some real ones, others merely political offenders, had been sentenced to
be hanged. Among them was the imperial son-in-law. Before the execution
could take place the Sultan had to sign the death-warrants. He begged
that he be permitted to pardon the imperial son-in-law, though he raised
no objection to viséing the passports of the other twelve. The nominal
ruler of 20,000,000 people figuratively went down upon his knees before
Talaat, but all his pleadings did not affect this determined man. Here,
Talaat reasoned, was a chance to decide, once for all, who was master,
the Sultan or themselves. A few days afterward the melancholy figure of
the imperial son-in-law, dangling at the end of a rope in full view of
the Turkish populace, visibly reminded the Empire that Talaat and the
Committee were the masters of Turkey. After this tragical test of
strength, the Sultan never attempted again to interfere in affairs of
State. He knew what had happened to Abdul Hamid, and he feared an even
more terrible fate for himself.

By the time I reached Constantinople the Young Turks thus completely
controlled the Sultan. He was popularly referred to as an
“iradé-machine,” a phrase which means about the same thing as when we
refer to a man as a “rubber stamp.” His State duties consisted merely in
performing certain ceremonies, such as receiving Ambassadors, and in
affixing his signature to such papers as Talaat and his associates
placed before him. This was a profound change in the Turkish system,
since in that country for centuries the Sultan had been an unquestioned
despot, whose will had been the only law, and who had centred in his own
person all the forces and sovereignty. Not only the Sultan, but the
Parliament, had become the subservient creature of the Committee, which
chose practically all the members, who voted only as the predominant
bosses dictated. The Committee had already filled several of the most
powerful Cabinet offices with its creatures, and was reaching out for
these few posts that, for several reasons, still remained in other
hands.



CHAPTER II

THE “BOSS SYSTEM” IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND HOW IT PROVED USEFUL TO
GERMANY


Talaat, the leading man in this band of usurpers, really had remarkable
personal qualities. Naturally Talaat’s life and character proved
interesting to me, for I had for years been familiar with the Boss
system in my own country, and in Talaat I saw many resemblances to the
crude yet able citizens who have so frequently in the past gained power
in local and State politics. Talaat’s origin was so obscure that there
were plenty of stories in circulation concerning it. One account said he
was a Bulgarian gypsy, while another described him as a Pomak--a Pomak
being a man of Bulgarian blood whose ancestors, centuries ago, had
embraced the Mohammedan faith. According to this latter explanation,
which I think was the true one, this real ruler of the Turkish Empire
was not a Turk at all. I can personally testify that he cared nothing
for Mohammedanism, for, like most of the leaders of his party, he
scoffed at all religions. “I hate all priests, rabbis, and brodjas,” he
once told me--brodja being the nearest equivalent the Mohammedans have
for the ministers of religion. I can also testify to the fact that
Talaat paid no attention to certain injunctions of his Church,
especially that against drinking; he was the presiding genius of a club
that met not far from the American Embassy, whose tendencies were
occasionally bacchanalian. In American city politics a streetcar driver
or a gas-man has not uncommonly developed great abilities as a
politician, and similarly Talaat had started life as a letter-carrier.
From this occupation he had risen to be a telegraph-operator at
Adrianople, and of these humble beginnings he was extremely proud. I
visited him once or twice at his house. Although Talaat was then the
most powerful man in the Turkish Empire, his home was still the modest
home of a man of the people. It was cheaply furnished; the whole
establishment reminded me of a moderately-priced apartment in New York.
His most cherished possession was the telegraph instrument with which he
had once earned his living; I have seen him take the key and call up one
of his personal friends or associates. Talaat one night told me that he
had that day received his salary as Minister of the Interior; after
paying his debts, he said, he had just one hundred dollars left in the
world. He liked to spend part of his spare time with the rough-shod crew
that made up the Committee of Union and Progress; in the interims when
he was out of the Cabinet he used to occupy the desk daily at party
headquarters, personally managing the party machine. Despite these
humble beginnings, Talaat had developed some of the qualities of a man
of the world. Though his early training had not included instruction in
the use of a knife and fork--such implements are wholly unknown among
the poorer classes in Turkey--Talaat could attend diplomatic dinners and
represent his country with a considerable amount of dignity and personal
ease. I have always regarded it as indicating his innate cleverness
that, though he had had little schooling, he had picked up enough French
to converse tolerably in that language. Physically he was a striking
figure. His powerful frame, his huge, sweeping back and his rocky biceps
emphasised that natural mental strength and forcefulness which made
possible his career. In discussing matters Talaat liked to sit at his
desk, with his shoulders drawn up, his head thrown back, and his wrists,
twice the size of an ordinary man’s, planted firmly on the table. It
always seemed to me that it would take a crowbar to pry these wrists
from the board, once Talaat’s strength and defiant spirit had laid them
there. Whenever I think of Talaat now I do not primarily recall his
rollicking laugh, his uproarious enjoyment of a good story, the mighty
stride with which he crossed the room, his fierceness, his
determination, his remorselessness--the whole life and nature of the man
take form in those gigantic wrists.

Talaat, like most strong men, had his forbidding, even his ferocious,
moods. One day I found him sitting at the usual place, his massive
shoulders drawn up, his eyes glowering, his wrists planted on the desk.
I always anticipated trouble whenever I found him in this attitude. As I
made request after request, Talaat, between his puffs at his cigarette,
would answer “No!” “No!” “No!”

I slipped around to his side of the desk.

“I think those wrists are making all the trouble, your Excellency,” I
said. “Won’t you please take them off the table?”

Talaat’s ogre-like face began to crinkle, he threw up his arms, leaned
back, and gave a roar of terrific laughter. He enjoyed my method of
treating him so much that he granted every request I made.

At another time I came into his room when a couple of Arab princes were
present. Talaat was solemn and dignified, and refused every favour I
asked. “No, I shall not do that. No, I haven’t the slightest idea of
doing that,” he would answer. I saw that he was trying to impress his
princely guests, to show them that he had become so great a man that he
did not hesitate to “turn down” an Ambassador. So I came up nearer and
spoke quietly.

“I see you are trying to make an impression on these princes,” I said.
“Now if it’s necessary for you to pose, do it with the Austrian
Ambassador--he’s out there waiting to come in. My affairs are too
important to be trifled with.”

Talaat laughed. “Come back in an hour,” he said. I came back; the Arab
princes had left, and we had no difficulty in arranging matters to my
satisfaction.

“Someone has got to govern Turkey; why not we?” Talaat once said to me.
The situation had just about come to that. “I have been greatly
disappointed,” he would tell me, “at the failure of the Turks to
appreciate democratic institutions. I hoped for it once, and I worked
hard for it--but they were not prepared for it.” He saw a Government
which the first enterprising man who came along might seize, and he
determined to be that man. Of all the Turkish politicians I met, I
regarded Talaat as the only one who really had extraordinary innate
ability. He had great force and dominance, the ability to think quickly
and accurately, and an almost superhuman insight into men’s motives. His
great geniality and his lively sense of humour also made him a splendid
manager of men. He showed his shrewdness in the measures which he took,
after the murder of Nazim, to gain the upper hand in this distracted
Empire. He did not seize the Government all at once; he went at it
gradually, feeling his way. He realised the weaknesses of his position;
he had several forces to deal with: the envy of his associates on the
revolutionary committee which had backed him, the army, the foreign
Governments, and the several factions that made up what then passed for
public opinion in Turkey. Any of these elements might destroy him,
politically and physically. He understood the dangerous path he was
treading, and he always anticipated a violent death. “I do not expect to
die in my bed,” he told me. By becoming Minister of the Interior, Talaat
gained control of the police and the administration of the provinces, or
vilayets. This gave him a great amount of patronage, which he used to
strengthen his position with the Committee. He attempted to gain the
support of all influential factions by gradually placing their
representatives in the other Cabinet posts. Though he afterwards became
the man who was chiefly responsible for the massacre of hundreds of
thousands of Armenians, at this time Talaat maintained the pretence that
the Committee stood for the unionisation of all the races in the Empire,
and for this reason his first Cabinet contained an Arab-Christian, a
Deunme (a Jew by race, but a Mohammedan by religion), a Circassian, an
Armenian, an Egyptian. He made the latter Grand Vizier, the highest post
in the Government, a position which roughly corresponds to that of
Chancellor in the German Empire. The man whom he selected for this part,
which in ordinary times was the most dignified and important in the
Empire, belonged to quite a different order of society from Talaat. Not
uncommonly bosses in America select high-class figure-heads for mayors
or even governors, men who will give respectability to their faction yet
whom, at the same time, they think that they can control. It was some
such motive as this which led Talaat and his associates to elevate Saïd
Halim to the Grand Vizierate. Saïd Halim was an Egyptian Prince, the
cousin of the Khedive of Egypt, a man of great wealth and great culture.
He spoke English and French as fluently as his own tongue, and was an
ornament to any society in the world. But he was a man of unlimited
vanity and ambition. His great desire was to become Khedive of Egypt,
and this had led him to join his political fortunes to the gang that was
then ascendant in Turkey. He was the heaviest “campaign contributor,”
and, indeed, he had largely furnished the Young Turks in their earliest
days. In exchange they had given him the highest office in the Empire,
but with the tacit understanding that he should not attempt to exercise
the real powers of his office, but content himself with enjoying its
dignities and holding himself in readiness for the Khedivate, when all
their plans had succeeded.

Germany’s war preparations had for years included the study of internal
conditions in other countries. An indispensable part of the Imperial
programme had been to take advantage of such disorganisations as existed
to push her schemes of penetration and conquest. What her emissaries
have attempted in France, Italy, and even the United States, is
apparent, and their success in Russia has greatly changed the course of
the war. Clearly such a situation as that which prevailed in Turkey in
1913 and 1914 provided an ideal opportunity of manipulations of this
kind. And Germany had one great advantage in Turkey which was not so
conspicuously an element in other countries. Talaat and his associates
needed Germany almost as badly as Germany needed Talaat. They were
altogether new to the business of managing an empire. Their finances
were depleted, their army and navy almost in dissolution, enemies were
constantly attempting to undermine them at home, and the great Powers
regarded them as seedy adventurers whose career was destined to be
brief. Without strong support from an outside source, it was doubtful how
long the new regime could survive. Talaat and his Committee needed some
foreign Power to organise the army and navy, to finance the nation, to
help them reconstruct their industrial system, and to protect them
against the encroachments of the encircling nations. Ignorant as they
were of foreign countries, they needed a skilful adviser to pilot them
through all the channels of international intrigue. Where was such a
protector to be obtained? Evidently only one of the great European
Powers could perform this office. Which one should it be? Ten years
before Turkey would naturally have appealed to England. But now the
Turks regarded England as merely the nation that had despoiled them of
Egypt, and that had failed to protect Turkey from dismemberment after
the Balkan wars. In association with Russia, Great Britain now
controlled Persia and thus constituted a constant threat--at least, so
the Turks believed--against their Asiatic dominions. England was
gradually withdrawing her investments from Turkey; English statesmen
believed that the task of driving the Turk from Europe was about
complete, and the whole Near-Eastern policy of Great Britain hinged on
maintaining the organisation of the Balkans as it had been determined by
the Treaty of Bucharest--a treaty which Turkey refused to regard as
binding and which she was determined to upset. Above all, the Turks
feared Russia in 1914, just as they had feared her ever since the days
of Peter the Great. Russia was the historic enemy, the nation which had
given freedom to Bulgaria and Rumania, which had been most active in
dismembering the Ottoman Empire, and which regarded herself as the
nation that was ultimately to possess Constantinople. This fear of
Russia, I cannot too much insist, was the one factor which, above
everything else, was forcing Turkey into the arms of Germany. For more
than half a century Turkey had regarded England as her surest safeguard
against Russian aggression, and now England had become Russia’s virtual
ally. There was even then a general belief, which the Turkish chieftains
shared, that England was entirely willing that Russia should inherit
Constantinople and the Dardanelles.

Though Russia in 1914 was making no such pretensions, at least openly,
the fact that she was crowding Turkey in other directions made it
impossible that Talaat and Enver should look for support in that
direction. Italy had just seized the last Turkish province in
Africa--Tripoli--and at that moment was holding Rhodes and other Turkish
islands and was known to cherish aggressive plans in Asia Minor. France
was the ally of Russia and Great Britain, and was also constantly
extending her influence in Syria, in which province, indeed, she had
made great plans for “penetration” with railroads, colonies, and
concessions. The personal equation played an important part in the
ensuing drama. The Ambassadors of the Triple Entente hardly concealed
their contempt for the dominant Turkish politicians and their methods.
Sir Louis Mallet, the British Ambassador, was a high-minded and
cultivated English gentleman; Bompard, the French Ambassador, was a
similarly charming, honourable Frenchman, and both were constitutionally
disqualified from participating in the murderous intrigues which then
comprised Turkish politics. Giers, the Russian Ambassador, was a proud
and scornful diplomat of the old aristocratic régime. He was exceedingly
astute, but he treated the Young Turks contemptuously, manifested almost
a proprietary interest in the country, and seemed to me already to be
wielding the knout over this despised Government. It was quite apparent
that the three Ambassadors of the Entente did not regard the Talaat and
Enver régime as permanent, or as particularly worth their while to
cultivate. That several factions had risen and fallen in the last six
years they knew, and they likewise believed that this latest usurpation
would vanish in a few months.

But there was one active man in Turkey then who had no nice scruples
about using such agencies as were most available for accomplishing his
purpose. Wangenheim clearly saw what his colleagues had only faintly
perceived: that these men were steadily fastening their hold on Turkey,
and that they were looking for some strong Power that would recognise
their position and abet them in maintaining it. In order that we may
clearly understand the situation, let us transport ourselves, for a
moment, to a country that is nearer to us than Turkey. In 1913
Victoriano Huerta and his fellow-conspirators gained control of Mexico
by means not unlike those that had given Talaat and his Committee the
supreme power in Turkey. Just as Huerta murdered Madero, so the Young
Turks had murdered Nazim, and in both cases assassination became a
regular political weapon. Huerta controlled the Mexican Congress and the
offices just as Talaat controlled the Turkish Parliament and the chief
posts of the State. Mexico under Huerta was a poverty-stricken country,
with depleted finances, exhausted industries and agriculture, just as
was Turkey under Talaat. How did Huerta seek to secure his own position
and rehabilitate his distracted country? There was only one way, of
course: that was by enlisting the support of some strong foreign Power.
He sought repeatedly to gain recognition from the United States for this
reason. When we refused to deal with a murderer, Huerta looked to
Germany. Let us suppose that the Kaiser had responded; he could have
reorganised Mexican finances, rebuilt her railroads, re-established her
industries, modernised her army, and in this way obtained a grip on the
country that would have amounted to virtual possession.

Only one thing prevented Germany from doing this--the Monroe Doctrine.
But there was no Monroe Doctrine in Turkey, and what I have stated as a
possibility in Mexico is in the main an accurate picture of what
happened in the Ottoman Empire. As I look back upon the situation, the
whole thing seems so clear, so simple, so inevitable. Germany, up to
that time, was practically the only great Power in Europe that had not
appropriated large slices of Turkish territory, a fact which gave her an
initial advantage. Germany’s representation at Constantinople was far
better qualified than that of any other country, not only by absence of
scruples, but also by knowledge and skill, to handle this situation.
Wangenheim was not the only capable German then on the ground. A
particularly influential outpost of Pan-Germany was Paul Weitz, who had
represented the _Frankfürter Zeitung_ in Turkey for thirty years. Weitz
had the most intimate acquaintance with Turks and Turkish affairs; there
was not a hidden recess to which he could not gain admittance. He was
constantly at Wangenheim’s elbow, coaching advising, informing. The
German naval attaché, Humann, the son of a famous German archæologist,
had been born in Smyrna, and had passed practically his whole life in
Turkey. He not only spoke Turkish, but he could also think like a Turk,
and the whole psychology of the people was part of his mental equipment.
Moreover, Enver, one of the two main Turkish chieftains, was on close
friendly terms with Humann. When I think of this experienced trio,
Wangenheim, Weitz, and Humann, and of the charming and honourable
gentlemen who were opposed to them, Mallet, Bompard, and Giers, the
events that now rapidly followed seem as inevitable as the orderly
processes of nature. By the spring of 1914 Talaat and Enver,
representing the Committee of Union and Progress, practically dominated
the Turkish Empire. Wangenheim, always having in mind the approaching
war, had one inevitable move: that was to control Talaat and Enver.

Early in January, 1914, Enver became Minister of War. At that time he
was thirty-two years old. Like all the leading Turkish politicians of
the period, he came of humble stock, and his popular title, “hero of the
revolution,” shows why Talaat and the Committee had selected him as
Minister of War. Enver enjoyed something of a military reputation,
though, so far as I could discover, he had never achieved a great
military success. The revolution of which he was one of the leaders in
1908 cost very few human lives; he commanded an army in Tripoli against
the Italians in 1912--but certainly there was nothing Napoleonic about
that campaign. Enver used to tell me himself how, in the second Balkan
war, he had ridden all night at the head of his troops to the capture of
Adrianople, and how, when he arrived there, the Bulgarians had abandoned
it and his victory had thus been a bloodless one. But certainly Enver
did have one trait that made for success in such a distracted country as
Turkey--and that was audacity. He was quick in making decisions, always
ready to stake his future and his very life upon the success of a simple
adventure; from the beginning, indeed, his career had been one lucky
crisis after another. His nature had a remorselessness, a lack of pity,
a cold-blooded determination, of which his clean-cut handsome face, his
small but sturdy figure, and his pleasing manners, gave no indication.
Nor would the casual spectator have suspected the passionate personal
ambition that drove him on. His friends commonly referred to him as
“Napoleonlik”--the little Napoleon--and this nickname really represented
Enver’s abiding conviction. I remember sitting one night with Enver, in
his house; on one side hung a picture of Napoleon, on the other one of
Frederick the Great, and between them sat Enver himself! This fact gives
some notion of his vanity; these two warriors and statesmen were his
great heroes, and I believe that Enver thought fate had a career in
store for him not unlike theirs. The fact that, at twenty-six, he had
taken a leading part in the revolution which had deposed Abdul Hamid
naturally caused him to compare himself with Bonaparte, and several
times has he told me that he believed himself to be “a man of destiny.”
Enver even affected to believe that he had been divinely set apart to
re-establish the glory of Turkey and make himself the great dictator.
Yet, as I have suggested, there was something almost dainty and feminine
in Enver’s appearance. He was the type that in America we sometimes call
a _matinée_ idol, and the word women frequently used to describe him was
“dashing.” His face contained not a single line or furrow; it never
disclosed his emotions or his thoughts; he was always calm, steely,
imperturbable. That Enver certainly lacked Napoleon’s penetration is
evident from the way in which he had planned to obtain the supreme
power, for he early allied his personal fortunes with Germany. For years
his sympathies had been with the Kaiser. Germany, the German Army and
Navy, the German language, the German autocratic system, exercised a
fatal charm upon this early preacher of Turkish democracy. When Hamid
fell, Enver had gone on a military mission to Berlin, and here the
Kaiser immediately detected in him a possible instrument for working out
his plans in the Orient, and cultivated him in numerous ways. Afterward
Enver spent a considerable time in Berlin as military attaché, and this
experience still further attached him to Germany. The man who returned
to Constantinople was almost more German than Turkish. He had learned to
speak German fluently, he was aping Germany in all matters, he was even
wearing a moustache slightly curled up at the ends; indeed, he had been
completely captivated by Prussianism. As soon as Enver became Minister
of War, Wangenheim flattered and cajoled the young man, played upon his
ambitions, and doubtless promised him Germany’s complete support in
achieving them. In his private conversation Enver made no secret of his
admiration for Germany.

Thus Enver’s elevation to the Ministry of War was virtually a German
victory. He immediately instituted a drastic reorganisation. Enver told
me himself that he had accepted the post only on condition that he
should have a free hand; and this free hand he now proceeded to
exercise. The army still contained a large number of officers who
inclined to the old régime rather than to the Young Turks--many of whom
were partisans of the murdered Nazim. Enver promptly cashiered 268 of
these, and put in their places Turks who were known as “U. and P.” men
and many Germans. The Enver-Talaat group always feared a revolution that
would depose them as they had thrown out their predecessors. Many times
did they tell me that their own success as revolutionists had taught
them how easily a few determined men could seize control of the country;
they did not propose, they said, to have a little group in their army
organise such a _coup d’état_ against them. The boldness of Enver’s move
alarmed even Talaat, but Enver showed the determination of his character
and refused to reconsider his action, though one of the officers removed
was Chukri Pasha, who had defended Adrianople in the Balkan war. Enver
issued a circular to the Turkish commanders practically telling them
that they must look to him for preferment alone, and that they could
make no headway by playing politics with any group except that dominated
by the Young Turks.

Thus, Enver’s first acts were the beginnings in the Prussiafication of
the Turkish Army, but Talaat was not an enthusiastic German like his
associate. He had no intention of playing Germany’s game; he was working
chiefly for the Committee and for himself. But he could not succeed
unless he had control of the army, and therefore he had made Enver, for
years his closest associate in “U. and P.” politics, Minister of War.
Again, he needed a strong army if he was to have any at all, and
therefore he turned to the one source where he could find assistance--to
Germany. Wangenheim and Talaat, in the latter part of 1913, had arranged
that the Kaiser should send a military mission to reorganise the Turkish
Army. Talaat told me that on calling in this mission he was using
Germany, though Germany thought that it was using him. That there were
definite dangers in the move he well understood. A deputy who discussed
this situation with Talaat in January, 1914, has given me a memorandum
of a conversation which shows well what was going on in Talaat’s mind.

“Why do you hand the management of the country over to the Germans?”
asked this deputy, referring to the German military mission. “Don’t you
see that this is part of Germany’s plan to make Turkey a German colony?
That we shall become merely another Egypt?”

“We understand perfectly,” replied Talaat, “that that is Germany’s
programme. We also know that we cannot put this country on its feet with
our own resources. We shall, therefore, take advantage of such technical
and material assistance as the Germans can place at our disposal. We
shall use Germany to help us reconstruct and defend the country until we
are able to govern ourselves with our own strength. When that day comes,
we can say good-bye to the Germans within twenty-four hours.”

Certainly the physical condition of the Turkish Army betrayed the need
of assistance from some source. The picture it presented, before the
Germans arrived, I have always regarded as portraying the condition of
the whole Empire. When I issued invitations for my first reception a
large number of Turkish officials asked to be permitted to come in
evening clothes; they said that they had no uniforms and no money with
which to purchase or to hire them. They had not received their salaries
for three and a half months. As the Grand Vizier, who regulates the
etiquette of such functions, still insisted on full military dress,
many of those officials had to absent themselves. About the same time
the new German mission asked the Commander of the Second Army Corps to
exercise his men, but the Commander replied that he could not do so as
his men had no shoes!

Desperate and wicked as Talaat subsequently showed himself to be, I
still think that he, at least then, was not a willing tool of Germany.
An episode that involved myself bears out this view. In describing the
relations of the great Powers to Turkey I have said nothing about the
United States. In fact, we had no important business relations at that
time. The Turks regarded us as a country of idealists and altruists, and
the fact that we spent millions in building wonderful educational
institutions in their country purely from philanthropic motives aroused
their astonishment and possibly their admiration. They liked Americans
and regarded us as about the only disinterested friends whom they had
among the nations. But our interest in Turkey was small; the Standard
Oil Company did a growing business, the Singer Company sold sewing
machines to the Armenians, we bought much of their tobacco, figs, and
rugs, and gathered their liquorice root. In addition to these
activities, missionaries and educational experts were about our only
contacts with the Turkish Empire. The Turks knew that we had no desire
to dismember their country or to mingle in Balkan politics. The very
fact that my country was so disinterested was perhaps the reason why
Talaat discussed Turkish affairs so freely with me. In the course of
these conversations I frequently expressed my desire to serve them, and
Talaat and some of the other members of the Cabinet got into the habit
of consulting me on business matters. Soon after my arrival, I made a
speech at the American Chamber of Commerce in Constantinople; Talaat,
Djemal, and other important leaders were present. I talked about the
backward economic state of Turkey, and admonished them not to be
discouraged. I described the condition of the United States after the
Civil War, and made the point that our devastated Southern States
presented a spectacle not unlike that of Turkey at that present moment.
I then related how we had gone to work, realised on our resources, and
built up the present thriving nation. My remarks apparently made a deep
impression, especially my statement that after the Civil War the United
States had become a large borrower in foreign money markets and had
invited immigration from all parts of the world.

This speech apparently gave Talaat a new idea. It was not impossible
that the United States might furnish him the material support which he
had been seeking in Europe. Already I had suggested that an American
financial expert should be sent to study Turkish finance, and in this
connection I had mentioned Mr. Henry Bruère, of New York--a suggestion
which the Turks had favourably received. At that time Turkey’s greatest
need was money. France had financed Turkey for many years, and French
bankers, in the spring of 1914, were negotiating for another large loan.
Though Germany had made some loans, the condition of the Berlin money
market at that time did not encourage the Turks to expect much
assistance from that source.

In late December, 1913, Bustány Effendi, a Christian Arab, and Minister
of Commerce and Agriculture, who spoke English fluently--he had been
Turkish commissioner to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893--called and
approached me on the question of an American loan. Bustány asked if
there were not American financiers who would take entire charge of the
reorganisation of Turkish finance. His plea was really a cry of despair
and it touched me deeply. As I wrote in my diary at the time, “They seem
to be scraping the box for money.” But I had been in Turkey only six
weeks, and obviously I had no information on which I could recommend
such a large contract to American bankers. I informed him that my advice
would not carry much weight in the United States unless it were based on
a complete knowledge of economic conditions in Turkey. Talaat came to me
a few days later, suggesting that I make a prolonged tour over the
Empire and study the situation at first hand. Meanwhile he asked if I
could not arrange a small temporary loan to tide them over the interim.
He said there was no money in the Turkish Treasury; if I could only get
them $5,000,000, that would satisfy them. I told Talaat that I would try
to get this money for them and that I would adopt his suggestion and
inspect his Empire with the possible idea of interesting American
investors. After obtaining the consent of the State Department I wrote
to my nephew and business associate, Mr. Robert E. Simon, asking him to
sound certain New York institutions and bankers on making a small
short-time collateral loan to Turkey. Mr. Simon’s investigations soon
disclosed that a Turkish loan did not seem to be regarded as an
attractive business undertaking in New York. Mr. Simon wrote, however,
that Mr. C. K. G. Billings had shown much interest in the idea; and
that, if I desired, Mr. Billings would come out in his yacht and discuss
the matter with the Turkish Cabinet and with me. In a few days Mr.
Billings had started for Constantinople.

The news of Mr. Billings’s approach spread with great rapidity all over
the Turkish capital; the fact that he was coming in his own private
yacht seemed to magnify the importance and the glamour of the event.
That a great American millionaire was prepared to reinforce the depleted
Turkish Treasury and that this support was merely the preliminary step
in the reorganisation of Turkish finances by American capitalists
produced a tremendous flutter in the foreign embassies. So rapidly did
the information spread, indeed, that I rather suspected that the Turkish
Cabinet had taken no particular pains to keep it secret. This suspicion
was strengthened by a visit which I received from the Chief Rabbi
Nahoum, who informed me that he had come at the request of Talaat.
“There is a rumour,” said the Chief Rabbi, “that Americans are about to
make a loan to Turkey. Talaat would be greatly pleased if you would not
contradict it.” Wangenheim displayed an almost hysterical interest; the
idea of America coming to the financial assistance of Turkey did not
fall in with his plans at all, for in his eyes Turkey’s poverty was
chiefly valuable as a means of forcing the Empire into Germany’s hands.
One day I showed Wangenheim a book containing etchings of Mr. Billings’s
homes, pictures, and horses; he showed a great interest, not only in the
horses--Wangenheim was something of a horseman himself--but in this
tangible evidence of great wealth. For the next few days ambassador
after ambassador and minister after minister filed into my office, each
solemnly asking for a glimpse at this book! As the time approached for
Mr. Billings’s arrival Talaat began making elaborate plans for his
entertainment; he consulted with me as to whom we should invite to the
proposed dinners, lunches, and receptions. As usual, Wangenheim got in
ahead of the rest. He could not come to the dinner which we had planned,
and asked me to have him for lunch, and in this way he met Mr. Billings
several hours before the other diplomats. Mr. Billings frankly told him
that he was interested in Turkey and that it was not unlikely that he
would make the loan.

In the evening we gave the Billings party a dinner, all the important
members of the Turkish Cabinet being present. Before this dinner,
Talaat, Mr. Billings, and myself had a long talk about the loan. Talaat
informed us that the French bankers had accepted their terms that very
day, and that they would, therefore, need no American money at that
time. He was exceedingly gracious and grateful to Mr. Billings and
profuse in expressing his thanks. Indeed, he might well have been, for
Mr. Billings’s arrival enabled Turkey at last to close negotiations
with the French bankers. His attempt to express his appreciation had one
curious manifestation. Enver, the second man in the Cabinet, was
celebrating his wedding when Mr. Billings arrived. The progress which
Enver was making in the Turkish world is evidenced from the fact that,
although Enver, as I have said, came of the humblest stock, his bride
was a daughter of the Turkish Imperial House. Turkish weddings are
prolonged affairs, lasting two or three days. The day following the
Embassy dinner Talaat gave the Billings party a luncheon at the Cercle
d’Orient, and he insisted that Enver should leave his wedding ceremony
long enough to attend this function. Enver, therefore, came to the
luncheon, sat through all the speeches, and then returned to his bridal
party.

I am convinced that Talaat did not regard this Billings episode as
closed. As I look back upon this transaction I see clearly that he was
seeking to extricate his country, and that the possibility that the
United States would assist him in performing the rescue was ever present
in his mind. He frequently spoke to me of Mr. “Beelings,” as he called
him, and even after Turkey had broken with France and England and was
depending on Germany for money, his mind still reverted to Mr.
Billings’s visit.



CHAPTER III

“THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE KAISER”--WANGENHEIM OPPOSES THE SALE
OF AMERICAN WARSHIPS IN GREECE


But even in March, 1914, the Germans had pretty well tightened their
hold on Turkey. Liman von Sanders, who had arrived in December, had
become the predominant influence in the Turkish Army. At first von
Sanders’s appointment aroused no particular hostility, for German
missions had been called in before to instruct the Turkish Army, notably
that of von der Goltz; and an English naval mission, headed by Admiral
Limpus, was even then in Turkey attempting the difficult task of
reorganising the Turkish Navy. We soon discovered, however, that the Von
Sanders military mission was something quite different from those which
I have named. Even before Von Sanders’s arrival it had been announced
that he was to take command of the First Turkish Army Corps, and that
General Broussart von Schnellendorf was to become Chief of Staff. The
appointments signified nothing less than that the Kaiser had almost
completed his plans to annex the Turkish Army to his own. To show the
power which von Sanders’s appointment had given him, it is only
necessary to say that the First Army Corps practically controlled
Constantinople. These changes clearly showed to what an extent Enver
Pasha had become a cog in the Prussian system. Naturally the
representations of the Entente Powers could not tolerate such a
usurpation by Germany. The British, French, and Russian Ambassadors
immediately called upon the Grand Vizier and protested with more warmth
than politeness over von Sanders’s elevation. The Turkish Cabinet hummed
and hawed in the usual way, protested that the change was not important,
but finally withdrew von Sanders’s appointment as head of the First Army
Corps, and made him Inspector-General. However, this did not greatly
improve the situation, for this post really gave Von Sanders greater
power than the one which he had held before. Thus, by January, 1914,
seven months before the Great War began, Germany held this position in
the Turkish Army: a German general was Chief of Staff; another was
Inspector-General; scores of German officers held commands of the first
importance, and the Turkish politician who was even then an outspoken
champion of Germany, Enver Bey, was Minister of War.

After securing this diplomatic triumph Wangenheim was granted a
vacation--he had certainly earned it--and Giers, the Russian Ambassador,
went off on a vacation at the same time. Baroness Wangenheim explained
to me--I was ignorant at this time of all these subtleties of
diplomacy--precisely what these vacations signified. Wangenheim’s leave
of absence, she said, meant that the German Foreign Office regarded the
von Sanders episode as closed--and closed with a German victory. Giers’s
furlough, she explained, meant that Russia declined to accept this point
of view, end that, so far as Russia was concerned, the von Sanders
affair had not ended. I remember writing to my family that, in this
mysterious Balkan diplomacy, the nations talked to each other with acts,
not words, and I instanced Baroness Wangenheim’s explanation of these
diplomatic vacations as a case in point.

An incident which took place in my own house opened all our eyes to the
seriousness with which von Sanders regarded this military mission. On
February 18th I gave my first diplomatic dinner; General von Sanders and
his two daughters attended, the general sitting next to my daughter
Ruth. My daughter, however, did not have a very enjoyable time; this
German Field-Marshal, sitting there in his gorgeous uniform, his breast
all sparkling with medals, did not say a word throughout the whole meal.
He ate his food silently and sulkily, all my daughter’s attempts to
enter into conversation evoking only an occasional surly monosyllable.
The behaviour of this great military leader was that of a spoiled child.

At the end of the dinner von Mutius, the German _chargé d’affaires_,
came up to me in a high state of excitement. It was some time before he
could sufficiently control his agitation to deliver his message.

“You have made a terrible mistake, Mr. Ambassador,” he said.

“What is that?” I asked, naturally taken aback.

“You have greatly offended Field-Marshal von Sanders. You have placed
him at the dinner lower in rank than the foreign Ministers. He is the
personal representative of the Kaiser, and as such is entitled to equal
rank with the Ambassadors. He should have been placed ahead of the
Cabinet Ministers and the Foreign Ministers.”

So I had affronted the Emperor himself! This, then, was the explanation
of von Sanders’s boorish behaviour. Fortunately, my position was an
impregnable one. I had not arranged the seating precedence at this
dinner; I had sent the list of my guests to the Marquis Pallavicini, the
Austrian Ambassador and dean of the diplomatic corps, and the greatest
authority in Constantinople on such delicate points as this. The Marquis
had returned the list, marking in red ink against each name the order of
precedence--1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. I still possess this document, as it
came from the Austrian Embassy, and General von Sanders’s name appears
with the numerals “13” against it. I must admit, however, that “the
thirteenth chair” did bring him pretty well to the foot of the table.

I explained the situation to von Mutius and asked Mr. Panfili,
_conseiller_ of the Austrian Embassy, who was a guest at the dinner, to
come up and make everything clear to the outraged German diplomat. As
the Austrians and Germans were allies, it was quite apparent that the
slight, if slight there had been, was unintentional. Panfili said that
he had been puzzled over the question of von Sanders’s position, and had
submitted the question to the Marquis. The outcome was that the Austrian
Ambassador had himself fixed von Sanders’s rank at No. 13. But the
German Embassy did not let the matter rest there, for afterward
Wangenheim called on Pallavicini, and discussed the matter with
considerable liveliness.

“If Liman von Sanders represents the Kaiser, whom do you represent?”
Pallavicini asked Wangenheim. The argument was a good one, as the
Ambassador is always regarded as the _alter ego_ of his Sovereign.

“It is not customary,” continued the Marquis, “for an Emperor to have
two representatives at the same Court.”

As the Marquis was unyielding, Wangenheim carried the question to the
Grand Vizier. But Saïd Halim refused to assume responsibility for so
momentous a decision and referred the dispute to the Council of
Ministers. This body solemnly sat upon the question and rendered this
verdict: von Sanders should rank ahead of the Ministers of foreign
countries, but below the members of the Turkish Cabinet. Then the
foreign Ministers lifted up their voices in protest. Von Sanders not
only became exceedingly unpopular for raising this question, but the
dictatorial and autocratic way in which he did it aroused general
disgust. The Ministers declared that, if von Sanders were ever given
precedence at any function of this kind, they would leave the table in a
body. The net result was that von Sanders was never again invited to a
diplomatic dinner. Sir Louis Mallet, the British Ambassador, took a
sardonic interest in the episode. It was lucky, he said, that it had not
happened at his Embassy; if it had, the newspapers would have had
columns about the strained relations between England and Germany!

After all, this proceeding did have great international importance. Von
Sanders’s personal vanity had led him to betray a diplomatic secret; he
was not merely a drill master who had been sent to instruct the Turkish
Army; he was precisely what he had claimed to be--the personal
representative of the Kaiser. The Kaiser had selected him just as he had
selected Wangenheim, as an instrument for working his will in Turkey.
Afterward von Sanders told me, with all that pride which German
aristocrats manifest when speaking of their imperial master, how the
Kaiser had talked to him a couple of hours the day he had appointed him
to this Constantinople mission, and how, the day that he had started,
Wilhelm had spent another hour giving him final instructions. I reported
this dinner incident to my Government as indicating Germany’s growing
ascendancy in Turkey, and I presume the other Ambassadors likewise
reported it to their Governments. The American military attaché, Major
John R. M. Taylor, who was present, attributed the utmost significance
to it. A month after the occurrence he and Captain McCauley, commanding
the _Scorpion_, the American _stationaire_ at Constantinople, had lunch
at Cairo with Lord Kitchener. The luncheon was a small one, only the
Americans, Lord Kitchener, his sister, and an _aide_ making up the
party. Major Taylor related this incident, and Kitchener displayed much
interest.

“What do you think it signifies?” asked Kitchener.

“I think it means,” Major Taylor said, “that when the big war comes,
Turkey will probably be the ally of Germany. If she is not in direct
alliance, at least I think that she will mobilise on the line of the
Caucasus and thus divert three Russian army corps from the European
theatre of operations.”

Kitchener thought for a moment and then said, “I agree with you.”

And now for several months we had before our eyes this spectacle of the
Turkish Army actually under the control of Germany. German officers
drilled the troops daily--all, I am now convinced, in preparation for
the approaching war. Just what results had been accomplished appeared
when, in July, there was a great military review. The occasion was a
splendid and a gala affair. The Sultan attended in state; he sat under a
beautifully decorated tent and held a little court, and the Khedive of
Egypt, the Crown Prince of Turkey, the Princes of the imperial blood and
the entire Cabinet were also on hand. We now saw that, in the preceding
six months, the Turkish Army had been completely Prussianised. What in
January had been an undisciplined, ragged rabble was now parading with
the goose-step; the men were clad in German field-grey, and they even
wore a casque-shaped head-covering, which slightly suggested the German
_pickelhaube_. The German officers were immensely proud of the
exhibition, and the transformation of the wretched Turkish soldiers of
January into these neatly-dressed, smartly-stepping, splendidly
manœuvring troops was really a creditable military achievement. When
the Sultan invited me to his tent I naturally congratulated him upon the
excellent showing of his men. He did not manifest much enthusiasm; he
said that he regretted the possibility of war; he was at heart a
pacifist. I noticed certain conspicuous absences from this great German
fête, for the French, British, Russian, and Italian Ambassadors had kept
away. Bompard said that he had received his ten tickets but that he did
not regard that as an invitation. Wangenheim told me, with some
satisfaction, that the other Ambassadors were jealous, and that they did
not care to see the progress which the Turkish Army had made under
German tutelage. I did not have the slightest doubt that these
Ambassadors refused to attend because they had no desire to grace this
German holiday; nor did I blame them.

Meanwhile I had other evidences that Germany was playing her part in
Turkish politics. In June the relations between Greece and Turkey
reached the breaking-point. The Treaty of London (May 30, 1913) had left
Greece in possession of the islands of Chios and Mitylene. A reference
to the map discloses the strategic importance of these islands. They
stand there in the Ægean Sea like guardians controlling the Bay and the
great port of Smyrna, and it is quite apparent that any strong military
nation which permanently held these vantage points would ultimately
control Smyrna and the whole Ægean coast of Asia Minor. The racial
situation made the continued retention of these islands by Greece a
constant military danger to Turkey. Their population was Greek and had
been Greek since the days of Homer; the coast of Asia Minor itself was
also Greek; more than half the population of Smyrna, Turkey’s greatest
Mediterranean seaport, was Greek; in its industries, its commerce, and
its culture the city was so predominantly Greek that the Turks usually
referred to it as _giaour Ismir_--“infidel Smyrna.” Though this Greek
population was nominally Ottoman in nationality, it did not conceal its
affection for the Greek fatherland, these Asiatic Greeks even making
contributions to the Greek Government. The Ægean islands and the
mainland, in fact, constituted _Graecia Irredenta_, and that Greece was
determined to redeem them, precisely as she had recently redeemed Crete,
was no diplomatic secret. Should the Greeks ever land an army on this
Asia Minor coast, there was little question that the native Greek
population would welcome it enthusiastically and co-operate with it.

Since Germany, however, had her own plans for Asia Minor, naturally the
Greeks in this region formed a barrier to Pan-German aspirations. As
long as this region remained Greek it formed a natural obstacle to
Germany’s road to the Persian Gulf, precisely as did Serbia. Anyone who
has read even cursorily the literature of Pan-Germania is familiar with
the peculiar German method which German publicists have advocated for
dealing with populations that stand in Germany’s way. That is, by
deportation. The violent shifting of whole peoples from one part of
Europe to another, as though they were so many herds of cattle, has for
years been part of the Kaiser’s plans for German expansion. This is the
treatment which, since the war began, Germany has applied to Belgium, to
Poland, to Serbia, and its most hideous manifestation, as I shall show,
has been to Armenia. Acting under Germany’s prompting, Turkey now began
to apply this principle of deportation to her Greek subjects in Asia
Minor. Three years afterwards the German Admiral Usedom, who had been
stationed in the Dardanelles during the bombardment, told me that it was
the Germans “who urgently made the suggestion that the Greeks be moved
from the sea-shore.” The German motive, Admiral Usedom said, was purely
military. Whether Talaat and his associates realised that they were
playing the German game I am not sure, but there is no doubt that the
Germans were constantly instigating them in this congenial task.

The events that followed foreshadowed the policy adopted in the Armenian
massacres. The Turkish officials pounced upon the Greeks, herded them in
groups and marched them toward the ships. They gave them no time to
settle their private affairs, and they took no pains to keep families
together. The plan was to transport the Greeks to the wholly Greek
islands in the Ægean. Naturally the Greeks rebelled against such
treatment, and occasional massacres were the result, especially in
Phocaea, where more than fifty people were murdered. The Turks demanded
that all foreign establishments in Smyrna dismiss their Greek
employés--and replace them with Moslems. Among other American concerns,
the Singer Manufacturing Company received such instructions, and though
I interceded and obtained sixty days’ delay, ultimately this American
concern had to obey the mandate. An official boycott was established
against all Christians, not only in Asia Minor, but in Constantinople,
but this boycott did not discriminate against the Jews, who have always
been more popular with the Turks than have the Christians. The officials
particularly requested Jewish merchants to put signs over their doors
indicating their nationality and trade--such signs as “Abraham the Jew,
tailor,” “Isaac the Jew, shoemaker,” and the like. I looked upon this
boycott as illustrating the topsy-turvy national organisation of Turkey,
for here we had a nation engaging in a commercial boycott against its
own subjects.

This procedure against the Greeks not improperly aroused my indignation.
I did not have the slightest suspicion at that time that the Germans had
instigated these deportations, but I looked upon them merely as an
outburst of Turkish ferocity and chauvinism. By this time I knew Talaat
well; I saw him nearly every day and he used to discuss practically
every phase of international relations with me. I objected vigorously to
his treatment of the Greeks; I told him that it would make the worst
possible impression abroad and that it affected American interests.
Talaat explained his national policy; these different _blocs_ in the
Turkish Empire, he said, had always conspired against Turkey; because of
the hostility of these native populations, Turkey had lost province
after province--Greece, Serbia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Herzegovina,
Egypt, and Tripoli. In this way the Turkish Empire had dwindled almost
to the vanishing point. If what was left of Turkey was to survive, added
Talaat, he must get rid of these alien peoples. “Turkey for the Turks”
was now Talaat’s controlling idea. Therefore he proposed to Turkify
Smyrna and the adjoining islands. Already 40,000 Greeks had left, and he
asked me again to urge on American business houses to employ only Turks.
He said that the accounts of violence and murder had been greatly
exaggerated, and suggested that a commission be sent to investigate.
“They want a commission to whitewash Turkey,” Sir Louis Mallet, the
British Ambassador, told me. True enough, when this commission did bring
in its report, it exculpated Turkey.

The Greeks in Turkey had one great advantage over the Armenians, for
there was such a thing as a Greek Government, which naturally had a
protecting interest in them. The Turks

[Illustration: Baron Wangenheim, German Ambassador

[_To face p. 32._
]

[Illustration: M. Tocheff, Bulgarian Minister at Constantinople]

knew that these deportations would precipitate a war with Greece; in
fact, they welcomed such a war and were preparing for it. So
enthusiastic were the Turkish people that they had raised money by
popular subscription and had purchased a Brazilian dreadnought which was
then under construction in England. The Government had ordered also a
second dreadnought in England, and several submarines and destroyers in
France. The purpose of these naval preparations was no secret in
Constantinople. As soon as they obtained these ships, or even the one
dreadnought which was nearing completion, Turkey intended to attack
Greece and take back the islands. A single modern battleship like the
_Sultan Osman_--this was the name the Turks had given the Brazilian
vessel--could easily overpower the whole Greek Navy and control the
Ægean Sea. As this powerful vessel would be finished and commissioned in
a few months we all expected the Greco-Turkish war to break out in the
fall. What could the Greek Navy possibly do in face of this impending
danger?

Such was the situation when, early in June, I received a most agitated
visitor. This was Djemal Pasha, the Turkish Minister of Marine, and one
of the three men who then dominated the Turkish Empire. I have hardly
ever seen a man who appeared more utterly worried than was Djemal on
this occasion. As he began talking excitedly to my interpreter in
French, his whiskers trembling with his emotions and his hands wildly
gesticulating, he seemed to be almost beside himself. I knew enough
French to understand what he was saying, and the news which he
brought--this was the first I had heard of it--sufficiently explained
his agitation. The American Government, he said, was negotiating with
Greece for the sale of two battleships, the _Idaho_ and the
_Mississippi_. He urged that I should immediately move to prevent any
such sale. His attitude was that of a suppliant; he begged, he implored
that I should intervene. All along, he said, the Turks regarded the
United States as their best friend. I had frequently expressed my desire
to help them; well, here was the chance to show our good feeling. The
fact that Greece and Turkey were practically on the verge of war, said
Djemal, really made the sale of the ships an unneutral act. Still, if
the transaction were purely a commercial one, Turkey would like a chance
to bid. “We will pay more than Greece,” he added. He ended with a
powerful plea that I should at once cable my Government about the
matter, and this I promised to do.

Evidently the clever Greeks had turned the tables on their enemy. Turkey
had rather too boldly advertised her intention of attacking Greece as
soon as she had received her dreadnought. Both the ships for which
Greece was now negotiating were immediately available for battle! The
_Idaho_ and _Mississippi_ were not indispensable ships for the American
Navy; they could not take their place in the first line of battle; they
were powerful enough, however, to drive the whole Turkish Navy from the
Ægean. Evidently the Greeks did not intend politely to postpone the
impending war until the Turkish dreadnought had been finished, but to
attack as soon as they received these American ships. Djemal’s legal
point, of course, had no validity. However much war might threaten,
Turkey and Greece were still actually at peace. Clearly Greece had just
as much right to purchase warships in the United States as Turkey had to
purchase them in Brazil or England.

But Djemal was not the only statesman who attempted to prevent the sale;
the German Ambassador displayed the keenest interest. Several days after
Djemal’s visit Wangenheim and I were riding in the hills north of
Constantinople. Wangenheim began to talk about the Greeks--to whom he
displayed a violent antipathy--about the chances of war, and the
projected sale of American warships. He made a long argument about the
sale, his reasoning being precisely the same as Djemal’s--a fact which
aroused my suspicions that he had himself coached Djemal for his
interview with me.

“Just look at the dangerous precedent you are establishing,” said
Wangenheim. “It is not unlikely that the United States may some time
find itself in a position like Turkey’s to-day. Suppose that you were on
the brink of war with Japan; then England could sell a fleet of
dreadnoughts to Japan. How would the United States like that?”

And then he made a statement which indicated what really lay back of his
protest. I have thought of it many times in the last three years. The
scene is indelibly impressed on my mind. There we sat on our horses; the
silent, ancient forest of Belgrade lay around us, while in the distance
the Black Sea glistened in the afternoon sun. Wangenheim suddenly became
quiet and extremely earnest. He looked in my eyes and said:

“I don’t think that the United States realises what a serious matter
this is. The sale of these ships might be the cause that would bring on
a European war.”

This conversation took place on June 13; this was about six weeks before
the conflagration broke out. Wangenheim knew perfectly well that Germany
was rushing preparations for this great conflict, and he also knew that
the preparations were not yet entirely complete. Like all the German
Ambassadors, Wangenheim had received instructions not to let any crisis
arise that would precipitate war until all these preparations had been
finished. He had no objection to the expulsion of the Greeks, for that
in itself was part of these preparations; he was much disturbed,
however, over the prospect that the Greeks might succeed in arming
themselves and disturbing existing conditions in the Balkans. At that
moment the Balkans were a smouldering volcano. Europe had gone through
two Balkan wars without becoming generally involved, and Wangenheim knew
that another would set the whole continent ablaze. He knew that war was
coming, but he did not want it just then. He was simply attempting to
influence me at that moment to gain a little more time for Germany.

He went so far as to ask me to cable personally to the President,
explain the seriousness of the situation, and to call his attention to
the telegrams that had gone to the State Department on the proposed sale
of the ships. I regarded his suggestion as an impertinent one and
declined to act upon it.

To Djemal and the other Turkish officials who kept pressing me I
suggested that their Ambassador in Washington should directly take up
the matter with the President. They acted on this advice, but the Greeks
again got ahead of them. At two o’clock, June 22nd, the Greek _chargé
d’affaires_ at Washington and Commander Tsouklas, of the Greek Navy,
called upon the President and arranged the sale. As they left the
President’s office the Turkish Ambassador entered--just fifteen minutes
too late!

I presume that Mr. Wilson consented to the sale because he knew that
Turkey was preparing to attack Greece and believed that the _Idaho_ and
_Mississippi_ would prevent such an attack and so preserve peace in the
Balkans.

Acting under the authorisation of Congress, the Administration sold
these ships on July 8, 1914, to Fred J. Gauntlett for $12,535,276.98.
Congress immediately voted the money realised from the sale to the
construction of a great modern dreadnought, the _California_. Mr.
Gauntlett transferred the ships to the Greek Government. Rechristened
the _Kilkis_ and the _Lemnos_, these battleships immediately took their
places as the most powerful vessels in the Greek Navy, and the
enthusiasm of the Greeks in obtaining them was unbounded.

By this time we had moved from the Embassy to our summer home on the
Bosphorus. All the summer Embassies were located there, and a more
beautiful spot I have never seen. Our house was a three-storey
building, something in the Venetian style; behind it the cliff rose
abruptly, with several terraced gardens towering one above the other.
The building stood so near the shore and the waters of the Bosphorus
rushed by so rapidly that when we sat outside, especially on a moonlight
night, we had almost a complete illusion that we were sitting on the
deck of a fast sailing-ship. In the daytime the Bosphorus, here little
more than a mile wide, was alive with gaily-coloured craft. I recall
this animated scene with particular vividness because I retain in my
mind the contrast it presented a few months afterward, when Turkey’s
entrance into the war had the immediate result of closing this strait.
Day by day the huge Russian steamships, on their way from Black Sea
ports to Smyrna, Alexandria, and other cities, made clear the importance
of this little strip of water, and explained the bloody contests of the
European nations, extending over a thousand years, for its possession.
However, these early summer months were peaceful; all the Ambassadors
and Ministers and their families were thrown constantly together; here
daily gathered the representatives of all the Powers that for the last
three years have been grappling in history’s bloodiest war, all then
apparently friends, sitting around the same dining-tables, walking
arm-in-arm upon the porches. The Ambassador of one Power would most
graciously escort into dinner the wife of another whose country was
perhaps the most antagonistic to his own. Little groups would form after
dinner; the Grand Vizier would hold an impromptu reception in one
corner, Cabinet Ministers would be whispering in another; a group of
Ambassadors would discuss the Greek situation out on the porch; the
Turkish officials would glance quizzically upon the animated scene and
perhaps comment quietly in their own tongue; the Russian Ambassador
would glide about the room, pick out someone whom he wished to talk to,
lock arms and push him into a corner for a surreptitious _tête-à-tête_.
Meanwhile our sons and daughters, the junior members of the diplomatic
corps, and the officers of the several _stationaires_, dancing and
flirting, seemed to think that the whole proceeding had been arranged
solely for their amusement. And to realise while all this was going on
that neither the Grand Vizier nor any of the other high Turkish
officials would leave the house without outriders and bodyguards to
protect them from assassination--whatever other emotions such a
vibrating atmosphere might arouse, it was certainly alive with interest.
I felt also that there was something electric about it all; war was ever
the favourite topic of conversation; everyone seemed to realise that
this peaceful, frivolous life was transitory, and that at any moment
might come the spark that was to set everything aflame.

Yet, when the crisis came, it produced no immediate sensation. On June
29th we heard of the assassination of the Grand Duke of Austria and his
consort. Everybody received the news calmly; there was, indeed, a
stunned feeling that something momentous had happened, but there was
practically no excitement. A day or two after this tragedy I had a long
talk with Talaat on diplomatic matters; he made no reference at all to
this event. I think now that we were all affected by a kind of emotional
paralysis--as we were nearer the centre than most people, we certainly
realised the dangers in the situation. In a day or two our tongues
seemed to have been loosened, for we began to talk--and to talk war.
When I saw von Mutius, the German _chargé_, and Weitz, the
diplomat-correspondent of the _Frankfürter Zeitung_, they also discussed
the impending conflict, and again they gave their forecast a
characteristically Germanic touch; when war came, they said, of course
the United States would take advantage of it to get all the Mexican and
South American trade!

When I called upon Pallavicini to express my condolences over the Grand
Duke’s death, he received me with the most stately solemnity. He was
conscious that he was representing the imperial family, and his grief
seemed to be personal; one would think that he had lost his own son. I
expressed my abhorrence and that of my nation for the deed, and our
sympathy with the aged Emperor.

“_Ja, ja, es ist sehr schrecklich_” (Yes, yes, it is very terrible), he
answered, almost in a whisper.

“Serbia will be condemned for her conduct,” he added. “She will be
compelled to make reparation.”

A few days later, when Pallavicini called upon me, he spoke of the
nationalistic societies that Serbia had permitted to exist and of her
determination to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina. He said that his
Government would insist on the abandonment of these societies and these
pretensions, and that probably a punitive expedition into Serbia would
be necessary to prevent such outrages as the murder of the Grand Duke.
Herein I had my first intimation of the famous ultimatum of July 22nd.

The entire diplomatic corps attended the requiem mass for the Grand Duke
and Duchess, celebrated at the Church of Sainte Marie on July 4. The
church is located in the Grande Rue de Pera, not far from the Austrian
Embassy; to reach it we had to descend a flight of forty stone steps. At
the top of these stairs representatives of the Austrian Embassy,
dressed in full uniform, with crêpe on the left arm, met us, and
escorted us to our seats. All the Ambassadors sat in the front pew; I
recall this with strange emotions now, for it was the last time that we
ever sat together. The service was dignified and beautiful; I remember
it with especial vividness because of the contrasting scene that
immediately followed. When the stately, gorgeously-robed priests had
finished, we all shook hands with the Austrian Ambassador, returned to
our automobiles, and started on our eight-mile ride along the Bosphorus
to the American Embassy. For this day was not only the day when we paid
our tribute to the murdered heir of this medieval autocracy; it was also
the Fourth of July. The very setting of the two scenes symbolised these
two national ideals. I always think of this ambassadorial group going
down those stone steps to the church to pay their respect to the Grand
Duke, and then going up to the gaily-decorated American Embassy to pay
their respect to the Declaration of Independence. All the station ships
of the foreign countries lay out in the stream, decorated and dressed in
honour of our national holiday; and the Ambassadors and Ministers called
in full regalia. From the upper gardens we could see the place where
Darius crossed from Asia with his Persian hosts 2,500 years before--one
of those ancient autocrats the line of which is not yet entirely
extinct. There also we could see magnificent Robert College, an
institution that represented America’s conception of the way to
“penetrate” the Turkish Empire. At night our gardens were illuminated
with Chinese lanterns and good old American fireworks, lighting up the
surrounding hills and the Bosphorus, and the American flag flying at the
front of the house seemed almost to act as a challenge to the plentiful
reminders of autocracy and oppression which we had had in the early part
of the day. Not more than a mile across the water the dark and gloomy
hills of Asia, for ages the birthplace of military despotisms, caught a
faint, and, I think, a prophetic, glow from these illuminations.

In glancing at the little ambassadorial group at the church, and later
at our reception, I was surprised to note that one familiar figure was
missing. Wangenheim, Austria’s ally, was not present. This somewhat
puzzled me at the time, but afterward I had the explanation from
Wangenheim’s own lips. He had left some days before for Berlin. The
Kaiser had summoned him to an Imperial Council, which met on July 5th,
and which decided to plunge Europe into war.



CHAPTER IV

GERMANY MOBILISES THE TURKISH ARMY


In reading the August newspapers which described the mobilisations in
Europe, I was particularly struck with the emphasis which they laid upon
the splendid spirit that was overnight changing the civilian populations
into armies. At that time Turkey had not entered the war, and her
political leaders were loudly protesting their intention to maintain a
strict neutrality. Despite these pacific statements, the occurrences in
Constantinople were almost as warlike as those that were taking place in
the European capitals. Though Turkey was at peace, her army was
mobilising, merely, as we were told, as a precautionary measure. Yet the
daily scenes which I witnessed in Constantinople bore few resemblances
to those which were taking place in Europe. The martial patriotism of
men and the sublime patience and sacrifice of women may sometimes give
war an heroic aspect, but in Turkey the prospect was one of general
listlessness and misery. Day by day the miscellaneous Ottoman hordes
passed through the streets. Arabs, bootless and shoeless, dressed in
their most gaily-coloured garments, with long linen bags, containing the
required five days’ rations, thrown over their shoulders, shambling in
their gait and bewildered in their manner, touched shoulders with
equally dispirited Bedouins, evidently suddenly snatched from the
desert. A motley aggregation of Turks, Circassians, Greeks, Kurds,
Armenians, and Jews, showing signs of having been summarily taken from
their farms and shops, constantly jostled one another. Most were ragged,
and many looked half-starved; everything about them suggested
hopelessness and a cattle-like submission to a fate which they knew they
could not avoid. There was no joy of approaching battle, no feeling that
they were sacrificing themselves for a mighty cause; day by day they
passed, the unwilling children of a tatterdemalion empire that was
making one last despairing attempt to gird itself for action.

These wretched marchers little realised what was the power that was
dragging them from the four corners of their country. Even we of the
diplomatic group had not then clearly grasped the real situation. We
learned afterwards that the signal for this mobilisation had not come
originally from Enver or Talaat or the Turkish Cabinet, but the General
Staff in Berlin and its representatives in Constantinople, Liman von
Sanders and Bronsart, were really directing the variegated operation.
There were unmistakable signs of German activity. As soon as the German
armies crossed the Rhine work was begun on a mammoth wireless station a
few miles outside of Constantinople. The materials all came from Germany
by way of Rumania, and the mechanics, industriously working from
daybreak to sunset, were unmistakably Germans. Of course, the neutrality
laws would have prohibited the construction of a wireless station for a
belligerent in a neutral country like Turkey; it was therefore
officially announced that a German company was building this
heaven-pointing structure for the Turkish Government and on the Sultan’s
own property. But this story deceived no one. Wangenheim, the German
Ambassador, spoke of it freely and constantly as a German enterprise.

“Have you seen our wireless yet?” he would ask me. “Come on, let’s ride
up there and look it over.”

He proudly told me that it was the most powerful in the world--powerful
enough to catch all messages sent by the Eiffel Tower in Paris! He said
that it would put him in constant communication with Berlin. So little
did he attempt to conceal its German ownership that several times, when
ordinary telegraphic communication was suspended, he offered to let me
use it to send my telegrams.

This wireless plant was an outward symbol of the close though
unacknowledged association which then existed between Turkey and Berlin.
It took some time to finish such an extensive station, and in the
interim Wangenheim was using the apparatus on the _Corcovado_, a German
merchant-ship which was lying in the Bosphorus opposite the German
Embassy. For practical purposes, Wangenheim had a constant telephone
connection with Berlin.

German officers were almost as active as the Turks themselves in this
mobilisation. They enjoyed it all immensely; indeed, they gave every
sign that they were having the time of their lives. Bronsart, Humann,
and Lafferts were constantly at Enver’s elbow, advising and directing
the operations. German officers were rushing through the streets every
day in huge automobiles, all requisitioned from the civilian population;
they filled all the restaurants and amusement places at night and
celebrated their joy in the situation by consuming large quantities of
champagne--also requisitioned. A particularly spectacular and noisy
figure was that of von der Goltz Pasha. He was constantly making a kind
of viceregal progress through the streets in a huge and madly-dashing
automobile, on both sides of which flaring German eagles were painted. A
trumpeter on the front seat would blow loud, defiant blasts as the
conveyance rushed along, and woe to anyone, Turk or non-Turk, who
happened to get in the way! The Germans made no attempt to conceal their
conviction that they owned this town. Just as Wangenheim had established
a little Wilhelmstrasse in his Embassy, so had the German military men
established a sub-station of the Berlin General Staff. They even brought
their wives and families from Germany; I heard Baroness Wangenheim
remark that she was holding a little court of her own.

The Germans, however, were about the only people who were enjoying this
proceeding. The requisitioning that accompanied the mobilisation really
amounted to a wholesale looting of the civilian population. The Turks
took all the horses, mules, camels, sheep, cows, and other beasts that
they could lay their hands on, Enver telling me that they had gathered
in 150,000 animals. They did it most intelligently, making no provision
for the continuance of the species; thus they would leave only two cows
or two mares in many of the villages. This system of requisitioning, as
I shall describe, had the inevitable result of destroying the nation’s
agriculture, and ultimately led to the starvation of hundreds of
thousands of people. But the Turks, like the Germans, thought that the
war was destined to be a very short one, and that they would quickly
recuperate from the injuries which their methods of supplying an army
were causing their peasant population. The Government showed precisely
the same shamelessness and lack of intelligence in the way that they
requisitioned materials from merchants and shopmen. These proceedings
amounted to little less than conscious highwaymanship. But practically
none of these merchants were Moslems; most of them were Christians,
though there were a few Jews, and the Turkish officials therefore not
only provided the needs of their army, and incidentally lined their own
pockets, but they found a religious joy in pillaging the infidel
establishments. They would enter a retail shop, take practically all the
merchandise on the shelves, and give merely a piece of paper in
acknowledgment. As the Government had never paid for the supplies which
it had taken in the Italian and Balkan Wars, the merchants hardly
expected that they would ever receive anything for these latest
requisitions. Afterward, many who understood officialdom, and were
politically influential, did recover to the extent of 70 per
cent.--what became of the remaining 30 per cent. is not a secret to
those who have had experience with Turkish bureaucrats.

Thus, for most of the population, requisitioning simply meant financial
ruin. That the process was merely pillaging is shown by many of the
materials which the army took, ostensibly for the use of the soldiers.
Thus the officers seized all the mohair they could find; on occasion
they even carried off women’s silk stockings, corsets, and babies’
slippers, and I heard one case in which they reinforced the Turkish
commissary with caviar and other delicacies. They demanded blankets from
one merchant who was a dealer in women’s underwear; because he had no
such stock, they seized what he had, and he afterward saw his
appropriated goods reposing in rival establishments. The Turks did the
same thing in many other cases. The prevailing system was to take
movable property wherever available and convert it into cash; where the
money ultimately went I do not know, but that many private fortunes were
made I have little doubt. I told Enver that this ruthless method of
mobilising and requisitioning was destroying his country. Misery and
starvation soon began to afflict the land. Out of 4,000,000 adult male
population more than 1,500,000 were ultimately enlisted, and so about a
million families were left without breadwinners, all of them in a
condition of extreme destitution. The Turkish Government paid its
soldiers 25 cents a month, and gave the families a separation allowance
of $1.20 a month. As a result, thousands were dying from lack of food
and many more were enfeebled by malnutrition. I believe that the Empire
has lost a quarter of its Turkish population since the war started. I
asked Enver why he permitted his people to be destroyed in this way. But
sufferings like these did not distress him. He was much impressed by his
success in raising a large army with practically no money--something, he
boasted, which no other nation had ever done before. In order to
accomplish this, Enver had issued orders which stigmatised the evasion
of military service as desertion, and therefore punishable with the
death penalty. He also adopted a scheme by which any Ottoman could
obtain exemption by the payment of about $190. Still, Enver regarded his
accomplishment as a notable one. It was really his first taste of
unlimited power, and he enjoyed the experience greatly.

That the Germans directed this mobilisation is not a matter of opinion
but of proof. I need only instance that the Germans were requisitioning
materials in their own name for their own use. I have a photographic
copy of such a requisition made by Humann, the German naval attaché,
for a shipload of oil-cake. This document is dated September 29, 1914.
“The lot by the steamship _Derindje_ which you mentioned in your letter
of the 26th,” this paper reads, “has been requisitioned by me for the
German Government.” This clearly shows that, a month before Turkey had
entered the war, Germany was really exercising the powers of sovereignty
at Constantinople.



CHAPTER V

WANGENHEIM SMUGGLES THE “GOEBEN” AND THE “BRESLAU” THROUGH THE
DARDANELLES


On August 10th I went out on a little launch to meet the _Sicilia_, a
small Italian ship which had just arrived from Venice. I was especially
interested in this vessel because she was bringing to Constantinople my
daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Wertheim, and their three
little daughters. The greeting proved even more interesting than I had
expected. I found the passengers considerably excited, for they had
witnessed, the day before, a naval engagement in the Ionian Sea.

“We were lunching yesterday on deck,” my daughter told me, “when I saw
two strange-looking vessels just above the horizon. I ran for the
glasses and made out two large battleships, the first one with two queer
exotic-looking towers, and the other one quite an ordinary-looking
battleship. We watched and saw another ship coming up behind them and
going very fast. She came nearer and nearer, and then we heard guns
booming. Pillars of water sprang up in the air and there were many
little puffs of white smoke. It took me some time to realise what it was
all about, and then it burst upon me that we were actually witnessing an
engagement. The ships continually shifted their position, but went on
and on. The two big ones turned and rushed furiously for the little one,
and then apparently they changed their minds and turned back. Then the
little one turned around and calmly steamed in our direction. At first I
was somewhat alarmed at this, but nothing happened. She circled around
us with her tars excited and grinning, and somewhat grimy. They
signalled to our captain many questions, and then turned and finally
disappeared. The captain told us that the two big ships were Germans
which had been caught in the Mediterranean and which were trying to
escape from the British fleet. He says that the British ships are
chasing them all over the Mediterranean, and that the German ships are
trying to get into Constantinople. Have you seen anything of them? Where
do you suppose the British fleet is?”

A few hours afterward I happened to meet Wangenheim. When I told him
what Mrs. Wertheim had seen, he displayed an agitated interest.
Immediately after lunch he called at the American Embassy with
Pallavicini, the Austrian Ambassador, and asked for an interview with my
daughter. The two Ambassadors solemnly planted themselves in chairs
before Mrs. Wertheim and subjected her to a most minute, though very
polite, cross-examination. “I never felt so important in my life,” she
afterwards told me. They would not permit her to leave out a single
detail; they wished to know how many shots had been fired, what
direction the German ships had taken, what everybody on board had said,
and so on. The visit seemed to give these allied Ambassadors immense
relief and satisfaction, for they left the house in an almost jubilant
mood, behaving as though a great weight had been taken off their minds.
And certainly they had good reason for their elation. My daughter had
been the means of giving them the news which they had desired to hear
above everything else--that the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ had escaped
the British fleet and were then steaming rapidly in the direction of the
Dardanelles.

For it was those famous German ships, the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_,
which my daughter had seen engaged in battle with a British scout ship!

The next day official business called me to the German Embassy. But
Wangenheim’s animated manner soon disclosed that he had no interest in
routine matters. Never had I seen him so nervous and so excited. He
could not rest in his chair more than a few minutes at a time; he was
constantly jumping up, rushing to the window, and looking anxiously out
toward the Bosphorus where his private wireless station, the
_Corcovado_, lay about three-quarters of a mile away. Wangenheim’s face
was flushed and his eyes were shining; he would stride up and down the
room, speaking now of a recent German victory, now giving me a little
forecast of Germany’s plans, and then he would stalk to the window again
for another look at the _Corcovado_.

“Something is seriously distracting you,” I said, rising. “I will go,
and come again some other time.”

“No, no!” the Ambassador almost shouted. “I want you to stay right where
you are. This will be a great day for Germany! If you will only remain
for a few minutes you will hear a great piece of news--something that
has the utmost bearing upon Turkey’s relation to the war.”

Then he rushed out on the portico and leaned over the balustrade. At the
same moment I saw a little launch put out from the _Corcovado_ toward
the Ambassador’s dock. Wangenheim hurried down, seized an envelope from
one of the sailors, and a moment afterward burst into the room again.

“We’ve got them!” he shouted to me.

“Got what?” I asked.

“The _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ have passed through the Dardanelles!”

He was waving the wireless message with all the enthusiasm of a college
boy whose football team has won a victory.

Then, momentarily checking his enthusiasm, he came up to me solemnly,
humorously shook his forefinger, lifted his eyebrows, and said, “Of
course, you understand that we have sold these ships to Turkey!

“And Admiral Souchon,” he added with another wink, “will enter the
Sultan’s service!”

Wangenheim had more than patriotic reasons for this exultation; the
arrival of these ships was the greatest day in his diplomatic career. It
was really the first diplomatic victory which Germany had won. For years
the Chancellorship of the Empire had been Wangenheim’s laudable
ambition, and he behaved now like a man who saw his prize within his
grasp. The voyage of the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ was his personal
triumph; he had arranged with the Turkish Cabinet for their passage
through the Dardanelles, and he had directed their movements by wireless
in the Mediterranean. By safely getting the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_
into Constantinople, Wangenheim had definitely clinched Turkey as
Germany’s ally. All his intrigues and plottings for three years had now
finally succeeded.

I doubt if any two ships have exercised a greater influence upon history
than these two German cruisers. Not all of us at that time fully
realised their importance, but subsequent developments have fully
justified Wangenheim’s exuberant satisfaction. The _Goeben_ was a
powerful battle-cruiser of recent construction, the _Breslau_ was not so
large a ship, but she, like the _Goeben_, had the excessive speed that
made her extremely serviceable in those waters. These ships had spent
the few months preceding the war cruising in the Mediterranean, and when
the declaration finally came they were taking on supplies at Messina. I
have always regarded it as more than a coincidence that these two
vessels, both of them having a greater speed than any French or English
ships in the Mediterranean, should have been lying not far from Turkey
when war broke out. The selection of the _Goeben_ was particularly
fortunate, as she had twice before visited Constantinople and her
officers and men knew the Dardanelles perfectly. The behaviour of these
crews, when the news of war was received, indicated the spirit with
which the German Navy began hostilities; the men broke out into song and
shouting, lifted their admiral upon their shoulders, and held a real
German jollification. It is said that Admiral Souchon preserved, as a
touching souvenir of this occasion, his white uniform bearing the
finger-prints of his grimy sailors! For all their joy at the prospect of
battle, the situation of these ships was still a precarious one. They
formed no match for the large British and French naval forces which were
roaming through the Mediterranean. The _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ were
far from their native bases; with the coaling problem such an acute one,
and with England in possession of all important stations, where could
they flee for safety? Several Italian destroyers were circling around
the German ships at Messina, enforcing neutrality and occasionally
reminding them that they could remain in port only twenty-four hours.
England had ships stationed at the Gulf of Otranto, the head of the
Adriatic, to cut them off in case they sought to escape into the
Austrian port of Pola. The British Navy also stood guard at Gibraltar
and Suez, the only other exits that apparently offered the possibility
of escape. There was only one other place in which the _Goeben_ and the
_Breslau_ might find a safe and friendly reception. That was
Constantinople. Apparently the British Navy dismissed this as an
impossibility. At that time, early in August, international law had not
entirely disappeared as the guiding conduct of nations. Turkey was then
a neutral country, and, despite the many evidences of German domination,
she seemed likely to maintain her neutrality. The Treaty of Paris, which
was signed in 1856, as well as the Treaty of London, signed in 1871,
provided that warships should not use the Dardanelles except on the
special permission of the Sultan, which permission could be granted only
in times of peace. In practice the Government had seldom given this
permission except for ceremonial occasions. In the existing conditions
it would have amounted virtually to an unfriendly act for the Sultan to
have removed the ban against war vessels in the Dardanelles, and to
permit the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ to remain in Turkish waters for
more than twenty-four hours would have been nothing less than a
declaration of war. It is, perhaps, not surprising that the British in
the early days of August, 1914, when Germany had not completely made
clear her official opinion that “international law had ceased to exist,”
regarded these treaty stipulations as barring the German ships from the
Dardanelles and Constantinople. Relying upon the sanctity of these
international regulations, the British Navy had shut off every point
through which these German ships could have escaped to safety--except
the entrance to the Dardanelles. Had England, immediately on the
declaration of war, rushed a powerful squadron to this vital spot, how
different the history of the last three years might have been!

       *       *       *       *       *

“His Majesty expects the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ to succeed in
breaking through!” Such was the wireless that reached these vessels at
Messina at five o’clock in the evening of August 4th. The twenty-four
hours’ stay permitted by the Italian Government had nearly expired.
Outside, in the Strait of Otranto, lay the force of British
battle-cruisers, sending false radio messages to the Germans instructing
them to rush for Pola. With bands playing and flags flying, the officers
and crews having had their spirits fired by speeches and champagne, the
two vessels started at full speed head on toward the awaiting British
fleet. The little _Gloucester_, a scout boat, kept in touch, wiring
constantly the German movements to the main squadron. Suddenly, when off
Cape Spartivento, the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ let off into the
atmosphere all the discordant vibrations which their wireless could
command, jamming the air with such a hullabaloo that the _Gloucester_
was unable to send any intelligible messages. Then the German cruisers
turned south and made for the Ægean Sea. The plucky little _Gloucester_
kept close on their heels, and, as my daughter had related, had even
once audaciously offered battle. A few hours behind the British squadron
pursued, but uselessly, for the German ships, though far less powerful
in battle, were much speedier. Even then the British admiral probably
thought that he had spoiled the German plans. The German ships might get
first to the Dardanelles, but at that point stood international law
across the path and barring the entrance!

Meanwhile Wangenheim had accomplished his great diplomatic triumph. From
the _Corcovado_ wireless station in the Bosphorus he was sending the
most agreeable news to Admiral Souchon. He was telling him to hoist the
Turkish flag when he reached the Strait, for Admiral Souchon’s cruisers
had suddenly become parts of the Turkish Navy, and, therefore, the usual
international prohibitions did not apply! These cruisers were no longer
the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_, for, like an oriental magician,
Wangenheim had suddenly changed them into the _Sultan Selim_ and the
_Medilli_. The fact was that the German Ambassador had cleverly taken
advantage of the existing situation to manufacture a “sale.” As I have
already told, Turkey had two dreadnoughts under construction in England

[Illustration: “Goeben” in the Sea of Marmora.

[_To face p. 48._
]

[Illustration: “Breslau” (left) at the Golden Horn.]

when the war broke out. These ships were not exclusively governmental
enterprises; their purchasers represented what, on the surface, appeared
to be a popular enthusiasm of the Turkish people. They were to be the
agencies through which Turkey was to attack Greece and win back the
islands of the Ægean, and the Turkish people had raised the money to
build them by a so-called popular subscription. Agents had gone from
house to house, painfully collecting these small subscriptions; there
had been entertainments and fairs, and, in their eagerness for the
cause, Turkish women had sold their hair for the benefit of the common
fund. These two vessels thus represented a spectacular outburst of
patriotism that was unusual in Turkey, so unusual, indeed, that many
detected signs that the Government had stimulated it. At the very moment
when the war began Turkey had made her last payment to the English
shipyards and the Turkish crews had arrived in England prepared to take
the finished vessels home. Then, very soon before the time set to
deliver them, the British Government stepped in and commandeered these
dreadnoughts for the British Navy.

There is not the slightest question that England had not only a legal,
but a moral, right to do this; there is also no question that her action
was a proper one, and that, had she been dealing with almost any other
nation, such proceeding would not have aroused any resentment. But the
Turkish people cared nothing for distinctions of this sort; all they saw
was that they had two ships in England, which they had greatly strained
their resources to purchase, and that England had now stepped in and
taken them. Even without external pressure they would have resented the
act, but external pressure was exerted in plenty. The transaction gave
Wangenheim the greatest opportunity of his life. Violent attacks upon
England, all emanating from the German Embassy, began to fill the
Turkish Press. Wangenheim was constantly discoursing to the Turkish
leaders on English perfidy. He now suggested that Germany, Turkey’s good
friend, was prepared to make compensation for England’s “unlawful”
seizure. He suggested that Turkey go through the form of “purchasing”
the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_, which were then wandering around the
Mediterranean, perhaps in anticipation of this very contingency, and
incorporate them in the Turkish Navy in place of the appropriated ships
in England. The very day that these vessels passed through the
Dardanelles the _Ikdam_, a Turkish newspaper published in
Constantinople, had a triumphant account of this “sale,” with big
headlines calling it a “great success for the Imperial Government.”

Thus Wangenheim’s manœuvre accomplished two purposes: it placed
Germany before the populace as Turkey’s friend, and it also provided a
subterfuge for getting the ships through the Dardanelles and enabling
them to remain in Turkish waters. All this beguiled the more ignorant
part of the Turkish people, and gave the Cabinet a plausible ground for
meeting the objection of Entente diplomats, but it did not deceive any
intelligent person. The _Goeben_ and _Breslau_ might change their names,
and the German sailors might adorn themselves with Turkish fezzes, but
we all knew from the beginning that this sale was a sham. Those who
understood the financial condition of Turkey could only be amused at the
idea that she could purchase these modern vessels. Moreover, the ships
were never incorporated in the Turkish Navy; on the contrary, what
really happened was that the Turkish Navy was annexed to these German
ships. A handful of Turkish sailors was placed on board at one time for
appearance’ sake, but their German officers and German crews still
retained active charge. Wangenheim, in his talks with me, never made any
secret of the fact that the ships still remained German property. “I
never expected to have such big cheques to sign,” he remarked one day,
referring to his expenditures on the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_. He
always called them “our” ships. Even Talaat told me in so many words
that the cruisers did not belong to Turkey.

“The Germans say they belong to the Turks,” he remarked, with his
characteristic laugh. “At any rate it’s very comforting for us to have
them here. After the war, if the Germans win, they will forget all about
it and leave the ships to us. If the Germans lose, they won’t be able to
take them away from us!”

The German Government made no real pretension that the sale had been
_bonâ fide_; at least, when the Greek Minister at Berlin protested
against the transaction as unfriendly to Greece--naïvely forgetting the
American ships which Greece had recently purchased--the German officials
soothed him by admitting, _sotto voce_, that the ownership still resided
in Germany. Yet when the Entente Ambassadors constantly protested
against the presence of the German vessels, the Turkish officials
blandly kept up the pretence that they were integral parts of the
Turkish Navy!

The German officers and crews greatly enjoyed this farcical pretence
that the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ were Turkish ships. They took
particular delight in dressing themselves up in Turkish uniforms and
Turkish fezzes, thereby presenting to the world conclusive evidence that
these loyal soldiers of the Kaiser were now parts of the Sultan’s Navy.
One day the _Goeben_ sailed up the Bosphorus, halted in front of the
Russian Embassy, and dropped anchor. Then the officers and men lined the
deck in full view of the enemy Ambassador. All solemnly removed their
Turkish fezzes and put on German caps. The band played “_Deutschland
uber Alles_,” the “Watch on the Rhine,” and other German songs, the
German sailors singing loudly to the accompaniment. When they had spent
an hour or two serenading the Russian Ambassador, the officers and crews
removed their German caps and again put on their Turkish fezzes. The
_Goeben_ then picked up her anchor and started south to her station,
leaving in the ears of the Russian diplomat the gradually dying strains
of German war songs as the cruiser disappeared down stream.

I have often speculated on what would have happened if the English
battle-cruisers, which pursued the _Breslau_ and _Goeben_ up to the
mouth of the Dardanelles, had not been too gentlemanly to have violated
international law. Suppose that they had entered the Strait, attacked
the German cruisers in the Marmora, and sunk them. They could have done
this, and, knowing all that we know now, such an action would have been
justified. Not improbably the destruction would have kept Turkey out of
the war. For, the arrival of these cruisers made it inevitable that
Turkey should join her forces with Germany’s when the proper moment
came. With them the Turkish Navy became stronger than the Russian Black
Sea Fleet, and thus made it certain that Russia could make no attack on
Constantinople. The _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_, that is, practically
gave the Ottoman-German naval forces control of the Black Sea. Moreover,
these two ships could easily dominate Constantinople, and thus furnish
the means by which the German Navy, if the occasion arose, could
terrorise the Turks. I am convinced that, when the judicious historian
reviews this war and its consequences, he will say that the passage of
the Strait by these German ships made it inevitable that Turkey should
join Germany at the moment that Germany desired her assistance, and that
they likewise sealed the doom of the Turkish Empire. There were men in
the Turkish Cabinet who perceived this, even then. The story was told in
Constantinople--though I do not vouch for it as authentic history--that
the Cabinet Meeting at which this momentous decision had been made had
not been altogether harmonious. The Grand Vizier and Djemal, it was
said, objected to the fictitious “sale,” and demanded that it should be
made a real one. When the discussion had reached its height Enver, who
was playing Germany’s game, announced that he had already practically
completed the transaction. In the silence that followed his statement
this young Napoleon pulled out his pistol and laid it on the table.

“If anyone here wishes to question this purchase,” he said quietly and
icily, “I am ready to meet him.”

A few weeks after the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ had taken up permanent
headquarters in the Bosphorus, Djavid Bey, Minister of Finance, happened
to meet a distinguished Belgian jurist, then in Constantinople.

“I have terrible news for you,” said the sympathetic Turkish statesman.
“The Germans have captured Brussels.”

The Belgian, a huge figure, more than six feet high, put his arm
soothingly upon the shoulder of the diminutive Turk.

“I have even more terrible news for you,” he said, pointing out to the
stream where the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ lay anchored. “The Germans
have captured Turkey.”



CHAPTER VI

WANGENHEIM TELLS THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR HOW THE KAISER STARTED THE WAR


But there was one quarter in which this transaction produced no
appreciable gloom. That was the German Embassy. This great “success”
fairly intoxicated the impressionable Wangenheim, and other happenings
now aroused his _furor Teutonicus_ to a fever-heat. The _Goeben_ and the
_Breslau_ arrived almost at the same time that the Germans captured
Liège, Namur, and other Belgian towns. And now followed the German sweep
into France and the apparently triumphant rush to Paris. In all these
happenings Wangenheim, like the militant Prussian that he was, saw the
fulfilment of a forty years’ dream. We were all still living in the
summer Embassies along the Bosphorus. Germany had a sumptuous palace,
with elaborate buildings and a beautiful park, which the Sultan had
personally presented to the Kaiser’s Government, yet for some reason
Wangenheim did not seem to enjoy his headquarters during these summer
days. A little guard-house stood directly in front of his Embassy, on
the street, within twenty feet of the rushing Bosphorus, and in front of
this was a stone bench. This bench was properly a resting-place for the
guard, but Wangenheim seemed to have a strong liking for it. I shall
always keep in my mind the figure of this German diplomat, in those
exciting days before the Marne, sitting out on this little bench, now
and then jumping up for a stroll back and forth in front of his house.
Everybody passing from Constantinople to the northern suburbs had to
pass this road, and even the Russian and French diplomats frequently
went by, stiffly ignoring, of course, the triumphant ambassadorial
figure on his stone bench. I sometimes think that Wangenheim sat there
for the express purpose of puffing his cigar smoke in their direction.
It all reminded me of the scene in Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell, where Tell
sits in the mountain-pass, with his bow and arrow at his side, waiting
for his intended victim, Gessler, to go by:

    “Here through this deep defile he needs must pass;
     There leads no other road to Kussnacht.”

Wangenheim would also buttonhole his friends, or those whom he regarded
as his friends, and have his little jollifications over German
victories. I noticed that he stationed himself there only when the
German armies were winning; if news came of a reverse, Wangenheim was
utterly invisible. This led me to remark that he reminded me of a toy
weather-prophet, which is always outside the box when the weather is
fine but which retires within when storms are gathering. Wangenheim
appreciated my little joke as keenly as the rest of the diplomatic set.

In those early days, however, the weather for the German Ambassador was
distinctly favourable. The good fortune of the German armies so excited
him that he was sometimes led into indiscretions, and his exuberance one
day caused him to tell me certain facts which, I think, will always have
great historical value. He disclosed precisely how and when Germany had
precipitated this war. To-day his revelation of this secret looks like a
most monstrous indiscretion, but we must remember Wangenheim’s state of
mind at the time. The whole world then believed that Paris was doomed,
and Wangenheim reflected this attitude in his frequent declarations that
the war would be over in two or three months. The whole German
enterprise was evidently progressing according to programme.

I have already mentioned that the German Ambassador left for Berlin soon
after the assassination of the Grand Duke, and he now revealed the cause
of his sudden disappearance. The Kaiser, he told me, had summoned him to
Berlin for an Imperial Conference. This meeting took place at Potsdam on
July 5th. The Kaiser presided and nearly all the important Ambassadors
attended. Wangenheim himself was summoned to give assurance about Turkey
and enlighten his associates generally on the situation in
Constantinople, which was then regarded as almost the pivotal point in
the impending war. In telling me who attended this conference Wangenheim
used no names, though he specifically said that among them were--the
facts are so important that I quote his exact words in the German which
he used--“_die Haüpte des Generalstabs und der Marine_” (the heads of
the General Staff and of the Navy), by which I have assumed that he
meant von Moltke and Von Tirpitz. The great bankers, railroad directors,
and the captains of German industry, all of whom were as necessary to
German war preparations as the army itself, also attended.

Wangenheim now told me that the Kaiser solemnly put the question to each
man in turn: “Are you ready for war?” All replied “Yes,” except the
financiers. They said that they must have two weeks to sell their
foreign securities and to make loans. At that time few people had
looked upon the Serajevo tragedy as something that was likely to cause
war. This Conference, Wangenheim told me, took all precautions that no
such suspicion should be aroused. It decided to give the bankers time to
readjust their finances for the coming war, and then the several members
went quietly back to their work or started on vacations. The Kaiser went
to Norway on his yacht, von Bethmann-Hollweg left for a rest, and
Wangenheim returned to Constantinople.

In telling me about this Conference Wangenheim, of course, admitted that
Germany had precipitated the war. I think that he was rather proud of
the whole performance; proud that Germany had gone about the matter in
so methodical and far-seeing a way, and especially proud that he himself
had been invited to participate in so momentous a gathering. I have
often wondered why he revealed to me so important a secret, and I think
that perhaps the real reason was his excessive vanity--his desire to
show me how close he stood to the inner counsels of his Emperor and the
part that he had played in bringing on this conflict. Whatever the
motive, this indiscretion certainly had the effect of showing me who
were really the guilty parties in this monstrous crime. The several
Blue, Red, and Yellow Books which flooded Europe during the few months
following the outbreak, and the hundreds of documents which were issued
by German propaganda attempting to establish Germany’s innocence, have
never made the slightest impression on me. For my conclusions as to the
responsibility are not based on suspicions or belief or the study of
circumstantial data. I do not have to reason or argue about the matter.
I know. The conspiracy that has caused this greatest of human tragedies
was hatched by the Kaiser and his imperial crew at this Potsdam
Conference of July 5, 1914. One of the chief participants, flushed with
his triumph at the apparent success of the plot, told me the details
with his own mouth. Whenever I hear people arguing about the
responsibility for this war, or read the clumsy and lying excuses put
forth by Germany, I simply recall the burly figure of Wangenheim as he
appeared that August afternoon, puffing away at a huge black cigar, and
giving me his account of this historic meeting. Why waste any time
discussing the matter after that?

This Imperial Conference took place on July 5th and the Serbian
ultimatum was sent on July 22nd. That is just about the two weeks’
interval which the financiers had demanded to complete their plans. All
the great stock exchanges of the world show that the German bankers
profitably used this interval. Their records disclose that stocks were
being sold in large quantities and that prices declined rapidly. At that
time the markets were somewhat puzzled at this movement, but
Wangenheim’s explanation clears up any doubts that may still remain.
Germany was changing her securities into cash for war purposes. If
anyone wishes to verify Wangenheim I would suggest that he examine the
quotations of the New York stock market for these two historic weeks. He
will find that there were astonishing slumps in quotations, especially
on the stocks that had an international market. Between July 5th and
July 22nd Union Pacific dropped from 155½ to 127½, Baltimore and Ohio
from 91½ to 81, United States Steel from 61 to 50½, Canadian Pacific
from 194 to 185½, and Northern Pacific from 111⅜ to 108. At that time
the high protectionists were blaming the Simmons-Underwood Tariff Act as
responsible for this fall in values, while other critics of the
Administration attributed it to the Federal Reserve Act, which had not
yet gone into effect. How little the Wall Street brokers and the
financial experts realised that an Imperial Conference which had been
held in Potsdam, and presided over by the Kaiser, was the real force
that was then depressing the market!

Wangenheim not only gave me the details of this Potsdam Conference, but
he disclosed the same secret to the Marquis Garroni, the Italian
Ambassador at Constantinople. Italy was at that time technically
Germany’s ally.

The Austrian Ambassador, the Marquis Pallavicini, also practically
admitted that the Central Powers had precipitated the war. On August
18th, Francis Joseph’s birthday, I made the usual ambassadorial visit of
congratulation. Quite naturally the conversation turned upon the
Emperor, who had that day passed his eighty-fourth year. Pallavicini
spoke about him with the utmost pride and veneration. He told me how
keen-minded and clear-headed the aged Emperor was, how he had the most
complete understanding of international affairs, and how he gave
everything his personal supervision. To illustrate the Austrian Kaiser’s
grasp of public events, Pallavicini instanced the present war. The
previous May, Pallavicini had had an audience with Francis Joseph in
Vienna. At that time, Pallavicini now told me, the Emperor had said that
a European war was unavoidable. The Central Powers would not accept the
Treaty of Bucharest as a settlement of the Balkan question, and only a
general war, the Emperor had told Pallavicini, could ever settle that
problem. The Treaty of Bucharest, I may recall, was the settlement that
ended the second Balkan war.

This divided the European dominions of Turkey, excepting Constantinople
and a small piece of adjoining territory, among the Balkan nations,
chiefly Serbia and Greece. That treaty strengthened Serbia greatly; so
much did it increase Serbia’s resources, indeed, that Austria feared
that it had laid the beginning of a new European State that might grow
sufficiently strong to resist her own plans of aggrandisement. Austria
held a large Serbian population under her yoke in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, and these Serbians desired, above everything else,
annexation to their own country. Moreover, the Pan-German plans in the
East necessitated the destruction of Serbia, the State which, so long as
it stood intact, blocked the Germanic road to the East. It had been the
Austro-German expectation that the Balkan war would destroy Serbia as a
nation--that Turkey would simply annihilate King Peter’s forces. This
was precisely what the Germanic plans demanded, and for this reason
Austria and Germany did nothing to prevent the Balkan wars. But the
result was exactly the reverse, for out of the conflict arose a stronger
Serbia than ever, standing firm like a breakwater against the Germanic
path.

Most historians agree that the Treaty of Bucharest made inevitable this
war. I have the Marquis Pallavicini’s evidence that this was likewise
the opinion of Francis Joseph himself. The audience at which the Emperor
made this statement was held in May, more than a month before the
assassination of the Grand Duke. Clearly, therefore, we have the
Austrian Emperor’s assurances that the war would have come irrespective
of the assassination at Serajevo. It is quite apparent that this crime
merely served as the convenient pretext for the war upon which the
Central Empires had already decided.



CHAPTER VII

GERMANY’S PLANS FOR NEW TERRITORIES, COALING STATIONS, AND INDEMNITIES


All through that eventful August and September Wangenheim continued his
almost irresponsible behaviour--now blandly boastful, now depressed,
always nervous and high-strung, ingratiating to an American like myself,
spiteful and petty toward the representatives of the enemy Powers. He
was always displaying his anxiety and impatience by sitting on the
bench, that he might be within two or three minutes’ quicker access to
the wireless communications that were sent him from Berlin _via_ the
_Corcovado_. He would never miss an opportunity to spread the news of
victories; several times he adopted the unusual course of coming to my
house unannounced, to tell me of the latest developments and to read me
extracts from messages which he had just received. He was always
apparently frank, direct, and even indiscreet. I remember his great
distress the day that England declared war. Wangenheim had always
professed a great admiration for England, and especially for America.
“There are only three great countries,” he would say over and over
again, “Germany, England, and the United States. We three should get
together, then we could rule the world.” This enthusiasm for the British
Empire now suddenly cooled when that Power decided to defend her treaty
pledges and declared war. Wangenheim had said that the conflict would be
a short one; Sedan Day (September 2nd) would be celebrated in Paris. But
on August 5th I called at his Embassy and found him more than usually
agitated and serious. Baroness Wangenheim, a tall, handsome woman, was
sitting in the room reading her mother’s memoirs of the war of 1870.
Both regarded the news from England as almost a personal grievance, and
what impressed me most was Wangenheim’s utter failure to understand
England’s motives. “It’s mighty poor politics on her part!” he exclaimed
over and over again. His attitude was precisely the same as that of
Bethmann-Hollweg with the “scrap of paper.”

I was out for a stroll on August 26th, and happened to meet the German
Ambassador. He began to talk as usual about the German victories in
France, repeating, as was now his habit, his prophecy that the German
armies would be in Paris within a week. The deciding factor in this war,
he added, would be the Krupp artillery. “And remember that this time,”
he said, “we are making war. And we shall make it _rücksichtslos_
(without any consideration). We shall not be hampered as we were in
1870. Then Queen Victoria, the Czar, and Francis Joseph interfered and
persuaded us to spare Paris. But there is no one to interfere now. We
shall move to Berlin all the Parisian art treasures that belong to the
State, just as Napoleon took Italian art works to France.”

It is quite evident that the battle of the Marne saved Paris from the
fate of Louvain.

So confidently did Wangenheim expect an immediate victory that he began
to discuss the terms of peace. Germany would demand of France, he said,
after defeating her armies, that she completely demobilise and pay an
indemnity. “France now,” said Wangenheim, “can settle for
$5,000,000,000; but if she persists in continuing the war she will have
to pay $20,000,000,000.”

He told me that Germany would demand harbours and coaling-stations
“everywhere.” At that time, judging from Wangenheim’s statements,
Germany was not looking so much for new territory as for great
commercial advantages. She was determined to be the great merchant
nation, and for this she must have free harbours, the Bagdad railroad,
and extensive rights in South America and Africa. Wangenheim said that
Germany did not desire any more territory in which the populations did
not speak German, for they had had all of that kind of trouble they
wanted in Alsace-Lorraine, Poland, and other non-German countries. This
statement certainly sounds interesting now in view of recent happenings
in Russia. He did not mention England in speaking of Germany’s demand
for coaling-stations and harbours; he must have had England in mind,
however, for what other nation could have given them to Germany
“everywhere”?

All these conversations were illuminating to me as Wangenheim’s
revelation of the Conference of July 5th. That episode clearly proved
that Germany had consciously started the war, while these grandiose
schemes, as outlined by this very able but somewhat talkative
Ambassador, showed the reasons that had impelled her in this great
enterprise. Wangenheim gave me a complete picture of the German Empire
embarking on a great buccaneering enterprise, in which the spoils of
success came to be the accumulated riches of her neighbours and the
world position which their skill and industry had built up through the
centuries.

If England attempted to starve Germany, said Wangenheim, Germany’s
response would be a simple one: she would starve France. At that time,
we must remember, Germany expected to have Paris within a week, and she
believed that this would ultimately give her control of the whole
country. It was evidently the German plan, as understood by Wangenheim,
to hold this nation as a pawn for England’s behaviour, a kind of hostage
on a gigantic scale, and, should England gain any military or naval
advantage, Germany would attempt to counter-attack by torturing the
whole French people. At that moment German soldiers were murdering
innocent Belgians in return for the alleged misbehaviour of other
Belgians, and evidently Germany had planned to apply this principle to
whole nations as well as to individuals.

All through this and other talks, Wangenheim showed the greatest
animosity to Russia.

“We’ve got our foot on Russia’s corn,” he said, “and we propose to keep
it there.”

By this he must have meant that Germany had sent the _Goeben_ and the
_Breslau_ through the Dardanelles and so controlled the situation in
Constantinople. The old Byzantine capital, said Wangenheim, was the
prize which a victorious Russia would demand, and her lack of an
all-the-year-round port in warm waters was Russia’s tender spot--her
“corn.” At this time Wangenheim boasted that Germany had 174 German
gunners at the Dardanelles, that the Strait could be closed in less than
thirty minutes, and that Souchon, the German admiral, had informed him
that the Straits were impregnable. “We shall not close the Dardanelles,
however,” he said, “unless England attacks them.”

At that time England, although she had declared war on Germany, had
played no conspicuous part in the military operations; her “contemptible
little army” was making its heroic retreat from Mons. Wangenheim
entirely discounted England as an enemy. It was the German intention, he
said, to place their big guns at Calais, and throw their shells across
the English Channel to the English coast towns; that Germany would not
have Calais within the next ten days did not occur to him as a
possibility. In this and other conversations at about the same time
Wangenheim laughed at the idea that England could create a large
independent army. “The idea is preposterous,” he said. “It takes
generations of militarism to produce any thing like the German army. We
have been building it up for two hundred years. It takes thirty years
of constant training to produce such generals as we have. Our army will
always maintain its organisation. We have 500,000 recruits reaching
military age every year, and we cannot possibly lose that number, so
that our army will be kept intact.”

A few weeks later civilisation was outraged by the German bombardment of
English coast towns, such as Scarborough and Hartlepool. This was no
sudden German inspiration, but part of their carefully-considered plans.
Wangenheim told me, on September 6th, 1914, that Germany intended to
bombard all English harbours, so as to stop the food supply. It is also
apparent that German ruthlessness against American sea trade was no
sudden decision of von Tirpitz, for on this same date the German
Ambassador to Constantinople warned me that it would be very dangerous
for the United States to send ships to England!



CHAPTER VIII

A CLASSIC INSTANCE OF GERMAN PROPAGANDA


In those August and September days Germany had no intention of
precipitating Turkey immediately into the war. As I had a deep interest
in the welfare of the Turkish people and in maintaining peace, I
telegraphed Washington asking if I might use my influence to keep Turkey
neutral. I received a reply that I might do this provided that I made my
representations unofficially and purely upon humanitarian grounds. As
the English and the French Ambassadors were exerting all their effort to
keep Turkey neutral, I knew that my intervention in the same interest
would not displease the British Government. Germany, however, might
regard any interference on my part as an unneutral act, and I asked
Wangenheim if there could be any objection from that source.

His reply somewhat surprised me, though I saw through it soon afterward.
“Not at all,” he said. “Germany desires, above all, that Turkey shall
remain neutral.”

Undoubtedly Turkey’s policy at that moment precisely fitted in with
German plans. Wangenheim was every day increasing his ascendancy over
the Turkish Cabinet, and Turkey was then pursuing the course that best
served the German aims. Her policy was keeping the Entente on
tenterhooks; it never knew from day to day where Turkey stood, whether
she would remain neutral or enter the war on Germany’s side. Because
Turkey’s attitude was so uncertain Russia was compelled to keep large
forces on the Caucasus, England was obliged to strengthen her forces in
Egypt and India, and to maintain a considerable fleet at the mouth of
the Dardanelles. All this worked in beautifully with Germany’s plans,
for these detached forces just so much weakened England and Russia on
the European battle-front. I am now speaking of the period just before
the Marne, when Germany expected to defeat France and Russia with the
aid of her ally, Austria, and thus obtain a victory that would have
enabled her to dictate the future of Europe. Should Turkey at that time
be actually engaged in military operations, she could do no more toward
bringing about this victory than she was doing now, by keeping
considerable Russian and English forces away from the most important
fronts. But, should Germany win this easy victory with Turkey’s aid, she
might find her new ally an embarrassment. Turkey would certainly demand
compensation, and she would not be particularly modest in her demands,
which most likely would include the return of Egypt and perhaps the
recession of Balkan territories. Such readjustments would have
interfered with the Kaiser’s plans. Thus he had no interest in having
Turkey as an active ally, except in the event that he did not win his
speedily anticipated triumph. But, if Russia should make great progress
against Austria, then Turkey’s active alliance would have great military
value, especially if her entry should be so timed as to bring in
Bulgaria and Rumania. Meanwhile Wangenheim was playing a waiting game,
making Turkey a potential German ally, strengthening her army and her
navy, and preparing to use her, whenever the moment arrived for using
her, to the best advantage. If Germany could not win the war without
Turkey’s aid, Germany was prepared to take her in as an ally; if she
could win without Turkey, then she would not have to pay the Turk for
his co-operation. Meanwhile the sensible course was to keep her prepared
in case the Turkish forces became essential to German success.

The duel that now took place between Germany and the Entente for
Turkey’s favour was a most unequal one. The fact was that Germany had
won the victory when she smuggled the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ into
the Sea of Marmora. The English, French, and Russian Ambassadors well
understood this, and they knew that they could not make Turkey an active
ally of the Entente; they probably had no desire to do so, but they did
have hopes that they could keep her neutral. To this end they now
directed all their efforts. “You have had enough of war,” they would
tell Talaat and Enver. “You have fought three wars in the last four
years; you will ruin your country absolutely if you get involved in this
one.” The Entente had only one consideration to offer Turkey for her
neutrality, and this was an offer to guarantee the integrity of the
Ottoman Empire. The Entente Ambassadors showed their great desire to
keep Turkey out of the war by their disinclination to press to the limit
their case against the _Breslau_ and the _Goeben_. It is true that they
repeatedly protested against the continued presence of these ships, but
every time the Turkish officials maintained that they were Turkish
vessels.

“If that is so,” Sir Louis Mallet would urge, and his argument was
unassailable, “why don’t you remove the German officers and crew?” That
was the intention, the Grand Vizier would answer. The Turkish crews that
had been sent to man the ships which had been built in England, he would
say, were returning to Turkey, and they would be put on board the
_Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ as soon as they reached Constantinople. But
days and weeks went by; these crews came home, and still Germany manned
and officered the cruisers. These backings and fillings naturally did
not deceive the British and French Foreign Offices. The presence of the
_Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ was a standing _casus belli_, but the Entente
Ambassadors did not demand their passports, for such an act would have
precipitated the very crisis which they were seeking to delay, and, if
possible, to avoid--Turkey’s entrance as Germany’s ally. Unhappily, the
Entente’s promise to guarantee Turkey’s integrity did not win Turkey to
their side.

“They promised that we should not be dismembered after the Balkan wars,”
Talaat would tell me, “and see what happened to European Turkey then.”

Wangenheim constantly harped upon this fact. “You can’t trust anything
they say,” he would tell Talaat and Enver; “didn’t they all go back on
you a year ago?” And then with great cleverness he would play upon the
only emotion which really actuates the Turk. The descendants of Osman
hardly resemble any people I have ever known. They do not hate, they do
not love; they have no lasting animosities or affections. They only
fear. And naturally they attribute to others the motives which regulate
their own conduct. “How stupid you are!” Wangenheim would tell Talaat
and Enver, discussing the English attitude. “Don’t you see why the
English want you to keep out? It is because they fear you. Don’t you see
that, with the help of Germany, you have again become a great military
power? No wonder England doesn’t want to fight you!” He dinned this so
continually in their ears that they finally believed it, for this
argument not only completely explained the attitude of the Entente, but
it flattered Turkish pride.

Whatever may have been the attitude of Enver and Talaat, I think that
England and France were more popular with all classes in Turkey than was
Germany. The Sultan was opposed to war; the heir-apparent, Youssouff
Izzadin, was openly pro-Ally; the Grand Vizier, Saïd Halim, favoured
England rather than Germany; Djemal, the third member of the ruling
triumvirate, had the reputation of being a Francophile--he had recently
returned from Paris, where the reception he had received had greatly
flattered him; a majority of the Cabinet had no enthusiasm for Germany;
and public opinion, so far as public opinion existed in Turkey, regarded
England, not Germany, as Turkey’s historic friend. Wangenheim,
therefore, had much opposition to overcome, and the methods which he
took to break it down form a classic illustration of German propaganda.
He started a lavish publicity campaign against England, France, and
Russia. I have described the feelings of the Turks at losing their ships
in England. Wangenheim’s agents now filled columns of purchased space in
the newspapers with bitter attacks on England for taking over these
vessels. The whole Turkish Press rapidly passed under the control of
Germany. Wangenheim purchased the _Ikdam_, one of the largest Turkish
newspapers, which immediately began to sing the praises of Germany and
to abuse the Entente. The _Osmanischer Lloyd_, published in French and
German, became an organ of the German Embassy. Although the Turkish
Constitution guaranteed a free Press, a censorship was established in
the interest of the Central Powers. All Turkish editors were ordered to
write in Germany’s favour, and they obeyed instructions. The _Jeune
Turc_, a pro-Entente newspaper, printed in French, was suppressed. The
Turkish papers exaggerated German victories and completely manufactured
others; they were constantly printing the news of Entente defeats, most
of them wholly imaginary. In the evening Wangenheim and Pallavicini
would show me official telegrams giving the details of military
operations, but when, in the morning, I would look in the newspapers, I
would find that this news had been twisted or falsified in Germany’s
favour. A certain Baron Oppenheim travelled all over Turkey
manufacturing public opinion against England and France. Ostensibly he
was an archæologist, while in reality he opened offices everywhere from
which issued streams of slanders against the Entente. Huge maps were
pasted on walls, showing all the territory which Turkey had lost in the
course of a century. Russia was portrayed as the nation chiefly
responsible for these “robberies,” and attention was drawn to the fact
that England had now become Russia’s ally. Pictures were published,
showing the grasping powers of the Entente as rapacious animals,
snatching away at poor Turkey. Enver was advertised as the “hero” who
had recovered Adrianople; Germany was pictured as Turkey’s friend; the
Kaiser suddenly became “Hadji Wilhelm,” the great protector of Islam,
and stories were even printed that he had become a convert to
Mohammedanism. The Turkish populace was informed that the Moslems of
India and of Egypt were about to revolt and throw off their English
“tyrants.” The Turkish man-on-the-street was taught to say _Gott Strafe
England_, and all the time the motive-power of this infamous campaign
was German money.

But Germany was doing more than poisoning the Turkish mind; she was
appropriating Turkey’s military resources. I have already described how,
in January, 1914, the Kaiser had taken over the Turkish Army and
rehabilitated it in preparation for the European war. He now proceeded
to do the same thing with the Turkish Navy. In August Wangenheim boasted
to me that, “We now control both the Turkish Army and Navy.” At the time
the _Goeben_ and _Breslau_ arrived, an English mission, headed by
Admiral Limpus, was hard at work restoring the Turkish Navy. Soon
afterward Limpus and his associates were unceremoniously dismissed. The
manner of their going was really disgraceful, for not even the most
ordinary courtesies were shown them. The English naval officers quietly
and unobservedly left Constantinople for England--all except the Admiral
himself, who had to remain longer because of his daughter’s illness.

Night after night whole carloads of Germans landed at Constantinople
from Berlin; the aggregations to the population finally amounted to
3,800 men, most of them sent to man the Turkish Navy and to manufacture
ammunition. They filled the cafés every night, and they paraded the
streets of Constantinople in the small hours of the morning, howling and
singing German patriotic songs. Many of them were skilled mechanics, who
immediately went to work repairing the destroyers and other ships and
putting them in shape for war. The British firm of Armstrong and Vickers
had a splendid dock in Constantinople, and this the Germans now
appropriated. All day and night we could hear this work going on, and we
could hardly sleep because of the hubbub of riveting and hammering.
Wangenheim now found another opportunity for instilling more poison into
the minds of Enver, Talaat, and Djemal. The German workers, he declared,
had found that the Turkish ships were in a desperate state of disrepair,
and for this he naturally blamed the English naval mission. He said that
England had deliberately let the Turkish Navy go to decay, and he
asserted that this was all part of England’s plot to ruin Turkey!
“Look!” he would exclaim, “see what we Germans have done for the Turkish
Army, and see what the English have done for your ships!” As a matter of
fact, all this was untrue, for Admiral Limpus had worked hard and
conscientiously to improve the Navy, and had accomplished excellent
results in that direction.

All this time the Germans were working at the Dardanelles, seeking to
strengthen the fortifications, and preparing for a possible Allied
attack. As September lengthened into October, the Sublime Porte
practically ceased to be the headquarters of the Ottoman Empire. I
really think that the most powerful seat of authority at that time was a
German merchant-ship, the _General_. It was moored in the Golden Horn,
near the Galata Bridge, and a permanent stairway had been built, leading
to its deck. I knew well one of the most frequent visitors to this ship,
an American who used to come to the Embassy and entertain me with
stories of what was going on.

The _General_, this friend now informed me, was practically a German
club or hotel. The officers of the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ and other
German officers who had been sent to command the Turkish ships ate and
slept on board. Admiral Souchon, who had brought the German cruisers to
Constantinople, presided over these gatherings. Souchon was a man of
French Huguenot extraction; he was a short, dapper, clean-cut sailor,
very energetic and alert, and to the German passion for command and
thoroughness he added much of the Gallic geniality and buoyancy.
Naturally he gave much liveliness to the evening parties on the
_General_, and the beer and champagne which were liberally dispensed on
these occasions loosened the tongues of his fellow-officers. Their
conversation showed that they entertained no illusions as to who really
controlled the Turkish Navy. Night after night their impatience for
action grew; they kept declaring that, if Turkey did not presently
attack the Russians, they would force her to do so. They would relate
how they had sent German ships into the Black Sea in the hope of
provoking the Russian fleet to some action that would make war
inevitable. Toward the end of October my friend told me that hostilities
could not much longer be avoided; the Turkish fleet had been fitted for
action, everything was ready, and the impetuosity of these
_kriegslustige_ German officers could not much longer be restrained.

“They are just like a lot of boys with chips on their shoulders. They
are simply spoiling for a fight!” he said.



CHAPTER IX

GERMANY CLOSES THE DARDANELLES AND SO SEPARATES RUSSIA FROM HER ALLIES


On September 27th Sir Louis Mallet, the British Ambassador, entered my
office in a considerably disturbed state of mind. The Khedive of Egypt
had just left me, and I began to talk to Sir Louis about Egyptian
matters.

“Let’s discuss that some other time,” he said. “I have something far
more important to tell you. They have closed the Dardanelles.”

By “they” he meant, of course, not the Turkish Government, the only
Power which had the legal right to take this drastic step, but the
actual ruling powers in Turkey, the Germans. Sir Louis had good reason
for bringing me this piece of news, since this was an outrage against
the United States as well as against the Allies. He asked me to go with
him and make a joint protest. I suggested, however, that it would be
better for us to act separately, and I immediately started for the House
of the Grand Vizier.

When I arrived a Cabinet conference was in session, and, as I sat in the
ante-room, I could hear several voices in excited discussion. Among them
all I could distinctly distinguish the familiar tones of Talaat, Enver,
Djavid, and other members of the Government. It was quite plain, from
all that I could overhear through the thin partitions, that these
nominal rulers of Turkey were almost as worked up over the closing as
were Sir Louis Mallet and myself.

The Grand Vizier came out in answer to my request. He presented a
pitiable sight. This was, in title at least, the most important official
of the Turkish Government, the mouthpiece of the Sultan himself, yet now
he presented a picture of abject helplessness and fear. His face was
blanched and he was trembling from head to foot. He was so overcome with
his emotions that he could hardly speak. When I asked him whether the
news was true that the Dardanelles had been closed he finally stammered
out that it was.

“You know this means war,” I said, and I protested as strongly as I
could in the name of the United States.

All the time that we were talking I could hear the loud tones of Talaat
and his associates in the interior apartment. The Grand Vizier excused
himself and went back into the room. He then sent out Djavid, the
Minister of Finance, to discuss the matter with me.

“It’s all a surprise to us,” were Djavid’s first words--this statement
being a complete admission that the Cabinet had had nothing to do with
it. I repeated that the United States would not submit to closing the
Dardanelles; since Turkey was at peace she had no legal right to shut
the Straits to merchant ships, except in case of war. I said that an
American ship laden with supplies and stores for the American Embassy
was outside at that moment waiting to come in. Djavid suggested that I
have this vessel unload her cargo at Smyrna; that the Turkish
Government, he obligingly added, would pay the cost of transporting it
overland to Constantinople. This proposal, of course, was a ridiculous
evasion of the issue, and I brushed it aside.

Djavid then said that the Cabinet proposed to investigate the matter,
and, in fact, they were discussing it at that moment. He told me how it
had happened. A Turkish torpedo-boat had passed through the Dardanelles
and attempted to enter the Ægean. The British warships stationed outside
hailed the ship, examined it, and found that there were German sailors
on board. The English admiral at once ordered the vessel to go back;
this, under the circumstances, he had a right to do. Weber Pasha, the
German general who was then in charge of the fortifications, did not
consult the Turks, but he immediately gave orders to close the Straits.
Wangenheim had already boasted to me, as I have said, that the
Dardanelles could be closed in thirty minutes, and the Germans now made
good his words. Down went the mines and the nets; the lights in the
lighthouses were extinguished; signals were put up notifying all ships
that there was “no thoroughfare,” and the deed, the most high-handed
which the Germans had yet committed, was done. And here I found these
Turkish statesmen, who alone had authority over this indispensable strip
of water, trembling and stammering with fear, running hither and yon
like a lot of frightened rabbits, appalled at the enormity of the German
act, yet apparently powerless to take any decisive action. I certainly
had a graphic picture of the extremities to which Teutonic bullying had
reduced the present rulers of the Turkish Empire. And at the same moment
before my mind rose the figure of the Sultan, whose signature was
essential to close legally these waters, quietly dozing at his palace,
entirely oblivious of the whole transaction.

Though Djavid informed me that the Cabinet might decide to reopen the
Dardanelles, it never did so. This great passage-way has remained closed
from September 27, 1914, to the present time. I saw, of course,
precisely what this action signified. That month of September had been a
disillusioning one for the Germans. The French had beaten back the
invasion and had driven the German armies to entrenchments along the
Aisne. The Russians were sweeping triumphantly through Galicia; already
they had captured Lemburg, and it seemed not improbable that they would
soon cross the Carpathians to Austria-Hungary. In those days
Pallavicini, the Austrian Ambassador, was a discouraged, lamentable
figure. He confided to me his fears for the future, telling me that the
German programme of a short, decisive war had clearly failed and that it
was now quite evident that Germany could only win, if she could win at
all, which was exceedingly doubtful, after a protracted struggle. I have
described how Wangenheim, while preparing the Turkish Army and Navy for
any eventualities, was simply holding Turkey in his hand, intending
actively to use her forces only in case Germany failed to crush France
and Russia in the first campaign. Now that that failure was manifest,
Wangenheim was instructed to use the Turkish Empire as an active ally.
Hitherto, this nation of 20,000,000 had been a passive partner, being
held back by Wangenheim until Germany decided that it would be necessary
to pay the price of letting her into the war as a real participant. The
time had come when Germany needed her men, and the outward sign that the
situation had changed was the closing of the Dardanelles. Thus
Wangenheim had accomplished the task for which he had been working, and
in this act had fittingly crowned his achievement of bringing in the
_Goeben_ and the _Breslau_. Few Americans realise, even to-day, what an
overwhelming influence this act had upon future military operations. Yet
the fact that the war has lasted for so many years, and that the burden
has been ultimately thrown on America, is explained by this closing of
the Dardanelles.

For this is the element in the situation that separated Russia from her
allies, that, in less than a year, led to her defeat and collapse, which
in turn was the reason why the Russian revolution became possible. The
map discloses that this enormous land of Russia has just four ways of
reaching the seas. One is by way of the Baltic, and this the German
fleet had already closed. Another is Archangel, on the Arctic Ocean, a
port that is frozen over several months in the year, and which connects
with the heart of Russia only by a long, single-track railroad. Another
is the Pacific port of Vladivostok, also ice-bound for three months,
and reaching Russia only by the thin line of the Siberian Railway,
5,000 miles long. The fourth passage was that of the Dardanelles; in
fact, this was the only practicable one. This was the narrow gate
through which the surplus products of 175,000,000 people reached Europe,
and nine-tenths of all Russian exports and imports had gone this way for
years. By suddenly closing it, Germany destroyed Russia both as an
economic and a military Power. By shutting off the exports of Russian
grain she deprived Russia of the financial power essential to successful
warfare. What was perhaps even more fatal, she prevented England and
France from getting munitions to the Russian battlefront in sufficient
quantity to stem the German onslaught. As soon as the Dardanelles was
closed, Russia had to fall back on Archangel and Vladivostok for such
supplies as she could get from these ports. The cause of the military
collapse of Russia in 1915 is now well known; the soldiers simply had no
ammunition with which to fight. The larger part of 1918 Germany spent in
a desperate attempt to drive a “wedge” between the French and English
armies on the Western front, to separate one ally from another, and so
obtain a position where she could attack each one separately. The
attempt has proved to be a very difficult one. Yet the task of undoing
the Franco-Russian treaty, and driving such a “wedge” between Russia and
her Western associates, proved to have been an easy one. It was simply a
matter, as I have described, of controlling a corrupt and degenerate
Government, getting possession, while she was still at peace, of her
main executions, her army, her navy, her resources, and then, at the
proper moment, ignoring the nominal rulers and closing a little strip of
water about twenty miles long and two or three wide! It did not cost a
single human life or the firing of a single gun, yet, in a twinkling,
Germany accomplished this, what probably three million men, opposed to a
well-equipped Russian force, could not have brought to pass. It was one
of the most dramatic military triumphs of the war, and it was all the
work of German propaganda, German penetration, and German diplomacy.

In the days following this bottling up of Russia the Bosphorus began to
look like a harbour which has been suddenly stricken with the plague.
Hundreds of ships arrived from Russia, Rumania, and Bulgaria, loaded
with grain, lumber, and other products, only to discover that they could
go no farther. There were not docks enough to berth them, and they had
to swing out into the stream, drop anchor, and await developments. The
waters were a cluster of masts and smoke-stacks, and the crowded
vessels became so dense that a motor-boat had difficulty in picking its
way through the tangled forest. The Turks held out hopes that they might
reopen the waterway, and for this reason these vessels, constantly
increasing in number, waited patiently for a month or so. Then one by
one they turned around, pointed their noses toward the Black Sea, and
lugubriously started for their home ports. In a few weeks the Bosphorus
and adjoining waters had become a desolate waste. What for years had
been one of the most animated shipping points in the world was ruffled
only by an occasional launch or a tiny Turkish _caique_, or now and then
a little sailing vessel. And for an accurate idea of what this meant,
from a military standpoint, we need only call to mind the Russian
battlefront in the next year. There the peasants were fighting German
artillery with their unprotected bodies, having no rifles and no heavy
guns, while mountains of useless ammunition were piling up in their
distant Arctic and Pacific ports, with no railroads to send them to the
field of action.



CHAPTER X

TURKEY’S ABROGATION OF THE CAPITULATIONS--ENVER LIVING IN A PALACE, WITH
PLENTY OF MONEY AND AN IMPERIAL BRIDE


Another question, which had been under discussion for several months,
now became involved in the Turkish international situation. That was the
matter of the capitulations. These were the treaty rights which for
centuries had regulated the position of foreigners in the Turkish
Empire. Turkey had never been admitted to a complete equality with
European nations, and in reality she had never been an independent
sovereignty. The Sultan’s laws and customs differed so radically from
those of Europe and America that no non-Moslem country could think of
submitting its citizens in Turkey to them. In many matters, therefore,
the principle of ex-territoriality had always prevailed in favour of all
citizens or subjects of countries enjoying capitulatory rights. Almost
all European countries, as well as the United States, for centuries had
had their own consular courts and prisons for trying and punishing
crimes which their nationals committed in Turkey. We all had our schools
subject, not to Turkish law and protection, but to that of the country
which maintained them. Thus Robert College and the Constantinople
College for Women, those wonderful institutions which American
philanthropy has erected on the Bosphorus, as well as hundreds of
American religious, charitable, and educational institutions,
practically stood on American territory and looked upon the American
Embassy as their guardian. Several nations had their own post-offices,
as they did not care to submit their mail to the Ottoman postal service.
Turkey, likewise, did not have unlimited power of taxation over
foreigners. It could not even increase their customs taxes without the
consent of the foreign Powers. In 1914 it could collect only 11 per
cent. in tariff dues, and was attempting to secure the right to increase
the amount to 14. We have always regarded England as the only free-trade
country, overlooking this fact, yet this limitation in Turkey’s customs
dues had practically made the Ottoman Empire an unwilling follower of
Cobden. Turkey was thus prohibited by the Powers from developing any
industries of her own; instead, she was forced to take large quantities
of inferior articles from Europe. Against these restrictions Turkish
statesmen had protested for years, declaring that they constituted an
insult to their pride as a nation and also interfered with their
progress. However, the agreement was a bi-lateral one, and Turkey could
not change it without the consent of all the contracting Powers. Yet
certainly the present moment, when both the Entente and the Central
Powers were cultivating Turkey, served to furnish a valuable opportunity
to make the change. And so, as soon as the Germans had started on their
march toward Paris, the air was filled with reports that Turkey intended
to abrogate the capitulations. Rumour said that Germany had consented as
part of the bargain for Turkish co-operation, and that England had
agreed to the abrogation as part of her payment for Turkish neutrality.
Neither of these reports was true. What was manifest, however, was the
panic which the mere suggestion of abrogation produced on the foreign
population. The idea of becoming subject to the Turkish laws, and
perhaps being thrown into Turkish prisons, made their flesh creep--and
with good reason.

About this time I had a long conference with Enver. He asked me to call
at his residence, as he was laid up with an infected toe, the result of
a surgical operation. I thus had an illuminating glimpse of the Minister
of War _en famille_. Certainly this humble man of the people had risen
in the world. His house, which was in one of the quietest and most
aristocratic parts of the city, was a splendid old building, very large
and very elaborate. I was ushered through a series of four or five
halls, and as I went by one door, the Imperial Princess, Enver’s wife,
slightly opened it and peeped through at me. Farther on another Turkish
lady opened her door and also obtained a fleeting glimpse of the
ambassadorial figure. I was finally escorted into a beautiful room in
which Enver lay reclining on a semi-sofa. He had on a long silk
dressing-gown and his stockinged feet hung languidly over the edge of
the divan. He looked much younger than in his uniform; he was an
extremely neat and well-groomed object, with a pale, smooth face, made
even more striking by his black hair, and with delicate white hands and
long tapering fingers. He might easily have passed for under thirty,
and, in fact, he was not much over that age. He had at hand a violin,
and a piano near by also testified to his musical taste. The room was
splendidly tapestried. Perhaps its most conspicuous feature was a daïs
upon which stood a golden chair; this was the marriage-throne of Enver’s
imperial wife. As I glanced around at all this luxury I must admit that
a few uncharitable thoughts came to mind, and that I could not help
pondering a question which was then being generally asked in
Constantinople. Where did Enver get the money for this expensive
establishment? He had no fortune of his own--his parents had been
wretchedly poor--and his salary as a Cabinet Minister was only about
$8,000. His wife had a moderate allowance as an Imperial Princess, but
she had no private resources. Enver has never engaged in business,
having been a revolutionist, military leader, and politician all his
life. But here he was, living at a rate that demanded a very large
income. In other ways Enver was giving evidences of great and sudden
prosperity, and already I had heard much of his investments in real
estate, which were the talk of the town.

Enver wished to discuss the capitulations. He practically said that the
Cabinet had decided on the abrogation and he wished to know the attitude
of the United States. He added that certainly a country which had fought
for its independence as we had would sympathise with Turkey’s attempt to
shake off these shackles. We had helped Japan free herself from similar
burdens, and wouldn’t we now help Turkey? Certainly Turkey was as
civilised a nation as Japan?

I answered that I thought that the United States might consent to
abandon the capitulations in so far as they were economic. It was my
opinion that Turkey should control her customs duties and be permitted
to levy the same taxes on foreigners as on her own citizens. So long as
the Turkish courts and Turkish prisons maintained their present
standards, however, we could never agree to give up the judicial
capitulations. Turkey should reform these judicial abuses; then, after
they had established European ideas in the administration of justice,
the matter could be discussed. Enver replied that Turkey would be
willing to have mixed tribunals and to have the United States designate
some of the judges, but I suggested that, inasmuch as American judges
did not know the Turkish language or Turkish law, his scheme involved
great practical difficulties. I also told him that the American schools
and colleges were very dear to Americans, and that we would never
consent to subjecting them to Turkish jurisdiction.

Despite our protests, the Cabinet issued its notification to all the
Powers that the capitulations would be abrogated on October 1st. This
abrogation was all a part of the Young Turks’ plan to free themselves of
foreign tutelage and to re-establish a new country on the basis, “Turkey
for the Turks.” It represented, as I shall show, what was the central
point of Turkish policy, not only in the Empire’s relations to foreign
Powers, but to her peoples. England’s position on this question was
about the same as our own; the British Government would consent to the
modification of the economic restrictions, but not the others.
Wangenheim was greatly disturbed, and I think that his Foreign Office
reprimanded him for letting the abrogation take place, because he
blandly asked me to announce that I was the responsible person! As
October 1st approached, the foreigners in Turkey were in a high state of
apprehension. The Dardanelles had been closed, shutting them off from
Europe, and now they felt that they were to be left at the mercy of
Turkish courts and Turkish prisons. Inasmuch as it was the habit in
Turkish prisons to herd the innocent and the guilty, and to place in the
same room with murderers people who had been charged, but not convicted,
of minor offences, and to bastinado recalcitrant witnesses, the fears of
the foreign residents may well be imagined. The educational institutions
were also apprehensive, and in their interest I appealed to Enver. He
assured me that the Turks had no hostile intention toward Americans. I
replied that he should show in unmistakable fashion that Americans would
not be harmed.

“All right,” he answered. “What would you suggest?”

“Why not ostentatiously visit Robert College on October 1st, the day the
capitulations are abrogated?” I said.

The idea was rather a unique one, for in all the history of this
institution an important Turkish official had never entered its doors.
But I knew enough of the Turkish character to understand that an open,
ceremonious visit by Enver would cause a public sensation. News of it
would reach the farthest limits of the Turkish Empire, and it was
certain that the Turks would interpret it as meaning that one of the two
most powerful men in Turkey had taken this and other American
institutions under his patronage. Such a visit would exercise a more
protecting influence over American colleges and schools in Turkey than
an army corps. I was therefore greatly pleased when Enver promptly
adopted my suggestion.

On the day that the capitulations were abrogated Enver appeared at the
American Embassy with two autos, one for himself and me, and the other
for his adjutants, all of whom were dressed in full uniform. I purposely
made the proceeding as spectacular as possible, as naturally I wished it
to have the widest publicity. On the ride up to the college I told Enver
all about these American institutions and what they were doing for
Turkey. He really knew very little about them, and, like most Turks, he
half suspected that they concealed a political purpose.

“We Americans are not looking for material advantages in Turkey,” I
said. “We merely demand that you treat kindly our children, these
colleges, for which all the people in the United States have the warmest
affection.”

I told him that Mr. Cleveland H. Dodge, president of the trustees of
Robert College, and Mr. Charles R. Crane, president of the trustees of
the Women’s College, were intimate friends of President Wilson. “These,”
I added, “represent what is best in America and the fine altruistic
spirit which in our country accumulates wealth and then uses it to found
colleges and schools. In establishing these institutions in Turkey they
are trying, not to convert your people to Christianity, but to help
train them in the sciences and arts and so prepare to make them better
citizens. Americans feel that the Bible lands have given them their
religion, and they wish to repay with the best thing America has--its
education.” I then told him about Mrs. Russell Sage and Miss Helen
Gould, who had made large gifts to the Women’s College.

“But where do these people get all the money for such benefactions?”
Enver asked.

I then entertained him for an hour or so with a few pages from our own
“American rights.” I told him how Jay Gould had arrived in New York, a
penniless and ragged boy, with a mousetrap which he had invented, and
how he had died, almost thirty years afterward, leaving a fortune of
about $1,000,000,000. I told him how Commodore Vanderbilt had started
life as a ferryman and had become America’s greatest railroad “magnate”;
how Rockefeller had begun life sitting on a high stool in a Cleveland
commission house, earning six dollars a week, and had created the
greatest fortune that had ever been accumulated by a single man in the
world’s history. I told him how the Dodges had become our great “copper
kings,” the Cranes our great manufacturers of iron pipe. Enver found
these stories more thrilling than any that had ever come out of Bagdad,
and I found afterward that he had retold them to almost all the
important people in Constantinople.

Enver was immensely impressed also by what I said about the American
institutions, especially at my statement that they also had not
converted--or attempted to convert--a single Mohammedan to Christianity.
He went through all the buildings and expressed his enthusiasm at
everything he saw, and he even suggested that he would like to send his
brother there. He took tea with Mrs. Gates, wife of President Gates,
discussed most intelligently the courses, and asked us if we could not
introduce the study of agriculture. The teachers he met seemed to be a
great revelation.

“I expected to find these missionaries as they are pictured in the
Berlin newspapers,” he said, “with long hair and hanging jaws, and hands
clasped constantly in a prayerful attitude. But here is Dr. Gates
talking Turkish like a native and acting like a man of the world. I am
more than pleased, and thank you for bringing me.”

We all saw Enver that afternoon in his most delightful aspect. My idea
that this visit in itself would protect the colleges from disturbance
proved to have been a happy one. The Turkish Empire has been a
tumultuous place in the last four years, but the American colleges have
had no difficulties, either with the Turkish Government or with the
Turkish populace.

This visit was only an agreeable interlude in events of the most
exciting character. Enver, amiable as he could be on occasion, had
deliberately determined to put Turkey in the war on Germany’s side.
Germany had now reached the point where she no longer concealed her
intentions. Once before, when I had interfered in the interest of peace,
Wangenheim had encouraged my action. The reason, as I have indicated,
was that, at that time, Germany wished Turkey to keep out of the war,
for the German General Staff expected to win without her help. But now
Wangenheim wanted Turkey in. As I was not working in Germany’s interest,
but merely attempting to help the peace idea, I still kept urging Enver
and Talaat to keep out. This made Wangenheim angry. “I thought that you
were a neutral?” he now exclaimed.

“I thought that you were--in Turkey,” I answered.

Toward the end of October Wangenheim was leaving nothing undone to start
hostilities; all he needed now was a favourable occasion.

Even after Germany had closed the Dardanelles the German Ambassador’s
task was not an easy one. Talaat was not yet entirely convinced that his
best policy was war, and, as I have already said, there was still plenty
of pro-Ally sympathy in official quarters. It was Talaat’s plan not to
seize all the Cabinet offices at once, but gradually to elbow his way
into undisputed control. At this crisis the most popularly respected
members of the Ministry were Djavid, Minister of Finance, a man who was
Jewish by race, but Mohammedan by religion; Mahmoud Pasha, Minister of
Public Works, a Circassian; Bustány Effendi, Minister of Commerce and
Agriculture, a Christian Arab; and Oskan Effendi, Minister of Posts and
Telegraphs, an Armenian--and a Christian, of course. All these leaders,
as well as the Grand Vizier, openly opposed war, and all now informed
Talaat and Enver that they would resign if Germany succeeded in her
intrigues. Thus the atmosphere was exciting; how tense the situation was
a single episode will show. Sir Louis Mallet, the British Ambassador,
had accepted an invitation to dine at the American Embassy on October
20th, but he sent word at the last moment that he was ill and could not
come. I called on the Ambassador an hour or two afterward and found him
in his garden, apparently in the best of health. Sir Louis smiled and
said that his illness had been purely political. He had received a
letter telling him that he was to be assassinated that evening, this
letter informing him of the precise spot where the tragedy was to take
place, and the time. He therefore thought that he had better stay
indoors. As I had no doubt that some such crime had been planned, I
offered Sir Louis the protection of our Embassy. I gave him the key to
the back gate of the garden, and, with Lord Wellesley, one of his
secretaries--a descendant of the Duke of Wellington--I made all
arrangements for his escape to our quarters in case a flight became
necessary. Our two Embassies were so located that, in the event of an
attack, he might go unobserved from the back gate of his to the back
gate of ours. “These people are relapsing into the Middle Ages,” said
Sir Louis, “when it was quite the thing to throw Ambassadors into
dungeons,” and I think that he anticipated that the present Turks might
treat him in the same way. I at once went to the Grand Vizier and
informed him of the situation, insisting that nothing less than a visit
from Talaat to Sir Louis, assuring him of safety, would satisfy his many
friends. I could make this demand with propriety, as we had already made
arrangements to take over British interests when the break came. Within
two hours Talaat made such a visit. Though one of the Turkish newspapers
was printing scurrilous attacks on Sir Louis, he was personally very
popular with the Turks, and the Grand Vizier expressed his amazement and
regret--and he was entirely sincere--that such threats had been made.



CHAPTER XI

GERMANY COMPELS TURKEY TO ENTER THE WAR


But we were all there in a highly nervous state, because we knew that
Germany was working hard to produce a _casus belli_. Souchon frequently
sent the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ to manœuvre in the Black Sea,
hoping that the Russian fleet would attack. There were several pending
situations that might end in war. Turkish and Russian troops were having
occasional skirmishes on the Persian and Caucasian frontier. On October
29th Bedouin troops crossed the Egyptian border and had a little
collision with British soldiers. On October 29th I had a long talk with
Talaat. I called in the interest of the British Ambassador, to tell him
about the Bedouins crossing into Egypt. “I suppose,” Sir Louis wrote me,
“that this means war; you might mention this news to Talaat and impress
upon him the possible results of this mad act.” Already Sir Louis had
had difficulties with Turkey over this matter. When he had protested to
the Grand Vizier about the Turkish troops near the Egyptian frontier,
the Turkish statesman had pointedly replied that Turkey recognised no
such thing as an Egyptian frontier. By this he meant, of course, that
Egypt itself was Turkish territory and that the English occupation was a
temporary usurpation. When I brought this Egyptian situation to Talaat’s
attention he said that no Ottoman Bedouins had crossed into Egypt. The
Turks had been building wells on the Sinai Peninsula to use in case war
broke out with England; England was destroying these wells, and the
Bedouins, said Talaat, had interfered to stop this destruction.

At this meeting Talaat frankly told me that Turkey had decided to side
with the Germans and to sink or swim with them. He went again over the
familiar grounds, and added that if Germany won--and Talaat said that he
was convinced that Germany would win--the Kaiser would get his revenge
on Turkey if Turkey had not helped him to obtain this victory. Talaat
frankly admitted that fear--the motive which, as I have said, is the one
that chiefly inspires Turkish acts--was driving Turkey into a German
alliance. He analysed the whole situation most dispassionately; he said
that nations could not afford such emotions as gratitude, or hate, or
affection; the only guide to action should be cold-blooded policy.

“At this moment,” said Talaat, “it is for our interest to side with
Germany; if, a month from now, it is our interest to embrace France and
England, we shall do that just as readily.”

“Russia is our greatest enemy,” he continued, “and we are afraid of her.
If now, while Germany is attacking Russia, we can give her a good strong
kick, and so make her powerless to injure us for some time, it is
Turkey’s duty to administer that kick”!

And then turning to me with a half-melancholy, half-defiant smile, he
summed up the whole situation.

“_Ich mit die Deutschen_,” he said in his broken German.

Because the Cabinet was so divided, however, the Germans themselves had
to push Turkey over the precipice. The evening following my talk with
Talaat, most fateful news came from Russia. Three Turkish torpedo boats
had entered the harbour of Odessa, had sunk the Russian gunboat
_Donetz_, killing a part of the crew, and had damaged two Russian
dreadnoughts. They also sank the French ship _Portugal_, killing two of
the crew and wounding two others. They then turned their shells on the
town and destroyed a sugar factory, with some loss of life. German
officers commanded these Turkish vessels; there were very few Turks on
board, as the Turkish crew had been given a holiday for the Turkish
religious festival of _Bairam_. The act was simply a wanton and
unprovoked one; the Germans raided the town deliberately, simply to make
war inevitable. The German officers on the _General_, as my friend had
told me, were constantly threatening to commit some such act if Turkey
did not do so; well, now they had done it. When this news reached
Constantinople, Djemal was playing cards at the Cercle d’Orient. As
Djemal was Minister of Marine, this attack, had it been an official act
of Turkey, could have been made only on his orders. When someone called
him from the card-table to tell him the news Djemal was much excited. “I
know nothing about it,” he replied. “It has not been done by my orders.”
On the evening of the 29th I had another talk with Talaat. He told me
that he had known nothing of this attack beforehand, and that the whole
responsibility rested with the German, Admiral Souchon.

Whether Djemal and Talaat were telling the truth in thus pleading
ignorance I do not know; my opinion is that they were expecting some
such outrage as this. But there is no question that the Grand Vizier,
Saïd Halim, was genuinely grieved. When M. Bompard and Sir Louis Mallet
called on him and demanded their passports he burst into tears. He
begged them to delay; he was sure that the matter could be adjusted. The
Grand Vizier was the only member of the Cabinet whom Enver and Talaat
particularly wished to placate. As a prince of the royal house of Egypt,
and as an extremely rich nobleman, his presence in the Cabinet, as I
have already said, gave it a certain standing. This probably explains
the message which I now received. Talaat asked me to call upon the
Russian Ambassador and ask what amends Turkey could make that would
satisfy the Czar. There is little likelihood that Talaat sincerely
wished me to patch up the difficulties; his purpose was merely to show
the Grand Vizier that he was attempting to meet his wishes and, in this
way, to keep him in the Cabinet. I saw M. Giers, but found him in no
submissive mood. He said that Turkey could make amends only by
dismissing all the German officers in the Turkish Army and Navy; he had
his instructions to leave at once and he should do so. However, he would
wait long enough in Bulgaria to receive their reply, and, if they
accepted his terms, he would come back.

“Russia, herself, will guarantee that the Turkish fleet does not again
come into the Black Sea,” said M. Giers grimly. Talaat called on me in
the afternoon, saying that he had just had lunch with Wangenheim. The
Cabinet had the Russian reply under consideration, he said. The Grand
Vizier wished to have M. Giers’s terms put in writing; would I attempt
to get it? By this time Garroni, the Italian Ambassador, had taken
charge of Russian affairs, and I told Talaat that such negotiations were
out of my hands, and that any further negotiations must be conducted
through him.

“Why don’t you drop your mask as messenger-boy of the Grand Vizier and
talk to me as Talaat?” I asked.

He laughed and said: “Well, Wangenheim, Enver, and I prefer that the war
shall come now.”

Bustány, Oskan, Mahmoud, and Djavid at once carried out their threats
and resigned from the Cabinet, thus leaving the Government in the hands
of Moslem Turks. The Grand Vizier, although he had threatened to resign,
did not do so. He was exceedingly pompous and vain, and enjoyed the
dignities of his office so much that, when it came to the final
decision, he could not surrender them. Thus the net result of Turkey’s
entrance into the war, so far as internal politics was concerned, was to
put the nation entirely in the hands of the Committee of Union and
Progress, which now controlled the Government in practically all its
departments. Thus the idealistic organisation which had come into
existence to give Turkey the blessings of democracy had ended by
becoming a tool of Prussian autocracy.

One final picture I have of these exciting days. On the evening of the
30th I called at the British Embassy. British residents were already
streaming in large numbers to my office for protection, and fears of
ill-treatment, even the massacre of foreigners, filled everybody’s mind.
Amid all this tension I found one imperturbable figure. Sir Louis was
sitting in the chancery, before a huge fireplace, with large piles of
documents heaped about him in a semi-circle. Secretaries and clerks were
constantly entering, their arms full of papers, which they added to the
accumulations already surrounding the Ambassador. Sir Louis would take
up document after document, glance through it, and almost invariably
drop it into the fire. These papers contained the Embassy records for
probably a hundred years. In them were written the great achievements of
a long line of distinguished Ambassadors. There appeared the story of
all the diplomatic triumphs in Turkey of Stratford de Redcliffe, the
“Great Elchi,” as the Turks called him, who, for the greater part of
almost fifty years, from 1810 to 1858, practically ruled the Turkish
Empire in the interest of England. The records of other great British
Ambassadors at the Sublime Porte now went, one by one, into Sir Louis
Mallet’s fire. The long story of British ascendancy in Turkey had
reached its close. The twenty years’ campaign of the Kaiser to destroy
England’s influence and to become England’s successor had finally
triumphed, and the blaze in Sir Louis’s chancery was really the funeral
pyre of England’s vanished power in Turkey. As I looked upon this
dignified and yet somewhat pensive diplomat, sitting there amid all the
splendours of the British Embassy, I naturally thought of how once the
Sultans had bowed with fear and awe before the majesty of England, in
the days when Prussia and Germany were little more than names. Yet the
British Ambassador, as is usually the case with British diplomatic and
military figures, was quiet and self-possessed. We sat there before his
fire and discussed the details of his departure. He gave me a list of
the English residents who were to leave and those who were to stay, and
I made final arrangements with Sir Louis for taking over British
interests. Distressing in many ways as was this collapse of British
influence in Turkey, the honour of Great Britain and that of her
Ambassador was still secure. Sir Louis had not purchased Turkish
officials with money, as had Wangenheim; he had not corrupted the
Turkish Press, trampled on every remaining vestige of international
law, fraternised with a gang of political desperadoes, and conducted a
ceaseless campaign of misrepresentations and lies against his enemy. The
diplomatic game that had ended in England’s defeat was one which English
statesmen were not qualified to play. It called for talents such as only
a Wangenheim possessed--it needed that German statecraft which, in
accordance with Bismarck’s maxim, was ready to sacrifice for the
Fatherland “not only life but honour.”



CHAPTER XII

THE TURKS ATTEMPT TO TREAT ALIEN ENEMIES DECENTLY, BUT THE GERMANS
INSIST ON PERSECUTING THEM


Soon after the bombardment of Odessa I was closeted with Enver,
discussing the subject which was then uppermost in the minds of all the
foreigners in Turkey. How would the Government treat its resident
enemies? Would it intern them, establish concentration camps, pursue
them with German malignity, and perhaps apply the favourite Turkish
measure with Christians--torture and massacre? Thousands of enemy
subjects were then living in the Ottoman Empire. Many of them had spent
their whole lives there; others had even been born on Ottoman soil. All
these people, when Turkey entered the war, had every reason to expect
the harshest kind of treatment. It is no exaggeration to say that most
of them lived in constant fear of murder. The Dardanelles had been
closed, so that there was little chance that outside help could reach
these people; the capitulatory rights, under which they had lived for
centuries, had been abrogated. There was really nothing between the
foreign residents and destruction except the American flag. The state of
war had now made me, as American Ambassador, the protector of all
British, French, Serbian, and Belgian subjects. I realised from the
beginning that my task would be a difficult one. On one hand were the
Germans, urging their well-known ideas of repression and brutality,
while on the other were the Turks, with their traditional hatred of
Christians and their natural instinct to maltreat those who are
helplessly placed in their power.

Yet I had certain strong arguments on my side, and I now had called upon
Enver for the purpose of laying them before him. Turkey desired the good
opinion of the United States, and hoped, after the war, to find support
among American financiers. At that time all the Embassies in
Constantinople took it for granted that the United States would be the
peacemaker. If Turkey expected us to be her friend, I now told Enver,
she would have to treat enemy foreigners in a civilised way.

“You hope to be reinstated as a world power,” I said. “You must remember
that the civilised world will carefully watch you; your future status
will depend on how you conduct yourself in war.” The more educated
Turks, including Enver, realised that the outside world regarded them as
a people who had no respect for the sacredness of human life or the
finer emotions, and they keenly resented this attitude. I now reminded
Enver that Turkey had a splendid opportunity to disprove all these
criticisms. “The world may say you are barbarians,” I argued; “show by
the way you treat these alien enemies that you are not. Only in this way
can you be freed permanently from the ignominy of the capitulations.
Prove that you are worthy of being emancipated from foreign tutelage. Be
civilised--be modern!”

In view of what was happening in Belgium and Northern France at that
moment, my use of the word “modern” was a little unfortunate. Enver
quickly saw the point. Up to this time he had maintained his usual
attitude of erect and dignified composure, and his face, as always, had
been attentive, imperturbable, almost expressionless. Now in a flash his
whole bearing changed. His countenance broke into a cynical smile; he
leaned over, brought his fist down on the table, and said:

“Modern! No, however Turkey shall wage war, at least we shall not be
‘modern.’ That is the most barbaric system of all. We shall simply try
to be decent!”

Naturally I construed this as a promise. I understood the changeableness
of the Turkish character well enough, however, to know that more than a
promise was necessary. The Germans were constantly prodding the Turkish
officials, persuading them to adopt the favourite plan of operations
against enemy aliens. Germany had revived many of the principles of
ancient and medieval warfare, one of her most barbaric resurrections
from the past being this practice of keeping certain representatives of
the population, preferably people of distinction and influence, as
hostages for the “good behaviour” of others. At this moment the German
military staff was urging the Turks to keep foreign residents for this
purpose. Just as the Germans held non-combatants in Belgium as security
for the “friendliness” of the Belgians, and placed Belgian women and
children at the head of their advancing armies, so the Germans in Turkey
were now planning to use French and British residents as part of their
protective system against the Allied fleet. That this sinister influence
was constantly at work I well knew; it was, therefore, necessary that I
should meet it immediately, and, if possible, gain the upper hand at the
very start. I decided that the departure of the Entente diplomats and
residents from Constantinople would really put to the test my ability to
protect the foreign residents. If all the French and English who really
wished to leave could safely get out of Turkey I believed that this
demonstration would have a restraining influence, not only upon the
Germans, but upon the underlings of the Turkish official world.

As soon as I arrived at the railroad station, the day following the
break, I saw that my task was not to be a simple one. I had arranged
with the Turkish authorities for two trains: one for the English and
French residents, which was to leave at seven o’clock, and one for the
diplomats and their staff, which was to go at nine. But the arrangement
was not working according to schedule. The station was a surging mass of
excited and frightened people; the police were there in full force,
pushing the crowds back; the scene was an indescribable mixture of
soldiers, gendarmes, diplomats, baggage, and Turkish functionaries.

One of the most conspicuous figures was Bedri Bey, Prefect of Police, a
lawyer-politician, who had recently been elevated to this position, and
who keenly realised the importance of his new office. Bedri was an
intimate friend and political subordinate of Talaat and one of his most
valuable tools. He ranked high in the Committee of Union and Progress,
and aspired ultimately to obtain a Cabinet position. Perhaps his most
impelling motive was his hatred of foreigners and foreign influence. In
his eyes Turkey was the land exclusively of the Turks; he hated all the
other elements in its population, and he particularly resented the
control which the foreign Embassies had for years exerted in the
domestic concerns of his country. Indeed, there were few men in Turkey
with whom the permanent abolition of the capitulations was such a
heartfelt issue. Naturally, in the next few months I saw much of Bedri;
he was constantly crossing my path, taking an almost malicious pleasure
in interfering with every move which I made in the interest of the
foreigners. His attitude was half-provoking, half-jocular; we were
always trying to outwit each other--I attempting to protect the French
and British, Bedri always turning up as an obstacle to my efforts. The
fight for the foreigners, indeed, almost degenerated into a personal
duel between the Prefect of Police and the American Embassy. Bedri was
capable, well-educated, very agile, and not particularly ill-natured,
but he loved to toy with a helpless foreigner. Naturally he found his
occupation this evening a congenial one.

“What’s all the trouble about?” I asked Bedri.

“We have changed our minds,” he said, and his manner showed that the
change had not been displeasing to him. “We shall let the train go that
is to take the Ambassadors and their staffs, but we have decided not to
let the unofficial classes leave--the train that was to take them will
not go.”

My staff and myself had worked hard to get this free passage for the
enemy nationals. Now apparently some influence had negatived our
efforts. This sudden change in plans was producing the utmost confusion
and consternation. At the station there were two groups of passengers,
one of which could go and the other of which could not. The British and
French Ambassadors did not wish to leave their nationals behind, and the
latter refused to believe that their train, which the Turkish officials
had definitely promised, would not start some time that evening. I
immediately called up Enver, who substantiated Bedri’s statement. Turkey
had many subjects in Egypt, he said, whose situation was causing great
anxiety. Before the French and English residents could leave Turkey
assurances must be given that the rights of Turkish subjects in these
countries would be protected. I had no difficulty in arranging this
detail, for Sir Louis Mallet immediately gave the necessary assurances.
However, this did not settle the matter; indeed, it had been little more
than a pretext. Bedri still refused to let the train start. The order
holding it up, he said, could not be rescinded, for that would now
disarrange the general schedule and might cause accidents. I recognised
all this as mere Turkish evasion, and I knew that the order had come
from a higher source than Bedri. Still, nothing could be done at that
moment. Moreover, Bedri would let no one get on the diplomatic train
until I had personally identified him. So I had to stand at a little
gate and pass upon each applicant. Everyone, whether he belonged to the
diplomatic corps or not, attempted to force himself through this narrow
passage-way, and we had an old-fashioned Brooklyn Bridge crush on a
small scale. People were running in all directions, checking baggage,
purchasing tickets, arguing with officials, consoling distracted women
and frightened children, while Bedri, calm and collected, watched the
whole pandemonium with an unsympathetic smile. Hats were knocked off,
clothing was torn, and, to add to the confusion, Mallet, the British
Ambassador, became involved in a set-to with an officious Turk--the
Englishman winning first honours easily; and I caught a glimpse of
Bompard, the French Ambassador, vigorously shaking a Turkish policeman.
One lady dropped her baby in my arms, later another handed me a small
boy, and still later, when I was standing at the gate identifying
Turkey’s departing guests, one of the British secretaries made me the
custodian of his dog. Meanwhile, Sir Louis Mallet became obstreperous
and refused to leave.

“I shall stay here,” he said, “until the last British subject leaves
Turkey.”

But I told him that he was no longer the protector of the British; that
I, as American Ambassador, had assumed this responsibility; and that I
could hardly assert myself in this capacity if he remained in
Constantinople.

“Certainly,” I said, “the Turks would not recognise me as in charge of
British interests if you remain here.”

Moreover, I suggested that he remain at Dedeagatch for a few days, and
await the arrival of his fellow British. If I did not succeed in getting
them out of the country, then he could return. Sir Louis reluctantly
accepted my point of view and boarded the train. As the train left the
station I caught my final glimpse of the British Ambassador, sitting in
his private car, almost buried in a mass of trunks, satchels, boxes, and
diplomatic pouches, surrounded by his Embassy staff, and sympathetically
watched by his first secretary’s dog.

The unofficial foreigners remained in the station several hours, hoping
that, at the last moment, they would be permitted to go. Bedri, however,
was inexorable. Their position was almost desperate. They had given up
their quarters in Constantinople, and now found themselves practically
stranded. Some were taken in by friends for the night, others found
accommodation in hotels, but their situation caused the utmost anxiety.
Evidently, despite all official promises, Turkey was determined to keep
these foreign residents as hostages. On the one hand were Enver and
Talaat, telling me that they intended to conduct their war in a humane
manner, and, on the other, were their underlings, such as Bedri,
behaving in a fashion that negatived all these civilised pretensions.
The fact was that the officials were quarrelling among themselves about
the treatment of foreigners, and the German General Staff was telling
the Cabinet that they were making a great mistake in showing any
leniency to their enemy aliens. Finally I succeeded in making
arrangements for them to leave the following day. Bedri, in more
complaisant mood, spent that afternoon at the Embassy, viséing
passports. We both went to the station in the evening and started the
train safely to Dedeagatch. I gave a box of candy--“Turkish
Delights”--to each one of the fifty women and children on the train; it
altogether was a happy party, and they made no attempt to hide their
relief at leaving Turkey. At Dedeagatch they met the diplomatic corps,
and the reunion that took place, I afterward learned, was extremely
touching. I was made happy by receiving many testimonials of their
gratitude, in particular a letter, signed by more than a hundred,
expressing their thanks to Mrs. Morgenthau, the Embassy Staff, and
myself.

There were still several who wished to go, and next day I called on
Talaat in their behalf. I found him in one of his most gracious moods.
The Cabinet, he said, had carefully considered the whole matter of
English and French residents in Turkey, and my arguments, he added, had
greatly influenced them. They had reached the formal decision that enemy
aliens could leave or remain, as they preferred. There would be no
concentration camps, civilians could pursue their usual business in
peace, and, so long as they behaved themselves, they would not be
molested.

“We proposed to show,” said Talaat, “by our treatment of aliens, that we
are not a race of barbarians.”

In return for this promise he asked a favour of me: would I not see that
Turkey was praised in the American and European Press for this decision?

After returning to the Embassy I immediately sent for Mr. Theron Damon,
correspondent of the Associated Press, Doctor Lederer, correspondent of
the _Berliner Tageblatt_, and Doctor Sandler, who represented the Paris
_Herald_, and gave them interviews, praising the attitude of Turkey
toward the foreign residents. I also cabled the news to Washington,
London, and Paris, and to all our consuls.

Hardly had I finished with the correspondents when I again received
alarming news. I had arranged for another train that evening, and I now
heard that the Turks were refusing to visé the passports of those whose
departure I had provided for. This news, coming right after Talaat’s
explicit promise, was naturally disturbing. I immediately started for
the railroad station, and the sight which I saw there increased my anger
at the Minister of the Interior. A mass of distracted people filled the
enclosure; the women were weeping and the children were screaming, while
a platoon of Turkish soldiers, commanded by an undersized popinjay of a
major, was driving everybody out of the station with the flat sides of
their guns. Bedri, as usual, was there, and, as usual, he was clearly
enjoying the confusion. Certain of the passengers, he told me, had not
paid their income tax, and, for this reason, they would not be permitted
to leave. I announced that I would be personally responsible for this
payment.

“I can’t get ahead of you, Mr. Ambassador, can I?” said Bedri, with a
laugh. From this we all thought that my offer had settled the matter
and that the train would leave as per schedule. But then suddenly came
another order holding it up again.

Since I had just had my promise with Talaat, I decided to find that
functionary and learn what all this meant. I jumped into my automobile
and went to the Sublime Porte, where he usually had his headquarters.
Finding no one there, I told the chauffeur to drive directly to Talaat’s
house. Some time before I had visited Enver in his domestic
surroundings, and this occasion now gave me the opportunity to compare
his manner of life with that of his more powerful associate. The
contrast was a startling one. I had found Enver living in luxury in one
of the most aristocratic parts of the town, while now I was driving to
one of the poorer sections. We came to a narrow street, bordered by
little rough, unpainted wooden houses; only one thing distinguished this
thoroughfare from all others in Constantinople and suggested that it was
the abiding-place of the most powerful man in the Turkish Empire. At
either end stood a policeman letting no one enter who could not give a
satisfactory reason for doing so. Our auto, like all others, was
stopped, but we were promptly permitted to pass when we explained who we
were. As contrasted with Enver’s palace, with its innumerable rooms and
gorgeous furniture, Talaat’s house was an old rickety, wooden,
three-storey building. All this, I afterwards learned, was part of the
setting which Talaat had staged for his career. Like many an American
politician, he had found his position as a man of “the people” a
valuable political asset, and he knew that a sudden display of
prosperity and ostentation would weaken his influence with the Union and
Progress Committee, most of whose members, like himself, had risen from
the lower walks of life. The contents of the house were quite in keeping
with the exterior. There were no suggestions of Oriental magnificence.
The furniture was cheap; a few coarse prints hung on the walls, and one
or two well-worn rugs were scattered on the floor. On one side stood a
wooden table, and on this rested a telegraph instrument--once Talaat’s
means of earning a living, and now the means by which he communicated
with his associates. In the present troubled conditions in Turkey Talaat
preferred to do his own telegraphing.

Amid these surroundings I waited for a few minutes the entrance of the
Big Boss of Turkey. In due time a door opened at the other end of the
room, and a huge, lumbering, gaily-decorated figure entered. I was
startled by the contrast which this Talaat presented to the one who had
become such a familiar figure to me at the Sublime Porte. It was no
longer the Talaat of the European clothes and the thin veneer of
European manners; the man whom I now saw looked like a real Bulgarian
gypsy. Talaat wore the usual red Turkish fez; the rest of his bulky form
was clothed in thick grey pyjamas, and from this combination protruded a
rotund, smiling face. His mood was half-genial, half-deprecating. Talaat
well understood what pressing business had led me to invade his domestic
privacy, and his behaviour now resembled that of the unrepentant bad boy
in school. He came and sat down with a good-natured grin, and began to
make excuses. Quietly the door opened again, and a hesitating little
girl was pushed into the room, bringing a tray of cigarettes and coffee.
Presently I saw that a young woman, apparently about twenty-five years
old, was standing back of the child, urging her to enter. Here, then,
were Talaat’s wife and adopted daughter. I had already discovered that,
while Turkish women never enter society or act as hostesses, they are
extremely inquisitive about their husbands’ guests, and like to get
surreptitious glimpses of them. Evidently Madame Talaat, on this
occasion, was not satisfied with her preliminary view, for a few minutes
afterward she appeared at a window directly opposite me, but entirely
unseen by her husband, who was facing in the other direction, and there
she remained very quiet and very observant for several minutes. As she
was in the house, she was unveiled; her face was handsome and
intelligent, and it was quite apparent that she enjoyed this close-range
view of an American Ambassador.

“Well, Talaat,” I said, realising that the time had come for plain
speaking, “don’t you know how foolishly you are acting? You told me a
few hours ago that you had decided to treat the French and English
decently, and you asked me to publish this news in the American and
foreign Press. I at once called in the newspaper men and told them how
splendidly you were behaving. And this at your own request! The whole
world will be reading about it to-morrow. Now you are doing your best to
counteract all my efforts in your behalf; here you have repudiated your
first promise to be decent. Are you going to keep the promises you made
me? Will you stick to them, or do you intend to keep changing your mind
all the time? Now let’s have a real understanding. The thing we
Americans particularly pride ourselves on is keeping our word. We do it
as individuals and as a nation. We refuse to deal with people as equals
who do not do this. You might as well understand now that we can do no
business with each other unless I can depend on your promises.”

“Now, this isn’t my fault,” Talaat answered. “The Germans are to blame
for stopping that train. The German Chief of Staff has just returned and
is making a big fuss, saying that we are too easy with the French and
English and that we must not let them go away. He says that we must keep
them for hostages. It was his interference that did this.”

That was precisely what I had suspected. Talaat had given me his
promise, then Bronssart, head of the German Staff, had practically
countermanded his orders. Talaat’s admission gave me the opening which I
had wished for. By this time my relations with Talaat had become so
friendly that I could talk to him almost as I could talk to my own son.

“Now, Talaat,” I said, “you have got to have someone to advise you in
your relations with foreigners. You must make up your mind whether you
want me or the German Staff. Don’t you think you will make a mistake if
you place yourself entirely in the hands of the Germans? The time may
come when you will need me against the Germans.”

“What do you mean by that?” he asked, watching for my answer with
intense curiosity.

“The Germans are sure to ask you to do many things you don’t want to do.
If you can tell them that the American Ambassador objects, my support
may prove useful to you. Besides, you know we all expect peace in a few
months. You know that the Germans really care nothing for Turkey, and
certainly you have no claims on the Allies for assistance. There is only
one nation in the world that you can look to as a disinterested friend,
and that is the United States.”

This fact was so apparent that I hardly needed to argue it in any great
detail. However, I had another argument that struck still nearer home.
Already the struggle between the war department and the civil powers had
started. I knew that Talaat, although he was Minister of the Interior
and a civilian, was determined not to sacrifice a little of his
authority to Enver, the Germans, and the representatives of the
military.

“If you let the Germans win this point to-day,” I said, “you are
practically in their power. You are now the head of affairs, but you are
still a civilian. Are you going to let the military, represented by
Enver and the German Staff, over-rule your orders? Apparently that is
what has happened to-day. If you submit to it, you will find that they
will be running things from now on. The Germans will put this country
under martial law; then where will you civilians be?”

I could see that this argument was having its effect on Talaat. He
remained quiet for a few moments, evidently pondering my remarks. Then
he said, with the utmost deliberation:

“I am going to help you.”

He turned around to his table and began working his telegraph
instrument. I shall never forget the picture; this huge Turk, sitting
there in his grey pyjamas and his red fez, working industriously his own
telegraph key, his young wife gazing at him through a little window, and
the late afternoon sun streaming into the room. Evidently the ruler of
Turkey was having his troubles, and, as the argument went on over the
telegraph, Talaat would bang his key with increasing irritation. He told
me that the pompous major at the station insisted on having Enver’s
written orders, since orders over the wire might easily be
counterfeited. It took Talaat some time to locate Enver, and then the
dispute apparently started all over again. A piece of news which Talaat
received at that moment over the wire almost ruined my case. After a
prolonged thumping of his instrument, in the course of which Talaat’s
face lost its geniality and became almost savage, he turned to me and
said:

“The English bombarded the Dardanelles this morning and killed two
Turks!”

And then he added:

“We intend to kill three Christians for every Moslem killed!”

For a moment I thought that everything was lost. Talaat’s face reflected
only one emotion--hatred of the English. Afterward, when reading the
Cromer report on the Dardanelles, I found that the British Committee
stigmatised this early attack a mistake, as it gave the Turks an early
warning of their plans. I can testify that it was a mistake for another
reason, for I now found that these few stray shots almost destroyed my
plans to get the foreign residents out of Turkey. Talaat was enraged,
and I had to go over much of the ground again, but finally I succeeded
in pacifying him once more. I saw that he was vacillating between his
desire to punish the English and his desire to assert his own authority
over that of Enver and the Germans. Fortunately the latter motive gained
the ascendancy. At all hazard, he was determined to show that he was
boss.

We remained there more than two hours, my involuntary host pausing now
and then in his telegraphing to entertain me with the latest political
gossip. Djavid, the Minister of Finance, he said, had resigned, but had
promised to work for them at home. The Grand Vizier, despite his
threats, had been persuaded to retain his office. Foreigners in the
interior would not be molested unless Beirut, Alexandretta, or some
unfortified port were bombarded, but, if such attacks were made, they
would exact reprisals of the French and English. Talaat’s conversation
showed that he had no particular liking for the Germans. They were
overbearing and insolent, he said, constantly interfering in military
matters, and treating the Turks with disdain.

Finally the train was arranged. Talaat had shown several moods in this
interview; he had been by turns sulky, good-natured, savage, and
complaisant. There is one phase of the Turkish character which
Westerners do not comprehend, and that is its keen sense of humour.
Talaat himself greatly loved a joke and a funny story. Now that he had
re-established friendly relations and redeemed his promise, Talaat
became jocular once more.

“Your people can go now,” he said with a laugh. “It’s time to buy your
candies, Mr. Ambassador!”

This latter, of course, was a reference to the little gifts which I had
made to the women and children the night before. We immediately returned
to the station, where we found the disconsolate passengers sitting
around waiting for a favourable word. When I told them that the train
would leave that evening, their thanks and gratitude were overwhelming.



CHAPTER XIII

THE INVASION OF THE ZION SISTERS’ SCHOOL


Talaat’s statement that the German Chief of Staff, Bronsart, had really
held up this train was a valuable piece of information. I decided to
look into the matter further, and, with this idea in my mind, I called
next day on Wangenheim. The Turkish authorities, I said, had solemnly
promised that they would treat their enemies decently, and certainly I
could not tolerate any interference in the matter from the German Chief
of Staff. Wangenheim had repeatedly told me that the Germans were
looking to President Wilson as the peacemaker, and I therefore used the
same argument with him that I had urged on Talaat. Proceedings of this
sort would not help his country when the day of the final settlement
came. Here, I said, we have a strange situation; a so-called barbarous
country, like Turkey, attempting to make civilised warfare and treat
their Christian enemies with decency and kindness, and, on the other
hand, a supposedly cultured and Christian nation, like Germany, which is
trying to dissuade them from this resolve. “What sort of an impression
do you think that will make on the American people?” I asked Wangenheim.
He expressed a willingness to help, and suggested, as my consideration
for such help, that I should try to persuade the United States to insist
on free commerce with Germany, so that his country could receive
plentiful cargoes of copper, wheat, and cotton. This was a subject to
which, as I shall relate, Wangenheim constantly returned.

Despite Wangenheim’s promise, I had practically no support from the
German Embassy in my attempt to protect the foreign residents from
Turkish ill-treatment. I realised that, owing to my religion, there
might be a feeling in certain quarters that I was not exerting all my
energies in behalf of these Christian peoples and religious
organisations--hospitals, schools, monasteries, and convents--and I
naturally thought that it would strengthen my influence with the Turks
if I could have the support of my most powerful Christian colleagues. I
had a long discussion on this matter with Pallavicini, himself a
Catholic and the representative of the greatest Catholic Power.
Pallavicini frankly told me that Wangenheim would do nothing that would
annoy the Turks. There was then a constant fear that the English and
French fleets would force the Dardanelles, capture Constantinople, and
hand it over to Russia, and only the Turkish forces, said Pallavicini,
could prevent such a calamity. The Germans therefore believed that they
were dependent on the good graces of the Turkish Government, and would
do nothing to antagonise them. Evidently Pallavicini wished me to
believe that Wangenheim and he really desired to help. Yet this plea was
hardly disingenuous, for I knew all the time that Turkey, if the Germans
had not constantly interfered, would have behaved decently. I found that
the evil spirit was not the Turkish Government, but von Bronsart, the
German Chief of Staff. The fact that certain members of the Turkish
Cabinet who represented European and Christian culture--men like Bustány
and Oskan--had resigned as a protest against Turkey’s action in entering
the war, made the situation of foreigners even more dangerous. There was
also much conflict of authority; a policy decided on one day would be
reversed the next, the result being that we never knew where we stood.
The mere fact that the Government promised me that foreigners would not
be maltreated by no means settled the matter, for some underling, like
Bedri Bey, could frequently find an excuse for disregarding
instructions. The situation, therefore, was one that called for constant
vigilance; I had not only to get pledges from men like Talaat and Enver,
but I had personally to see that these pledges were carried into action.

I awoke one November morning at four o’clock; I had been dreaming, or I
had had a “presentiment,” that all was not going well with the Sion
Sœurs, a French sisterhood which had for many years conducted a
school for girls in Constantinople. Madame Bompard, the wife of the
French Ambassador, and several ladies of the French colony, had
particularly requested me to keep a watchful eye on this institution. It
was a splendidly-conducted school; the daughters of many of the best
families of all nationalities attended it, and when these girls were
assembled, the Christians wearing silver crosses and the non-Christians
silver stars, the sight was particularly beautiful and impressive.
Naturally the thought of the brutal Turks breaking into such a community
was enough to arouse the wrath of any properly constituted man. Though
we had nothing more definite than an uneasy feeling that something might
be wrong, Mrs. Morgenthau and I decided to go up immediately after
breakfast. As we approached the building we noted nothing particularly
suspicious; the place was quiet and the whole atmosphere was one of
peace and sanctity. Just as we ascended the steps, however, five Turkish
policemen followed on our heels. They crowded after us into the
vestibule, much to the consternation of a few of the Sisters, who
happened to be in the waiting-room. The mere fact that the American
Ambassador came with the police in itself increased their alarm, though
our arrival together was purely coincidental.

“What do you want?” I asked, turning to the men. As they spoke only
Turkish, naturally they did not understand me, and they started to push
me aside. My own knowledge of Turkish was extremely limited, but I knew
that the word “Elchi” meant “Ambassador.” So, pointing to myself, I said
“Elchi Americaner.”

This scrap of Turkish worked like magic. In Turkey an Ambassador is a
much revered object, and these policemen immediately respected my
authority. Meanwhile the Sisters had sent for their Superior, Mère
Elvira. This lady was one of the most distinguished and influential
personages in Constantinople. That morning, as she came in quietly and
faced these Turkish policemen, showing not a sign of fear, and
completely overawing them by the splendour and dignity of her bearing,
she represented to my eyes almost a supernatural being. Mère Elvira was
a daughter of one of the most aristocratic families of France; she was a
woman of perhaps forty years of age, with black hair and shining black
eyes, all accentuated by a pale face that radiated culture, character,
and intelligence. I could not help thinking, as I looked at her that
morning, that there was not a diplomatic circle in the world to which
she would not have added grace and dignity. In a few seconds Mère Elvira
had this present distracting situation completely under control. She
sent for a Sister who spoke Turkish, and queried the policemen. They
said that they were acting under Bedri’s orders. All the foreign schools
were to be closed that morning, the Government intending to seize all
their buildings. There were about seventy-two teachers and Sisters in
this convent; the police had orders to shut all these into two rooms,
where they were to be held practically as prisoners. There were about
two hundred girls; these were to be turned out into the streets, and
left to shift for themselves. The fact that it was raining in torrents,
and that the weather was extremely cold, accentuated the barbarity of
this proceeding. Yet every enemy school and religious institution in
Constantinople was undergoing a similar experience at this time. Clearly
this was a situation which I could not handle alone, and I at once
telephoned my Turkish-speaking legal adviser. Herein is another
incident which may have an interest for those who believe in
providential intervention. When I arrived in Constantinople telephones
had been unknown, but, in the last few months, an English company had
been introducing a system. The night before my experience with the Sion
Sœurs, my legal adviser had called me up and proudly told me that his
telephone had just been installed. I jotted down his number, and this
memorandum I now found in my pocket. Without my interpreter I should
have been hard pressed, and without this telephone I could not have
immediately brought him to the spot.

While waiting for his arrival I delayed the operations of the policemen,
and my wife, who fortunately speaks French, was obtaining all the
details from the Sisters. Mrs. Morgenthau understood the Turks well
enough to know that they had other plans than the mere expulsion of the
Sisters and their charges. The Turks regard these institutions as
repositories of treasure; the valuables which they contain are greatly
exaggerated in the popular mind, and it was a safe assumption that,
among other things, this expulsion was an industrious raiding expedition
for tangible evidences of wealth.

“Have you any money and other valuables here?” Mrs. Morgenthau asked one
of the Sisters.

Yes, they had in fact quite a little; it was kept in a safe upstairs. My
wife told me to keep the policemen busy and then she and one of the
Sisters quietly disappeared from the scene. Upstairs the Sister
disclosed about a hundred square pieces of white flannel into each one
of which had been sewed twenty gold coins. In all, the Sion Sœurs had
in this liquid form about fifty thousand francs. They had been fearing
expulsion for some time, and had been getting together their money in
this form, so that they could carry it away with them when forced to
leave Turkey. Besides this, the Sisters had several bundles of
securities and many valuable papers, such as the charter of their
school. Certainly here was something that would appeal to Turkish
cupidity. Mrs. Morgenthau knew that if the police once obtained control
of the building there would be little likelihood that the Sion Sisters
would ever see their money again. With the aid of the Sisters, my wife
promptly concealed as much as she could on her person, descended the
stairs, and marched through a line of gendarmes out into the rain. Mrs.
Morgenthau told me afterward that her blood almost ran cold with fright
as she passed by these guardians of the law; from all external signs,
however, she was absolutely calm and collected. She stepped into the
waiting auto, was driven to the American Embassy, placed the money in
our vault, and promptly returned to the school. Again Mrs. Morgenthau
solemnly ascended the stairs with the Sisters. This time they took her
to the gallery of the Cathedral, which stood behind the convent, but
could be entered through it. One of the Sisters lifted up a tile from a
particular spot in the floor, and again disclosed a heap of gold coins.
This was secreted in Mrs. Morgenthau’s clothes, and once more she filed
past the gendarmes, out into the rain, and was driven rapidly to the
Embassy. In these two trips my wife succeeded in getting the money of
the Sisters to a place where it would be safe from the Turks.

Between Mrs. Morgenthau’s trips Bedri had arrived. He told me that
Talaat had himself given the order for closing all the institutions, and
that they had intended to have the entire job finished before nine
o’clock. I have already said that the Turks have a sense of humour, but
to this statement I should add that it sometimes manifests itself in a
perverted form. Bedri now seemed to think that locking more than seventy
Catholic Sisters in two rooms and turning two hundred young and
carefully-nurtured girls into the streets of Constantinople was a great
joke.

“We were going at it early in the morning, to have it all over before
you heard anything about it,” he said, with a laugh. “But you seem never
to be asleep.”

“You are very foolish to try to play such tricks on us,” I said. “Don’t
you know that I am going to write a book? If you go on behaving in this
way, I shall put you in as the villain.”

This remark was an inspiration of the moment; it was then that it first
occurred to me that these experiences might prove sufficiently
interesting for publication. Bedri took the statement seriously, and it
seemed to have a sobering effect.

“Do you really intend to write a book?” he asked, almost anxiously.

“Why not?” I rejoined. “General Lew Wallace was minister here--didn’t he
write a book? ‘Sunset’ Cox was also minister here--didn’t he write one?
Why shouldn’t I? And you are such an important character that I shall
have to give you a part. Why do you go on acting in a way that will make
me describe you as a very bad man? These Sisters here have always been
your friends. They have never done you anything but good; they have
educated many of your daughters; why do you treat them in this shameful
fashion?”

This plea produced an effect; Bedri consented to postpone execution of
the order until we could get Talaat on the wire. In a few minutes I
heard Talaat laughing over the telephone.

“I tried to escape you,” he said, “but you have caught me again. Why
make such a row about this matter? Didn’t the French themselves expel
all their nuns and monks? Why shouldn’t we do it?”

After I had remonstrated over this indecent haste, Talaat told Bedri to
suspend the order until we had had a chance to talk the matter over.
Naturally this greatly relieved Mère Elvira and the Sisters. Just as we
were about to leave, Bedri suddenly had a new idea. There was one detail
which he had apparently forgotten.

“We’ll leave the Sion Sisters alone for the present,” he said, “but we
must get their money.”

Reluctantly I acquiesced in his suggestion--knowing that all the
valuables were safely reposing in the American Embassy. So I had the
pleasure of standing by and watching Bedri and his associates search the
whole establishment. All they turned up was a small tin box containing a
few copper coins, a prize which was so trifling that the Turks disdained
to take it. They were much puzzled and disappointed, and from that day
to this they have never known what became of the money. If my Turkish
friends do me the honour of reading these pages they will find that I
have explained here for the first time one of the many mysteries of
those exciting days.

As some of the windows of the convent opened on the court of the
Cathedral, which was Vatican property, we contended that the Turkish
Government could not seize it. Such of the Sisters as were neutrals were
allowed to remain in possession of the part that faced the Vatican land,
while the rest of the building was turned into an engineers’ school. We
arranged that the French nuns should have ten days to leave for their
own country; they all reached their destination safely, and most are at
present engaged in charities and war-work in France.

My jocular statement that I intended to write a book deeply impressed
Bedri, and in the next few weeks he repeatedly referred to it. I kept
banteringly telling him that, unless his behaviour improved, I should be
forced to picture him as the villain. One day he asked me, in all
seriousness, whether he could not do something that would justify me in
portraying him in a more favourable light. This attitude gave me an
opportunity I had been seeking for some time. Constantinople had for
many years been a centre for the white slave trade, and a particularly
vicious gang was then operating under cover of a fake synagogue. An
international committee, organised to fight this crew, had made me
chairman. I told Bedri that he now had the chance to secure a
reputation. Because of the war, his powers as Prefect of Police had
been greatly increased, and a little vigorous action on his part would
permanently rid the city of this disgrace. The enthusiasm with which
Bedri adopted my suggestion and the thoroughness and ability with which
he did the work entitle him to the gratitude of all decent people. In a
few days every white slave trader in Constantinople was scurrying for
safety. Most were arrested, a few made their escape; such as were
foreigners, after serving terms in gaol, were expelled from the country.
Bedri furnished me with photographs of all the culprits, and they are
now on file in our State Department. I was not writing a book at that
time, but I felt obliged to secure some public recognition for Bedri’s
work. I therefore sent his photograph, with a few words about his
achievement, to the New York _Times_, which published it in a Sunday
edition. That a great American newspaper had recognised him in this way
delighted Bedri beyond words. For months he carried in his pocket the
page of the _Times_ containing his picture, showing it to all his
friends. This event ended my troubles with the Prefect of Police; for
the rest of my stay we had very few serious clashes.



CHAPTER XIV

WANGENHEIM AND THE BETHLEHEM STEEL COMPANY--A HOLY WAR THAT WAS MADE IN
GERMANY


All this time I was increasing my knowledge of the modern German
character, as illustrated in Wangenheim and his associates. In the early
days of the war the Germans showed their most ingratiating side to
Americans; as time went on, however, and it became apparent that public
opinion in the United States almost unanimously supported the Allies,
and that the Washington Administration would not disregard the
neutrality laws in order to promote Germany’s interest, this friendly
attitude changed and became almost hostile.

The grievance to which the German Ambassador constantly returned with
tiresome iteration was the old familiar one--the sale of American
ammunition to the Allies. I hardly ever met him that he did not speak
about it. He was constantly asking me to write to President Wilson,
urging him to declare an embargo. Of course, my contention that the
commerce in munitions was entirely legitimate made no impression. As the
struggle at the Dardanelles became more intense, Wangenheim’s insistence
on the subject of American ammunition grew. He asserted that most of the
shells used at the Dardanelles had been made in America and that the
United States was really waging war on Turkey.

One day, more angry than usual, he brought me a piece of shell. On it
clearly appeared the inscription, “B.S.Co.”

“Look at that!” he said. “I suppose you know what ‘B.S.Co.’ means? That
is the Bethlehem Steel Company! This will make the Turks furious. And
remember that we are going to hold the United States responsible for it.
We are getting more and more proof, and we are going to hold you to
account for every death caused by American shells. If you would only
write home, and make them stop selling ammunition to our enemies, the
war would be over very soon.”

I made the usual defence, and called Wangenheim’s attention to the fact
that Germany had sold munitions to Spain in the Spanish War; but all
this was to no purpose. All that Wangenheim saw was that American
supplies formed an asset to his enemy; the legalities of the situation
did not interest him. Of course, I refused point-blank to write to the
President about the matter.

A few days afterward an article appeared in the _Ikdam_ discussing
Turkish and American relations. This contribution, for the greater part,
was extremely complimentary to America; its real purpose, however, was
to contrast the present with the past, and to point out that our action
in furnishing ammunition to Turkey’s enemies was hardly in accordance
with the historic friendship between the two countries. The whole thing
was evidently written merely to get before the Turkish people a
statement almost parenthetically included in the final paragraph:
“According to the report of correspondents at the Dardanelles, it
appears that most of the shells fired by the British and French during
the last bombardment were made in America.” At this time the German
Embassy controlled the _Ikdam_, and was conducting it entirely in the
interest of German propaganda. A statement of this sort, instilled into
the minds of impressionable and fanatical Turks, might have the most
deplorable consequences. I therefore took the matter up immediately with
the man whom I regarded as chiefly responsible for the attack--the
German Ambassador.

At first Wangenheim asserted his innocence; he was as bland as a child
in protesting his ignorance of the whole affair. I called his attention
to the fact that the statements in the _Ikdam_ were almost identically
the same as those which he had made to me a few days before; that the
language in certain spots, indeed, was almost a repetition of his own
conversation.

“Either you wrote that article yourself,” I said, “or you called in the
reporter and gave him the leading ideas.”

Wangenheim saw that there was no use in further denying the authorship.

“Well,” he said, throwing back his head, “what are you going to do about
it?”

This Tweed-like attitude rather nettled me, and I resented it on the
spot.

“I’ll tell you what I am going to do about it,” I replied, “and you know
that I will be able to carry out my threats. Either you stop stirring up
anti-American feeling in Turkey or I shall start a campaign of
anti-German sentiment here.

“You know, Baron,” I added, “that you Germans are skating on very thin
ice in this country. You know that the Turks don’t love you any too
well. In fact, you know that Americans are more popular here than you
are. Supposing that I go out, tell the Turks how you are simply using
them for your own benefit--that you do not really regard them as your
allies, but merely as pawns in the game which you are playing. Now, in
stirring up anti-American feeling here you are touching my softest spot.
You are exposing our educational and religious institutions to the
attacks of the Turks. No one knows what they may do if they are
persuaded that their relatives are being shot down by American bullets.
You stop this at once, or in three weeks I will fill the whole of Turkey
with animosity toward the Germans. It will be a battle between us, and I
am ready for it.”

Wangenheim’s attitude changed at once. He turned round, put his arm on
my shoulder, and assumed his most conciliatory, almost affectionate,
manner.

“Come, let us be friends,” he said. “I see that you are right about
this. I see that such attacks might injure your friends the
missionaries. I promise you that they will be stopped.”

From that day the Turkish Press never made the slightest unfriendly
allusion to the United States. The abruptness with which the attacks
stopped showed me that the Germans had evidently extended to Turkey one
of the most cherished expedients of the Fatherland--absolute Government
control of the Press. But when I think of the infamous plots which
Wangenheim was instigating at that moment, his objection to the use of a
few American shells by English battleships--if English battleships used
any such shells, which I seriously doubt--seems almost grotesque. In the
early days Wangenheim had explained to me one of Germany’s main purposes
in forcing Turkey into the conflict. He made this explanation quietly
and nonchalantly, as though it had been quite the most ordinary matter
in the world. Sitting in his office, puffing away at his big black
German cigar, he unfolded Germany’s scheme to arouse the whole fanatical
Moslem world against the Christians. Germany had planned a real “holy
war” as one means of destroying English and French influence in the
world. “Turkey herself is not the really important matter,” said
Wangenheim. “Her army is a small one, and we do not expect it to do very
much. For the most part it will act on the defensive. But the big thing
is the Moslem world. If we can stir the Mohammedans up against the
English and Russians we can force them to make peace.”

What Wangenheim evidently meant by the “big thing” became apparent on
November 13th, when the Sultan issued his declaration war. This
declaration was really an appeal for a _Jihad_, or a “Holy War” against
the infidel. Soon afterward the Sheik-ul-Islam published his
proclamation, summoning the whole Moslem world to arise and massacre
their Christian oppressors. “O Moslems!” concluded this document, “Ye
who are smitten with happiness and are on the verge of sacrificing your
life and your goods for the cause of right, and of braving perils,
gather now around the Imperial throne, obey the commands of the
Almighty, who, in the Koran, promises us bliss in this and in the next
world; embrace ye the foot of the Caliph’s throne, and know ye that the
State is at war with Russia, England, France, and their allies, and that
these are the enemies of Islam. The Chief of the believers, the Caliph,
invites you all as Moslems to join in the Holy War!”

The religious leaders read this proclamation to their assembled
congregations in the mosques; all the newspapers printed it
conspicuously; it was spread broadcast in all the countries which had
large Mohammedan populations--India, China, Persia, Egypt, Algeria,
Tripoli, Morocco, and the like. In all these places it was read to the
assembled multitudes and the populace was exhorted to obey the mandate.
The _Ikdam_, the Turkish newspaper which had passed into German
ownership, was constantly inciting the masses. “The deeds of our
enemies,” wrote this Turco-German editor, “have brought down the wrath
of God. A gleam of hope has appeared. All Mohammedans, young and old,
men, women, and children, must fulfil their duty so that the gleam may
not fade away, but give light to us forever. How many great things can
be accomplished by the arms of vigorous men, by the aid of others, of
women and children!... The time for action has come. We shall all have
to fight with all our strength, with all our soul, with teeth and nails,
with all the sinews of our bodies and of our spirits. If we do it, the
deliverance of the subjected Mohammedan kingdoms is assured. Then, if
God so wills, we shall march unashamed by the side of our friends who
send their greetings to the Crescent. Allah is our aid and the Prophet
is our support.”

The Sultan’s proclamation was an official public document, and dealt
with the proposed Holy War only in a general way, but about this same
time a secret pamphlet appeared which gave instructions to the faithful
in more specific terms. This paper was not read in the mosques; it was
distributed stealthily in all Mohammedan countries--India, Egypt,
Morocco, Syria, and many others--and it was significantly printed in
Arabic, the language of the Koran. It was a lengthy document--the
English translation contains 10,000 words--full of quotations from the
Koran, and its style was frenzied in its appeal to racial and religious
hatred. It described a detailed plan of operations for the assassination
and extermination of all Christians--except those of German nationality.
A few extracts will fairly portray its spirit: “Oh! people of the faith
and Oh! beloved Moslems, consider, even though but for a brief moment,
the present condition of the Islamic world. For if you consider this but
for a little you will weep long. You will behold a bewildering state of
affairs which will cause the tear to fall and the fire of grief to
blaze. You see the great country of India, which contains hundreds of
millions of Moslems, fallen, because of religious divisions and
weaknesses, into the grasp of the enemies of God, the infidel English.
You see forty millions of Moslems in Java shackled by the chains of
captivity and of affliction under the rule of the Dutch, although these
infidels are much fewer in number than the faithful and do not enjoy a
much higher civilisation. You see Egypt, Morocco, Tunis, Algeria, and
the Sudan suffering the extremes of pain and groaning in the grasp of
the enemies of God and His apostle. You see the vast country of Siberia
and Turkestan, and Khiva and Bokhara, and the Caucasus and the Crimea,
and Kazan and Ezferhan and Kosahastan, whose Moslem peoples believe in
the unity of God, ground under the feet of their oppressors, who are the
enemies already of our religion. You behold Persia being prepared for
partition, and you see the city of the Caliphate, which for ages has
unceasingly fought breast to breast with the enemies of our religion,
now become the target for oppression and violence. Thus, wherever you
look, you see that the enemies of the true religion, particularly the
English, the Russian, and the French, have oppressed Islam and invaded
its rights in every possible way. We cannot enumerate the insults we
have received at the hands of these nations who desire totally to
destroy Islam and drive all Mohammedans off the face of the earth. This
tyranny has passed all endurable limits; the cup of our oppression is
full to overflowing.... In brief, the Moslems work and the infidels eat,
the Moslems are hungry and suffer and the infidels gorge themselves and
live in luxury. The world of Islam sinks down and goes backward, and the
Christian world goes forward and is more and more exalted. The Moslems
are enslaved and the infidels are the great rulers. This is all because
the Moslems have abandoned the plan set forth in the Koran and ignored
the Holy War which it commands.... But the time has now come for the
Holy War, and by this the land of Islam shall be forever freed from the
power of the infidels who oppress it. This Holy War has now become a
sacred duty. Know ye that the blood of infidels in the Islamic lands
may be shed with impunity--except those to whom the Moslem power has
promised security and who are allied with it. [Herein we find that
Germans and Austrians are excepted from massacre.] The killing of
infidels who rule over Islam has become a sacred duty, whether you do it
secretly or openly. As the Koran has decreed: ‘Take them and kill them
whenever you find them. Behold we have delivered them unto your hands
and given you supreme power over them.’ He who kills even one unbeliever
of those who rule over us, whether he does it secretly or openly, shall
be rewarded by God. And let every Moslem, in whatever part of the world
he may be, swear a solemn oath to kill at least three or four of the
infidels who rule over him, for they are the enemies of God and of the
faith. Let every Moslem know that his reward for doing so shall be
doubled by the God who created heaven and earth. A Moslem who does this
shall be saved from the terrors of the Day of Judgment, of the
resurrection of the dead. Who is the man who can refuse such a
recompense for such a small deed?... Yet the time has come that we
should rise up as the rising of one man; in one hand a sword, in the
other a gun, in his pocket balls of fire and death-dealing missiles, and
in his heart the light of the faith, and that we should lift up our
voices, saying--India for the Indian Moslems, Java for the Javanese
Moslems, Algeria for the Algerian Moslems, Morocco for the Moroccan
Moslems, Tunis for the Tunisan Moslems, Egypt for the Egyptian Moslems,
Iran for the Iranian Moslems, Turan for the Turanian Moslems, Bokhara
for the Bokharan Moslems, Caucasus for the Caucasian Moslems, and the
Ottoman Empire for the Ottoman Turks and Arabs.”

Specific instructions for carrying out this holy purpose follow. There
shall be a “heart war”--every follower of the Prophet, that is, shall
constantly nourish in his spirit a hatred of the infidel; a “speech
war”--with tongue and pen every Moslem shall spread this same hatred
wherever Mohammedans live; and a war of deed--fighting and killing the
infidel wherever he shows his head. This latter conflict, says the
pamphlet, is the “true war.” There is to be a “little holy war” and a
“great holy war”; the first describes the battle which every Mohammedan
is to wage in his community against his Christian neighbours, and the
second is the great world-struggle which united Islam, in India, Arabia,
Turkey, Africa, and other countries, is to wage against the infidel
oppressors. “The Holy War,” says the pamphlet, “will be of three forms.
First the individual war, which consists of the individual personal
deed. This may be carried on with cutting, killing instruments, like
the Holy War which one of the faithful made against Peter Galy, the
infidel English governor, like the slaying of the English chief of
police in India, and like the killing of one of the officials arriving
in Mecca by Abi Busir (may God be pleased with him).” The document gives
several other instances of assassination which the faithful are enjoined
to imitate. The believers are told to organise “bands,” and to go forth
and slay Christians. The most useful are those organised and operating
in secret. “It is hoped that the Islamic world of to-day will profit
very greatly from such secret bands.” The third method is by “organised
campaigns,” that is, by trained armies.

In all parts of this incentive to murder and assassination there are
indications that a German hand has exercised an editorial supervision.
Only those infidels are to be slain “who rule over us”--that is, those
who have Mohammedan subjects. As Germany has no such subjects this
saving clause was expected to protect Germans from assault. The Germans,
with their usual interest in their own well-being and their usual
disregard of their ally, evidently overlooked the fact that Austria had
many Mohammedan subjects in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moslems are
instructed that they should form armies, “even though it may be
necessary to introduce some foreign elements”--that is, bring in German
instructors and German officers. “You must remember”--this is evidently
intended as a blanket protection to Germans everywhere--“that it is
absolutely unlawful to oppose any of the peoples of other religions
between whom and the Moslems there is a covenant, or those who have not
manifested hostility to the seat of the Caliphate, or those who have
entered under the protection of the Moslems.”

Even though I had not had Wangenheim’s personal statement that the
Germans intended to arouse the Mohammedans everywhere against England,
France, and Russia, these interpolations would clearly enough have
indicated the real inspiration of this amazing document. At the time
Wangenheim discussed the matter with me his chief idea seemed to be that
a “Holy War” of this sort would be the quickest means of forcing England
to make peace. According to this point of view, it was really a great
peace offensive. At that time Wangenheim reflected the conviction, which
was prevalent in all official circles, that Germany had made a mistake
in bringing England into the conflict, and it was evidently his idea now
that if back-fires could be started against England in India, Egypt, the
Sudan, and other places, the British Empire would withdraw. Even if
British Mohammedans refused to rise, Wangenheim believed that the mere
threat of such an uprising would induce England to abandon Belgium and
France to their fate. The danger of spreading such incendiary literature
among a wildly fanatical people is apparent. I was not the only neutral
diplomat who feared the most serious consequences. M. Tocheff, the
Bulgarian Minister, one of the ablest members of the diplomatic corps,
was much disturbed. At that time Bulgaria was neutral, and M. Tocheff
used to tell me that his country hoped to maintain this neutrality. Each
side, he said, expected that Bulgaria would become its ally, and it was
Bulgaria’s policy to keep each side in this expectant frame of mind.
Should Germany succeed in starting a “Holy War,” and should massacres
result, Bulgaria, added M. Tocheff, would certainly join forces with the
Entente.

We arranged that he should call upon Wangenheim and repeat this
statement, and that I should bring similar pressure to bear upon Enver.
From the first, however, the “Holy War” proved a failure. The
Mohammedans of such countries as India, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco knew
that they were getting far better treatment than they could obtain under
any other conceivable conditions. Moreover, the simple-minded
Mohammedans could not understand why they should prosecute a holy war
against Christians and at the same time have Christian nations, such as
Germany and Austria, as their partners. This association made the whole
proposition ridiculous. The Koran, it is true, commands the slaughter of
Christians, but that sacred volume makes no exception in favour of the
Germans, and, in the mind of the fanatical Mohammedan, a German _rayah_
is as much Christian dirt as an Englishman or a Frenchman, and his
massacre is just as meritorious an act. The fine distinctions
necessitated by European diplomacy he understands about as completely as
he understands the law of gravitation or the nebular hypothesis. The
German failure to take this into account is only another evidence of the
fundamental German clumsiness and real ignorance of the world situation.
The only tangible fact that stands out clearly is the Kaiser’s desire to
let loose 300,000,000 Mohammedans in a gigantic St. Bartholomew massacre
of Christians.

Was there, then, no “Holy War” at all? Did Wangenheim’s “big thing”
really fail? Whenever I think of this burlesque “Jihad” a particular
scene in the American Embassy comes to my mind. On one side of the table
sits Enver, most peacefully sipping tea and eating cakes, and on the
other side is myself, engaged in the same unwarlike occupation. It is
November 14th, the day after the Sultan has declared his Holy War; there
have been meetings at the mosques and other places, at which the
declaration has been read and fiery speeches made. Enver now assures me
that absolutely no harm will come to Americans; in fact, that there will
be no massacres anyway. While he is talking, one of my secretaries comes
in and tells me that a little mob is making demonstrations against
certain foreign establishments. It has assailed an Austrian shop which
has unwisely kept up its sign saying that it has “English clothes” for
sale. I ask Enver what this means; he answers that it is all a mistake,
there is no intention of attacking anybody. A little while after he
leaves I am informed that the mob has attacked the Bon Marché, a French
dry-goods store, and is heading directly for the British Embassy. I at
once call Enver on the telephone; it is all right, he says, nothing will
happen to the Embassy. A minute or two after, the mob immediately wheels
about and starts for Tokatlians, the most important restaurant in
Constantinople. The fact that this is conducted by an Armenian makes it
fair game. Six men who have poles, with hooks at the end, break all the
mirrors and windows, others take the marble tops of the tables and smash
them to bits. In a few minutes the place has been completely gutted.

This demonstration comprised the “Holy War,” so far as Constantinople
understood it. Such was the inglorious end of Germany’s attempt to
arouse 300,000,000 Mohammedans against the Christian world! Only one
definite result did the Kaiser accomplish by spreading this inciting
literature. It aroused in the Mohammedan soul all that intense hatred of
the Christian which is the fundamental fact in his strange emotional
nature, and thus started passions aflame that afterward spent themselves
in the massacres of the Armenians and other subject peoples.



CHAPTER XV

DJEMAL, A TROUBLESOME MARK ANTONY--AN EARLY GERMAN ATTEMPT TO GET A
GERMAN PEACE


In early November, 1914, the railroad station at Haidar Pasha was the
scene of a great demonstration. Djemal, the Minister of Marine, one of
the three men who were then most powerful in the Turkish Empire, was
leaving to take command of the Fourth Turkish Army, which had its
headquarters in Syria. All the members of the Cabinet and other
influential people in Constantinople assembled to give this departing
satrap an enthusiastic farewell. They hailed him as the “Saviour of
Egypt,” and Djemal himself, just before his train started, made this
public declaration:

“I shall not return to Constantinople until I have conquered Egypt!”

The whole performance seemed to me to be somewhat bombastic. Inevitably
I called to mind the third member of another bloody triumvirate who,
nearly two thousand years before, had left his native land to become the
supreme dictator of the East. And Djemal had many characteristics in
common with Mark Antony. Like his Roman predecessor, his private life
was profligate; like Antony, he was an insatiate gambler, spending much
of his leisure over the card-table at the Cercle d’Orient. Another trait
which he had in common with the great Roman orator was his enormous
vanity. The Turkish world seemed to be disintegrating in Djemal’s time,
just as the Roman Republic was dissolving in the days of Antony. Djemal
believed that he might himself become the heir of one or more of its
provinces and possibly establish a dynasty. He expected that the
military expedition on which he was now starting would not only make him
the conqueror of Turkey’s fairest province, but make him one of the
powerful figures of the world. Afterward, in Syria, he ruled as
independently as a medieval robber baron, whom in other details he
resembled; he became a kind of sub-sultan, holding his own court, having
his own selamlik, issuing his orders, dispensing freely his own kind of
justice, and often disregarding the authorities at Constantinople.

The applause with which Djemal’s associates were speeding

[Illustration: Enver Pasha, Minister of War.]

[Illustration: Talaat Pasha, Grand Vizier.

[_To face p. 112_
]

[Illustration: Bustány Effendi, ex-Minister of Commerce and Agriculture
in the Turkish Cabinet.]

[Illustration: Djemal Pasha, Minister of Marine.]

his departure was not entirely disinterested. The fact was that most of
them were exceedingly glad to see him go. He had been a thorn in the
side of Talaat and Enver for some time, and they were perfectly content
that he should exercise his imperious and stubborn nature against the
Syrians, Armenians, and other non-Moslem elements in the Mediterranean
provinces. Djemal was not a popular man in Constantinople. The other
members of the triumvirate, in addition to their less desirable
qualities, had certain attractive traits--Talaat his rough virility and
spontaneous good nature, Enver his courage and personal
graciousness--but there was little about Djemal that was pleasing. An
American physician who had specialised in the study of physiognomy had
found Djemal a fascinating subject. He told me that he had never seen a
face that so combined ferocity with great power and penetration. Enver,
as his history showed, could be cruel and bloodthirsty, but he hid his
more insidious qualities under a face that was bland, unruffled, and
even agreeable. Djemal, however, did not disguise his tendencies, for
his face clearly pictured the inner soul. His eyes were black and
piercing; their sharpness, the rapidity and keenness with which they
darted from one object to another, taking in apparently everything with
a few lightning-like glances, signalised cunning, remorselessness, and
selfishness to an extreme degree. Even his laugh, which disclosed all
his white teeth, was unpleasant and animal-like. His black hair and
black beard, contrasting with his pale face, only heightened this
impression. At first, Djemal’s figure seemed somewhat insignificant--he
was undersized, almost stumpy, and somewhat stoop-shouldered; as soon as
he began to move, however, it was evident that his body was full of
energy. Whenever he shook your hand, gripping you with a vice-like grasp
and looking at you with those roving, penetrating eyes, the man’s
personal force became impressive.

Yet, after a momentary meeting, I was not surprised to hear that Djemal
was a man with whom assassination and judicial murder were all part of
the day’s work. Like all the Young Turks, his origin had been extremely
humble. He had joined the Committee of Union and Progress in the early
days, and his personal power, as well as his relentlessness, had rapidly
made him one of the leaders. After the murder of Nazim, Djemal had
become Military Governor of Constantinople, his chief duty in this post
being to remove from the scene the opponents of the ruling powers. This
congenial task he performed with great skill, and the reign of terror
that resulted was largely Djemal’s handiwork. Subsequently Djemal became
Minister of Marine, but he could not work harmoniously in the Cabinet;
he was always a troublesome partner. In the days preceding the break
with the Entente he was popularly regarded as a Francophile. Whatever
feeling Djemal may have entertained toward the Entente, he made little
attempt to conceal his detestation of the Germans. It is said that he
would swear at them in their presence--in Turkish, of course--and he was
one of the few important Turkish officials who never came under their
influence. The fact was that Djemal represented that tendency which was
rapidly gaining the ascendancy in Turkish policy--Pan-Turkism. He
despised the subject peoples of the Ottoman country--Arabs, Greeks,
Armenians, Circassians, Jews; his ambition was to Turkify the whole
Empire. His personal ambition brought him into frequent conflict with
Enver and Talaat; they told me many times that they could not control
him. It was for this reason that, as I have said, they were glad to see
him go--not that they really expected him to capture the Suez Canal and
drive out the English. Incidentally this appointment fairly indicated
the incongruous organisation that then existed in Turkey. As Minister of
Marine, Djemal’s real place was at the navy department; instead of that,
the head of the navy was sent to lead an army over the burning sands of
Syria and Sinai.

Yet Djemal’s expedition represented Turkey’s most spectacular attempt to
assert its military power against the Allies. As Djemal moved out of the
station, the whole Turkish populace felt that an historic moment had
arrived. Turkey in less than a century had lost the greater part of her
dominions, and nothing had more pained the national pride than the
English occupation of Egypt. All during this occupation, Turkish
suzerainty had been recognised; as soon as Turkey declared war on Great
Britain, however, the British had ended this fiction and had formally
taken over this great province. Djemal’s expedition was Turkey’s reply
to this act of England. The real purpose of the war, the Turkish people
had been told, was to restore the vanishing empire of the Osmans, and to
this great undertaking the recovery of Egypt was merely the first step.
The Turks also knew that, under English administration, Egypt had become
a prosperous country, and that it would, therefore, yield great treasure
to the conqueror. It is no wonder that the huzzahs of the Turkish people
followed the departing Djemal.

About the same time, Enver left to take command of Turkey’s other great
military enterprise--the attack on Russia through the Caucasus. Here
also were Turkish provinces to be “redeemed.” After the war of 1878,
Turkey had been compelled to cede to Russia certain rich territories
between the Caspian and the Black Sea, inhabited chiefly by Armenians,
and it was this country which Enver now proposed to reconquer. But Enver
had no ovation on his leaving. He went away quietly and unobserved. With
the departure of these two men the war was now fairly on.

Despite these martial enterprises, other than warlike preparations were
now under way in Constantinople. At that time--in the latter part of
1914--its external characteristics suggested nothing but war, yet now it
suddenly became the great headquarters of peace. The English fleet was
constantly threatening the Dardanelles, and every day Turkish troops
were passing through the streets. Yet these activities did not chiefly
engage the attention of the German Embassy. Wangenheim was thinking of
one thing, and one thing only; this fire-eating German suddenly became a
man of peace. For he now learned that the greatest service which a
German Ambassador could render his Emperor would be to end the war on
terms that would save Germany from exhaustion, and even from ruin; to
obtain a settlement that would reintroduce his Fatherland to the society
of nations.

In November Wangenheim began discussing this subject. It was part of
Germany’s system, he told me, not only to be completely prepared for
war, but also for peace. “A wise general, when he begins his campaign,
always has at hand his plans for a retreat, in case he is defeated,”
said the German Ambassador. “This principle applies just the same to a
nation beginning war. There is only one certainty about war--and that is
that it must end some time. So, when we plan war, we must consider also
a campaign for peace.”

But Wangenheim was interested then in something more tangible than this
philosophic principle. Germany had immediate reasons for desiring the
end of hostilities, and Wangenheim discussed them frankly and cynically.
He said that Germany had prepared for only a short war because she had
expected to crush France and Russia in two brief campaigns, lasting not
longer than six months. Clearly this plan had failed, and there was
little likelihood that Germany would win the war. Wangenheim told me
this in so many words. Germany, he added, would make a great mistake if
she persisted in fighting the war to exhaustion, for such a fight would
mean the permanent loss of her colonies, her mercantile marine, and her
whole economic and commercial status. “If we don’t get Paris in thirty
days, we are beaten,” Wangenheim had told me in August, and, though his
attitude changed somewhat after the battle of the Marne, he made no
attempt to conceal the fact that the great rush campaign had collapsed,
that all the Germans could now look forward to was a tedious, exhausting
war, and that all which they could obtain from the existing situation
would be a drawn battle. “We have made a mistake this time,” Wangenheim
said, “in not laying in supplies for a protracted struggle; it was an
error, however, that we shall not repeat; next time we shall store up
enough copper and cotton to last for five years.”

Wangenheim had another reason for wishing an immediate peace, and it was
a reason which shed much light upon the shamelessness of German
diplomacy. The preparation which Turkey was making for the conquest of
Egypt caused this German Ambassador much annoyance and anxiety. The
interest and energy which the Turks had manifested in this enterprise
were particularly causing him concern. Naturally I thought at first that
Wangenheim was worried that Turkey would lose, yet he confided to me
that his real fear was that their ally would succeed. A victorious
Turkish campaign in Egypt, Wangenheim explained, might seriously
interfere with Germany’s plans. Should Turkey conquer Egypt, naturally
Turkey would insist at the peace table on retaining this great province,
and would expect Germany to support her in this claim. But Germany had
no intention then of promoting the re-establishment of the Turkish
Empire. At that time she hoped to reach an understanding with England,
the basis of which was to be something in the nature of a division of
interests in the East. Germany desired above all to obtain Mesopotamia
as an indispensable part of her Hamburg-Bagdad scheme. In return for
this, she was prepared to give her endorsement to England’s annexation
of Egypt. Thus it was Germany’s plan at that time that she and England
should divide Turkey’s two fairest dominions. This was one of the
proposals which Germany intended to bring forth in the peace conference
which Wangenheim was now scheming for, and clearly Turkey’s conquest of
Egypt would have presented complications in the way of carrying out this
plan. On the morality of Germany’s attitude to her ally, Turkey, it is
hardly necessary to comment. The whole thing was all of a piece with
Germany’s policy of “realism” in foreign relations.

Nearly all German classes, in the latter part of 1914 and the early part
of 1915, were anxiously looking for peace, and they turned to
Constantinople as the most promising spot where peace negotiations might
most favourably be started. The Germans took it for granted that
President Wilson would be the

[Illustration: Mr. Morgenthau (left) in congenial association with Sir
Louis Mallet, the British Ambassador to Turkey.]

[Illustration: Sir Louis Mallet and M. Bompard, the French Ambassador to
Turkey.

[_To face p. 116_
]

[Illustration: Bedri Bey, Prefect of Police at Constantinople.]

[Illustration: Talaat and von Kühlmann.]

peacemaker; indeed, they never for a moment thought of anyone else in
this capacity. The only point that remained for consideration was the
best way to approach the President. Such negotiations would most likely
be conducted through one of the American Ambassadors in Europe.
Obviously Germany had no means of access to the American Ambassadors in
the great enemy capitals, and other circumstances induced them to turn
to the American Ambassador in Turkey.

At this time a German diplomat appeared in Constantinople who has
figured much in recent history--Dr. Richard von Kühlmann, at present
Minister for Foreign Affairs. In the last five years Dr. von Kühlmann
has seemed to appear in that particular part of the world where
important confidential diplomatic negotiations are being conducted by
the German Empire. Prince Lichnowsky has recently described his
activities in London in 1913 and 1914, and he has figured even more
conspicuously in the recent peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Soon after
the war started, Dr. von Kühlmann came to Constantinople as _Conseiller_
of the German Embassy, succeeding von Mutius, who had been called to the
Colours. For one reason his appointment was appropriate, for Kühlmann
had been born in Constantinople, and had spent his early life there, his
father having been president of the Anatolian railway. He therefore
understood the Turks as only a man can who has lived with them for many
years. Personally he proved to be an interesting addition to the
diplomatic colony. He impressed me as not a particularly aggressive, but
a very entertaining, man; he apparently wished to become friendly with
the American Embassy, and he possessed a certain attraction for us all,
as he had just come from the trenches and gave us many vivid pictures of
life at the front. At that time we were all keenly interested in modern
warfare, and Kühlmann’s details of trench fighting held us spellbound
many an afternoon and evening. His other favourite topic of conversation
was _Welt-Politik_, and on all foreign matters he struck me as
remarkably well-informed. At that time we did not regard von Kühlmann as
an important man, yet the industry with which he attended to his
business arrested everyone’s attention even then. Soon, however, I began
to have a feeling that he was exerting a powerful influence in a quiet,
velvety kind of way. He said little, but I realised that he was
listening to everything and storing all kinds of information away in his
mind. He was apparently Wangenheim’s closest confidant, and the man upon
whom the Ambassador was depending for his contact with the German
Foreign Office. About the middle of December von Kühlmann left for
Berlin, where he stayed about two weeks. On his return, in the early
part of January, 1915, there was a noticeable change in the atmosphere
of the German Embassy. Up to that time Wangenheim had discussed peace
negotiations more or less informally, but now he took up the matter
specifically. I gathered that Kühlmann had been called to Berlin to
receive all the latest details on this subject, and that he had come
back with the definite instructions that Wangenheim should move at once.
In all my talks with the German Ambassador on peace Kühlmann was always
hovering in the background; at one most important conference he was
present, though he participated hardly at all in the conversation, but
his rôle, as usual, was that of a subordinate and quietly eager
listener.

Wangenheim now informed me that January, 1915, would be an excellent
time to end the war. Italy had not yet entered, though there was every
reason to believe that she would do so by spring. Bulgaria and Rumania
were still holding aloof, though no one expected that their waiting
attitude would last for ever. France and England were preparing for the
first of the “spring offensives,” and the Germans had no assurance that
it would not succeed; indeed, they much feared that the German armies
would meet disaster. The British and French warships were gathering at
the Dardanelles, and the German General Staff and practically all
military and naval experts in Constantinople believed that the Allied
fleets could force their way through and capture the city. Most Turks by
this time were sick of the war, and Germany always had in mind that
Turkey would make a separate peace. Afterward I discovered that whenever
the military situation looked ominous to Germany she was always thinking
about peace, but that if the situation improved she would immediately
become warlike again; it was a case of sick-devil, well-devil. Yet,
badly as Wangenheim wanted peace in January, 1915, it was quite apparent
that he was not thinking of a permanent peace. The greatest obstacle to
peace at that time was the fact that Germany showed no signs that she
regretted her crimes, and there was not the slightest evidence of the
sackcloth in Wangenheim’s attitude now. Germany had made a bad guess,
that was all. What Wangenheim and the other Germans saw in the situation
was that their stock of wheat, cotton, and copper was inadequate for a
protracted struggle. In my notes of my conversations with Wangenheim I
find him frequently using such phrases as the “next war,” “next time,”
and, in confidently looking forward to another greater world cataclysm
than the present, he merely reflected the attitude of the dominant
junker-military class. The Germans apparently wanted a reconciliation--a
kind of an armistice--that would give their generals and industrial
leaders time to prepare for the next conflict. At that time, nearly four
years ago, Germany was moving for practically the same kind of peace
negotiations which she has suggested many times since and is suggesting
now. Wangenheim’s plan was that representatives of the warring Powers
should gather around a table and settle things on the principle of “give
and take.” He said that there was no sense in demanding that each side
state its terms in advance.

“For both sides to state their terms in advance would ruin the whole
thing,” he said. “What would we do? Germany, of course, would make
claims that the other side would regard as ridiculously extravagant. The
Entente would state terms that would put all Germany in a rage. As a
result, both sides would get so angry that there would be no conference.
No--if we really want to end this war we must have an armistice. Once we
stop fighting, we shall not go at it again. History presents no instance
in a great war where an armistice has not resulted in peace. It will be
so in this case.”

Yet, from Wangenheim’s conversation I did obtain a slight inkling of
Germany’s terms. The matter of Egypt and Mesopotamia, set forth above,
was one of them. Wangenheim was quite insistent that Germany must have
permanent naval bases in Belgium with which her navy could at all times
threaten England with blockade, and so make sure “the freedom of the
seas.” Germany wanted coaling rights everywhere; this demand looks
absurd, because Germany has always possessed such rights in peace times.
She might give France a piece of Lorraine, and a part of
Belgium--perhaps Brussels--in return for the payment of an indemnity.

Wangenheim requested that I should place Germany’s case before the
American Government. My letter to Washington is dated January, 1915. It
went fully into the internal situation which then prevailed and gave the
reasons why Germany and Turkey desired peace.

A particularly interesting part of this incident was that Germany was
apparently ignoring Austria. Pallavicini, the Austrian Ambassador, knew
nothing of the pending negotiations until I myself informed him of them.
In thus ignoring his ally, the German Ambassador meant no personal
disrespect; he was merely treating him precisely as his Foreign Office
was treating Vienna--not as an equal, but practically as a retainer. The
world is familiar enough with Germany’s military and diplomatic
absorption of Austria-Hungary. But that Wangenheim should have made so
important a move as to attempt peace negotiations, and have left it to
Pallavicini to learn about it through a third party, shows that, as far
back as January, 1915, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had ceased to be an
independent nation.

Nothing came of this proposal, of course. Our Government declined to
take action, evidently not regarding the time as opportune. Both Germany
and Turkey, as I shall tell, recurred to this subject afterward. This
particular negotiation ended in the latter part of March, when Kühlmann
left Constantinople to become Minister at The Hague. He came and paid
his farewell call at the American Embassy, as charming, as entertaining,
and as debonair as ever. His last words, as he shook my hand and left
the building, were--subsequent events have naturally caused me to
remember them:

“We shall have peace within three months, Excellency!”

This little scene took place and this happy forecast was made in March,
1915!



CHAPTER XVI

THE TURKS PREPARE TO FLEE FROM CONSTANTINOPLE AND ESTABLISH A NEW
CAPITAL IN ASIA MINOR--THE ALLIED FLEET BOMBARDING THE DARDANELLES


Probably one thing that stimulated this German desire for peace was the
situation at the Dardanelles. In early January, when Wangenheim
persuaded me to write my letter to Washington, Constantinople was in a
state of the utmost excitement. It was reported that the Allies had
assembled a fleet of forty warships at the mouth of the Dardanelles and
that they intended to attempt the forcing of the strait. What made the
situation particularly tense was the belief, which then generally
prevailed in Constantinople, that such an attempt would succeed.
Wangenheim shared this belief, and so, in a modified form, did von der
Goltz, who probably knew as much about the Dardanelles defences as any
other man, as he had for years been Turkey’s military instructor. I find
in my diary von der Goltz’s precise opinion on this point as reported to
me by Wangenheim, and I quote it exactly as written at that time:
“Although he thought it was almost impossible to force the Dardanelles,
still, if England thought it an important move of the general war, they
could, by sacrificing ten ships, force the entrance, and do it very
fast, and be up in the Marmora within ten hours from the time they
forced it.”

The very day that Wangenheim gave me this expert opinion of von der
Goltz, he asked me to store several cases of his valuables in the
American Embassy. Evidently he was making preparations for his own
departure.

Reading the Cromer Report on the Dardanelles bombardment, I find that
Admiral Sir John Fisher, then First Sea Lord, placed the price of
success at twelve ships. Evidently von der Goltz and Fisher did not
differ materially in their estimates.

The situation of Turkey, when these first rumours of an Allied
bombardment reached us, was fairly desperate. On all hands there were
evidences of the fear and panic that had seized not only the populace,
but the official classes. Calamities from all sides were apparently
closing in on the country. Up to January 1, 1915, Turkey had done
nothing to justify her participation in the war; on the contrary, she
had met defeat practically everywhere. Djemal, as already recorded, had
left Constantinople as the prospective “Conqueror of Egypt,” but his
expedition had proved to be a bloody and humiliating failure. Enver’s
attempt to redeem the Caucasus from Russian rule had resulted in an even
more frightful military disaster. He had ignored the advice of the
Germans, which was to let the Russians advance to Sivas and make his
stand there, and, instead, he had boldly attempted to gain Russian
territory in the Caucasus. This army had been defeated at every point,
but the military reverses did not end its sufferings. The Turks had a
most inadequate medical or sanitary service; typhus and dysentery broke
out in all the camps, the deaths from these diseases reaching 100,000
men. Dreadful stories were constantly coming in telling of the
sufferings of these soldiers. That England was preparing an invasion of
Mesopotamia was well known, and no one at that time had any reason to
believe that it would not succeed. Every day the Turks expected the news
that the Bulgarians had declared war and were marching on
Constantinople, and they knew that such an attack would necessarily
bring in Rumania and Greece. It was no diplomatic secret that Italy was
waiting only for the arrival of warm weather to join the Allies. At this
moment the Russian fleet was bombarding Trebizond, on the Black Sea, and
was daily expected at the entrance to the Bosphorus. Meanwhile the
domestic situation was deplorable; all over Turkey thousands of the
populace were daily dying of starvation; practically all able-bodied men
had been taken into the army, so that only a few were left to till the
fields; the criminal requisitions had almost destroyed all business; the
Treasury was in a more exhausted state than normally, for the closing of
the Dardanelles and the blockading of the Mediterranean ports had
stopped all imports and customs dues; and the increasing wrath of the
people seemed likely any day to break out against Talaat and his
associates. And now, surrounded by increasing troubles on every hand,
the Turks learned that this mighty armada of England and her allies was
approaching, determined to destroy the defences and capture the city. At
that time there was no force which the Turks feared so greatly as they
feared the British fleet. Its tradition of several centuries of
uninterrupted victories had completely seized their imagination. It
seemed to them superhuman--the one overwhelming power which it was
hopeless to contest.

Wangenheim and also nearly all of the German military and naval forces
not only regarded the forcing of the Dardanelles as possible, but they
believed it to be inevitable. The possibility of British success was one
of the most familiar topics of discussion, and the weight of opinion,
both lay and professional, inclined in favour of the Allied fleets.
Talaat told me that an attempt to force the strait would succeed--it
only depended on England’s willingness to sacrifice a few ships. The
real reason why Turkey had sent a force against Egypt, Talaat added, was
to divert England from making an attack on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The
state of mind that existed is shown by the fact that on January 1st the
Turkish Government had made preparations for two trains, one of which
was to take the Sultan and his suite to Asia Minor, while the other was
intended for Wangenheim, Pallavicini, and the rest of the diplomatic
corps. On January 2nd I had an illuminating talk with Pallavicini. He
showed me a certificate given him by Bedri, the Prefect of Police,
passing him and his secretaries and servants on one of these emergency
trains. He also had seat tickets for himself and all of his suite. He
said that each train would have only three cars, so that it could make
great speed; he had been told to have everything ready to start at an
hour’s notice. Wangenheim made little attempt to conceal his
apprehensions. He told me that he had made all preparations to send his
wife to Berlin, and he invited Mrs. Morgenthau to accompany her, so that
she, too, could be removed from the danger zone. Wangenheim showed the
fear, which was then the prevailing one, that a successful bombardment
would lead to fires and massacres in Constantinople, as well as in the
rest of Turkey. In anticipation of such disturbances he made a
characteristic suggestion. Should the fleet pass the Dardanelles, he
said, the life of no Englishman in Turkey would be safe--they would all
be massacred. As it was so difficult to tell an Englishman from an
American, he proposed that I should give the Americans a distinctive
button to wear, which would protect them from Turkish violence. As I was
convinced that Wangenheim’s real purpose was to arrange some sure means
of identifying the English, and of so subjecting them to Turkish
ill-treatment, I refused to act on this amiable suggestion.

Another incident illustrates the nervous tension which prevailed in
those January days. As I noticed that some shutters at the British
Embassy were open, Mrs. Morgenthau and I went up to investigate. In the
early days we had sealed this building, which had been left in my
charge, and this was the first time we had broken the seals to enter.
About two hours after we returned from this tour of inspection,
Wangenheim came into my office in one of his now familiar agitated
moods. It had been reported, he said, that Mrs. Morgenthau and I had
been up to the Embassy getting it ready for the British Admiral, who
expected soon to take possession!

All this seems a little absurd now, for, in fact, the Allied fleets made
no attack at that time. At the very moment when the whole of
Constantinople was feverishly awaiting the British dreadnoughts, the
British Cabinet in London was merely considering the advisability of
such an enterprise. The record shows that Petrograd, on January 2nd,
telegraphed the British Government, asking that some kind of a
demonstration be made against the Turks, who were pressing the Russians
in the Caucasus. Though an encouraging reply was immediately sent to
this request, it was not until January 28th that the British Cabinet
definitely issued orders for an attack on the Dardanelles. It is no
longer a secret that there was no unanimous confidence in the success of
such an undertaking. Admiral Carden recorded his belief that the strait
“could not be rushed, but that extended operations with a large number
of ships might succeed.” The penalty of failure, he added, would be the
great loss that England would suffer in prestige and influence in the
East; how true this prophecy proved I shall have occasion to show. Up to
this time one of the fundamental and generally accepted axioms of naval
operations had been that warships should not attempt to attack fixed
land fortifications. But the Germans had demonstrated the power of
mobile guns against fortresses in their destruction of the emplacements
at Liège and Namur, and there was a belief in some quarters in England
that these events had modified this naval principle. Mr. Churchill, at
that time at the head of the Admiralty, placed great confidence in the
destructive power of a new superdreadnought which had just been
finished--the _Queen Elizabeth_--and which was then on its way to join
the Mediterranean fleet.

We in Constantinople knew nothing about these deliberations then, but
the result became apparent in the latter part of February. On the
afternoon of the 19th, Pallavicini, the Austrian Ambassador, came to me
with important news. The Marquis was a man of great personal dignity,
yet it was apparent that he was this day exceedingly nervous, and,
indeed, he made no attempt to conceal his apprehension. The Allied
fleets, he said, had reopened their attack on the Dardanelles, and this
time their bombardment had been extremely ferocious. At that time things
were going badly for the Austrians; the Russian armies were advancing
victoriously; Serbia had hurled the Austrians over the frontier, and the
European Press was filled with prognostications of the break-up of the
Austrian Empire. Pallavicini’s attitude this afternoon was a perfect
reflection of the dangers that were then encompassing his country. He
was a sensitive and proud man--proud of his Emperor and proud of what he
regarded as the great Austro-Hungarian Empire--and he now appeared to be
overburdened by the fear that this extensive Hapsburg fabric, which had
withstood the assaults of so many centuries, was rapidly being
overwhelmed with ruin. Like most human beings, Pallavicini yearned for
sympathy; he could obtain none from Wangenheim, who seldom took him into
his confidence and consistently treated him as the representative of a
nation that was compelled to submit to the overlordship of Germany.
Perhaps that was the reason why the Austrian Ambassador used to pour out
his heart to me. And now this Allied bombardment of the Dardanelles came
as the culmination of all his troubles. At this time the Central Powers
believed that they had Russia bottled up; that, because they had sealed
the Dardanelles, she could neither get her wheat to market nor import
the munitions needed for carrying on the war. Germany and Austria thus
had a strangle-hold on their gigantic foe, and, if this condition could
be maintained indefinitely, the collapse of Russia would be inevitable.
At present, it is true, the Czar’s forces were making a victorious
campaign, and this in itself was sufficiently alarming to Austria; but
their present supplies of war materials would ultimately be exhausted,
and then their great superiority in men would help them little, and they
would inevitably go to pieces; But should Russia get Constantinople,
with the control of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, she could obtain
all the munitions needed for warfare on the largest scale, and the
defeat of the Central Powers might immediately follow, and such a
defeat, Pallavicini well understood, would be far more serious for
Austria than for Germany. Wangenheim had told me that it was Germany’s
plan, in case the Austro-Hungarian Empire disintegrated, to incorporate
her 12,000,000 Germans in the Hohenzollern domain, and Pallavicini, of
course, was familiar with this danger. The Allied attack on the
Dardanelles thus meant to Pallavicini the extinction of his country, for
if we are properly to understand his state of mind we must remember that
he firmly believed, as did almost all the other important men in
Constantinople, that such an attack would succeed.

Wangenheim’s existence was made miserable by this same haunting
conviction. As I have already shown, the bottling-up of Russia was
almost exclusively the German Ambassador’s performance. He had brought
the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ into Constantinople, and by this
manœuvre had precipitated Turkey into the war. The forcing of the
strait would mean more than the transformation of Russia into a
permanent and powerful participant in the war; it meant--and this was by
no means an unimportant consideration with Wangenheim--the undoing of
his great personal achievement. Yet Wangenheim showed his apprehensions
quite differently from Pallavicini. In true German fashion, he resorted
to threats and bravado. He gave no external signs of depression, but his
whole body tingled with rage. He was not deploring his fate; he was
looking for ways of striking back. He would sit in my office, smoking
with his usual energy, and tell me all the terrible things which he
proposed to do to his enemy. The thing that particularly preyed upon
Wangenheim’s mind was the exposed position of the German Embassy. It
stood on a high hill, one of the most conspicuous buildings in the town,
a perfect target for an enterprising English admiral. Almost the first
object the British fleet would sight, as it entered the Bosphorus, would
be this yellow monument of the Hohenzollerns, and the temptation to
shell it might prove irresistible.

“Let them dare destroy that Embassy!” Wangenheim said. “I’ll get even
with them! If they fire a single shot at it we’ll blow up the French and
the English Embassies! Go tell the Admiral that, won’t you? Tell him
also that we have the dynamite ready to do it!”

Wangenheim also showed great anxiety over the proposed removal of the
Government to Eski-Shehr. In early January, when everyone was expecting
the arrival of the Allied fleet, preparations had been made for moving
the Government to Asia Minor; and now again, at the first rumbling of
the British and French guns, the special trains were prepared once more.
Wangenheim and Pallavicini both told me of their unwillingness to
accompany the Sultan and the Government to Asia Minor. Should the Allies
capture Constantinople, the Ambassadors of the Central Powers would find
themselves cut off from their home countries and completely in the hands
of the Turks. “The Turks could then hold us as hostages,” said
Wangenheim. They urged Talaat to establish the emergency Government at
Adrianople, from which town they could motor in and out of
Constantinople, and then, in case the city were captured, they could
make their escape home. The Turks, on the other hand, refused to adopt
this suggestion because they feared an attack from Bulgaria. Wangenheim
and Pallavicini now found themselves between two fires. If they stayed
in Constantinople they would naturally become prisoners of the English
and French; on the other hand, if they went to Eski-Shehr, it was not
unlikely that they would become prisoners of the Turks. Many evidences
of the flimsy basis on which rested the German and Turkish alliance had
come to my attention, but this was about the most illuminating.
Wangenheim knew, as did everybody else, that, in case the French and
English captured Constantinople, the Turks would vent their rage not
mainly against the Entente, but against the Germans who had enticed them
into the war.

It all seems so strange now, this conviction that was uppermost in the
minds of everybody then--that the success of the Allied fleets against
the Dardanelles was inevitable and that the capture of Constantinople
was a matter of only a few days. I recall an animated discussion that
took place at the American Embassy on the afternoon of February 24th.
The occasion was Mrs. Morgenthau’s weekly reception--meetings which
furnished almost the only opportunity in those days for the
foregathering of the diplomats. Practically all were on hand this
afternoon. The first great bombardment of the Dardanelles had taken
place five days before; this had practically destroyed the
fortifications at the mouth of the strait. There was naturally only one
subject of discussion: Would the Allied fleets get through? What would
happen if they did? Everybody expressed an opinion, Wangenheim,
Pallavicini, Garroni, the Italian Ambassador, D’Anckarsvard, the Swedish
Minister, Koloucheff, the Bulgarian Minister, Kühlmann, and
Scharfenberg, First Secretary of the German Embassy, and it was the
unanimous opinion that the Allied attack would succeed. I particularly
remember Kühlmann’s attitude. He discussed the capture of Constantinople
almost as though it was something which had taken place already. The
Persian Ambassador showed great anxiety; his Embassy stood not far from
the Sublime Porte. He told me that he feared that the latter building
would be bombarded and that a few stray shots might easily set afire his
own residence, and he asked if he might move his archives to the
American Embassy. The wildest rumours were afloat; we were told that the
Standard Oil agent at the Dardanelles had counted seventeen transports
loaded with troops, that the warships had already fired 800 shots and
had levelled all the hills at the entrance, and that Talaat’s bodyguard
had been shot--the implication being that the bullet had missed its
intended victim. It was said that the whole Turkish populace was aflame
with the fear that the English and the French, when they reached the
city, would celebrate the event by a wholesale attack on Turkish women.
The latter reports were, of course, absurd; they were merely
characteristic rumours set afloat by the Germans and their Turkish
associates. The fact is that the great mass of the people in
Constantinople were probably praying that the Allied attack would
succeed, and so release them from the control of the political gang that
then ruled the country.

And in all this excitement there was one lonely and despondent
figure--this was Talaat. Whenever I saw him in those critical days, he
was the picture of desolation and defeat. The Turks, like most primitive
peoples, wear their emotions on the surface, and with them the
transition from exultation to despair is a short one. The thunder of the
British guns at the strait apparently spelled doom to Talaat. The
letter-carrier of Adrianople seemed to have reached the end of his
career. He again confided to me his expectation that the English would
capture the Turkish capital, and once more he said that he was sorry
that Turkey had entered the war. Talaat well knew what would happen as
soon as the Allied fleet entered the Sea of Marmora. According to the
report of the Cromer Commission, Lord Kitchener, in giving his assent to
a purely naval expedition, had relied upon a revolution in Turkey to
make the enterprise successful. Lord Kitchener has been much criticised
for his part in the Dardanelles attack; I owe it to his memory, however,
to say that on this point he was absolutely right. Had the Allied fleets
once passed the defences at the strait, the administration of the Young
Turks would have come to a bloody end. As soon as the guns began to
fire, placards appeared on the hoardings denouncing Talaat and his
associates as responsible for all the woes that had come to Turkey.
Bedri, the Prefect of Police, was busy collecting all the unemployed
young men and sending them out of the city; his purpose was to free
Constantinople of all who might start a revolution against the Young
Turks. It was a common report that Bedri feared this revolution much
more than he feared the British fleet. And this was the same Nemesis
that was every moment now pursuing Talaat.

A single episode illustrates the nervous excitement that prevailed. Dr.
Lederer, the correspondent of the _Berliner Tageblatt_, made a short
visit to the Dardanelles, and, on his return, reported to certain ladies
of the diplomatic circle that the German officers had told him that they
were wearing their shrouds, as they expected any minute to be buried
there. This statement went around the city like wildfire, and Dr.
Lederer was threatened with arrest for making it. He appealed to me for
help; I took him to Wangenheim, who refused to have anything to do with
him. Lederer, he said, was an Austrian subject, although he represented
a German newspaper. His anger at Lederer for this indiscretion was
extreme. But I finally succeeded in getting the unpopular journalist
into the Austrian Embassy, where he was harboured for the night. In a
few days, Lederer had to leave town.

In the midst of all this excitement there was one person who was
apparently not at all disturbed. Though ambassadors, generals, and
politicians might anticipate the worst calamities, Enver’s voice was
reassuring and quiet. The man’s coolness and really courageous spirit
never shone to better advantage. In late December and January, when the
city had its first fright over the bombardment, Enver was fighting the
Russians in the Caucasus. His experiences in this campaign, as already
described, had been far from glorious. Enver had left Constantinople in
November to join his army an expectant conqueror; he returned in the
latter part of January, the commander of a thoroughly beaten and
demoralised force. Such a disastrous experience would have utterly
ruined almost any other military leader, and that Enver felt his
reverses keenly was evident from the way in which he kept himself from
public view. I had my first glimpse of him, after his return, at a
concert given for the benefit of the Red Crescent. At this affair Enver
sat far back in a box, as though he intended to keep as much as possible
out of sight; it was quite apparent that he was uncertain as to the
cordiality of his reception by the public. All the important people in
Constantinople, the Crown Prince, the members of the Cabinet, and the
Ambassadors attended this function, and, in accordance with the usual
custom, the Crown Prince sent for these dignitaries, one after another,
for a few words of greeting and congratulation. After that the visiting
from box to box became general. The heir to the throne sent for Enver as
well as the rest, and this recognition evidently gave him a new courage,
for he began to mingle with the diplomats, who also treated him with the
utmost cordiality and courtesy. Enver apparently regarded this
favourable notice as having re-established his standing, and now once
more he assumed a leading part in the crisis. A few days afterward he
discussed the situation with me. He was much astonished, he said, at the
fear that so generally prevailed, and he was disgusted at the
preparations that had been made to send away the Sultan and the
Government and practically leave the city a prey to the English. He did
not believe that the Allied fleets could force the Dardanelles; he had
recently inspected all the fortifications and he had every confidence in
their ability to resist successfully. Even though the ships did get
through, he insisted that Constantinople should be defended to the last
man.

Yet Enver’s assurance did not satisfy his associates. They had made all
their arrangements for the British fleet. If, in spite of the most
heroic resistance the Turkish armies could make, it still seemed likely
that the Allies were about to capture the city, the ruling Powers had
their final plans all prepared. They proposed to do to this great
capital precisely what the Russians did to Moscow, when Napoleon
appeared before it.

“They will never capture an existing city,” they told me, “only a heap
of ashes.” As a matter of fact, this was no idle threat. I was told that
cans of petroleum had been already stored in all the police stations and
other places, ready to fire the town at a moment’s notice. As
Constantinople is largely built of wood, this would have been no very
difficult task. But they were determined to destroy more than these
temporary structures; the plans aimed at the beautiful architectural
monuments built by the Christians long before the Turkish occupation.
The Turks had particularly marked for dynamiting the Mosque of Santa
Sophia. This building, which had been a Christian church centuries
before it became a Mohammedan mosque, is one of the most magnificent
structures of the vanished Byzantine Empire. Naturally the suggestion of
such an act of vandalism aroused us all, and I made a plea to Talaat
that Santa Sophia should be spared. He treated the proposed destruction
lightly.

“There are not six men in the Committee of Union and Progress,” he told
me, “who care for anything that is old. We all like new things!”

That was all the satisfaction I obtained in this matter at that time.

Enver’s insistence that the Dardanelles could resist caused his
associates to lose confidence in his judgment. About a year afterward,
Bedri Bey, the Prefect of Police, gave me additional details. While
Enver was still in the Caucasus, Bedri said, Talaat had called a
conference, a kind of council of war, on the Dardanelles. This had been
attended by Liman von Sanders, the German General who had reorganised
the Turkish Army; Usedom, the German Admiral who was the
Inspector-General of the Ottoman coast defences, and Bronsart, the
German Chief of Staff of the Turkish Army, and several others. Every man
present gave it as his opinion that the British and French fleets could
force the strait; the only subject of dispute, said Bedri, was whether
it would take the ships eight or twenty hours to reach Constantinople
after they had destroyed the defences. Enver’s position was well
understood, but this council decided to ignore him and to make the
preparations without his knowledge--to eliminate the Minister of War, at
least temporarily, from their deliberations.

In early March, Bedri and Djambolat, who was Director of Public Safety,
came to see me. At that time the exodus from the capital had begun;
Turkish women and children were being moved into the interior; all the
banks had been compelled to send their gold into Asia Minor; the
archives of the Sublime Porte had already been carried to Eski-Shehr,
and practically all the Ambassadors and their suites, as well as most of
the Government officials, had made their preparations to leave. Many of
Constantinople’s finest works of art had been buried in cellars or
covered for protection, the Director of the Museum being one of the six
Turks to whom Talaat had referred as liking “old things.”

Bedri came to arrange the details of my departure. As Ambassador I was
personally accredited to the Sultan, and it would obviously be my duty,
said Bedri, to go wherever the Sultan went; the train was all ready, he
added. He wished to know how many people I intended to take, so that
sufficient space could be reserved. To this proposal I entered a flat
refusal. I informed Bedri that I thought that my responsibilities made
it necessary for me to remain in Constantinople. Only a neutral
Ambassador, I said, could forestall massacres and the destruction of the
city, and certainly I owed it to the civilised world to prevent, if I
could, such calamities as these. If my position as Ambassador made it
inevitable that I should follow the Sultan, I would resign and become
honorary Consul-General.

Both Bedri and Djambolat were much younger and less experienced men than
I, and I therefore told them that they needed a man of maturer years to
advise them in an international crisis of this kind. I was not only
interested in protecting foreigners and American institutions, but I was
also interested, on general humanitarian grounds, in safeguarding the
Turkish population from the excesses that were generally expected. The
several nationalities, many of them containing elements which were given
to pillage and massacre, were causing great anxiety. I therefore
proposed to Bedri and Djambolat that the three of us form a kind of
committee to take control in the approaching crisis. They consented, and
we sat down and decided on a course of action. We took a map of
Constantinople and marked the districts which, under the existing rules
of warfare, we agreed that the Allied fleet would have the right to
bombard. Thus, we decided that the War Office, Marine Office, telegraph
offices, railroad stations, and all public buildings could quite
legitimately be made the targets for their guns. Then we marked out
certain zones which we should insist on regarding as immune. The main
residential section, and the part where all the Embassies are located,
is Pera, the district on the north shore of the Golden Horn. This we
marked as not subject to attack. We also delimited certain residential
areas of Stamboul and Galata, the Turkish sections. I telegraphed to
Washington, asking the State Department to obtain a ratification of
these plans and an agreement to respect these zones of safety from the
British and French Governments. I received a reply endorsing my action.

All preparations had thus been made. At the station stood trains which
were to take the Sultan and the Government and the Ambassadors to Asia
Minor. They had steam up, ready to move at a minute’s notice. We were
all awaiting the triumphant arrival of the Allied fleet.



CHAPTER XVII

ENVER AS THE MAN WHO DEMONSTRATED “THE VULNERABILITY OF THE BRITISH
FLEET”--OLD-FASHIONED DEFENCES OF THE DARDANELLES


When the situation had reached this exciting stage Enver asked me to
visit the Dardanelles. He still insisted that the fortifications were
impregnable, and he could not understand, he said, the panic which was
then raging in Constantinople. He had visited the Dardanelles himself,
had inspected every gun and every emplacement, and was entirely
confident that his soldiers could hold off the Allied fleet
indefinitely. He had taken Talaat down, and by doing so he had
considerably eased that statesman’s fears. It was Enver’s conviction
that, if I could visit the fortifications, I would be persuaded that the
fleets could never get through, and that I would thus be able to give
such assurances to the people that the prevailing excitement would
subside. I disregarded certain natural doubts as to whether an
Ambassador should expose himself to the dangers of such a situation--the
ships were bombarding nearly every day--and promptly accepted Enver’s
invitation.

On the morning of the 15th we left Constantinople on the _Yuruk_. Enver
himself accompanied us as far as Panderma, an Asiatic town on the Sea of
Marmora. The party included several other notables: Ibrahim Bey, the
Minister of Justice, Husni Pasha, the General who had commanded the army
which had deposed Abdul Hamid in the Young Turk revolution, and Senator
Cheriff Djafer Pasha, an Arab and a direct descendant of the Prophet. A
particularly congenial companion was Fuad Pasha, an old Field-Marshal,
who had led an adventurous career. Despite his age, he had an immense
capacity for enjoyment, was a huge feeder and a capacious drinker, and
had as many stories to tell of exile, battle, and hair-breadth escapes
as Othello. All of these men were much older than Enver, and all of them
were descended of far more distinguished lineage, yet they treated this
stripling with the utmost deference.

Enver seemed particularly glad of this opportunity to discuss the
situation. Immediately after breakfast he took me aside, and together we
went up to the deck. The day was a beautiful sunny one, and the sky in
the Marmora was that deep blue which we find only in this part of the
world. What most impressed me was the intense quiet, the almost desolate
inactivity of these silent waters. Our ship was almost the only one in
sight, and this inland sea, which in ordinary times was one of the
world’s greatest commercial highways, was now practically a primeval
waste. The whole scene was merely a reflection of the great triumph
which German diplomacy had accomplished in the Near East.

For nearly six months not a Russian merchant ship had passed through the
straits. All the commerce of Rumania and Bulgaria, which had normally
found its way to Europe across this inland sea, had long since
disappeared. The ultimate significance of all this desolation was that
Russia was blockaded and completely isolated from her allies. How much
that one fact has meant in the history of the world for the last three
years! And now England and France were seeking to overcome this
disadvantage; to link up their own military resources with those of
their great eastern ally, and to restore to the Dardanelles and the
Marmora the thousands of ships that meant Russia’s existence as a
military and economic, and even, as subsequent events have shown, as a
political, Power. We were approaching the scene of one of the great
crises of the war.

Would England and her allies succeed in this enterprise? Would their
ships at the Dardanelles smash the fortifications, break through, and
again make Russia a permanent force in the war? That was the main
subject which Enver and I discussed, as for nearly three hours we walked
up and down the deck. Enver again referred to the “silly panic” that had
seized nearly all classes in the capital.

“Even though Bulgaria and Greece both turn against us,” he said, “we
shall defend Constantinople to the end. We have plenty of guns, plenty
of ammunition, and we have these on terra-firma, whereas the English and
French batteries are floating ones. And the natural advantages of the
straits are so great that the warships can make little progress against
them. I do not care what other people may think. I have studied this
problem more thoroughly than any of them, and I feel that I am right. As
long as I am at the head of the War Department we shall not give up.
Indeed, I do not know just what these English and French battleships are
driving at. Suppose that they rush the Dardanelles, get here into the
Marmora, and reach Constantinople, what good will that do them? They can
bombard and destroy the city, I admit, but they cannot capture it, as
they have no troops to land. Unless they do bring a large army, they
will really be caught in a trap. They can perhaps stay here for two or
three weeks, until their food and supplies are all exhausted, and then
they will have to go back--rush the straits again, and again run the
risk of annihilation. In the meantime we would have repaired the forts,
brought in troops, and made ourselves ready for them. It seems to me to
be a very foolish enterprise.”

I have already told how Enver had taken Napoleon as his model, and in
this Dardanelles expedition he now apparently saw a Napoleonic
opportunity. As we were pacing the deck he stopped a moment, looked at
me earnestly, and said:

“I shall go down in history as the man who demonstrated the
vulnerability of England and her fleet. I shall show that her Navy is
not invincible. I was in England a few years before the war, and
discussed England’s position with many of her leading men, such as
Asquith, Churchill, Haldane. I told them that their course was wrong.
Winston Churchill declared that England could defend herself with her
Navy alone, and that she needed no large Army. I told Churchill that no
great empire could last that did not have both an army and a navy. I
found that Churchill’s opinion was the one that prevailed everywhere in
England. There was only one man I met who agreed with me--that was Lord
Roberts. Well, Churchill has now sent his fleet down here--perhaps to
show me that his Navy can do all that he said it could do. Now we’ll
see.”

Enver seemed to regard his naval expedition as a personal challenge from
Mr. Churchill to himself--almost like a continuation of their argument
in London.

“You, too, should have a large army,” said Enver, referring to the
United States.

“I do not believe,” he went on, “that England is trying to force the
Dardanelles because Russia has asked her to. When I was in England I
discussed with Churchill the possibility of a general war. He asked me
what Turkey would do in such a case, and said that, if we took Germany’s
side, the British fleet would force the Dardanelles and capture
Constantinople. Churchill is not trying to help Russia--he is carrying
out the threat made to me at that time.”

Enver spoke with the utmost determination and conviction; he said that
nearly all the damage inflicted on the outside forts had been repaired,
and that the Turks had methods of defence the existence of which the
enemy little suspected. He showed great bitterness against the English;
he accused them of attempting to bribe Turkish officials, and even said
that they had instigated attempts upon his own life. On the other hand,
he displayed no particular friendliness toward the Germans. Wangenheim’s
overbearing manners had caused him much irritation, and the Turks, he
said, got on none too well with the German officers.

“The Turks and Germans,” he added, “care nothing for each other. We are
with them because it is our interest to be with them; they are with us
because that is their interest. Germany will back Turkey just so long as
that helps Germany; Turkey will back Germany just so long as that helps
Turkey.”

Enver seemed much impressed at the close of our interview with the
intimate personal relations which we had established with each other. He
apparently believed that he, the great Enver, the Napoleon of the
Turkish Revolution, had unbended in discussing his nation’s affairs with
a mere Ambassador; colossal vanity, as I have before remarked, was one
of his strong points.

“You know,” he said, “that there is no one in Germany with whom the
Emperor talks as intimately as I have talked with you to-day.”

We reached Panderma about two o’clock. Here Enver and his auto were put
ashore, and our party started again, our boat arriving at Gallipoli late
in the afternoon. We anchored in the harbour and spent the night on
board. All the evening we could hear the guns bombarding the
fortifications, but these reminders of war and death did not affect the
spirits of my Turkish hosts. The occasion was for them a great lark;
they had spent several months in hard, exacting work, and now they
behaved like boys suddenly let out for a vacation. They made jokes, told
stories, sang the queerest kinds of songs, and played childish pranks
upon each other. The venerable Fuad, despite his nearly ninety years,
developed great qualities as an entertainer, and the fact that his
associates made him the butt of most of their horse-play apparently only
added to his enjoyment of the occasion. The amusement reached its height
when one of his friends surreptitiously poured him a glass of
eau-de-cologne. The old gentleman looked at the new drink a moment and
then diluted it with water. I was told that the proper way of testing
_raki_, the popular Turkish tipple, is by mixing it with water; if it
turns white under this treatment it is the real thing, and may be safely
drunk. Apparently water has the same effect upon eau-de-cologne, for the
contents of Fuad’s glass, after this test, turned white. The old
gentleman, therefore, poured the whole thing down his throat without a
grimace--much to the hilarious entertainment of his tormentors.

In the morning we started again. We had now fairly arrived in the
Dardanelles, and from Gallipoli we had a sail of nearly twenty-five
miles to Tchanak Kalé. For the most part this section of the strait is
uninteresting, and, from a military point of view, it is unimportant.
The stream is about two miles wide, both sides are low-lying and marshy,
and only a few scrambling villages show any signs of life. I was told
that there were a few ancient fortifications, their rusty guns pointing
toward the Marmora, the emplacements having been erected there in the
early part of the nineteenth century for the purpose of preventing
hostile ships entering from the north. These fortifications, however,
were so inconspicuous that I could not see them. My hosts informed me
that they had no fighting power, and that, indeed, there was nothing in
the northern part of the straits, from Point Nagara to the Marmora, that
could offer resistance to any modern fleet.

The chief interest which I found in this part of the Dardanelles was
purely historic and legendary. The ancient town of Lampsacus appeared in
the modern Lapsaki, just across from Gallipoli, and Nagara Point is the
site of the ancient Abydos, from which village Leander used to swim
nightly across the Hellespont to Hero--a feat which was repeated about
one hundred years ago by Lord Byron. Here, also, Xerxes crossed from
Asia to Greece on a bridge of boats, embarking on that famous expedition
which was to make him master of the world. The tribe of Xerxes, I
thought, as I passed the scene of his exploit, is not yet entirely
extinct! The Germans and Turks had found a less romantic use for this,
the narrowest part of the Dardanelles, for here they had stretched a
cable and anti-submarine barrage of mines and nets--a device which, as I
shall describe, did not keep the English and French underwater boats out
of the Marmora and the Bosphorus. It was not until we rounded this
historic point of Nagara that the dull monotony of flat shores gave
place to a more diversified landscape. On the European side the cliffs
now began to descend precipitously to the water, reminding me of our own
Palisades along the Hudson, and I obtained glimpses of the hills and
mountain ridges that afterward proved such tragical stumbling-blocks to
the valiant Allied armies. The configuration of the land south of
Nagara, with its many hills and ridges, made it plain why the military
engineers had selected this stretch of the Dardanelles as the section
best adapted to defence.

Our boat was now approaching what was perhaps the most commanding point
in the whole strait, the city of Tchanak, or, to give it its modern
European name, of Dardanelles. In normal times this was a thriving port
of 16,000 people, its houses built of wood, the headquarters of a
considerable trade in wool and other products, and for centuries it has
been an important military station. Now, excepting for the soldiers, it
was deserted, the large civilian population having been moved into
Anatolia. The British fleet, we were told, had bombarded this city; yet
this statement seemed hardly probable, for I saw only a single house
that had been hit, evidently by a stray shell which had been aimed at
the near-by fortifications.

Djevad Pasha, the Turkish Commander-in-Chief at the Dardanelles, met us
and escorted our party to headquarters. Djevad was a man of culture and
of pleasing and cordial manners; as he spoke excellent German, I had no
need of an interpreter. I was much impressed by the deference with which
the German officers treated him. That he was the Commander-in-Chief in
this theatre of war, and that the Generals of the Kaiser were his
subordinates, was made plainly apparent. As we passed into his office,
Djevad stopped in front of a piece of a torpedo, mounted in the middle
of the hall, evidently as a souvenir.

“There is the great criminal!” he said, calling my attention to the
relic.

About this time the newspapers were hailing the exploit of an English
submarine, which had sailed from England to the Dardanelles, passed
under the minefield, and torpedoed the Turkish warship _Mesudie_.

“That’s the torpedo that did it,” said Djevad. “You’ll see the wreck of
the ship when you go down.”

The first fortification I visited was that of Anadolu Hamidié (that is,
Asiatic Hamidié), located on the water’s edge just outside of Tchanak.
My first impression was that I was in Germany. The officers were
practically all Germans, and everywhere Germans were building up
buttresses with sacks of sand and in other ways strengthening the
emplacements. Here German, not Turkish, was the language heard on every
side. Oberst Wehrle, who conducted me over these batteries, took the
greatest delight in showing them. He had the simple pride of the artist
in his work, and told me of the happiness that had come into his days
when Germany had at last found herself at war. All his life, he said, he
had spent in military practices, and, like most Germans, he had become
tired of manœuvres, sham battles, and other forms of mimic
hostilities. Yet he was approaching fifty, he had become a colonel, and
he was fearful that his career would close without actual military
experience--and then the splendid thing had happened, and here he was,
fighting a real English enemy, firing real guns and shells! There was
nothing brutal about Wehrle’s manners; he was a “_gemütlich_” gentleman
from Baden, and thoroughly likeable; yet he was all aglow with the
spirit of “Der Tag.” His attitude was simply that of a man who had spent
his lifetime learning a trade and who now rejoiced at the chance of
exercising it. But he furnished an illuminating light on the German
military character and the forces that had really caused the war.

Feeling myself so completely in German country, I asked Colonel Wehrle
why there were so few Turks on this side of the straits. “You won’t ask
me that question this afternoon,” he said, smiling, “when you go over to
the other side.”

The location of Anadolu Hamidié seemed ideal. It stands right at the
water’s edge, and consists--or it did then--of ten guns, every one
completely sweeping the Dardanelles. Walking upon the parapet, I had a
clear view of the strait, Kum Kalé, at the entrance, about fifteen miles
away, standing out conspicuously. No warship could enter these waters
without immediately coming within complete sight of her gunners. Yet the
fortress itself, to an unprofessional eye like my own, was not
particularly impressive. The parapet and traverses were merely mounds of
earth, and stand to-day practically as they were finished by their
French constructors in 1837. There is a general belief that the Germans
had completely modernised the Dardanelles defences, but this was not
true at that time. The guns defending Fort Anadolu Hamidié were more
than thirty years old, all being the Krupp model of 1885, and the rusted
exteriors of some of them gave evidence of their age. Their extreme
range was only about nine miles, while the range of the battleships
opposing them was about ten miles, and that of the _Queen Elizabeth_ was
not far from eleven. The figures which I have given for Anadolu Hamidié
apply also to practically all the guns at the other effective
fortifications. So far as the advantage of range was concerned,
therefore, the Allied fleet had a decided superiority, the _Queen
Elizabeth_ alone having them all practically at her mercy.

Nor did the fortifications contain very considerable stores of
ammunition. At that time the European and American papers were printing
stories that trainloads of shells and guns were coming by way of Rumania
from Germany to the Dardanelles. From facts which I learned on this trip
and subsequently, I am convinced that these reports were pure fiction. A
number of “red heads”--that is, non-armour-piercing projectiles, useful
only for fighting landing parties--had been brought from Adrianople and
were reposing in Hamidié, at the time of my visit, but these were small
in quantity, and of no value in fighting ships. I lay this stress upon
Hamidié because this was the most important fortification in the
Dardanelles. Throughout the whole bombardment it attracted more of the
Allied fire than any other position, and it inflicted at least 60 per
cent. of all the damage that was done to the attacking ships. It was
Anadolu Hamidié which, in the great bombardment of March 18th, sank the
_Bouvet_, the French battleship, and which in the course of the whole
attack had disabled several other units. All its officers were Germans
and 85 per cent. of the men on duty came from the crews of the _Goeben_
and the _Breslau_.

Getting into the automobile, we sped along the military road to
Dardanos, passing on the way the wreck of the _Mesudie_. The Dardanos
battery was as completely Turkish as the Hamidié was German. The guns at
Dardanos were somewhat more modern than those at Hamidié--they were the
Krupp model of 1905. Here also was stationed the only new battery which
the Germans had established up to the time of my visit; it consisted of
several guns which they had taken from the German and Turkish warships
then lying in the Bosphorus. A few days before our inspection the Allied
fleet had entered the Bay of Erenkeui and had submitted Dardanos to a
terrific bombardment, the evidences of which I saw on every hand. The
land for nearly half a mile about seemed to have been completely churned
up; it looked like photographs I had seen of the battlefields in France.
The strange thing was, that, despite all this punishment, the batteries
themselves remained intact; not a single gun, my guides told me, had
been destroyed.

“After the war is over,” said General Mertens, “we are going to
establish a big tourist resort here, build a hotel, and sell relics to
you Americans. We shall not have to do much excavating to find them--the
British fleet is doing that for us now.”

This sounded like a passing joke, yet the statement was literally true.
Dardanos, where this emplacement is located, was one of the famous
cities of the ancient world; in Homeric times it was part of the
principality of Priam. Fragments of capitals and columns are still
visible. And the shells from the Allied fleet were now ploughing up many
relics which had been buried for thousands of years. One of my friends
picked up a water-jug which had perhaps been used in the days of Troy.
The effectiveness of modern gunfire in excavating these evidences of a
long-lost civilisation was striking, though, unfortunately, the relics
did not always come to the surface intact.

The Turkish Generals were extremely proud of the fight which this
Dardanos battery had made against the British ships. They would lead me
to the guns that had done particularly good service and pat them
affectionately. For my benefit Djevad called out Lieutenant Hassan, the
Turkish officer who had defended this position. He was a little fellow,
with jet-black hair, black eyes, extremely modest and almost shrinking
in the presence of these great Generals. Djevad patted Hassan on both
cheeks, while another high Turkish officer stroked his hair; one would
have thought that he was a faithful dog who had just performed some
meritorious service.

“It is men like you of whom great heroes are made,” said General Djevad.
He asked Hassan to describe the attack and the way it had been met. The
embarrassed lieutenant quietly told his story, though he was moved
almost to tears by the appreciation of his exalted chiefs.

“There is a great future for you in the Army,” said General Djevad, as
we parted from this hero.

Poor Hassan’s “future” came two days afterward, when the Allied fleet
made its greatest attack. One of the shells struck his dugout, which
caved in, killing the boy. Yet his behaviour on the day I visited his
battery showed that he regarded the praise of his General as sufficient
compensation for all that he had suffered or all that he might suffer.

I was much puzzled by the fact that the Allied fleet, despite its large
expenditures of ammunition, had not been able to hit this Dardanos
emplacement. I naturally thought at first that such a failure indicated
poor marksmanship, but my German guides said that that was not the case.
All this misfire merely illustrated once more the familiar fact that a
rapidly-manœuvring battleship is under great disadvantage in shooting
at a fixed fortification. But there was another point involved in the
Dardanos battery. My hosts called my attention to its location; it was
perched on the top of the hill, in full view of the ships, itself
forming a part of the skyline. Dardanos was merely five steel turrets,
each with a gun, approached by a winding trench.

“That,” they said, “is the most difficult thing in the world to hit. It
is so distinct that it looks easy, but the whole thing is an illusion.”

I do not understand completely the optics of the situation, but it seems
that the skyline creates a kind of mirage, so that it is practically
impossible to hit anything at that point, except by accident. The gunner
might get what was apparently a perfect sight, yet his shell would go
wide. The record of Dardanos had been little short of marvellous. Up to
March 18th, the ships had fired at it about 4,000 shells. One turret had
been hit by a splinter, which had also scratched the paint, another had
been hit and slightly bent in, and another had been hit hear the base
and a piece about the size of a man’s hand had been knocked out. But not
a single gun had been even slightly damaged. Eight men had been killed,
including Lieutenant Hassan, and about forty had been wounded. That was
the extent of the destruction.

“It was the optical illusion that saved Dardanos,” one of the Germans
remarked.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE ALLIED ARMADA SAILS AWAY, THOUGH ON THE BRINK OF VICTORY


Again getting into the automobile, we rode along the shore, my host
calling my attention to the minefields, which stretched from Tchanak
southward about seven miles. In this area the Germans and Turks had
scattered nearly 400 mines. They told me with a good deal of gusto that
the Russians had furnished a considerable number of these destructive
engines. Day after day Russian destroyers sowed mines at the Black Sea
entrance to the Bosphorus, hoping that they would float down-stream and
fulfil their appointed task. Every morning Turkish and German
mine-sweepers would go up, fish out these mines, and place them in the
Dardanelles.

The battery at Erenkeui had also been subjected to a heavy bombardment,
but it had suffered little. Unlike Dardanos, it was situated back of a
hill, completely shut out from view. In order to fortify this spot, I
was told, the Turks had been compelled practically to dismantle the
fortifications of the Inner Straits--that section of the stream which
extends from Tchanak to Point Nagara. This was the reason why this
latter part of the Dardanelles was now practically unfortified. The guns
that had been moved for this purpose were old-style Krupp pieces of the
model of 1885.

South of Erenkeui, on the hills bordering the road, the Germans had
introduced an innovation. They had found several Krupp howitzers left
over from the Bulgarian war and had installed them on concrete
foundations. Each battery had four or five of these emplacements, so
that, as I approached them, I found several substantial bases that
apparently had no guns. I was mystified further at the sight of
a herd of buffaloes--I think I counted sixteen engaged in the
operation--hauling one of these howitzers from one emplacement to
another. This, it seems, was part of the plan of defence. As soon as the
dropping shells indicated that the fleet had obtained the range, the
howitzer would be moved, with the aid of buffalo teams, to another
concrete emplacement.

“We have even a better trick than that,” remarked one of the officers.
They called out a sergeant, and recounted his achievement. This soldier
was the custodian of a contraption which, at a distance, looked like a
real gun, but which, when I examined it near at hand, was apparently an
elongated section of sewer pipe. Back of a hill, entirely hidden from
the fleet, was placed the gun with which this sergeant had co-operated.
The two were connected by telephone. When the command came to fire, the
gunner in charge of the howitzer would discharge his shell, while the
man in charge of the sewer pipe would burn several pounds of black
powder and send forth a conspicuous cloud of inky smoke. Not
unnaturally, the Englishmen and Frenchmen on the ships would assume that
the shells speeding in their direction came from the visible
smoke-cloud, and would proceed to centre all their attention upon that
spot. The space around this burlesque gun was pock-marked with
shell-holes; the sergeant in charge, I was told, had attracted more than
500 shots, while the real artillery piece still remained intact and
undetected.

From Erenkeui we motored back to General Djevad’s headquarters, where we
had lunch. Djevad took me up to an observation post, and there before my
eyes I had the beautiful blue expanse of the Ægean. I could see the
entrances to the Dardanelles, Sedd-ul-Bahr, and Kum Kalé standing like
the guardians of a gateway, with the rippling sunny waters stretching
between. Far out I saw the majestic ships of England and France sailing
across the entrance, and, still farther away, I caught a glimpse of the
island of Tenedos, behind which we knew that a still larger fleet lay
concealed. Naturally this prospect brought to mind a thousand historic
and legendary associations, for there is probably no single spot in the
world more crowded with poetry and romance. Evidently my Turkish escort,
General Djevad, felt the spell, for he took a telescope and pointed at a
bleak expanse, perhaps ten miles away.

“Look at that spot,” he said, handing me the glass. “Do you know what
that is?”

I looked, but could not identify this sandy beach.

“Those are the plains of Troy,” he said. “And the river that you see
winding in and out,” he added, “we Turks call it the Mendere, but Homer
knew it as the Scamander. Back of us, only a few miles away, is Mount
Ida.”

Then he turned his glass out to sea, swept the field where the British
ships lay, and again asked me to look at an indicated spot; I
immediately brought within view a magnificent English warship, all
stripped for battle, quietly steaming along like a man walking on patrol
duty.

[Illustration: Sedd-ul-Bahr Fortification.

[_To face p. 144._
]

[Illustration: Fort Dardanos.]

“That,” said General Djevad, “is the _Agamemnon_! Shall I fire a shot at
her?” he asked me.

“Yes, if you’ll promise me not to hit her,” I answered.

We lunched at headquarters, where we were joined by Admiral Usedom,
General Mertens, and General Pomiankowsky, the Austrian Military Attaché
at Constantinople. The chief note in the conversation was one of
absolute confidence in the future. Whatever the diplomats and
politicians in Constantinople may have thought, these men, Turks and
Germans, had no expectation--at least, their conversation betrayed
none--that the Allied fleets would pass their defences. What they seemed
to hope for above everything was that their enemies would make another
attack.

“If we could only get a chance at the _Queen Elizabeth_!” said one eager
German, referring to the greatest ship in the British Navy, then lying
off the entrance.

As the Rhein wine began to disappear, their eagerness for the combat
increased.

“If the damn fools would only make a landing!” exclaimed one--I quote
his precise words.

The Turkish and German officers, indeed, seemed to vie with each other
in expressing their readiness for the fray. Probably a good deal of this
was bravado, intended for my consumption--indeed, I had private
information that their real estimate of the situation was much less
reassuring. Now, however, they declared that the war had presented no
real opportunity for the German and English Navies to measure swords,
and for this reason the Germans at the Dardanelles welcomed this chance
to try the issue.

Having visited all the important places on the Anatolian side, we took a
launch and sailed over to the Gallipoli Peninsula. We almost had a
disastrous experience on this trip. As we approached the Gallipoli
shore, our helmsman was asked if he knew the location of the minefield
and if he could steer through the channel. He said “yes,” and then
steered directly for the mines! Fortunately the other men noticed the
mistake in time, and so we arrived safely at Kilid-ul-Bahr. The
batteries here were of about the same character as those on the other
side; they formed one of the main defences of the straits. Here
everything, so far as a layman could judge, was in excellent condition,
barring the fact that the artillery pieces were of old design and the
ammunition not at all plentiful.

The batteries showed signs of a heavy bombardment. None had been
destroyed, but shell-holes surrounded the fortification. My Turkish and
German friends looked at these evidences of destruction rather
seriously, and they were outspoken in their admiration for the accuracy
of the Allied fire.

“How do they ever get the range?” This was the question they were asking
each other. What made the shooting so remarkable was the fact that it
came, not from Allied ships in the straits, but from ships stationed in
the Ægean Sea, on the other side of the Gallipoli Peninsula. The gunners
had never seen their target, but had had to fire at a distance of nearly
ten miles, over high hills, and yet many of their shells had barely
missed the batteries at Kilid-ul-Bahr.

When I was there, however, the place was quiet, for no fighting was
going on that day. For my particular benefit the officers put one of
their gun-crews through a drill, so that I could obtain a perfect
picture of the behaviour of the Turks in action. In their minds’ eyes
these artillerists now saw the English ships advancing within range, all
their guns pointed to destroy the followers of the Prophet. The bugleman
blew his horn, and the whole company rushed to their appointed places.
Some were bringing shells, others were opening the breeches, others were
taking the ranges, others were straining at pulleys, and others were
putting the charges into place. Everything was quickness and alertness;
evidently the Germans had been excellent instructors, but there was more
to it than German military precision, for the men’s faces lighted up
with all that fanaticism which supplies the morale of Turkish soldiers.
These gunners momentarily imagined that they were shooting once more at
the infidel English, and the exercise was a congenial one. Above the
shouts of all I could hear the sing-song chant of the leader, intoning
the prayer with which the Moslem has rushed to battle for thirteen
centuries.

“Allah is great, there is but one God, and Mohammed is his Prophet!”

When I looked upon these frenzied men, and saw so plainly written in
their faces their uncontrollable hatred of the unbelievers, I called to
mind what the Germans had said in the morning about the wisdom of not
putting Turkish and German soldiers together. I am quite sure that, had
this been done, here, at least, the “Holy War” would have proved a
success, and that the Turks would have vented their hatred of Christians
on those who happened to be nearest at hand, for the moment overlooking
the fact that they were allies.

I returned to Constantinople that evening, and two days afterward, on
March 18th, the Allied fleet made its greatest attack. As all the world
knows, that attack proved disastrous to the Allies. The outcome was the
sinking of the _Bouvet_, the _Ocean_, and the _Irresistible_, and the
serious crippling of four other vessels. Of the sixteen ships engaged in
this battle of the 18th, seven were thus put temporarily or permanently
out of action.

Naturally the Germans and Turks rejoiced over this victory. The police
went around and ordered householders each to display a prescribed number
of flags in honour of the event. The Turkish people have so little
spontaneous patriotism or enthusiasm of any kind that they would never
decorate their establishments without such definite orders! As a matter
of fact, neither Germans nor Turks regarded this celebration too
seriously, for they were not yet persuaded that they had really won a
victory. Most still believed that the Allied fleets would succeed in
forcing their way through. The only question, they said, was whether the
Entente was ready to sacrifice the necessary number of ships.

Neither Wangenheim nor Pallavicini believed that the disastrous
experience of the 18th would end the naval attack, and for days they
anxiously waited for the fleet to return. This was the general
expectation, for no one believed that the Allies, after making this
great demonstration, would accept defeat after the loss of only three
ships. The high tension lasted for days and weeks after the repulse of
the 18th. We were still momentarily expecting the renewal of the attack.
But the great armada never returned.

Should it have come back? Could the Allied ships really have captured
Constantinople? I am constantly asked this question. As a layman my own
opinion can have little value, but I have quoted the opinions of the
German Generals and Admirals, and of the Turks--practically all of whom,
excepting Enver, believed that the enterprise would succeed, and I am
half inclined to believe that Enver’s attitude was merely a case of
graveyard whistling. In what I now have to say on this point, therefore,
I wish it understood that I am giving, not my own views, but merely
those of the officials then in Turkey who were best qualified to judge.

Enver had told me, in our talk on the deck of the Yuruk, that he had
“plenty of guns, plenty of ammunition.” But this statement was not true.
A glance at the map will show why Turkey was not receiving munitions
from Germany or Austria at that time. The fact was that Turkey was just
as completely isolated from her allies then as was Russia. There were
two railroad lines leading from Constantinople to Germany. One went by
way of Bulgaria and Serbia. Bulgaria was then not an ally. Even though
she had winked at the passage of guns and shells, this line could not
have been used, since Serbia, which controlled the vital link extending
from Nish to Belgrade, was still intact.

The other railroad line went through Rumania, by way of Bucharest. This
route was independent of Serbia, and, had the Rumanian Government
consented, it would have formed a clear route from the Krupps to the
Dardanelles. The fact that munitions could be sent off with the
connivance of the Rumanian Government perhaps accounts for the suspicion
that guns and shells were going by that route. Day after day the French
and British Ministers protested at Bucharest against this alleged
violation of neutrality, only to be met with angry denials that the
Germans were using this line. There is no doubt now that the Rumanian
Government was perfectly honourable in making these denials. It is not
unlikely that the Germans themselves started all these stories, merely
to fool the Allied fleet into the belief that their supplies were
inexhaustible.

Let us suppose that the Allies had returned, say, on the morning of the
19th, what would have happened? The one overwhelming fact is that the
fortifications were very short of ammunition. They had almost reached
the limit of their resisting powers when the British fleet passed out on
the afternoon of the 18th. I had secured permission for Mr. George A.
Schreiner, the well-known American correspondent of the Associated
Press, to visit the Dardanelles on this occasion. On the night of the
18th this correspondent discussed the situation with General Mertens,
who was the chief technical officer at the Straits. General Mertens
admitted that the outlook was very discouraging for the defence.

“We expect that the British will come back early to-morrow morning,” he
said, “and if they do we may be able to hold out for a few hours.”

General Mertens did not declare in so many words that the ammunition was
practically exhausted, but Mr. Schreiner discovered that such was the
case. The fact was that Fort Hamidié, the most powerful defence on the
Asiatic side, had just seventeen armour-piercing shells left, while at
Kilid-ul-Bahr, which was the main defence on the European side, there
were precisely ten.

“I should advise you to get up at six o’clock to-morrow morning,” said
General Mertens, “and take to the Anatolian Hills. That’s what we are
going to do.”

The troops at all the fortifications had their orders to man the guns
until the last shell had been fired and then to abandon the forts.

Once these defences became helpless, the problem of the Allied fleet
would have been a simple one. The only bar to their progress would have
been the minefield, which stretched from a point about two miles north
of Erenkeui to Kilid-ul-Bahr. But the Allied fleet had plenty of
mine-sweepers, which could have made a channel in a few hours. North of
Tchanak, as I have already explained, there were a few guns, but they
were of the 1878 model, and could not discharge projectiles that could
pierce modern armour-plate. North of Point Nagara there were only two
batteries, and both dated from 1835! Thus, once having silenced the
outer straits, there was nothing to bar the passage to Constantinople
except the German and Turkish warships. The _Goeben_ was the only
first-class fighting ship in either fleet, and would not have lasted
long against the _Queen Elizabeth_. The disproportion in the strength of
the opposing fleets, indeed, was so enormous that it is doubtful whether
there would ever have been an engagement.

Thus the Allied fleet would have appeared before Constantinople on the
morning of the 20th. What would have happened then? We have heard much
discussion as to whether this purely naval attack was justified. Enver,
in his conversation with me, had laid much stress on the absurdity of
sending a fleet to Constantinople, supported by no adequate landing
force; and much of the criticism passed upon the Dardanelles expedition
since has centred on that point. Yet it is my opinion that this purely
naval attack was justified. I base this judgment upon the political
situation which then existed in Turkey. Under ordinary circumstances
such an enterprise would probably have been a foolish one, but the
political conditions in Constantinople then were not ordinary. There was
no solidly-established Government in Turkey at that time. A political
committee, not exceeding forty members, headed by Talaat, Enver, and
Djemal, controlled the Central Government, but their authority
throughout the Empire was exceedingly tenuous. As a matter of fact, the
whole Ottoman State, on that 18th day of March, 1915, when the Allied
fleet abandoned the attack, was on the brink of dissolution. All over
Turkey ambitious chieftains had arisen, who were momentarily expecting
the fall, and who were looking for the opportunity to seize their parts
of the inheritance.

As previously described, Djemal had already organised practically an
independent Government in Syria. In Smyrna, Rahmi Bey, the
Governor-General, had often disregarded the authorities in the capital.
In Adrianople, Hadji Adil, one of the most courageous Turks of the time,
was making his plans to set up an independent Government. Arabia was
already practically an independent nation. Among the subject races the
spirit of revolt was rapidly spreading. The Greeks and the Armenians
would also have welcomed an opportunity to strengthen the hands of the
Allies. The existing financial and industrial conditions seemed to make
revolution inevitable. Many farmers went on strike; they had no seeds,
and would not accept them as a free gift from the Government because,
they said, as soon as their crops should be garnered the Armies would
immediately requisition them.

As for Constantinople, the populace there and the best elements among
the Turks, far from opposing the arrival of the Allied fleet, would have
welcomed it with joy. The Turks themselves were praying that the British
and French would take their city, for this would relieve them of the
controlling gang, emancipate them from the hated Germans, bring about
peace, and end their miseries.

No one understood this better than Talaat. He was taking no chances on
making an expeditious retreat, in case the Allied fleet appeared before
the city. For several months the Turkish leaders had been casting
envious glances at a Minerva automobile that had been reposing in the
Belgian Legation ever since Turkey’s declaration of war. Talaat finally
obtained possession of the coveted prize. He had obtained somewhere
another automobile, which he had loaded with extra tyres, gasolene, and
all the other essentials of a protracted journey. This was evidently
intended to accompany the more pretentious machine as a kind of “mother
ship.” Talaat stationed these automobiles on the Asiatic side of the
city with chauffeurs constantly at hand. Everything was prepared to
leave for the interior of Asia at a moment’s notice.

But the great Allied armada never returned to the attack.

About a week after this momentous defeat, I happened to drop in at the
German Embassy. Wangenheim had a distinguished visitor whom he had asked
me to meet. I went into his private office, and there was von der Goltz
Pasha, recently returned from Belgium, where he had served as Governor.
I must admit that, meeting Goltz thus informally, I had difficulty in
reconciling his personality with all the stories that were then coming
out of Belgium. That morning this mild-mannered, spectacled gentleman
seemed sufficiently quiet and harmless. Nor did he look his age--he was
then about seventy-four; his hair was only streaked with grey, and his
face was almost unwrinkled. I should not have taken him for more than
sixty-five.

The austerity, brusqueness, and ponderous dignity which are assumed by
most highly-placed Germans were not apparent. His voice was deep,
musical, and pleasing, and his manners were altogether friendly and
ingratiating. The only evidence of pomp in his bearing was his uniform;
he was dressed as a Field-Marshal, his body blazing with decorations and
gold braid. Von der Goltz explained and half-apologised for his regalia
by saying that he had just returned from an audience with the Sultan. He
had come to Constantinople to present to His Majesty a medal from the
Kaiser, and was taking back to Berlin a similar mark of consideration
from the Sultan to the Kaiser, besides an Imperial present of 10,000
cigarettes.

The three of us sat there for some time, drinking coffee, eating German
cakes, and smoking German cigars. I did not do much of the talking, but
the conversation of von der Goltz and Wangenheim seemed to me to shed
much light upon the German mind, and especially on the trustworthiness
of German military reports. The aspect of the Dardanelles fight that
interested them most at that time was England’s complete frankness in
publishing her losses. That the British Government should issue an
official statement, saying that three ships had been sunk and that four
others had been badly damaged, struck them as most remarkable. In this
announcement I merely saw a manifestation of the usual British desire to
make public the worst--the policy which we Americans also believe to be
the best in war-time. But no such obvious explanation could satisfy
these wise and solemn Teutons. No, England had some deep purpose in
telling the truth so unblushingly; what could it be?

“_Es ist ausserordentlich!_” (“It is extraordinary!”) said von der
Goltz, referring to England’s public acknowledgment of defeat.

“_Es ist unerhört!_” (“It is unheard of!”) declared the equally
astonished Wangenheim.

These master diplomatists canvassed one explanation after another, and
finally reached a conclusion that satisfied the higher strategy.
England, they agreed, really had had no enthusiasm for this attack,
because, in the event of success, she would have had to hand
Constantinople over to Russia--something which England really did not
intend to do. By publishing the losses, England showed Russia the
enormous difficulties of the task; she had demonstrated, indeed, that
the enterprise was impossible. After such losses, England intended
Russia to understand that she had made a sincere attempt to gain this
great prize of war and expected her not to insist on further sacrifices.

The sequel to this great episode in the war came in the winter of
1915-16. By this time Bulgaria had taken sides with the Entente, Serbia
had been overwhelmed, and the Germans had obtained a complete
unobstructed railroad line from Constantinople to Austria and Germany.
Huge Krupp guns now began to come over this line, all destined for the
Dardanelles. Sixteen great batteries, of the latest model, were emplaced
near the entrance, completely controlling Sedd-ul-Bahr. The Germans lent
the Turks 500,000,000 marks, much of which was spent defending this
indispensable highway. The thinly-fortified straits through which I
passed in March, 1915, are now as impregnably fortified as Heligoland.
It is doubtful if all the fleets in the world could force the
Dardanelles to-day.



CHAPTER XIX

A FIGHT FOR THREE THOUSAND CIVILIANS


On May 2nd, 1915, Enver sent his aide to the American Embassy, bringing
a message which he requested me to transmit to the French and British
Governments. About a week before, the Allies had made their landing on
the Gallipoli Peninsula. They had evidently concluded that a naval
attack by itself could not destroy the defences and open the road to
Constantinople, and they had now adopted the alternative plan of
despatching large bodies of troops, to be supported by the guns of their
warships. Already many thousands of Australians and New Zealanders had
entrenched themselves at the tip of the Peninsula, and the excitement
that prevailed in Constantinople was almost as great as that which had
been caused by the appearance of the fleet two months before.

Enver now informed me that the Allied ships were bombarding in reckless
fashion, and ignoring the well-established international rule that such
bombardments should be directed only against fortified places. British
and French shells, he said, were falling everywhere, destroying
unprotected Moslem villages and killing hundreds of innocent
non-combatants. Enver asked me to inform the Allied Governments that
such activities must immediately cease. He had decided to collect all
the British and French citizens who were then living in Constantinople,
take them down to the Gallipoli Peninsula, and scatter them in Moslem
villages and towns. The Allied fleets would then be throwing their
projectiles not only against peaceful and unprotected Moslems, but
against their own countrymen. It was Enver’s idea that this threat,
communicated by the American Ambassador to the British and French
Governments, would soon put an end to “atrocities” of this kind. I was
given a few days’ respite to get the information to London and Paris.

At that time about 3,000 British and French citizens were living in
Constantinople. The great majority belonged to the class known as
Levantines; nearly all had been born in Turkey, and in many cases their
families had been domiciled in that country for two or more generations.
The retention of their European citizenship is almost their only
contact with the nation from which they have sprung. Not uncommonly we
meet in the larger cities of Turkey men and women who are English by
race and nationality, but who speak no English, French being the usual
language of the Levantine. The great majority have never set foot in
England, or any other European country; they have only one home, and
that is Turkey. The fact that the Levantine usually retains citizenship
in the nation of his origin was now apparently making him a fitting
object for Turkish vengeance.

Besides these Levantines, a large number of English and French were then
living in Constantinople as teachers in the schools, as missionaries,
and as important business men and merchants. The Ottoman Government now
proposed to assemble all these residents, both those who were
immediately and those who were remotely connected with Great Britain and
France, and to place them in exposed positions on the Gallipoli
Peninsula as targets for the Allied fleet.

Naturally my first question when I received the startling information
was whether the warships were really bombarding defenceless towns. If
they were murdering non-combatant men, women, and children in this
reckless fashion, such an act of reprisal as Enver now proposed would
probably have had some justification. It seemed to me incredible,
however, that the English and French could commit such barbarities. I
had already received many complaints of this kind from Turkish officials
which, on investigation, had turned out to be untrue. Only a little
while before, Dr. Meyer, the first assistant to Suleyman Nouman, the
Chief of the Medical Staff, had notified me that the British fleet had
bombarded a Turkish hospital and killed 1,000 invalids. When I looked
into the matter, I found that the building had been but slightly
damaged, and only one man killed.

I now naturally suspected that this latest tale of Allied barbarity
rested on a similarly flimsy foundation. I soon discovered, indeed, that
this was the case. The Allied fleet was not bombarding Moslem villages
at all. A number of British warships had been stationed in the Gulf of
Saros, an indentation of the Ægean Sea, on the western side of the
Peninsula, and from this vantage point they were throwing shells into
the city of Gallipoli. All the “bombarding” of towns in which they were
now engaging was limited to this one city. In doing this the British
Navy was not violating the rules of civilised warfare, for Gallipoli had
long since been evacuated of its civilian population, and the Turks had
established military headquarters in several of the houses, which had
properly become the object of the Allied attack. I certainly knew of no
rule of warfare which prohibited an attack upon a military headquarters!
As to the stories of murdered civilians--men, women, and children--these
proved to be gross exaggerations; as almost the entire civilian
population had long since left, any casualties resulting from the
bombardment must have been confined to the armed forces of the Empire.

I now discussed the situation for some time with Mr. Ernest Weyl, who
was generally recognised as the leading French citizen in
Constantinople, and with Mr. Hoffman Philip, the Conseiller of the
Embassy, and then decided that I would go immediately to the Sublime
Porte and protest to Enver.

The Council of Ministers was sitting at the time, but Enver came out.
His mood was more demonstrative than usual. As he described the attack,
of the British fleet he became extremely angry; it was not the
imperturbable Enver with whom I had become so familiar.

“These cowardly English!” he exclaimed. “They tried for a long time to
get through the Dardanelles, and we were too much for them! And see what
kind of a revenge they are taking. Their ships sneak up into the outer
bay, where our guns cannot reach them, and shoot over the hills at our
little villages, killing harmless old men, women, and children, and
bombarding our hospitals. Do you think we are going to let them do that?
And what can we do? Our guns don’t reach over the hills, so that we
cannot meet them in battle. If we could, we would drive them off, just
as we did at the straits a month ago. We have no fleet to send to
England to bombard their unfortified towns as they are bombarding ours,
so we have decided to move all the English and French we can find to
Gallipoli. Let them kill their own people as well as ours.”

I told him that, granted that the circumstances were as he had stated
them, he had grounds for indignation. But I called his attention to the
fact that he was wrong; that he was accusing the Allies of crimes which
they were not committing.

“This is about the most barbarous thing that you have ever
contemplated,” I said. “The British have a perfect right to attack a
military headquarters like Gallipoli.”

But my argument did not move Enver. I became convinced that he had not
decided on this step as a reprisal to protect his own countrymen, but
that he and his associates were really looking for revenge. The fact
that the Australians and New Zealanders had successfully effected a
landing had aroused their most barbarous instincts. Enver referred to
this landing in our talk. Though he professed to regard it lightly, and
said that he would soon push the French and English into the sea, I saw
that it was causing him much concern. The Turk, as I have said before,
is psychologically primitive; to answer the British landing at Gallipoli
by murdering hundreds of helpless British who were in his power would
strike him as perfectly logical. As a result of this talk I gained only
a few concessions. Enver agreed to postpone the deportation until
Thursday--it was then Sunday--to exclude women and children from the
order, and to take none of the British and French who were then
connected with American institutions.

“All the rest will have to go,” was his final word. “Moreover,” he
added, “we don’t purpose to have the English ships fire at the
transports we are sending to the Dardanelles. In the future we shall put
a few Englishmen and Frenchmen on every ship we send down there as a
protection to our own soldiers.”

When I returned to our Embassy I found that the news of the proposed
deportation had been published. The amazement and despair that
immediately resulted were unparalleled, even in that city of constant
sensations. Europeans, by living for many years in the Levant, seem to
acquire its emotions, particularly its susceptibility to fear and
horror, greatly accentuated by their deprivation of the protection of
their Embassies. A stream of frenzied people now began to pour into the
Embassy. From their tears and cries one would have thought that they
were immediately to be taken out and shot; that there was any
possibility of being saved seemed hardly to occur to them. Yet all the
time they insisted that I should get individual exemptions. One could
not go because he had a dependent family; another had a sick child;
another was ill himself. My ante-room was full of frantic mothers,
asking me to secure exemption for their sons, and of wives who sought
special treatment for their husbands. They made all kinds of impossible
suggestions. I should resign my ambassadorship as a protest; I should
even threaten Turkey with war by the United States! They constantly
besieged my wife, who spent hours listening to their stories and
comforting them. In all this exciting mass there were many who faced the
situation with more courage.

The day after my talk with Enver, Bedri, the Prefect of Police, began to
arrest some of the victims.

The next morning one of my callers made what would ordinarily have
seemed to be an obvious suggestion. This visitor was a German. He told
me that Germany would suffer greatly in reputation if the Turks carried
out this plan; the world would not possibly be convinced that Germans
had not devised the whole scheme. He said that I should call upon the
German and Austrian Ambassadors; he was sure that they would support me
in my pleas for decent treatment. As I had made appeals to Wangenheim
several times before on behalf of foreigners, without success, I had
hardly thought it worth while to ask his co-operation in this instance.
Moreover, the plan of using non-combatants as a protective screen in
warfare was such a familiar German device that I was not at all sure
that the German Staff had not instigated the Turks. I decided, however,
to adopt the advice of my German visitor and seek Wangenheim’s
assistance. I must admit that I did this as a forlorn hope, but at least
I thought it only fair to Wangenheim to give him a chance to help.

I called upon him in the evening at ten o’clock and stayed with him
until eleven. I spent the larger part of this hour in a fruitless
attempt to interest him in the plight of these non-combatants.
Wangenheim said point-blank that he would not assist me. “It is
perfectly proper,” he maintained, “for the Turks to establish a
concentration camp at Gallipoli. It is also proper for them to put
non-combatant English and French on their transports and thus insure
them against attack.” As I made repeated attempts to argue the matter,
Wangenheim would deftly shift the conversation to other topics.
According to my record of this talk, written out at the time, the German
Ambassador discussed almost every subject except the one upon which I
had called.

“This act of the Turks will greatly injure Germany----” I would begin.

“Do you know that the English soldiers at Gaba Tepe are without food and
drink?” he would reply. “They made an attack to capture a well and were
repulsed. The English have taken their ships away so as to prevent their
soldiers from retreating----”

“But about this Gallipoli business,” I interrupted. “Germans themselves
here in Constantinople have said that Germany should stop it----”

“The Allies landed 45,000 men on the Peninsula,” Wangenheim answered,
“and of these 10,000 were killed. In a few days we shall attack the rest
and destroy them.”

When I attempted to approach the subject from another angle, this master
diplomatist would begin discussing Rumania and the possibility of
obtaining ammunition by way of that country.

“Your secretary, Bryan,” he said, “has just issued a statement showing
that it would be unneutral for the United States to refuse to sell
ammunition to the Allies, so we have used this same argument with the
Rumanians; if it is unneutral not to sell ammunition, it is certainly
unneutral to refuse to transport it!”

The humorous aspects of this argument appealed to Wangenheim, but I
reminded him that I was there to discuss the lives of between 2,000 and
3,000 non-combatants. As I touched upon this subject again, Wangenheim
replied that the United States would not be acceptable to Germany as a
peacemaker now, because we were so friendly to the Entente. He insisted
on giving me all the details of recent German successes in the
Carpathians and the latest news on the Italian situation.

“We would rather fight Italy than have her for our ally,” he said.

At another time all this would have greatly entertained me, but not
then. It was quite apparent that Wangenheim would not discuss the
proposed deportation further than to say that the Turks were justified.
His statement that it was planned to establish a “concentration camp” at
Gallipoli unfolded his whole attitude. Up to this time the Turks had not
established concentration camps for enemy aliens anywhere. I had
earnestly advised them not to establish such camps, thus far with
success. On the other hand, the Germans were protesting that Turkey was
“too lenient,” and urging the establishment of such camps in the
interior. Wangenheim’s use of the words “concentration camps in
Gallipoli” showed that the German view was at last prevailing and that I
was losing my battle for the foreigners.

An internment camp is a distressing place under the most favourable
circumstances, but who, except a German or a Turk, ever conceived of
establishing one right in the field of battle? Let us suppose that the
English and the French should assemble all their enemy aliens, march
them to the front, and place them in a camp in No Man’s Land, directly
in the fire of both armies. That was precisely the kind of
“concentration camp” which the Turks and Germans now intended to
establish for the resident aliens of Constantinople--for my talk with
Wangenheim left no doubt in my mind that the Germans were parties to the
plot. They feared that the land attack on the Dardanelles would succeed,
just as they had feared that the naval attack would succeed, and they
were prepared to use any weapon, even the lives of several thousand
non-combatants, in their efforts to make it a failure.

My talk with Wangenheim produced no results, so far as enlisting his
support was concerned, but it stiffened my determination to defeat this
enterprise. I now called upon Pallavicini, the Austrian Ambassador. He
at once declared that the proposed deportation was “inhuman.”

“I will take up the matter with the Grand Vizier,” he said, “and see if
I can stop it.”

“But you know that is perfectly useless,” I answered. “The Grand Vizier
has no power--he is only a figurehead. Only one man can stop this; that
is Enver.”

Pallavicini had far finer sensibilities and a tenderer conscience than
Wangenheim, and I had no doubt that he was entirely sincere in his
desire to prevent this crime. But he was a diplomat of the old Austrian
school. Nothing in his eyes was so important as diplomatic etiquette. As
the representative of his Emperor, propriety demanded that he should
conduct all his negotiations with the Grand Vizier, who was also at that
time Minister of Foreign Affairs. He never discussed State matters with
Talaat and Enver--indeed, he had only limited official relations with
these men, the real rulers of Turkey. And now the saving of 3,000 lives
was not, in Pallavicini’s eyes, any reason why he should disregard the
traditional routine of diplomatic intercourse.

“I must go strictly according to rules in this matter,” he said. And, in
the goodness of his heart, he did speak to Saïd Halim. Following this
example, Wangenheim also spoke to the Grand Vizier. In Wangenheim’s
case, however, the protest was merely intended for the official record.

“You may fool some people,” I told the German Ambassador, “but you know
that speaking to the Grand Vizier in this matter is as inconsequential
as shouting in the air.”

However, there was one member of the diplomatic corps who worked
whole-heartedly on behalf of the threatened foreigners. This was M.
Koloucheff, the Bulgarian Minister. As soon as he heard of this latest
Turco-German outrage, he immediately came to me with offers of
assistance. He did not propose to waste his time by a protest to the
Grand Vizier, but announced his intention of going immediately to the
source of authority, Enver himself. Koloucheff was an extremely
important man at that particular time, for Bulgaria was then neutral and
both sides were angling for her support.

Meanwhile Bedri and his minions were busy arresting all the doomed
English and French. The deportation was arranged to take place on
Thursday morning. On Wednesday the excitement reached the hysterical
stage. It seemed as if the whole foreign population of Constantinople
had gathered at the American Embassy. Scores of weeping women and
haggard men assembled in front and at the side of the building; more
than three hundred gained personal access to my office, hanging
desperately upon the Ambassador and his staff. Many almost seemed to
think that I personally held their fates in my hand; in their agony of
spirit some even denounced me, insisting that I was not exerting all my
powers on their behalf. Whenever I left my office and passed into the
hall I was almost mobbed by scores of terror-stricken and dishevelled
mothers and wives. The nervous tension was frightful; I seized the
telephone, called up Enver, and demanded an interview.

He replied that he would be happy to receive me on Thursday. By this
time, however, the prisoners would already have been on their way to
Gallipoli.

“No,” I replied, “I must see you this afternoon.”

Enver made all kinds of excuses; he was busy, he had appointments
scheduled for the whole day.

“I presume you want to see me about the English and French,” he said.
“If that is so, I can tell you now that it will be useless. Our minds
are made up. Orders have been issued to the police to gather them all by
to-night and to ship them down to-morrow morning.”

I still insisted that I must see him that afternoon, and he still
attempted to dodge the interview.

“My time is all taken,” he said. “The Council of Ministers sits at four
o’clock, and the meeting is to be a very important one. I can’t absent
myself.”

Emboldened by the thought of the crowds of women that were flooding the
whole Embassy, I decided on an altogether unprecedented move.

“I shall not be denied an interview,” I replied. “I shall come up to the
Council Room at four o’clock. If you refuse to receive me then, I shall
insist on going into the Council Room and discussing the matter with the
whole Cabinet. I shall be interested to learn whether the Turkish
Cabinet will refuse to receive the American Ambassador.”

It seemed to me that I could almost hear Enver gasp over the telephone.
I presume few responsible Ministers of any country have ever had such an
astounding proposition made to them.

“If you will meet me at the Sublime Porte at 3.30,” he answered, after
a considerable pause, “I shall arrange to see you.”

When I reached the Sublime Porte I was told that the Bulgarian Minister
was having a protracted conference with Enver. Naturally, I was willing
to wait, for I knew what the two men were discussing. Presently M.
Koloucheff came out; his face was tense and anxious, clearly revealing
the ordeal through which he had just passed.

“It is perfectly hopeless,” he said to me. “Nothing will move Enver; he
is absolutely determined that this thing shall go through. I cannot wish
you good luck, for you will have none.”

The meeting which followed between Enver and myself was the most
momentous I had had up to that time. We discussed the fate of the
foreigners for nearly an hour. I found Enver in one of his most polite
but most unyielding moods. He told me before I began that it was useless
to talk--that the matter was a closed issue. But I insisted on telling
him what a splendid impression Turkey’s treatment of her enemies had
made on the outside world. “Your record in this matter is better than
that of any other belligerent country,” I said. “You have not put them
into concentration camps, you have let them stay here and continue their
ordinary business, just as before. You have done this in spite of strong
pressure to act otherwise. Why do you destroy all the good effect this
has produced by now making such a fatal mistake as you propose?”

But Enver insisted that the Allied fleets were bombarding unfortified
towns, killing women, children, and wounded men.

“We have warned them through you that they must not do this,” he said,
“but they don’t stop.”

This statement, of course, was not true, but I could not persuade Enver
that he was wrong. He expressed great appreciation for all that I had
done, and regretted for my sake that he could not accept my advice. I
told him that the foreigners had suggested that I threaten to give up
the care of British and French interests.

“Nothing would suit us better,” he quickly replied. “The only difficulty
we have with you is when you come around and bother us with English and
French affairs.”

I asked him if I had ever given him any advice that had led them into
trouble. He graciously replied that they had never yet made a mistake by
following my suggestions.

“Very well, take my advice in this case, too,” I replied. “You will find
later that you have made no mistake by doing so. I tell you that it is
my positive opinion that your Cabinet is committing a terrible error by
taking this step.”

“But I have given orders to this effect,” Enver answered. “I cannot
countermand them. If I did, my whole influence with the Army would go.
Once having given an order I never change it. My own wife asked me to
have her servants exempted from military service, and I refused. The
Grand Vizier asked exemption for his secretary, and I refused him,
because I had given orders. I never revoke orders, and I shall not do it
in this case. If you can show me some way in which this order can be
carried out, and your protégés still saved, I shall be glad to listen.”

I had already discovered one of the most conspicuous traits in the
Turkish character: its tendency to compromise and to bargain. Enver’s
request for a suggestion now gave me an opportunity to play on this
characteristic.

“All right,” I said. “I think I can. I should think you could still
carry out your orders without sending _all_ the French and English
residents down. If you would send only a few you would still win your
point. You could still maintain discipline in the Army, and these few
would be as strong a deterrent to the Allied fleet as sending all.”

It seemed to me that Enver almost eagerly seized upon this suggestion as
a way out of his dilemma.

“How many will you let me send?” he asked quickly. The moment he put
this question I knew that I had carried my point.

“I would suggest that you take twenty English and twenty French--forty
in all.”

“Let me have fifty,” he said.

“All right, we won’t haggle over ten,” I answered. “But you must make
another concession. Let me pick out the fifty who are to go.”

This agreement had relieved the tension, and now the gracious side of
Enver’s nature began to show itself again.

“No, Mr. Ambassador,” he replied. “You have prevented me from making a
mistake this afternoon; now let me prevent you from making one. If you
select the fifty men who are to go you will simply make fifty enemies. I
think too much of you to let you do that. I will prove to you that I am
your real friend. Can’t you make some other suggestion?”

“Why not take the youngest? They can stand the fatigue best.”

“That is fair,” answered Enver. He said that Bedri, who was in the
building at that moment, would select the “victims.” This caused me
some uneasiness. I knew that Enver’s modification of his order would
displease Bedri, whose hatred of the foreigners had shown itself on many
occasions, and that the head of the police would do his best to find
some way of evading it. So I asked Enver to send for Bedri and give him
his new orders in my presence. Bedri came in, and, as I had suspected,
he did not like the new arrangement at all. As soon as he heard that he
was to take only fifty, and the youngest, he threw up his hands and
began to walk up and down the room.

“No, no, this will never do!” he said. “I don’t want the youngest; I
must have the notables!”

But Enver stuck to the arrangement and gave Bedri orders to take only
the youngest men. It was quite apparent that Bedri needed humouring, so
I asked him to ride with me to the American Embassy, where we would have
tea and arrange all the details. This invitation had an instantaneous
effect which the American mind will have difficulty in comprehending. An
American would regard it as nothing wonderful to be seen publicly riding
with an Ambassador, or to take tea at an Embassy. But this is a
distinction which never comes to a minor functionary, such as a Prefect
of Police, in the Turkish capital. Possibly I lowered the dignity of my
office in extending this invitation to Bedri--Pallavicini would probably
have thought so--but it certainly paid, for it made Bedri more pliable
than he would otherwise have been.

When we reached the Embassy we found the crowds still there, awaiting
the results of my intercession. When I told the besiegers that only
fifty had to go, and these the youngest, they seemed momentarily
stupefied. They could not understand it at first; they believed that I
might obtain some modification of the order, but nothing like this.
Then, as the truth dawned upon them, I found myself in the centre of a
crowd that had apparently gone momentarily insane, this time not from
grief, but from joy. Women, the tears streaming down their faces,
insisted on throwing themselves on their knees, seizing both my hands,
and covering them with kisses. Mature men, despite my violent
protestations, persisted in hugging me and kissing me on both cheeks.
For several minutes I struggled with this crowd, embarrassed by its
demonstrations of gratitude, but finally I succeeded in breaking away
and secreting myself and Bedri in an inner room.

“Can’t I have a few notables?” he asked.

“I’ll give you just one,” I replied.

“Can’t I have three?” he asked again.

“You can have all who are under fifty,” I answered.

But that did not satisfy him, as there was not a solitary person of
distinction under that age limit. Bedri really had his eye on Messieurs
Weyl, Rey, and Dr. Frew. But I had one “notable” up my sleeve whom I was
willing to concede. Dr. Wigram, an Anglican clergyman, one of the most
prominent men in the foreign colony, had pleaded with me, asking that he
might be permitted to go with the hostages and furnish them such
consolation as religion could give them. I knew that nothing would
delight Dr. Wigram more than to be thrown as a sop to Bedri’s passion
for “notables.”

“Dr. Wigram is the only notable you can have,” I said to Bedri. So he
accepted him as the best that he could do in that line.

Mr. Hoffman Philip, the Conseiller of the American Embassy--now American
Minister to Colombia--had already expressed a desire to accompany the
hostages, so that he might minister to their comfort. This was nothing
new in the manifestation of a fine humanitarian spirit in Mr. Philip.
Although not in good health, Mr. Philip had returned to Constantinople
after Turkey had entered the war in order that he might assist me in the
work of caring for the refugees. Through all that arduous period he
constantly displayed that sympathy for the unfortunate, the sick, and
the poor which is innate in his character. Though it was somewhat
irregular for a representative of the Embassy to engage in such a
hazardous enterprise as this one, Mr. Philip pleaded so earnestly that
finally I reluctantly gave my consent. I also obtained permission for
Mr. Arthur Ruhl and Mr. Henry West Suydam, of the Brooklyn _Eagle_, to
accompany the party.

At the end Bedri had to have his little joke. Though the fifty were
informed that the boat for Gallipoli would leave the next morning at six
o’clock, Bedri, with his police, visited their houses at midnight, and
routed them all out of bed. The crowd that assembled at the dock the
next morning looked somewhat weatherbeaten and worse for wear. Bedri was
there, superintending the whole proceeding, and when he came up to me he
good-naturedly reproached me again for letting him have only one
“notable.” In the main he behaved very decently, though he could not
refrain from telling the hostages that the British aeroplanes were
dropping bombs on Gallipoli! Of the twenty-five “Englishmen” assembled,
there were only two who had been born in England, and, of the
twenty-five “Frenchmen,” only two who had been born in France! They
carried satchels containing food and other essentials, their assembled
relatives had additional bundles, and Mrs. Morgenthau sent several
large cases of food to the ship. The parting of these young men with
their families was affecting, but they all stood it bravely.

I returned to the Embassy, somewhat wearied by the excitement of the
last few days and in no particularly gracious humour for the honour
which now awaited me. For I had been there only a few minutes when His
Excellency the German Ambassador was announced. Wangenheim discussed
commonplaces for a few minutes and then approached the real object of
his call. He asked me to telegraph to Washington that he had been
“helpful” in getting the number of the Gallipoli hostages reduced to
fifty! In view of the actual happenings, this request was so
preposterous that I almost laughed in his face. I had known that, in
going through the form of speaking to the Grand Vizier, Wangenheim had
been manufacturing an alibi for future use, but I had not expected him
to fall back upon it so soon.

“Well,” said Wangenheim, “at least telegraph your Government that I
didn’t ‘hetz’ the Turks in this matter.”

The German verb “hetzen” means about the same as the English “sic,” in
the sense of inciting a dog. I was in no mood to give Wangenheim a clean
bill of health, and told him so. In fact, I specifically reported to
Washington that he had refused to help me. A day or two afterward
Wangenheim called me on the telephone and began to talk in an excited
and angry tone. His Government had wired him about my telegram to
Washington. I told him that if he desired credit for assistance in
matters of this kind he should really exert himself and do something.

The hostages had an uncomfortable time at Gallipoli; they were put into
two wooden houses, with no beds, and no food except that which they had
brought themselves. The days and nights were made wretched by the
abundant vermin that is a commonplace in Turkey. Had Mr. Philip not gone
with them, they would have suffered seriously. After the unfortunates
had been there for a few days I began work with Enver again to get them
back. Sir Edward Grey, then British Secretary for Foreign Affairs, had
requested our State Department to send me a message with the request
that I present it to Enver and his fellow Ministers. Its purport was
that the British Government would hold them personally responsible for
any injury to the hostages. I presented this message to Enver on May
9th. I had seen Enver in many moods, but the unbridled rage which Sir
Edward’s admonition now caused was something entirely new. As I read the
telegram his face became livid, and he absolutely lost control of
himself. The European polish which Enver had sedulously acquired
dropped like a mask; I now saw him for what he really was--a savage,
blood-thirsty Turk.

“They will not come back!” he shouted. “I shall let them stay there
until they rot!

“I would like to see those English touch me!” he continued. I saw that
the method which I had adopted with Enver, that of persuasion, was the
only possible way of handling him. I tried to soothe the Minister now,
and, after a while, he quieted down.

“But don’t ever threaten me again!” he said.

After spending a week at Gallipoli, the party returned. The Turks had
moved their military headquarters from Gallipoli, and the English fleet,
therefore, ceased to bombard it. All came back in good condition and
were welcomed home with great enthusiasm.



CHAPTER XX

MORE ADVENTURES OF THE FOREIGN RESIDENTS


The Gallipoli deportation gives some idea of my difficulties in
attempting to fulfil my duty as the representative of Allied interests
in the Ottoman Empire. Yet, despite these occasional outbursts of
hatred, in the main the Turkish officials themselves behaved very well.
They had promised me at the beginning that they would treat their alien
enemies decently, and would permit them either to remain in Turkey, and
follow their accustomed occupations, or to leave the Empire. They
apparently believed that the world would judge them, after the war was
over, not by the way they treated their own subject peoples, but by the
way they treated the subjects of the enemy Powers. The result was that a
Frenchman, an Englishman, or an Italian enjoyed far greater security in
Turkey than an Armenian, a Greek, or a Jew. Yet against this disposition
to be decent a persistent malevolent force was constantly manifesting
itself.

In a letter to the State Department I described the influence that was
working against foreigners in Turkey. “The German Ambassador,” I wrote
in substance, “keeps pressing on the Turks the advisability both of
repressive measures and of detaining as hostages the subjects of the
belligerent Powers. I have had to encounter the persistent opposition of
my German colleague in endeavouring to obtain permission for the
departure of the subjects of the nationalities under our protection.”

Now and then the Turkish officials would retaliate upon one of their
enemy aliens, usually in reprisal for some injury, or fancied injury,
inflicted on their own subjects in enemy countries. Such acts gave rise
to many exciting episodes, some tragical, some farcical, all
illuminating in the light they shed upon Turkish character and upon
Teutonic methods.

One afternoon I was sitting with Talaat, discussing routine matters,
when his telephone rang.

“_Pour vous_,” said the Minister, handing me the receiver.

It was one of my secretaries. He told me that Bedri had arrested Sir
Edwin Pears, had thrown him into prison, and had seized all his papers.
Sir Edwin was one of the best-known British residents of Constantinople.
For forty years he had practised law in the Ottoman capital; he had
also written much for the Press during that period, and had published
several books which had given him fame as an authority on Oriental
history and politics. He was about eighty years old and of venerable and
distinguished appearance. When the war started I had exacted a special
promise from Talaat and Bedri that in no event should Sir Edwin Pears
and Prof. Van Millingen, of Robert College, be disturbed. This telephone
message which I now received--curiously enough, in Talaat’s
presence--seemed to indicate that this promise had been broken.

I now turned to Talaat and spoke in a manner that made no attempt to
conceal my displeasure.

“Is this all your promises are worth?” I asked. “Can’t you find anything
better to do than to molest such a respectable old man as Sir Edwin
Pears? What has he ever done to you?”

“Come, come, don’t get excited,” rejoined Talaat. “He’s only been in
prison for a few hours, and I will see that he is released.”

He tried to get Bedri on the wire, but failed. By this time I knew Bedri
well enough to understand his method of operation. When Bedri really
wished to be reached on the telephone he was the most accessible man in
the world; when his presence at the other end of the wire might prove
embarrassing the most painstaking search could not reveal his
whereabouts. As Bedri had given me his solemn promise that Sir Edwin
should not be disturbed, this was an occasion when the Prefect of Police
preferred to keep himself inaccessible.

“I shall stay in this room until you get Bedri,” I now told Talaat. The
big Turk took the situation good-humouredly. We waited a considerable
period, but Bedri succeeded in avoiding an encounter. Finally I called
up one of my secretaries and told him to go out and hunt for the missing
Prefect.

“Tell Bedri,” I said, “that I have Talaat under arrest in his own
office, and that I shall not let him leave it until he has been able to
instruct Bedri to release Sir Edwin Pears.”

Talaat was greatly enjoying the comedy of the situation. He knew Bedri’s
ways even better than I did, and he was much interested in seeing
whether I should succeed in finding him. But in a few moments the
telephone rang. It was Bedri. I told Talaat to tell him that I was going
to the prison in my own automobile to get Sir Edwin Pears.

“Please don’t let him do that,” replied Bedri. “Such an occurrence would
make me personally ridiculous and destroy my influence.”

“Very well,” I replied, “I shall wait until 6.15. If Sir Edwin is not
restored to his family by that time I shall go to the Police
Headquarters and get him.”

As I returned to the Embassy I stopped at the Pears’ residence and
attempted to soothe Lady Pears and her daughter.

“If your father is not here at 6.15,” I told Miss Pears, “please let me
know immediately.”

Promptly at that time my telephone rang. It was Miss Pears, who informed
me that Sir Edwin had just reached home.

The next day Sir Edwin called at the Embassy to thank me for my efforts
on his behalf. He told me that the German Ambassador had also worked for
his release. This latter statement naturally surprised me; I knew no one
else had had a chance to do anything, as everything transpired while I
was in Talaat’s office. Half an hour afterward I met Wangenheim himself;
he dropped in at Mrs. Morgenthau’s reception. I referred to the Pears
case and asked him whether he had used any influence in securing his
release. My question astonished him greatly.

“What?” he said. “I helped you to secure his release! _Der alte gauner!_
(The old rascal.) Why, I was the man who had him arrested!”

“What have you got against him?” I asked.

“In 1876,” Wangenheim replied, “that man was pro-Russian and against
Turkey!”

Such are the long memories of the Germans! In 1876 Sir Edwin wrote
several articles for the London _Daily News_ describing the Bulgarian
massacres. At that time the reports of these fiendish atrocities were
generally disbelieved, and Sir Edwin’s letters placed all the
incontrovertible facts before the English-speaking peoples and had much
to do with the emancipation of Bulgaria from Turkish rule. This act of
humanity and journalistic statesmanship had brought Sir Edwin much fame,
and now, after forty years, Germany proposed to punish him by casting
him into a Turkish prison! Again the Turks proved more considerate than
their German allies, for they not only gave Sir Edwin his liberty and
his papers, but permitted him to return to London.

Bedri, however, was a little mortified at my successful intervention in
this instance, and decided to even up the score. Next to Sir Edwin
Pears, the most prominent English-speaking barrister in Constantinople
was Dr. Mizzi, a Maltese, seventy years old. The ruling powers had a
grudge against him, for he was the proprietor of the _Levant Herald_, a
paper which had published articles criticising the Union and Progress
Committee. On the very night of the Pears episode Bedri went to Dr.
Mizzi’s house at eleven o’clock, routed the old gentleman out of bed,
arrested him, and placed him on a train for Angora, in Asia Minor. As a
terrible epidemic of typhus was raging in Angora, this was not a
desirable place of residence for a man of Dr. Mizzi’s years. The next
morning, when I heard of it for the first time, Dr. Mizzi was well on
the way to his place of exile.

“This time I got ahead of you!” said Bedri, with a triumphant laugh. He
was as good-natured about it and as pleased as a boy. At last he had
“put one over” on the American Ambassador, who had been unguardedly
asleep in his bed when this old man had been railroaded to a fever camp
in Asia Minor.

But Bedri’s success was not so complete, after all. At my request Talaat
had Dr. Mizzi sent to Konia, instead of to Angora. There one of the
American missionaries, Dr. Dodd, had a splendid hospital. I arranged
that Dr. Mizzi could have a nice room in this building, and here he
lived for several months, with congenial associates, good food, a
healthy atmosphere, all the books he wanted, and one thing without which
he would have been utterly miserable--a piano. So I still thought that
the honours between Bedri and myself were a little better than even.

When the English authorities arrested the Turkish Consul and his staff
at Saloniki, the Turks promptly imprisoned nine leading members of the
French colony. It took me nearly three weeks to have them released.
Early in January, 1916, word was received that the English were
maltreating Turkish war prisoners in Egypt. Soon afterward I received
letters from two Australians, Commander Stoker and Lieutenant
Fitzgerald, telling me that they had been confined for eleven days in a
miserable, damp dungeon at the War Office, with no companions except a
monstrous swarm of vermin. These two naval officers had come to
Constantinople in submarines which had made the daring trip from
England, dived under the mines in the Dardanelles, and arrived in the
Marmora, where for several weeks they terrorised and dominated this
inland sea, practically putting an end to all shipping.

The particular submarine in which my correspondents arrived, the _E_15,
had been caught in the Dardanelles, and its crew and officers had been
sent to the Turkish military prison at Afium Kara Hissar in Asia Minor.
When news of the alleged maltreatment of Turkish prisoners in Egypt was
received, lots were drawn among these prisoners to see which two should
be taken to Constantinople and imprisoned in reprisal. Stoker and
Fitzgerald drew the unlucky numbers, and had been lying in this
terrible underground cell for eleven days. I immediately took the matter
up with Enver and suggested that a neutral doctor and officer examine
the Turks in Egypt and report on the truth of the stories. We promptly
received word that the report was false, and that, as a matter of fact,
the Turkish prisoners in English hands were receiving excellent
treatment.

About this time I called on Monsignor Dolci, the Apostolic Delegate in
Turkey. He happened to refer to a Lieutenant Fitzgerald, who, he said,
was then a prisoner of war at Afium Kara Hissar.

“I am much interested in him,” said Monsignor Dolci, “because he is
engaged to the daughter of the British Minister to the Vatican. I spoke
to Enver about him, and he promised that he would receive special
treatment.”

“What is his first name?” I asked.

“Jeffrey.”

“He’s receiving ‘special treatment’ indeed,” I answered. “Do you know
that he is in a dungeon in Constantinople this very moment?”

Naturally M. Dolci was much disturbed, but I reassured him, saying that
his protégé would be released in a few days.

“You see how shamefully you treated these young men,” I now said to
Enver; “you should do something to make amends.”

“All right; what would you suggest?”

Stoker and Fitzgerald were prisoners of war, and, according to the usual
rule, would have been sent back to the prison camp after being released
from their dungeon. I now proposed that Enver should give them a
vacation of eight days in Constantinople. He entered into the spirit of
the occasion, and the men were released. They certainly presented a
sorry sight; they had spent twenty-five days in the dungeon, with no
chance to bathe or to shave, with no change of linen or any of the
decencies of life. But Mr. Philip took charge, furnished them the
necessaries, and in a brief period we had before us two young and
handsome British naval officers. Their eight days’ freedom turned out to
be a triumphal procession, notwithstanding that they were always
accompanied by an English-speaking Turkish officer. Monsignor Dolci and
the American Embassy entertained them at dinner, and they had a pleasant
visit to the Girls’ College. When the time came to return to their
prison camp, the young men declared that they would be glad to spend
another month in dungeons if they could have a corresponding period of
freedom in the city when liberated.

In spite of all that has happened I shall always have a kindly feeling
toward Enver for his treatment of Fitzgerald. I told the Minister of War
about the lieutenant’s engagement.

“Don’t you think he’s been punished enough?” I asked. “Why don’t you let
the boy go home and marry his sweetheart?”

The proposition immediately appealed to Enver’s sentimental side.

“I’ll do it,” he replied, “if he will give me his word of honour not to
fight against Turkey any more.”

Fitzgerald naturally gave this promise, and so his comparatively brief
stay in the dungeon had the result of freeing him from imprisonment and
restoring him to happiness. As poor Stoker had formed no romantic
attachments that would have justified a similar plea in his case, he had
to go back to the prison in Asia Minor. He did this, however, in a
genuinely sporting spirit that was worthy of the best traditions of the
British Navy.



CHAPTER XXI

BULGARIA ON THE AUCTION BLOCK


The failure of the Allied fleet at the Dardanelles did not definitely
settle the fate of Constantinople. Naturally the Turks and the Germans
felt immensely relieved when the fleet sailed away. But they were by no
means entirely easy in their mind. The most direct road to the ancient
capital still remained available to their enemies.

In early September, 1915, one of the most influential Germans in the
city gave me a detailed explanation of the prevailing military
situation. He summed up the whole matter in the single phrase:

“We cannot hold the Dardanelles without the military support of
Bulgaria.”

This meant, of course, that unless Bulgaria adopted the cause of Turkey
and the Central Powers, the Gallipoli expedition would succeed,
Constantinople would fall, the Turkish Empire would collapse, Russia
would be recreated as an economic and military power, and the War, in a
comparatively brief period, would terminate in a victory for the
Entente. Not improbably the real neutrality of Bulgaria would have had
the same result. It is thus perhaps not too much to say that, in
September and October of 1915, the Bulgarian Government held the
duration of the war in its hands.

This fact is of such pre-eminent importance that I can hardly emphasise
it too strongly. I suggest that my readers take down the map of a part
of the world with which they are not very familiar--that of the Balkan
States, as determined by the Treaty of Bucharest. All that remains of
European Turkey is a small irregular area stretching, perhaps, one
hundred miles west of Constantinople. The nation whose land is
contiguous everywhere to Turkey is Bulgaria. The main railroad line to
Western Europe starts at Constantinople and runs through Bulgaria, by
way of Adrianople, Phillipopolis, and Sofia. At that time Bulgaria could
create an army of 500,000 well-trained, completely organised troops.
Should these once start marching toward Constantinople there was
practically nothing to bar their way.

Turkey had a considerable army, it is true, but it was then finding
plenty of employment repelling the Allied forces at the Dardanelles and
the Russians in the Caucasus. With Bulgaria hostile, Turkey could obtain
neither troops nor munitions from Germany. Turkey would have been
completely isolated, and, under the pounding of Bulgaria, would have
disappeared as a military force, and as a European State, in one very
brief campaign.

I wish to direct particular attention to this railroad, for it was,
after all, the main strategic prize for which Germany was contending.
After leaving Sofia, it crosses north-eastern Serbia, the most important
stations being at Nish and Belgrade. From the latter point it crosses
the River Save and, later, the River Danube, and thence pursues its
course to Budapest and Vienna and thence to Berlin. Practically all the
military operations that took place in the Balkans in 1915-16 had for
their ultimate object the possession of this road. Once holding this
line, Turkey and Germany would no longer be separated; economically and
militarily they would become a unit.

The Dardanelles, as I have described, was the link that connected Russia
with her allies; with this passage closed; Russia’s collapse rapidly
followed. The valley of the Morava and the Maritza, in which this
railroad is laid, constituted for Turkey a kind of waterless
Dardanelles. In her possession it gave her access to her allies; in the
possession of her enemies, the Ottoman Empire would go to pieces. Only
the accession of Bulgaria, to the Teutonic cause could give the Turks
and Germans this advantage. As soon as Bulgaria entered, that section of
the railroad extending to the Serbian frontier would at once become
available. If Bulgaria joined the Central Powers as an active
participant, the conquest of Serbia would inevitably follow, and this
would give the link extending from Nish to Belgrade to the Teutonic
Powers. Thus the Bulgarian alliance would make Constantinople a suburb
of Berlin, place all the resources of the Krupps at the disposal of the
Turkish Army, make inevitable the failure of the Allied attack on
Gallipoli, and lay the foundation of that Oriental Empire which had been
for thirty years the mainspring of German policy.

It is thus apparent what my German friend meant when, in early
September, he said that, “without Bulgaria we cannot hold the
Dardanelles.” Everybody sees this so clearly now that there is a
prevalent belief that Germany had arranged this Bulgarian alliance
before the outbreak of the war. On this point I have no information.
That the Bulgarian King and the Kaiser may have arranged this
co-operation in advance is not unlikely. But we must not make the
mistake of believing that this settled the matter, for the experiences
of the last few years show us that treaties are not always lived up to.
Whether there was an understanding or not, I know that the Turkish
officials and the Germans by no means regarded it as settled that
Bulgaria would take their side. In their talks with me they constantly
showed the utmost apprehension over the outcome; and at one time the
fear was general that Bulgaria would take the side of the Entente.

I had my first personal contact with the Bulgarian negotiations in the
latter part of May, when I was informed that M. Koloucheff, the
Bulgarian Minister, had notified Robert College that the Bulgarian
students could not remain in Constantinople until the end of the college
year, but would have to return home by June 5th. The College for Women
had also received word that all the Bulgarian girls must return at the
same time. Both these American institutions had many Bulgarian students,
in most cases splendid representatives of their country; it is through
these colleges, indeed, that the distant United States and Bulgaria had
established such friendly relations. But they had never had such an
experience before.

Everybody was discussing the meaning of this move. It seemed quite
apparent. The chief topic of conversation at that time was Bulgaria.
Would she enter the war? If so, on which side would she cast her
fortunes? One day it was reported that she would join the Entente; the
next day that she had decided to ally herself with the Central Powers.
The prevailing belief was that she was actively bargaining with both
sides and looking for the highest terms. Should Bulgaria go with the
Entente, however, it would be undesirable to have any Bulgarian subjects
marooned in Turkey. As the boys and girls in the American colleges
usually came from important Bulgarian families--one of the girls was the
daughter of General Ivanoff, who led the Bulgarian Armies in the Balkan
Wars--the Bulgarian Government might naturally have a particular
interest in their safety.

The conclusion reached by most people was that Bulgaria had decided to
take the side of the Entente. The news rapidly spread throughout
Constantinople. The Turks were particularly impressed. Dr. Patrick,
President of Constantinople College, arranged a special hurried
gathering for her Bulgarian students, which I attended. It was a sad
occasion, more like a funeral than the festivity that usually took
place. I found the Bulgarian girls almost in a hysterical state; they
all believed that war was coming immediately, and that they were being
bundled home merely to prevent them from falling into the clutches of
the Turks. My sympathies were so aroused that we brought them down to
the American Embassy, where we all spent a delightful evening. After
dinner the girls dried their eyes and entertained us by singing many of
their beautiful Bulgarian songs, and what had started as a mournful day
thus had a happy ending. Next morning the girls all left for Bulgaria.

A few weeks afterwards the Bulgarian Minister told me that the
Government had summoned the students home merely for political effect.
There was no immediate likelihood of war, he said, but Bulgaria wished
Germany and Turkey to understand that there was still a chance that she
might join the Entente. Bulgaria, as all of us suspected, was apparently
on the auction block.

The one fixed fact in the Bulgarian position was the determination to
have Macedonia. Everything, said Koloucheff, depended upon that. His
conversations reflected the general Bulgarian view that Bulgaria had
fairly won this territory in the first Balkan War, that the Powers had
unjustly permitted her to be deprived of it, that it was Bulgarian by
race, language, and tradition, and that there could be no permanent
peace in the Balkans until it was returned to its rightful possessors.
But Bulgaria insisted on more than a promise, to be redeemed after the
war was over; she demanded immediate occupation. Once Macedonia was
turned over to Bulgaria, she would join her forces to those of the
Entente. There were two great prizes in the game then being played in
the Balkans: one was Macedonia, which Bulgaria must have, and the other
Constantinople, which Russia was determined to get. Bulgaria was
entirely willing that Russia should have Constantinople if she herself
could obtain Macedonia.

I was given to understand that the Bulgarian General Staff had plans all
completed for the capture of Constantinople, and that they had shown
these plans to the Entente. Their programme called for a Bulgarian army
of 300,000 men advancing upon Constantinople twenty-three days from the
time the signal to start should be given--but promises of Macedonia
would not suffice; they must have possession.

Bulgaria recognised the difficulties of the Allied position. She did not
believe that Serbia and Greece would voluntarily surrender Macedonia,
nor did she believe that the Allies would dare to take this country away
from them by force. In that event, she thought that there was a danger
that Serbia might

[Illustration: Mohammed V. Sultan of Turkey.

[_To face p. 176._
]

[Illustration: Tchemenlik and Fort Anadolu Hamidié.]

make a separate peace with the Central Powers. On the other hand,
Bulgaria would object if Serbia received Bosnia and Herzegovina as
compensation for the loss of Macedonia; she felt that an enlarged Serbia
would be a constant menace to her, and hence a future menace to peace in
the Balkans. Thus the situation was extremely difficult and complicated.

One of the best informed men in Turkey was Paul Weitz, the correspondent
of the _Frankfürter Zeitung_. Weitz was more than a journalist; he had
spent thirty years in Constantinople, had the most intimate personal
knowledge of Turkish affairs, and he was the confidant and adviser of
the German Embassy. His duties there were really semi-diplomatic. Weitz
had really been one of the most successful agencies in the German
penetration of Turkey; it was common talk that he knew every important
man in the Turkish Empire, the best way to approach him, and his price.
I had several talks with Weitz about Bulgaria during those critical
August and early September days. He said many times that it was not at
all certain that she would join her forces with Germany. Yet on
September 7th Weitz came to me with important news. The situation had
changed overnight. Baron Neurath, the Conseiller of the German Embassy
at Constantinople, had gone to Sofia, and, as a result of his visit, an
agreement had been signed that would make Bulgaria Germany’s ally.

Germany, said Weitz, had won over Bulgaria by doing something which the
Entente had not been able and willing to do. It had secured her the
immediate possession of a piece of coveted territory. Serbia had refused
to give Bulgaria immediate possession of Macedonia; Turkey, on the other
hand, had now surrendered a piece of the Ottoman Empire. The amount of
land in question, it is true, was apparently insignificant, yet it had
great strategic advantages and represented a genuine sacrifice by
Turkey.

The Maritza River, a few miles north of Enos, bends to the east, to the
north, and then to the west again, creating a block of territory with an
area of nearly 1,000 square miles, including the important cities of
Demotica, Karaagatch, and half of Adrianople. What makes this land
particularly important is that it contains about fifty miles of the
railroad which runs from Dedeagatch to Sofia. All this railroad, that is
except this fifty miles, is laid in Bulgarian territory; this short
strip, extending through Turkey, cuts Bulgaria’s communications with the
Mediterranean. Naturally Bulgaria yearned for this strip of land, and
Turkey now handed it over to her. This cession cleared up the whole
Balkan situation and made Bulgaria an ally of Turkey and the Central
Powers. Besides the railroad, Bulgaria obtained that part of Adrianople
which lay west of the Maritza River. In addition, of course, Bulgaria
was to receive Macedonia as soon as that province could be occupied by
Bulgaria and her allies.

I vividly remember the exultation of Weitz when this agreement was
signed.

“It’s all settled,” he told me. “Bulgaria has decided to join us. It was
all arranged last night at Sofia.”

The Turks also were greatly relieved. For the first time they saw the
way out of their troubles. The Bulgarian arrangement, Enver told me, had
taken a tremendous weight off their minds.

“We Turks are entitled to the credit,” he said, “of bringing Bulgaria in
on the side of the Central Powers. She would never have come to our
assistance if we hadn’t given her that slice of land. By surrendering it
immediately, and not waiting until the end of the war, we showed our
good faith. It was very hard for us to do it, of course, especially to
give up part of the city, of Adrianople, but it was worth the price. We
really surrendered this territory in exchange for Constantinople, for if
Bulgaria had not come in on our side we would have lost this city. Just
think how enormously we have improved our position. We have had to keep
more than 200,000 men at the Bulgarian frontier, to protect us against
any possible attack from that quarter. We can now transfer all these
troops to the Gallipoli Peninsula, and thus make it absolutely
impossible that the Allies’ expedition can succeed. We are also greatly
hampered at the Dardanelles by the lack of ammunition. But Bulgaria,
Austria, and Germany are to make a joint attack on Serbia and will
completely control that country in a few weeks, so we shall have a
direct railroad line from Constantinople into Austria and Germany and
can get all the war supplies which we need. With Bulgaria on our side no
attack can be made on Constantinople from the north; we have created an
impregnable bulwark against Russia.

“I do not deny that the situation has caused us great anxiety. We were
afraid that Greece and Bulgaria would join hands, and that would also
bring in Rumania. Then Turkey would have been lost; they would have had
us between a pair of pincers. But now we have only one task before us,
that is to drive the English and French at the Dardanelles into the sea.
With all the soldiers and all the ammunition which we need, we shall do
this in a very short time. We gave up that piece of land because we saw
that that was the way to win the war.”

The outcome justified Enver’s prophecies in almost every detail. Three
months after Bulgaria accepted the Teutonic bribe the Entente admitted
defeat and withdrew its forces from the Dardanelles, and with this
withdrawal Russia, which was the greatest potential source of strength
to the Allied cause, and the country which, properly organised and
supplied, might have brought the Allies a speedy triumph, disappeared as
a vital factor in the war. When the British and French withdrew from
Gallipoli they turned adrift this huge hulk of a country to flounder to
anarchy, dissolution, and ruin.

The Germans celebrated this great triumph in a way that was
characteristically Teutonic. In their minds, January 17th, 1916, stands
out as one of the great dates in the war. There was great rejoicing in
Constantinople, for the first Balkan express--or, as the Germans called
it, the Balkanzug--was due to arrive that afternoon. The railroad
station was decorated with flags and flowers, and the whole German and
Austrian population of Constantinople, including the Embassy staffs,
assembled to welcome the incoming train. As it finally rolled into the
station, thousands of “hochs” went up from as many raucous throats.

Since that January 17th, 1916, the Balkanzug has run regularly from
Berlin to Constantinople. The Germans believe that it is as permanent a
feature of the new Germanic Empire as the line from Berlin to Hamburg.



CHAPTER XXII

THE TURK REVERTS TO THE ANCESTRAL TYPE


The defeat of the English fleet at the Dardanelles had consequences
which the world does not yet completely understand. The practical effect
of the event, as I have said, was to isolate the Turkish Empire from all
the world, excepting Germany and Austria. England, France, Russia, and
Italy, which for a century had held a threatening hand over the Ottoman
Empire, had now lost all power to influence or control. The Turks now
perceived that a series of dazzling events had changed them from
cringing dependents of the European Powers into free agents. For the
first time in two centuries they could now live their national life
according to their own inclinations and govern their peoples according
to their own will. The first expression of this rejuvenated national
life was an episode which, so far as I know, is the most terrible in the
history of the world. New Turkey, freed from European tutelage,
celebrated its national rebirth by murdering not far from a million of
its own subjects.

I can hardly exaggerate the effect which the repulse of the Allied fleet
produced upon the Turks. They believed that they had won the really
great decisive battle of the war. For several centuries, they said, the
British fleet had victoriously sailed the seas, and, had now met its
first serious reverse at the hands of the Turks. In the first moments of
their pride the Young Turk leaders now saw visions of the complete
resurrection of their Empire. What had for two centuries been a decaying
nation had suddenly started on a new and glorious life. In their pride
and arrogance the Turks began to look with disdain upon the people who
had taught them what they knew of modern warfare, and nothing angered
them so much as any suggestion that they owed any part of their success
to their German allies.

“Why should we feel any obligation to the Germans?” Enver would say to
me. “What have they done for us which compares with what we have done
for them? They have lent us some money and sent us a few officers, it is
true, but see what we have done! We have defeated the British
fleet--something which the Germans and no other nation could do. We
have stationed large armies in the Caucasus, and so have kept busy
large bodies of Russian troops that would have been used on the Western
front. Similarly we have compelled England to keep large armies in Egypt
and Mesopotamia, and in that way we have weakened the Allied armies in
France. No, the Germans could never have achieved their military
successes without us; the shoe of obligation is entirely on their foot.”

This conviction possessed all the leading men in Turkey, and now began
to have a determining effect upon Turkish national life and Turkish
policy. Essentially the Turk is a bully and a coward; he is as brave as
a lion when things are going his way, but cringing, abject, and
nerveless when reverses are overwhelming him. And now that the fortunes
of war were apparently favouring the Empire, I began to see an entirely
new Turk unfolding before my eyes. The hesitating and fearful Ottoman,
feeling his way cautiously amid the mazes of European diplomacy, and
seeking opportunities to find an advantage for himself in the divided
counsels of the European Powers, now gave place to an upstanding, almost
dashing, figure, proud and assertive, determined to live his own life
and absolutely contemptuous of his Christian foes.

I was really witnessing a remarkable development in race psychology--an
almost classical instance of reversion to type. The ragged, unkempt Turk
of the twentieth century was vanishing, and in his place was appearing
the Turk of the fourteenth and the fifteenth, the Turk who had swept out
of his Asiatic fastnesses, conquered all the powerful peoples in his
way, and founded in Asia, Africa, and Europe one of the most extensive
empires that history has known. If we are properly to appreciate this
new Talaat and Enver, and the events which now took place, we must
understand the Turk who, under Osman and his successor, exercised this
mighty but devastating influence in the world. We must realise that the
basic fact underlying the Turkish mentality is its utter contempt for
all other races. A fairly insane pride is the element that largely
explains this strange human species. The common term applied by the Turk
to the Christian is “dog,” and in his estimation this is no mere
rhetorical figure; he actually looks upon his European neighbours as far
less worthy of consideration than his own domestic animals.

“My son,” an old Turk once said, “do you see that herd of swine? Some
are white, some are black, some are large, some are small; they differ
from each other in some respects, but they are all swine. So it is with
Christians. Be not deceived, my son. These Christians may wear fine
clothes, their women may be very beautiful to look upon; their skins are
white and splendid; many of them are very intelligent, and they build
wonderful cities and create what seem to be great States. But remember
that underneath all this dazzling exterior they are all the same--they
are all swine.”

I have talked with many of the splendid men and women whom America has
sent as missionaries to Turkey. They tell me that, in the presence of a
Turk, they are always conscious of this attitude. The Turk may be
obsequiously polite, but there is invariably an almost unconscious
feeling that he is mentally shrinking from his American friend as
something unclean. And this fundamental conviction for centuries
directed the Ottoman policy toward its subject peoples. This wild horde
swept from the plains of Central Asia and, like a whirlwind, overwhelmed
the nations of Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, conquered Egypt, Arabia, and
practically all of Northern Africa and then poured into Europe, crushed
the Balkan nations, occupied a large part of Hungary, and even
established the outposts of the Ottoman Empire in the southern part of
Russia.

So far as I can discover, the Ottoman Turks had only one great quality,
that of military genius. They had several military leaders of commanding
ability, and the early conquering Turks were brave, fanatical, and
tenacious fighters, just as their descendants are to-day. I think that
these old Turks present the most complete illustration in history of the
brigand idea in politics. They were lacking in what we may call the
fundamentals of a civilised community. They had no alphabet and no art
of writing, no books, no poets, no art, and no architecture; they built
no cities and thus established no orderly state. They knew no law except
the rule of might, and they had practically no agriculture and no
industrial organisation. They were simply wild and marauding horsemen,
whose one conception of tribal success was to pounce upon people who
were more civilised than themselves and plunder them.

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries these tribes overran the
cradle of modern civilisation, which has given Europe its religion and,
to a large extent, its civilisation. At that time these territories were
the seats of many peaceful and prosperous nations. The Mesopotamian
valley supported a large industrious agricultural population; Bagdad was
one of the largest and most flourishing cities in existence;
Constantinople had a greater population than Rome, and the Balkan region
and Asia Minor contained several powerful States. Over all this part of
the world the Turk now swept like a huge, destructive force. Mesopotamia
in a few years became a desert; the great cities of the East were
reduced to misery, and the subject peoples became slaves.

Such graces of civilisation as the Turk has acquired in five centuries
have practically all been taken from the subject peoples whom he so
greatly despises. His religion comes from the Arabs; his language has
acquired a certain literary value by borrowing certain Arabic and
Persian elements; and his writing is Arabic. Constantinople’s finest
architectural monument, the Mosque of St. Sophia, was originally a
Christian church, and practically all Turkish architecture is derived
from the Byzantine. The mechanism of business and industry has always
rested in the hands of the subject peoples--Greeks, Jews, Armenians, and
Arabs. The Turks have learned little of European art or science, they
have established very few educational institutions, and illiteracy is
the prevailing rule. The result is that poverty has attained a degree of
sordidness and misery in the Ottoman Empire which is almost unparalleled
elsewhere. The Turkish peasant lives in a mud hut in which he sleeps; he
has no chairs, no tables, no eating utensils, no clothes except the few
scant garments which cover his back and which he usually wears for many
years.

In the course of time these Turks might learn certain things from their
European and Arabic neighbours, but there was one idea which they could
never even faintly grasp. They could not understand that a conquered
people were anything except slaves. When they took possession of a land,
they found it occupied by a certain number of camels, horses, buffaloes,
dogs, swine, and human beings. Of all these living things, the object
that physically most resembled themselves they regarded as the least
important. It became a common saying with them that a horse or a camel
was far more valuable than a man; these animals cost money, whereas they
could get all the “infidel Christians” they needed for nothing. The
usual name applied to the Christian was _rayah_--meaning cattle. It is
true that the early Sultans gave the subject peoples and the Europeans
in the Empire certain rights, but these in themselves really reflected
the contempt in which all non-Moslems were held.

I have already described the “capitulations,” under which foreigners in
Turkey had their own courts, prison, post-offices, and other
institutions. Yet the early Sultans gave these privileges not from a
spirit of tolerance, but merely because they looked upon the Christian
nations as unclean, and therefore unfit to have any contact with the
Ottoman administrative and judicial system. The Sultans similarly
erected the several peoples each as the Greeks and Armenians into
separate “millets,” or nations, not because they desired to promote
their independence and welfare, but because they regarded them as
vermin, and therefore disqualified for membership in the Ottoman State.
The attitude of the Government toward their Christian subjects was
illustrated by certain regulations which limited their freedom of
action. The buildings in which Christians lived should not be
conspicuous, and their churches should have no belfry. Christians were
not permitted to ride a horse, for that was the exclusive right of the
noble Moslems. If a Turk in the street should ask a Christian to clean
his shoes, the latter must do so under penalty of death. The Turk had
the right to test the sharpness of his sword upon the neck of any
Christian.

One of the most remarkable official documents ever devised is the burial
permit which the Ottoman Government used to issue, up to a hundred years
ago, for the interment of its Christian subjects. The following is a
literal translation:--“Oh thou irreligious priest, who hast been
expelled from the presence of God, thou that wearest the crown of the
devil and black raiments, so and so of your congregation of polluted
infidels having died--although his desecrated corpse is not acceptable
to the earth, yet as its terrible stench will become a public nuisance,
take the polluted dead one, open a ditch, throw him in it, trample him
under foot, and come back, thou infidel swine!”

Imagine a great Government, year in and year out, maintaining this
attitude toward many millions of its own subjects! And for centuries the
Turks simply lived like parasites upon these overburdened and
industrious people. They taxed them to economic extinction, stole their
most beautiful daughters and forced them into their harems, took
Christian male infants by the hundreds of thousands and brought them up
as Moslem soldiers. I have no intention of describing the terrible
vassalage and oppression that went on for five centuries; my purpose is
merely to emphasise this innate attitude of the Moslem Turk to people
not of his own race and religion--that they are not human beings with
rights, but merely chattels, which may be permitted to live when they
promote the interest of their masters, but which may be pitilessly
destroyed when they have ceased to be useful. This attitude is
intensified by a disregard for human life and an intense delight in
physical human suffering which are the not unusual attributes of
primitive peoples.

Such were the mental characteristics of the Turk in his days of military
greatness. In recent times his attitude toward foreigners and his
subject peoples had superficially changed. His own military decline, and
the ease with which the infidel nations defeated his finest armies, had
apparently given the haughty descendants of Osman a respect at least for
their prowess.

The rapid disappearance of his own Empire in a hundred years the
creation out of the Ottoman Empire of new States like Greece, Serbia,
Bulgaria, and Rumania, and the wonderful improvement which had followed
the destruction of the Turkish yoke in these benighted lands, may have
increased the Ottoman hatred for the unbeliever, but at least they had a
certain influence in opening his eyes to his importance. Many Turks also
now received their education in European universities, they studied in
their professional schools, and they became physicians, surgeons,
lawyers, engineers, and chemists of the modern kind. However much the
more progressive Moslems might despise their Christian associates, they
could not ignore the fact that the finest things, in this temporal world
at least, were the products of European and American civilisation. And
now that one development of modern history which seemed to be least
understandable to the Turk began to force itself upon the consciousness
of the more intelligent and progressive. Certain leaders arose who began
to speak surreptitiously of such things as “Constitutionalism,”
“Liberty,” “Self-Government,” and to whom the Declaration of
Independence contained certain truths that might have a value even for
Islam. These daring spirits began to dream of overturning the autocratic
Sultan and of substituting a parliamentary system for his irresponsible
rule. I have already described the rise and fall of this Young Turk
movement under such leaders as Talaat, Enver, Djemal, and their
associates in the Committee of Union and Progress. The point which I am
emphasising here is that this movement presupposed a complete
transformation of Turkish mentality, especially in its attitude toward
subject peoples. No longer, under the reformed Turkish State, were
Greeks, Syrians, Armenians, and Jews to be regarded as “filthy Giaours.”
All these peoples were henceforth to have equal rights and equal duties.

A general love-feast now followed the establishment of the new régime,
and scenes of almost frenzied reconciliation, in which Turks and
Armenians embraced each other publicly, apparently signalised the
absolute union of the once antagonistic peoples. The Turkish leaders,
such as Talaat and Enver, visited Christian churches and sent forth
prayers of thanksgiving for the new order, and went to Armenian
cemeteries to shed tears of retribution over the bones of the martyred
Armenians who lay there. Armenian priests reciprocally paid their
tributes to the Turks in Mohammedan mosques. Enver Pasha visited several
Armenian schools, telling the children that the old days of
Moslem-Christian strife had passed for ever and that the two peoples
were now to live together as brothers and sisters.

There were cynics who smiled at all these demonstrations, and yet one
development encouraged even them to believe that an earthly Paradise had
arrived. All through the period of domination only the master Moslem had
been permitted to bear arms and serve in the Ottoman Army. To be a
soldier was an occupation altogether too manly and glorious for the
despised Armenian. But now the Young Turks encouraged all Armenians to
arm, and enrolled them in the Army on an equality with Moslems. These
Armenians fought, both as officers and soldiers, in the Italian and the
Balkan Wars, winning high praise from the Turkish Generals for their
valour and skill. Armenian leaders had figured conspicuously in the
Young Turk movement; these men apparently believed that a constitutional
Turkey was possible, and they preferred such a Turkey to the suzerainty
of the great European Powers or even to an independent State of their
own. They were conscious of their own intellectual and industrial
superiority to the Turks, and knew that they could prosper in the
Ottoman Empire if left alone, whereas, under European control, they
would have greater difficulty in meeting competition of the more
rigorous European colonists who might come in. With the deposition of
the Red Sultan, Abdul Hamid, and the establishment of a constitutional
system, the Armenians now for the first time in several centuries felt
themselves to be free men.

But, as I have already described, all these aspirations vanished like a
dream. Long before the European war began the Turkish democracy had
disappeared. The power of the new Sultan had gone, and the hopes of
regenerating Turkey on modern lines had disappeared, leaving only a
group of individuals, headed by Talaat and Enver, actually in possession
of the State. Having lost their democratic aspirations, these men now
supplanted it with a new national conception. In place of a democratic
constitutional State they resurrected the idea of Pan-Turkism; in place
of equal treatment of all Ottomans they decided to establish a country
exclusively for Turks. I have called this a new conception; yet it was
new only to the individuals who then controlled the destiny of the
Empire, for, in reality, it was merely an attempt to revive the most
barbaric ideas of their ancestors. It represented, as I have said,
merely an atavistic reversion to the original Turk.

We now saw that the Turkish leaders, in talking about liberty, equality,
fraternity, and constitutionalism, were merely children repeating
phrases; that they had used the word “democracy” merely as a ladder by
which to climb to power. After five hundred years’ close contact with
European civilisation the Turk remained precisely the same individual as
the one who had emerged from the steppes of Asia in the Middle Ages. He
was clinging just as tenaciously as his ancestors to that conception of
a State as consisting of a few master individuals whose right it is to
enslave and plunder and maltreat any peoples whom they can subject to
their military control. Though Talaat, Enver, and Djemal all came of the
humblest families, the same fundamental ideas of master and slave
possessed them that formed the statecraft of Osman and the early
Sultans. We now discovered that a paper constitution, and even tearful
visits to Christian churches and cemeteries, could not uproot the inborn
preconception of this nomadic people, that there are only two kinds of
people in the world--the conquering and the conquered.

When the Turkish Government abrogated the capitulations, and in this way
freed themselves from the domination of the foreign Powers, they were
merely taking one step toward realising this Pan-Turkish ideal. I have
told of the difficulties which I had with them over the Christian
schools. Their determination to uproot these, or at least to transform
them into Turkish institutions, was merely another detail in the same
racial progress.

Similarly, they attempted to make all foreign business houses employ
only Turkish labour, insisting that they should discharge their Greek,
Armenian, and Jewish clerks, stenographers, workmen, and other
employees. They ordered foreign business houses to keep their books in
Turkish, and I had some difficulty in arranging a compromise by which
they could keep them in both French and Turkish. The Ottoman Government
even refused to have any dealings with the representative of the largest
Austrian munition maker unless he admitted a Turk as a partner. They
developed a mania for suppressing all languages except Turkish. For
decades French had been the accepted language of foreigners in
Constantinople; all street signs were printed in both French and
Turkish. One morning the astonished foreign residents discovered that
all these French signs had been removed and that the names of streets,
the directions on street cars, and other public notices, appeared only
in these strange Turkish characters, which very few of them understood.
Great confusion resulted from this change, but the ruling powers refused
to restore the detested foreign language.

These leaders not only reverted to the barbaric conceptions of their
ancestors, but they went to extremes that had never entered the minds of
the wary Sultans. Their fifteenth-and sixteenth-century predecessors
treated the subject peoples as dirt under their feet, yet they believed
that they had a certain usefulness and did not disdain to make them
their serfs. But this Committee of Union and Progress, led by Talaat and
Enver, now decided to do away with them altogether. The old conquering
Turks had made the Christians their servants, but their parvenu
descendants bettered their instruction, for they determined to
exterminate them wholesale and Turkify the Empire by massacring the
non-Moslem elements. Originally this was not the statesmanlike
conception of Talaat and Enver; the man who first devised it was one of
the greatest monsters known to history, the “Red Sultan,” Abdul Hamid.
This man came to the throne in 1876, at a critical period in Turkish
history. In the first two years of his reign he lost Bulgaria, as well
as important provinces in the Caucasus, his last remaining vestiges of
sovereignty in Montenegro, Serbia, and Rumania, and all his real powers
in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Greece had long since become an independent
nation, and the processes that were to wrench Egypt from the Ottoman
Empire had already begun. As the Sultan took stock of his inheritance,
he could easily foresee the day when all the rest of his domain would
pass into the hand of the infidel.

What had caused this disintegration of this extensive Turkish Empire?
The real cause, of course, lay deep in the character of the Turk, but
Abdul Hamid saw only the more obvious fact that the intervention of the
great European Powers had brought relief to these imprisoned nations. Of
all the new kingdoms which had been carved out of the Sultan’s
dominions, Serbia--let us remember this fact to her everlasting
honour--is the only one that has conquered her own independence. Russia,
France, and Great Britain have set free all the rest. And what had
happened several times before might happen again. There still remained
one compact race in the Ottoman Empire that had national aspirations and
national potentialities.

In the north-eastern part of Asia Minor bordering on Russia there were
six provinces in which the Armenians formed the largest element in the
population. From the times of Herodotus this portion of Asia has borne
the name of Armenia. The Armenians of the present day are the direct
descendants of the people who inhabited the country three thousand years
ago. Their origin is so ancient that it is lost in fable and mystery.
There are still undeciphered cuneiform inscriptions on the rocky hills
of Van, the largest Armenian city, that have led certain
scholars--though not many, I must admit it--to identify the Armenian
race with the Hittites of the Bible. What is definitely known about the
Armenians, however, is that for ages they have constituted the most
civilised and most industrious race in the eastern section of the
Ottoman Empire. From their mountains they have spread all over the
Sultan’s dominions, and form a considerable element in the population of
all the large cities. Everywhere they are known for their industry,
their intelligence, and their decent and orderly lives. They are so
superior to the Turks intellectually and morally that much of the
business and industry had passed into their hands. With the Greeks, the
Armenians constitute the economic strength of the Empire. These people
became Christians in the fourth century and established the Armenian
Church as their State religion. This is said to be the oldest State
Church in existence.

In face of persecutions which have no parallel elsewhere, these people
have clung to their early Christian faith with the utmost tenacity. For
fifteen hundred years they have lived there in Armenia, a little island
of Christians surrounded by backward peoples of hostile religion and
hostile race. Their long existence has been one unending martyrdom. The
territory which they inhabit forms the connecting link between Europe
and Asia, and all the Asiatic invasions--Saracens, Tartars, Mongols,
Kurds, and Turks--have passed over their peaceful country. For centuries
they have thus been the Belgium of the East.

Through all this period the Armenians have regarded themselves not as
Asiatics, but as Europeans. They speak an Indo-European language, their
racial origin is believed to be by scholars Aryan, and the fact that
their religion is the religion of Europe has always made them turn their
eyes westward; and out of that western country, they have always
believed, would some day come the deliverance that would rescue them
from their murderous masters. And now, as Abdul Hamid in 1876 surveyed
his shattered domain, he saw that its most dangerous spot was Armenia.
He believed, rightly or wrongly, that these Armenians, like the
Rumanians, the Bulgarians, the Greeks, and the Serbians, aspired to
restore their independent individual nation, and he knew that Europe and
America sympathised with this ambition.

The Treaty of Berlin, which had definitely ended the Turco-Russian War,
contained an article which gave the European Powers a protecting hand
over the Armenians. How could he free himself permanently from this
danger? An enlightened administration, which would have transformed the
Armenians into free men and made them safe in their lives and property
and civil and religious rights, would probably have made them peaceful
and loyal subjects. But no Turk could rise to such a conception of
statesmanship as this. Instead, Abdul Hamid decided that there was only
one way of ridding Turkey of the Armenian problem--and that was to rid
her of the Armenians. The physical destruction of 2,000,000 men, women,
and children by massacres, organised and directed by the State, seemed
to be the one sure way of forestalling the further disruption of the
Turkish Empire.

One day Abdul Hamid sent for the Armenian Patriarch, the head of the
Armenian Church. He received him in his palace directly overlooking the
Bosphorus. The Sultan pointed to this stream and said: “If your
Armenians do not stop agitating, I will make their blood flow like the
Bosphorus out there!”

And now for nearly thirty years Turkey gave the world an illustration of
government by massacre. We in Europe and America heard of these events
when they reached especially monstrous proportions, as they did in
1895-96, when nearly 200,000 Armenians were most atrociously done to
death. But through all these years the existence of the Armenians was
one continuous nightmare. Their property was stolen, their men were
murdered, their women were ravished, their young girls were kidnapped
and forced to live in Turkish harems. All these things happened daily.
Yet Abdul Hamid was not able to accomplish his full purpose; had he had
his will, he would have massacred the whole nation in one hideous orgy.
He attempted to do this in 1895, but found certain insuperable
obstructions to his plan. Chief of these were England, France, and
Russia. These atrocities called Gladstone, then eighty-six years old,
from his retirement, and his speeches, in which he denounced the Sultan
as “the Great Assassin” and “Abdul the Damned,” aroused the whole world
to the enormities that were taking place. It became apparent that,
unless the Sultan desisted, England, France, and Russia would intervene,
and the Sultan well knew that, in case this intervention took place,
such remnants of Turkey as had survived earlier partitions would
disappear. Thus Abdul Hamid had to abandon his satanic enterprise of
destroying a whole race by murder; yet Armenia continued to suffer the
slow agony of pitiless persecution. Up to the outbreak of the European
war not a day had passed in the Armenian vilayets without its outrages
and its murders. The Young Turk régime, despite its promises of
universal brotherhood, brought no respite to the Armenians. A few months
after the love-feastings already described, one of the worst massacres
took place at Adana, in which 35,000 people were destroyed.

And now the Young Turks, who had adopted so many of Abdul Hamid’s ideas,
also made his Armenian policy their own. Their passion for Turkifying
the nation seemed to demand logically the extermination of all
Christians--Greeks, Syrians, and Armenians. Much as they admired the
Mohammedan conquerors of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, they now
perceived that these great warriors had made one fatal mistake, for they
had had it in their power completely to obliterate the Christian
populations and had neglected to do so. This policy, in their opinion,
was a fatal error of statesmanship, and explained all the woes from
which Turkey has suffered in modern times. Had these old Moslem
chieftains, when they conquered Bulgaria, put all the Bulgarians to the
sword, and peopled the Bulgarian country with Moslem Turks, there would
never have been any modern Bulgarian problem, and Turkey would never
have lost this part of her Empire. Similarly, had they destroyed all the
Rumanians, Serbians, and Greeks, the provinces which are now occupied by
these races would still have remained integral parts of the Sultan’s
domain. They felt that the mistake had been a terrible one, but that
something might be saved from the ruin. They would destroy all Greeks,
Syrians, Armenians, and other Christians, move Moslem families into
their homes and into their farms, and so make sure that these
territories would not similarly be taken away from Turkey.

In order to accomplish this great reform it would not be necessary to
murder every living Christian. The most beautiful and healthy Armenian
girls could be taken, converted forcibly to Mohammedanism, and made the
wives or concubines of devout followers of the Prophet. Their children
would then automatically become Moslems and so strengthen the Empire as
the Janissaries did in former years. These Armenian girls represent a
high type of womanhood, and the Young Turks, in their crude, intuitive
way, recognised that the mingling of their blood with the Turkish
population would exert a eugenic influence upon the whole. Armenian boys
of tender years could be taken into Turkish families and be brought up
in ignorance of the fact that they were anything but Moslems. These
were about the only elements, however, that could make any valuable
contributions to the new Turkey which was now being planned. Since all
precautions must be taken against the development of a new generation of
Armenians, it would be necessary to kill outright all men who were in
their prime and thus capable of propagating the accursed species. Old
men and women formed no great danger to the future of Turkey, for they
had already fulfilled their natural function of leaving descendants;
still, they were nuisances and therefore should be disposed of.

Unlike Abdul Hamid, the Young Turks found themselves in a position where
they could carry out this “holy” enterprise. Great Britain, France, and
Russia had stood in the way of their predecessor. But now these
obstacles had been removed. The Young Turks, as I have said, believed
that while they were at war with these nations they had no
representatives in Turkey who could interfere with their internal
affairs. Only one Power could successfully raise objections, and that
was Germany. But Germany had never attempted to stop massacres in
Turkey. In 1898, when all the rest of Europe was ringing with
Gladstone’s denunciations and demanding intervention, Kaiser Wilhelm the
Second had gone to Constantinople, visited Abdul Hamid, pinned his
finest decorations on that bloody tyrant’s breast, and kissed him on
both cheeks. The same Kaiser who had done this in 1898 was still sitting
on the throne in 1915, and was now Turkey’s ally. Thus for the first
time in two centuries the Turks, in 1915, had their Christian
populations utterly at their mercy. The time had finally come to make
Turkey exclusively the country of the Turks.

[Illustration: Sheik-ul-Islam proclaiming a Holy War.

[_To face p. 192._
]

[Illustration: The Bosphorus--Key to the Black Sea.]



CHAPTER XXIII

THE “REVOLUTION” AT VAN


The Turkish province of Van lies in the remote north-eastern corner of
Asia Minor; it touches the frontiers of Persia on the east and its
northern boundary looks toward the Caucasus. It is one of the most
beautiful and most fruitful parts of the Turkish Empire and one of the
richest in historical associations. The city of Van, which is capital of
the vilayet, lies on the eastern shores of the lake of the same name; it
is the one large town in Asia in which the Armenian population is larger
than the Moslem. In the fall of 1914, its population of about 30,000
people represented one of the most peaceful, happy, and prosperous
communities in the Turkish Empire. Though Van, like practically every
other section where Armenians lived, had had its periods of oppression
and massacre, yet the Moslem yoke, comparatively speaking, rested upon
its people rather lightly. Its Turkish Governor, Tahsin Pasha, was one
of the more enlightened type of Turkish officials. Relations between the
Armenians, who lived in the better section of the city, and the Turks
and the Kurds, who occupied the mud huts in the Moslem quarter, had been
tolerably agreeable for many years.

The location of this vilayet, however, inevitably made it the scene of
military operations, and made the activities of its Armenian population
a matter of daily suspicion. Should Russia attempt an invasion of Turkey
one of the most accessible routes lay through this province. The war had
not gone far when causes of irritation arose. The requisitions of army
supplies fell far more heavily upon the Christian than upon the
Mohammedan elements in Van, just as they did in every other part of
Turkey. The Armenians had to stand quietly by while the Turkish officers
appropriated all their cattle, all their wheat, and all their goods of
every kind, giving them only worthless pieces of paper in exchange.

The attempt at general disarmament that took place also aroused their
apprehensions, which were increased by the brutal treatment visited upon
Armenian soldiers in the Caucasus. On the other hand, the Turks made
many charges against the Christian population, and, in fact, they
attributed to them the larger share of the blame for the reverses which
the Turkish Armies had suffered in the Caucasus. The fact that a
considerable element in the Russian forces was composed of Armenians
aroused their unbridled wrath. Since about half the Armenians in the
world inhabit the Russian provinces in the Caucasus, and are liable,
like all Russians, to military service, there was certainly no
legitimate grounds for complaint, so far as these Armenian levies were
_bona fide_ subjects of the Tsar. But the Turks asserted that large
numbers of Armenian soldiers in Van and other of their Armenian
provinces deserted, crossed the border, and joined the Russian Army,
where their knowledge of roads and the terrain was an important factor
in the Russian victories. Though the exact facts are not yet
ascertained, it seems not unlikely that such desertions, perhaps a few
hundred, did take place.

At the beginning of the war Turkish officials appeared in this
neighbourhood and appealed to the Armenian leaders to go into Russian
Armenia and attempt to start revolutions against the Russian Government,
and the fact that the Ottoman Armenians refused to do this contributed
further to the prevailing irritation. The Turkish Government has made
much of the “treasonable” behaviour of the Armenians of Van, and have
even urged it as an excuse for their subsequent treatment of the whole
race. Their attitude illustrates once more the perversity of the Turkish
mind. After massacring hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the course
of thirty years, outraging the women and girls, and robbing and
maltreating them in every conceivable way, the Turks still apparently
believed that they had the right to expect from them the most
enthusiastic “loyalty.” That the Armenians all over Turkey sympathised
with the Entente was no secret. “If you want to know how the war is
going,” remarked a humorous Turkish newspaper, “all you need to do is to
look in the face of an Armenian. If he is smiling, then the Allies are
winning; if he is downcast, then the Germans are successful.” If an
Ottoman Armenian soldier should desert and join the Russians that would
unquestionably constitute a technical crime against the State, and might
be punished without violating the rules of all civilised countries. Only
the Turkish mind, however--and possibly the German--could regard it as
furnishing an excuse for the terrible barbarities that now took place.

Though the air all during the autumn and winter of 1914-15 was filled
with premonitions of trouble, the Armenians behaved with remarkable
self-restraint. For years it had been the Turkish policy to provoke the
Christian population into committing overt acts, and then seizing upon
such misbehaviour as an excuse for massacres. The Armenian clergy and
political leaders saw many evidences that the Turks were now up to their
old tactics, and they therefore went among the people, cautioning them
to keep quiet, to bear all insults, and even outrages, patiently, so as
not to give the Moslems the opening which they were seeking. “Even
though they burn a few of our villages,” these leaders would say, “do
not retaliate, for it is better that a few be destroyed than that the
whole nation be massacred.”

When the war started, the Central Government recalled Tahsin Pasha, the
conciliatory Governor of Van, and replaced him with Djevdet Bey, a
brother-in-law of Enver Pasha. This act in itself was most disquieting.
Turkish officialdom has always contained a minority of men who do not
believe in massacres as a State policy and who cannot be depended upon
to carry out strictly the most bloody orders of the Central Government.
Whenever massacres have been planned, therefore, it has been customary
first to remove such “untrustworthy” public servants and replace them
with men who are regarded as more reliable. The character of Tahsin’s
successor made his displacement still more alarming. Djevdet had spent
the larger part of his life at Van; he was a man of unstable character,
friendly to non-Moslems one moment, hostile the next, hypocritical,
treacherous, and ferocious according to the worst traditions of his
race. He hated the Armenians and cordially sympathised with the
long-established Turkish plan of solving the Armenian problem. There is
little question that he came to Van with definite instructions to
exterminate all Armenians in this province, but for the first few months
conditions did not facilitate such operations. Djevdet himself was
absent fighting the Russians in the Caucasus, and the near approach of
the enemy made it a wise policy for the Turks to refrain from
maltreating the Armenians of Van. But early in the spring the Russians
temporarily retreated.

It is generally recognised as good military tactics for a victorious
army to follow up the retreating enemy. In the eyes of the Turkish
generals, however, the withdrawal of the Russians was a happy turn of
war mainly because it deprived the Armenians of their protectors and
left them at the mercies of the Turkish Army. Instead of following the
retreating foe, therefore, the Turks’ Army turned aside and invaded
their own territory of Van. Instead of fighting the trained Russian Army
of men, they turned their rifles, machine guns, and other weapons upon
the Armenian women, children, and old men in the villages of Van.
Following their usual custom, they distributed the most beautiful
Armenian women among the Moslems, sacked and burned the Armenian
villages, and massacred uninterruptedly for days. On April 15th about
500 young Armenian men of Akantz were mustered to hear an order of the
Sultan; at sunset they were marched outside the town and every man shot
in cold blood. This procedure was repeated in about eighty Armenian
villages in the district north of Lake Van, and in three days 24,000
Armenians were murdered in this atrocious fashion.

A single episode illustrates the unspeakable depravity of Turkish
methods. A conflict having broken out at Shadak, Djevdet Bey, who had
meanwhile returned to Van, asked four of the leading Armenian citizens
to go to this town and attempt to quiet the multitude. These men made
the trip, stopping at all Armenian villages along the way, urging
everybody to keep public order. After completing their work these four
Armenians were murdered in a Kurdish village.

And so when Djevdet Bey, on his return to his official post, demanded
that Van furnish him immediately 4,000 soldiers, the people were
naturally in no mood to accede to his request. When we consider what had
happened before, and what happened subsequently, there remains little
doubt concerning the purpose which underlay this demand. Djevdet, acting
in obedience to orders from Constantinople, was preparing to wipe out
the whole population, and his purpose in calling for 4,000 able-bodied
men was merely to massacre them, so that the rest of the Armenians might
have no defenders. The Armenians, parleying to gain time, offered to
furnish 500 soldiers and to pay exemption money for the rest. Now,
however, Djevdet began to talk aloud about “rebellion,” and his
determination to “crush” it at any cost. “If the rebels fire a single
shot,” he declared, “I shall kill every Christian man, woman, and child
up to here,” pointing to his knee.

For some time the Turks had been constructing entrenchments around the
Armenian quarter and filling them with soldiers, and, in response to
this provocation, the Armenians began to make preparations for a
defence. On April 20th a band of Turkish soldiers seized several
Armenian women who were entering the city; a couple of Armenians ran to
their assistance and were shot dead. The Turks now opened fire on the
Armenian quarters with rifles and artillery; soon a large part of the
town was in flames and a regular siege had started. The whole Armenian
fighting force consisted of only 1,500 men; they had only 300 rifles and
a most inadequate supply of ammunition, while Djevdet had an army of
5,000 men, completely equipped and supplied; yet the Armenians fought
with the utmost heroism and skill. They had little chance of holding off
their enemies indefinitely, yet they knew that a Russian Army was
fighting its way to Van, and their utmost hope was that they would be
able to defy the besiegers until these Russians arrived.

As I am not writing the story of sieges and battles, I cannot describe
in detail the numerous acts of individual heroism, the co-operation of
the Armenian women, the ardour and energy of the Armenian children, the
self-sacrificing zeal of the American missionaries--especially Dr. Usher
and his wife and Miss Grace H. Knapp--and the thousand other
circumstances that make this terrible month one of the most glorious
pages in modern Armenian history. The wonderful thing about it is that
the Armenians triumphed. After nearly five weeks of sleepless fighting,
the Russian Army suddenly appeared, and the Turks fled into the
surrounding country, where they found appeasement for their anger by
again massacring unprotected Armenian villages. Dr. Usher, the American
medical missionary, whose hospital at Van was destroyed by bombardment,
is authority for the statement that, after driving off the Turks, the
Russians began to collect and to cremate the bodies of Armenians who had
been murdered in the province, with the result that 55,000 bodies were
burned.

I have told this story of the “revolution” in Van not only because it
marked the first stage in this organised attempt to wipe out a whole
nation, but because these events are always brought forward by the Turks
as a justification of their subsequent crimes. As I shall relate, Enver,
Talaat, and the rest, when I appealed to them on behalf of the
Armenians, invariably instanced the “revolutionists” of Van as a sample
of Armenian treachery. The famous “revolution,” as this recital shows,
was merely the determination of the Armenians to save their women’s
honour and their own lives, after the Turks, by massacring thousands of
their neighbours, had shown them the fate that awaited them.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE MURDER OF A NATION


The destruction of the Armenian race in 1915 involved certain
difficulties that had not impeded the operations of the Turks in the
massacres of 1895 and other years. In these earlier periods the Armenian
men had possessed little power or means of resistance. In those days
Armenians had not been permitted to have military training, to serve in
the Turkish Army, or to possess arms. As I have already said, these
discriminations were withdrawn when the revolutionists obtained the
upper hand in 1908. Not only were the Christians now permitted to bear
arms, but the authorities, in the full flush of their enthusiasm for
freedom and equality, encouraged them to do so. In the early part of
1915, therefore, every Turkish city contained thousands of Armenians who
had been trained as soldiers and who were supplied with rifles, pistols,
and other weapons of defence.

The operations at Van disclosed that these men could use their munitions
to good advantage. A similar “rebellion” at Zeitoun also proved that
these despised merchants and traders of the Empire possessed energetic
fighting power. It was thus apparent that an Armenian massacre this time
would generally assume more the character of warfare than those
wholesale butcheries of defenceless men and women which the Turks had
always found so congenial. If this plan of murdering a race was to
succeed, two preliminary steps would therefore have to be taken: it
would be necessary to render all Armenian soldiers powerless and to
deprive of their arms the Armenians in every city and town. Before
Armenia could be slaughtered, Armenia must be made defenceless.

In the early part of 1915 the Armenian soldiers in the Turkish Army were
reduced to a new status. Up to that time most of them had been
combatants, but now they were all stripped of their arms and transformed
into workmen. Instead of serving their countrymen as artillerymen and
cavalrymen, these former soldiers now discovered that they had been
transformed into road labourers and pack animals. Army supplies of all
kinds were loaded on their backs, and stumbling under the burdens, and
driven by the whips and bayonets of the Turks, they were forced to drag
their weary bodies into the mountains of the Caucasus. Sometimes they
would have to plough their way, burdened in this fashion, almost
waist-high through snow. They had to spend practically all their time in
the open, sleeping on the bare ground--whenever the ceaseless prodding
of their taskmasters gave them an occasional opportunity to sleep. They
were given only scraps of food; if they fell sick they were left where
they had dropped, their Turkish oppressors perhaps stopping long enough
to rob them of all their possessions--even of their clothes. If any
stragglers succeeded in reaching their destinations they were not
infrequently massacred. In many instances Armenian soldiers were
disposed of in even more summary fashion, for it now became almost the
general practice to shoot them in cold blood. In almost all cases the
procedure was the same. Here and there squads of fifty or a hundred men
would be taken, bound together in groups of four, and then marched out
to a secluded spot a short distance from the village. Suddenly the sound
of rifle-shots would fill the air, and the Turkish soldiers who had
acted as the escort would sullenly return to camp. Those sent to bury
the bodies would find them almost invariably stark naked, for, as usual,
the Turks had stolen all their clothes. In cases that came to my
attention, the murderers had added a refinement to their victims’
sufferings by compelling them to dig their graves before being shot.

Let me relate a single episode which is contained in one of the reports
of our Consuls and which now forms part of the records of the American
State department. Early in July 2,000 Armenian “amélés”--such is the
Turkish word for soldiers who have been reduced to workmen--were sent
from Harpoot to build roads. The Armenians in that town understood what
this meant and pleaded with the Governor for mercy. But this official
insisted that the men were not to be harmed, and he even called upon the
German missionary, Mr. Ehemann, to quiet the panic, giving that
gentleman his word of honour that the ex-soldiers would be protected.
Mr. Ehemann believed the Governor and assuaged the popular fear. Yet
practically every man of these 2,000 was massacred, and his body thrown
into a cave. A few escaped, and it was from these that news of the
massacre reached the world. A few days afterward another 2,000 soldiers
were sent to Diarbekir. The only purpose of sending these men out in the
open country was that they might be massacred.

In order that they might have no strength to resist and to escape by
flight, these poor creatures were systematically starved. Government
agents went ahead on the road, notifying the Kurds that the caravan was
approaching and ordering them to do their congenial duty. Not only did
the Kurdish tribesmen pour down from the mountains upon this starved and
weakened regiment, but the Kurdish women came with butchers’ knives in
order that they might gain that merit in Allah’s eyes that comes from
killing a Christian. These massacres were not isolated happenings; I
could detail many more episodes just as horrible as the one related
above. Throughout the Turkish Empire a systematic attempt was made to
kill all able-bodied men, not only for the purpose of removing all males
who might propagate a new generation of Armenians, but for the purpose
of rendering the weaker part of the population an easy prey.

Dreadful as were these massacres of unarmed soldiers, they were mercy
and justice themselves when compared with the treatment which was now
visited upon those Armenians who were suspected of concealing arms.
Naturally, the Christians became alarmed when placards were posted in
the villages and cities ordering them to bring all their arms to
headquarters. Since this order applied only to Christians, the Armenians
well understood what the result would be should they be left defenceless
while their Moslem neighbours were permitted to retain their arms. In
many cases, however, the persecuted people patiently obeyed the command,
and then the Turkish officials almost joyfully seized their rifles as
evidence that a “revolution” was being planned, and threw their victims
into prison on a charge of treason. Thousands failed to deliver arms
simply because they had none to deliver, while an even greater number
tenaciously refused to give them up, not because they were plotting an
uprising, but because they proposed to defend their own lives and their
women’s honour against the outrages which they knew were being planned.

The punishment inflicted upon these recalcitrants forms one of the most
hideous chapters of modern history. Most of us believe that torture has
long ceased to be an administrative and judicial measure, yet I do not
believe that the darkest ages ever presented scenes more horrible than
those which now took place all over Turkey. Nothing was sacred to the
Turkish gendarmes; under the plea of searching for hidden arms they
ransacked churches, treated the altars and sacred utensils with the
utmost indignities, and even held mock ceremonies in imitation of the
Christian sacraments. They would beat the priests into insensibility,
under the pretence that they were the centres of sedition. When they
could discover no munitions in the churches, they would sometimes arm
the bishops and priests with guns, pistols, and swords, then try them
before court-martials for possessing weapons against the law, and march
them in this condition through the streets, merely to arouse the
fanatical wrath of the mobs. The gendarmes treated women with the same
cruelty and indecency as their husbands. There are cases on record in
which women accused of concealing weapons were stripped naked and
whipped with branches freshly cut from trees, and these beatings were
even inflicted on women who were with child. Violations so commonly
accompanied these searches that Armenian women and girls, on the
approach of the gendarmes, would flee to the woods, the hills, or to
mountain caves.

As a preliminary to the searches everywhere, the strong men of the
villages and towns were arrested and taken to prison. Their tormentors
here would exercise the most diabolical ingenuity in their attempt to
make their victims declare themselves to be “revolutionists” and to tell
the hiding-places of their arms. A common practice was to place the
prisoner in a room, with two Turks stationed at each end and each side.
The examination would then begin with the bastinado. This is a form of
torture not uncommon in the Orient; it consists of beating the soles of
the feet with a thin rod. At first the pain is not marked, but as the
process goes slowly on it develops into the most terrible agony, the
feet swell and burst, and not infrequently, after being submitted to
this treatment, they have to be amputated. The gendarmes would bastinado
their Armenian victim until he fainted; they would then revive him by
sprinkling water on his face and begin again. If this did not succeed in
bringing their victim to terms, they had numerous other methods of
persuasion. They would pull out his eyebrows and beard almost hair by
hair; they would extract his finger-nails and toe-nails; they would
apply red-hot irons to his breast; tear off his flesh with red-hot
pincers, and then pour boiled butter into the wounds. In some cases the
gendarmes would nail hands and feet to pieces of wood--evidently in
imitation of the crucifixion, and then, while the sufferer writhed in
his agony, they would cry: “Now let your Christ come and help you!”

These cruelties--and many others which I forbear to describe--were
usually inflicted in the night time. Turks would be stationed around the
prisons, beating drums and blowing whistles, so that the screams of the
sufferers would not reach the villagers.

In thousands of cases the Armenians who endured these agonies had
refused to surrender their arms simply because they had none to
surrender. However, they could not persuade their tormentors that this
was the case. It therefore became customary, when news was received that
the searchers were approaching, for Armenians to purchase arms from
their Turkish neighbours so that they might be able to give them up and
escape these frightful punishments.

One day I was discussing these proceedings with Bedri Bey, the
Constantinople Prefect of Police. With a disgusting relish Bedri
described the tortures inflicted. He made no secret of the fact that the
Government had instigated them, and, like all Turks of the official
classes, he enthusiastically approved this treatment of the detested
race. Bedri told me that all these details were matters of nightly
discussion at the headquarters of the Union and Progress Committee. Each
new method of inflicting pain was hailed as a splendid discovery, and
the regular attendants were constantly ransacking their brains in the
effort to devise some new torment. Bedri told me that they even delved
into the records of the Spanish Inquisition and other historic
institutions of torture, and adopted all the suggestions found there.
Bedri did not tell me who carried off the prize in this gruesome
competition, but common reputation throughout Armenia gave a pre-eminent
infamy to Djevdet Bey, the Vali of Van, whose activities in that section
I have already described. All through this country Djevdet now became
known as the “marshall blacksmith of Bashkale,” for this connoisseur in
torture had invented what was perhaps the masterpiece of all--that of
nailing horseshoes to the feet of his Armenian victims.

Yet these happenings did not constitute what the newspapers of the time
commonly referred to as the Armenian atrocities; they were merely the
preparatory steps in the destruction of a race. The Young Turks
displayed greater ingenuity than their predecessor, Abdul Hamid. The
injunction of the deposed Sultan was merely “to kill, kill,” whereas the
Turkish democracy hit upon an entirely new plan. Instead of massacring
outright the Armenian race, they now decided to deport it. In the south
and south-eastern section of the Ottoman Empire lies the Syrian desert
and the Mesopotamian valley. Though part of this area was once the scene
of a flourishing civilisation, for the last five centuries it has
suffered the plight that becomes the lot of any country that is
subjected to Turkish rule; and it is now a dreary, desolate waste,
without cities and towns or life of any kind, populated only by a few
wild and fanatical Bedouin tribes. Only the most industrious labour,
expended through many years, could transform this desert into the
abiding-place of any considerable population. The Central Government now
announced its intention of gathering the 2,000,000 or more Armenians
living in the several sections of the Empire and transporting them to
this desolate and inhospitable region. Had they undertaken such a
deportation in good faith it would have represented the height of
cruelty and injustice. For a large part the Armenians are not
agriculturists; their talents are chiefly for business and commercial
life; though many of them do cultivate farms and engage in
sheep-herding, many lived in cities and large towns, and, as I have
already said, they represent the economic force of the country. To seize
such peoples by the million and send them into one of the most barren
parts of Asia would have been an act of the most inhuman spoliation. As
a matter of fact, the Turks never had the slightest idea of
re-establishing the Armenians in this new country. They knew that the
great majority would never reach their destination and that those who
did would either die of thirst and starvation, or be murdered by the
wild Mohammedan desert tribes. The real purpose of the deportation was
robbery and destruction; it really represented a new method of massacre.
When Talaat, as Minister of the Interior, gave the orders for these
deportations, he was merely giving the death-warrant to a whole race; he
understood this well, and in his conversations with me he made no
particular attempt to conceal the fact.

All through the spring and summer of 1915 the deportations took place.
Of the larger cities, only Constantinople, Smyrna, and Kutahia were
spared; practically all other places where a single Armenian family
lived now became the scenes of these unspeakable tragedies. Scarcely a
single Armenian, whatever his education or wealth, or whatever the
social class to which he belonged, was exempted from the order. In some
villages placards were posted ordering the whole Armenian population to
present itself in a public place at an appointed time--usually a day or
two ahead, and in other places the town-crier would go through the
streets delivering the order vocally. In still others not the slightest
warning was given. The gendarmes would appear before an Armenian house
and order all the inmates to follow them. They would take women engaged
in their domestic tasks without giving them the chance to change their
clothes. The police fell upon them first as the eruption of Vesuvius
fell upon Pompeii; women were taken from the wash-tubs, children were
snatched out of bed, the bread would be left half-baked in the oven, the
family meal would be abandoned partly eaten, the children would be taken
from the schoolroom, leaving their books open at the daily task, the men
would be forced to abandon their plough in the fields and their cattle
on the mountain-side. Even women who had just given birth to children
would be forced to leave their beds and join the panic-stricken throng,
their sleeping babies in their arms. Such things as they hurriedly
snatched up--a shawl, a blanket, perhaps a few scraps of food--was all
that they could take of their household belongings. To their frantic
question, “Where are we going?” the gendarmes would vouchsafe only one
reply: “To the interior.”

In some cases the refugees were given a few hours, in exceptional
instances a few days, to dispose of their property and household
effects. But the proceeding, of course, amounted simply to robbery. They
could sell only to Turks, and since both buyers and sellers knew that
they had only a day or two to market the accumulations of a lifetime,
the prices obtained represented a small fraction of their value.
Sewing-machines would bring one or two dollars--a cow would go for a
dollar, a houseful of furniture would be sold for a pittance. In many
cases Armenians were prohibited from selling or Turks from buying even
at these ridiculous prices; under pretence that the Government intended
to sell their effects to pay the creditors whom they would inevitably
leave behind, their household furniture would be placed in stores or
heaped up in public places, where it was usually pillaged by Turkish men
and women. The Government officials would also inform the Armenians
that, since their deportation was only temporary, the intention being to
bring them back after the war was over, they would not be permitted to
sell their houses. Scarcely had the former possessors left the village,
when Mohammedan Mohadjirs--immigrants from other parts of Turkey--would
be moved into the Armenian quarters. Similarly all their valuables,
money, rings, watches, and jewellery, would be taken to the
police-stations for “safe keeping” pending their return, and then
parcelled out among the Turks. Yet these robberies gave the refugees
little anguish, for far more terrible and agonising scenes were taking
place under their eyes. The systematic extermination of the men
continued; such males as the persecutions which I have already described
had left, were now violently dealt with. Before the caravans were
started, it became the regular practice to separate the young men from
the families, tie them together in groups of four, lead them to the
outskirts, and shoot them. Public hangings without trial--the only
offence being that the victims were Armenians--were taking place
constantly. The gendarmes showed a particular desire to annihilate the
educated and the influential. From American Consuls and missionaries I
was constantly receiving reports of such executions, and many of the
events which they described will never fade from my memory. At Angora
all Armenian men from fifteen to seventy were arrested, bound together
in groups of four, and sent on the road in the direction of Cæsaria.
When they had travelled five or six hours and had reached a secluded
valley, a mob of Turkish peasants fell upon them with clubs, hammers,
axes, scythes, spades, and saws. Such instruments not only caused more
agonising deaths than guns and pistols, but, as the Turks themselves
boasted, they were more economical, since they did not involve the waste
of powder and shell. In this way they exterminated the whole male
population of Angora, including all its men of wealth and breeding, and
their bodies, horribly mutilated, were left in the valley, where they
were devoured by wild beasts. After completing this destruction, the
peasants and gendarmes gathered in the local tavern, comparing notes and
boasting of the number of “giaours” that each had slain. In Trebizond
the men were placed in boats and sent out on the Black Sea; gendarmes
would then come up in boats, shoot them down, and throw their bodies
into the water.

When the signal was given for the caravans to move, therefore, they
almost invariably consisted of women, children, and old men. Anyone who
could possibly have protected them from the fate that awaited them had
been destroyed. Not infrequently the prefect of the city, as the mass
started on its way, would wish them a derisive “pleasant journey.”
Before the caravan moved the women were sometimes offered the
alternative of becoming Mohammedans. Even though they accepted the new
faith, which few of them did, their earthly troubles did not end. The
converts were compelled to surrender their children to a so-called
“Moslem Orphanage,” with the agreement that they should be trained as
devout followers of the Prophet. They themselves must then show the
sincerity of their conversion by abandoning their Christian husbands and
marrying Moslems. If no good Mohammedan offered himself as a husband,
then the new convert was deported, however strongly she might protest
her devotion to Islam.

At first the Government showed some inclination to protect these
deporting throngs. The officers usually divided them into convoys, in
some cases numbering several hundred, in others several thousand. The
civil authorities occasionally furnished ox-carts which carried such
household furniture as the exiles had succeeded in scrambling together.
A guard of gendarmerie accompanied each convoy, ostensibly to guide and
protect it. Women, scantily clad, carrying babies in their arms or on
their backs, marched side by side with old men hobbling along with
canes. Children would run along, evidently regarding the procedure, in
the early stages, as some new lark. A more prosperous member would
perhaps have a horse or a donkey, occasionally a farmer had rescued a
cow or a sheep, which would trudge along at his side, and the usual
assortment of family pets, dogs, cats, and birds, became parts of the
variegated procession. From thousands of Armenian cities and villages
these despairing caravans now set forth; they filled all the roads
leading south; everywhere, as they moved on, they raised a huge dust,
and abandoned débris, chairs, blankets, bedclothes, household utensils,
and other impediments, marked the course of the processions. When the
caravans first started, the individuals bore some resemblance to human
beings; in a few hours, however, the dust of the road plastered their
faces and clothes, the mud caked their lower members, and the
slowly-advancing mobs, frequently bent with fatigue and crazed by the
brutality of their “protectors,” resembled some new and strange animal
species. Yet for the better part of six months, from April to October,
1915, practically all the highways in Asia Minor were crowded with these
unearthly bands of exiles. They could be seen winding in and out of
every valley and climbing up the sides of nearly every mountain--moving
on and on, they scarcely knew whither, except that every road led to
death. Village after village and town after town was evacuated of its
Armenian population, under the distressing circumstances already
detailed. In these six months, as far as can be ascertained, about
1,200,000 people started on this journey to the Syrian desert.

“Pray for us,” they would say as they left their homes--the homes in
which their ancestors had lived for 2,500 years. “We shall not see you
in this world again, but sometime we shall meet. Pray for us!”

The Armenians had hardly left their native villages when the
persecutions began. The roads over which they travelled were little more
than donkey-paths; and what had started a few hours before as an orderly
procession soon became a dishevelled and scrambling mob. Women were
separated from their children and husbands from their wives. The old
people soon lost contact with their families and became exhausted and
footsore. The Turkish drivers of the ox-carts, after extorting the last
penny from their charges, would suddenly dump them and their belongings
into the road, turn around and return to the village for other victims.
Thus in a short time practically everybody, young and old, was compelled
to travel on foot. The gendarmes whom the Government had sent supposedly
to protect the exiles, in a very few hours became their tormentors. They
followed their charges with fixed bayonets, prodding anyone who showed
any tendency to slacken the pace. Those who attempted to stop for rest,
or who fell exhausted on the road, were compelled, with the utmost
brutality, to rejoin the moving throng. They even prodded pregnant women
with bayonets; if one, as frequently happened, gave birth along the
road, she was immediately forced to get up and rejoin the marchers. The
whole course of the journey became a perpetual struggle with the Moslem
inhabitants. Detachments of gendarmes would go ahead notifying the
Kurdish tribes that their victims were approaching, and Turkish peasants
were also informed that their long-waited opportunity had arrived. The
Government even opened the prisons and set free the convicts, on the
understanding that they should behave like good Moslems to the
approaching Armenians. Thus every caravan had a continuous battle for
existence with several classes of enemies--their accompanying gendarmes,
the Turkish peasants and villagers, the Kurdish tribes and bands of
_Chétés_ or brigands. And we must always keep in mind that the men who
might have defended these wayfarers had nearly all been killed or forced
into the army as workmen, and that the exiles themselves had been
systematically deprived of all weapons before the journey began.

When they had travelled a few hours from their starting-place, the Kurds
would sweep down from their mountain homes. Rushing up to the young
girls, they would lift their veils and carry the pretty ones off to the
hills. They would steal such children as pleased their fancy and
mercilessly rob all the rest of the throng. If the exiles had started
with any money or food, their assailants would appropriate it, thus
leaving them a hopeless prey to starvation. They would steal their
clothing, and sometimes even leave both men and women in a state of
complete nudity. All the time that they were committing these
depradations the Kurds would freely massacre, and the screams of old men
and women would add to the general horror. Such as escaped these attacks
in the open would find new terrors awaiting them in the Moslem villages.
Here the Turkish roughs would fall upon the women, leaving them
sometimes dead from their experiences or sometimes ravingly insane.
After spending a night in a hideous encampment of this kind, the exiles,
or such as had survived, would start again the next morning. The
ferocity of the gendarmes apparently increased as the journey
lengthened, for they seemed almost to resent the fact that part of their
charges continued to live. Anyone who dropped on the road was frequently
bayoneted on the spot. The Armenians began to die by hundreds from
hunger and thirst. Even when they came to rivers, the gendarmes, merely
to torment them, would sometimes not let them drink. The hot sun of the
desert burned their scantily-clothed bodies, and the bare feet, treading
the hot sand of the desert, became so sore that thousands fell and died
or were killed where they lay. Thus, in a few days, what had been a
procession of normal human beings became a stumbling horde of
dust-covered skeletons, ravenously looking for scraps of food, eating
any offal that came their way, crazed by the hideous sights that filled
every hour of their existence, sick with all the diseases that accompany
such hardships and deprivations, but still prodded on and on by the
whips and clubs and bayonets of their executioners.

And thus, as the exiles moved they left behind them another
caravan--that of dead and unburied bodies, of old men and women in the
last stages of typhus, dysentery, and cholera, of little children lying
on their backs and setting up their last piteous wails for food and
water. There were women who held up their babies to strangers, begging
them to take them and save them from their tormentors, and failing this,
they would throw them into wells or leave them behind bushes, that at
least they might die undisturbed. Behind was left a small army of girls
who had been sold as slaves--frequently for a medjidie, or about eighty
cents--and who, after serving the brutal purposes of their purchasers,
were forced to lead lives of prostitution. A string of encampments
filled by the sick and the dying, mingled with the unburied or
half-buried bodies of the dead, marked the course of the advancing
throngs. Flocks of vultures followed them in the air, and ravenous dogs,
fighting one another for the bodies of the dead, constantly pursued
them. The most terrible scenes took place at the rivers, especially the
Euphrates. Sometimes, when crossing this stream, the gendarmes would
push the women into the water, shooting all who attempted to save
themselves by swimming. Frequently the women themselves would save their
honour by jumping into the river, their children in their arms. “In the
last week in June,” I quote from an authentic report, “several parties
of Erzeroum Armenians were deported on successive days and most of them
massacred on the way, either by shooting or drowning. One, Madame
Zarouhi, an elderly lady of means, who was thrown into the Euphrates,
saved herself by clinging to a boulder in the river. She succeeded in
approaching the bank and returned to Erzeroum to hide herself in a
Turkish friend’s house. She told Prince Argoutinsky, the representative
of the ‘All-Russian Urban Union’ in Erzeroum, that she shuddered to
recall how hundreds of children were bayoneted by the Turks and thrown
into the Euphrates, and how men and women were stripped naked, tied
together in hundreds, shot, and then hurled into the river. In a loop of
the river near Erzinghan, she said, the thousands of dead bodies created
such a barrage that the Euphrates changed its course for about a hundred
yards.”

It is absurd for the Turkish Government to assert that it ever seriously
intended to “deport the Armenians to new homes”; the treatment which was
given the convoys clearly shows that extermination was the real purpose
of Enver and Talaat. How many exiled to the south under these revolting
conditions ever reached their destinations? The experiences of a single
caravan shows how completely this plan of deportation developed into one
of annihilation. The details in question were furnished me directly by
the American Consul at Aleppo, and are now on file in the State
Department at Washington. On the first of June a convoy of 3,000
Armenians, mostly women, girls, and children, left Harpoot. Following
the usual custom the Government provided them an escort of seventy
gendarmes, under the command of a Turkish leader--Bey. In accordance
with the common experience these gendarmes proved to be not their
protectors, but their tormentors and their executioners. Hardly had they
got well started on the road when ... Bey took 400 liras from the
caravan, on the plea that he was keeping it safely until their arrival
at Malatia; no sooner had he robbed them of the only thing that might
have provided them with food than he ran away, leaving them all to the
tender mercies of the gendarmes.

All the way to Ras-ul-Ain, the first station on the Bagdad line, the
existence of these wretched travellers was one prolonged horror. The
gendarmes went ahead, informing the half-savage tribes of the mountains
that several thousand Armenian women and girls were approaching. The
Arabs and Kurds began to carry off the girls, the mountaineers fell upon
them repeatedly, killing and violating the women, and the gendarmes
themselves joined in the orgy. One by one the few men that accompanied
the convoy were killed. The women had succeeded in secreting money from
their persecutors, keeping it in their mouths and hair; with this they
would buy horses, only to have them repeatedly stolen by the Kurdish
tribesmen. Finally the gendarmes, having robbed and beaten and killed
and violated their charges for thirteen days, abandoned them altogether.
Two days afterward the Kurds went through the party and rounded up all
the males who still remained alive. They found about 150, their ages
varying from fifteen to ninety years, and these they promptly took away
and butchered to the last man. But that same day another convoy from
Sivas joined this one from Harpoot, increasing the numbers of the whole
caravan to 18,000 people.

Another Kurdish Bey now took command, and to him, as to all men placed
in the same position, the opportunity was regarded merely as one for
pillage, outrage, and murder. This chieftain summoned all his followers
from the mountains and invited these to work their complete will upon
this great mass of Armenians. Day after day and night after night the
prettiest girls were carried away; sometimes they returned in a pitiable
condition that told the full story of their sufferings. Any stragglers,
those who were so old and infirm and sick that they could not keep up
with the marches, were promptly killed. Whenever they reached a Turkish
village all the local vagabonds were permitted to prey upon the Armenian
girls. When the diminishing band reached the Euphrates they saw the
bodies of 200 men floating upon the surface. By this time they had all
been so repeatedly robbed that they had practically nothing left except
a few ragged clothes, and even these the Kurds now took, the consequence
being that the whole convoy marched for five days completely naked under
the scorching desert sun. For another five days they did not have a
morsel of bread or a drop of water. “Hundreds fell dead on the way,” the
report reads; “their tongues were turned to charcoal, and when, at the
end of five days, they reached a fountain, the whole convoy naturally
rushed toward it. But here the policemen barred the way and forebade
them to take a single drop of water. Their purpose was to sell it at
from one to three liras a cup, and sometimes they actually withheld the
water after getting the money. At another place, where there were wells,
some women threw themselves into them, as there was no rope or pail to
draw up the water. These women were drowned and, in spite of that, the
rest of the people drank from that well, the dead bodies still remaining
there and polluting the water. Sometimes when the wells were shallow
and the women could go down into them and come out again, the other
people would rush to lick or suck their wet, dirty clothes, in the
effort to quench their thirst. When they passed an Arab village in their
naked condition the Arabs pitied them and gave them old pieces of cloth
to cover themselves with. Some of the exiles who still had money bought
some clothes; but some still remained who travelled thus naked all the
way to the city of Aleppo. The poor women could hardly walk for shame;
they all walked bent double.”

On the seventieth day a few creatures reached Aleppo. Out of the
combined convey of 18,000 souls just 150 women and children reached
their destination. A few of the rest, the most attractive, were still
living as captives of the Kurds and Turks; all the rest were dead.

My only reason for relating such dreadful things as this is that,
without the details, the English-speaking public cannot understand
precisely what this nation is which we call Turkey. I have by no means
told the most terrible details, for a complete narration of the sadistic
orgies of which these Armenian men and women were the victims can never
be printed in an American publication. Whatever crimes the most
perverted instincts of the human mind can devise, and whatever
refinements of persecution and injustice the most debased imagination
can conceive, became the daily misfortunes of this devoted people. I am
confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such
horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the
past seem almost insignificant when compared to the sufferings of the
Armenian race in 1915. The slaughter of the Albigenses in the early part
of the thirteenth century has always been regarded as one of the most
pitiful events in history. In these outbursts of fanaticism about 60,000
people were killed. In the massacre of St. Bartholomew about 30,000
human beings lost their lives. The Sicilian Vespers, which has always
figured as one of the most fiendish outbursts of this kind, caused the
destruction of 8,000. Volumes have been written about the Spanish
Inquisition under Torquemada, yet in the eighteen years of his
administration only a little more than 8,000 heretics were done to
death. Perhaps the one event in history that most resembles the Armenian
deportations was the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by Ferdinand and
Isabella. According to Prescott 160,000 were uprooted from their homes
and scattered broadcast over Africa and Europe. Yet all these previous
persecutions seem almost trivial when we compare them with the
sufferings of the Armenians, in which at least 600,000 people were
destroyed and perhaps as many as 1,000,000. And these earlier massacres,
when we compare them with the spirit that directed the Armenian
atrocities, have one feature that we can almost describe as an excuse:
they were the product of religious fanaticism, and most of the men and
women who instigated them sincerely believed that they were devoutly
serving their Maker. Undoubtedly religious fanaticism was an impelling
motive with the Turkish and Kurdish rabble who slew Armenians as a
service to Allah, but the men who really conceived the crime had no such
motive. Practically all of them were atheists, with no more respect for
Mohammedanism than for Christianity, and with them the one motive was a
cold-blooded, calculating state policy.

The Armenians are not the only subject people in Turkey who have
suffered from this policy of making Turkey exclusively the country of
the Turks. The story which I have told about the Armenians I could also
tell with certain modifications about the Greeks and the Syrians.
Indeed, the Greeks were the first victims of this nationalising idea. I
have already described how, in the few months preceding the European
war, the Ottoman Government began deporting its Greek subjects along the
coast of Asia Minor. These outrages aroused little interest in Europe or
the United States, yet in the space of three or four months about
400,000 Greeks were taken from their age-long homes in the Mediterranean
littoral and removed to the Greek Islands in the Ægean Sea. For the
larger part these were _bona fide_ deportations; that is, the Greek
inhabitants were actually removed to new places and were not subjected
to wholesale massacre. It was probably for the reason that the civilised
world did not protest against these deportations that the Turks
afterward decided to apply the same methods on a larger scale not only
to the Greeks but to the Armenians, Syrians, Nestorians, and others of
its subject peoples. In fact, Bedri Bey, the Prefect of Police at
Constantinople, himself told one of my secretaries that the Turks had
expelled the Greeks so successfully that they had decided to adopt the
same method to all the other races in the empire.

The martyrdom of the Greeks therefore comprised two periods, that
antedating the war, and that which began in the early part of 1915. The
first affected the Greeks living on the sea-coast of Asia Minor. The
second affected those living in Thrace and in the territories
surrounding the Sea of Marmora, the Dardanelles, the Bosphorus, and the
coast of the Black Sea. These latter, to the extent of several hundred
thousand, were sent to the interior of Asia Minor. The Turks adopted
almost identically the same procedure against the Greeks as that which
they had adopted against the Armenians. They began by incorporating the
Greeks into the Ottoman Army and then transforming them into labour
battalions, using them to build roads in the Caucasus and other scenes
of action. These Greek soldiers, just like the Armenians, died by
thousands from cold, hunger, and other privations. The same
house-to-house searches for hidden weapons took place in the Greek
villages, and Greek men and women were beaten and tortured just as were
their fellow Armenians. The Greeks had to submit to the same forced
requisitions, which amounted in their case, as in the case of the
Armenians, merely to plundering on a wholesale scale. The Turks
attempted to force the Greek subjects to become Mohammedans; Greek
girls, just like Armenian girls, were stolen and taken to Turkish
harems, and Greek boys were kidnapped and placed in Moslem households.
The Greeks, just like the Armenians, were accused of disloyalty to the
Ottoman Government; the Turks accused them of furnishing supplies to the
English submarines in the Marmora and also of acting as spies. The Turks
also declared that the Greeks were not loyal to the Ottoman Government,
but that they also looked forward to the day when the Greeks outside of
Turkey would become part of Greece. These latter charges were
unquestionably true; that the Greeks, after suffering for five centuries
the most unspeakable outrages at the hands of the Turks, should look
longingly to the day when their territory should be part of the
Fatherland, was to be expected. The Turks, as in the case of the
Armenians, seized upon this as an excuse for a violent onslaught on the
whole race. Everywhere the Greeks were gathered in groups and, under the
so-called protection of Turkish gendarmes, they were transported, the
larger part on foot, into the interior. Just how many were scattered in
this fashion is not definitely known, the estimates varying anywhere
from 200,000 up to 1,000,000. These caravans suffered great privations,
but they were not submitted to general massacre as were the Armenians,
and this is probably the reason why the outside world has not heard so
much about them. The Turks showed them this greater consideration not
from any motive of pity. The Greeks, unlike the Armenians, had a
Government which was vitally interested in their welfare. At this time
there was a general apprehension among the Teutonic Allies that Greece
would enter the war on the side of the Entente, and a wholesale massacre
of Greeks in Asia Minor would unquestionably have produced such a state
of mind in Greece that its pro-German king would have been unable longer
to have kept his country out of the war. It was only a matter of state
policy, therefore, that saved these Greek subjects of Turkey from all
the horrors that befell the Armenians. But their sufferings are still
terrible, and constitute another chapter in the long story of crimes for
which civilisation will hold the Turk responsible.



CHAPTER XXV

TALAAT TELLS WHY HE “ANNIHILATES” THE ARMENIANS


It was some time before the story of the Armenian atrocities reached the
American Embassy in all their horrible details. In January and February
fragmentary reports began to filter in, but the tendency was at first to
regard them as mere manifestations of the disorders that had prevailed
in the Armenian provinces for many years. When the reports came from
Urumia both Enver and Talaat dismissed them as wild exaggerations, and
when for the first time we heard of the disturbances at Van, these
Turkish officials declared that they were nothing more than a mob
uprising which they would soon have under control. I now see what was
not apparent in those early months, that the Turkish Government was
determined to keep the news, as long as possible, from the outside
world. It was clearly the intention that Europe and America should hear
of the annihilation of the Armenian race only after that annihilation
had been accomplished. As the country which the Turks particularly
wished to keep in ignorance was the United States, they resorted to most
shameless prevarications when discussing the situation with myself and
with my staff.

In early April the authorities arrested about two hundred Armenians in
Constantinople and sent them into the interior. Many of those who were
then deported were educational and social leaders and men who were
prominent in industry and in finance. I knew many of these men and
therefore felt a personal interest in their misfortunes. But when I
spoke to Talaat about their expulsion, he replied that the Government
was acting in self-defence. The Armenians at Van, he said, had already
shown their abilities as revolutionists; he knew that these leaders in
Constantinople were corresponding with the Russians, and he had every
reason to fear that they would start an insurrection against the Central
Government. The safest plan, therefore, was to send them to Angora and
other interior towns. Talaat denied that this was part of any general
concerted scheme to rid the city of its Armenian population, and
insisted that the Armenian masses in Constantinople would not be
disturbed.

But soon the accounts from the interior became more specific and more
disquieting. The withdrawal of the Allied fleet from the Dardanelles
produced a distinct change in the atmosphere. Until then there were
numerous indications that all was not going well in the Armenian
provinces; when it at last became definitely established, however, that
the traditional friends of Armenia, Great Britain, France, and Russia,
could do nothing to help that suffering people, the mask began to
disappear. In April I was suddenly deprived of the privilege of using
the cipher for communicating with American Consuls. The most rigorous
censorship also was applied to letters. Such measures could mean only
that things were happening in Asia Minor which the authorities were
determined to conceal. But they did not succeed. Though all sorts of
impediments were placed to travelling, certain Americans, chiefly
missionaries, succeeded in getting through. For hours they would sit in
my office and, with tears streaming down their faces, tell me of the
horrors through which they had passed. Many of these, both men and
women, were almost broken in health from the scenes which they had
witnessed. In many cases they brought me letters from American Consuls,
confirming the most dreadful of their narrations and adding many
unprintable details. The general purport of all these first-hand reports
was that the utter depravity and fiendishness of the Turkish nature,
already sufficiently celebrated through the centuries, had now surpassed
itself. There was only one hope of saving nearly 2,000,000 people from
massacre, starvation, and even worse, I was told--that was the moral
power of the United States. These spokesmen of a condemned nation
declared that, unless the American Ambassador could persuade the Turk to
stay his destroying arm, the whole Armenian nation must disappear. It
was not only American and Canadian missionaries who made this personal
appeal. Several of their German associates begged me to intercede. These
men and women confirmed all the worst things which I had heard, and they
were unsparing in denouncing their own Fatherland. They did net conceal
the humiliation which they felt as Germans in the fact that their own
nation was allied with a people that could perpetrate such infamies, but
they understood German policy well enough to know that Germany would not
intercede. There was no use in expecting aid from the Kaiser, they
said--America must stop the massacres, or they would go on.

Technically, of course, I had no right to interfere. According to the
cold-blooded legalities of the situation, the treatment of Turkish
subjects by the Turkish Government was purely a domestic affair; unless
it directly affected American lives and American interests it was
outside the concern of the American Government. When I first approached
Talaat on the subject he called my attention to this fact in no
uncertain terms. This interview was one of the most exciting which I had
had up to that time. Two missionaries had just called upon me, giving
the full details of the frightful happenings at Konia. After listening
to their stories I could not restrain myself, and went immediately to
the Sublime Porte. I saw at once that Talaat was in one of his most
ferocious states of mind. For months he had been attempting to secure
the release of two of his closest friends, Ayoub Sabri and Zinnoun, who
were held as prisoners by the English at Malta. His failure in this
matter was a constant grievance and irritation; he was always talking
about it, always making new suggestions for getting his friends back to
Turkey, and always appealing to me for help. So furious did the Turkish
Boss become when thinking about his absent friends that we usually
referred to these manifestations as Talaat in his “Ayoub Sabri moods.”
This particular morning the Minister of the Interior was in one of his
worst “Ayoub Sabri moods.” Once more he had been working for the release
of the exiles, and once more he had failed. As usual, he attempted to
preserve outer calm and courtesy to me, but his short, snappy phrases,
his bull-dog rigidity, and his wrists planted on the table showed that
it was an unfavourable moment to stir him to any sense of pity or
remorse. I first spoke to him about a Canadian missionary, Dr.
McNaughton, who was receiving harsh treatment in Asia Minor.

“The man is an English agent,” he replied, “and we have the evidence for
it.”

“Let me see it,” I asked.

“We’ll do nothing for any Englishman or any Canadian,” he replied,
“until they release Ayoub and Zinnoun.”

“But you promised to treat English in the employ of Americans as
Americans,” I replied.

“That may be,” rejoined the Minister, “but a promise is not made to be
kept for ever. I withdraw that promise now. There is a time limit on a
promise.”

“But if a promise is not binding, what is?” I asked.

“A guarantee,” Talaat answered quickly.

This fine Turkish distinction had a certain metaphysical interest, but I
had more practical matters to discuss at that time. So I began to talk
about the Armenians at Konia. I had started, when Talaat’s attitude
became even more belligerent. His eyes lighted up, he brought his jaws
together, leaned over toward me, and snapped out:

“Are _they_ Americans?”

The implications of this question were hardly diplomatic; it was merely
a way of telling me that the matter was none of my business. In a moment
Talaat said this in so many words.

“The Armenians are not to be trusted,” he said; “besides, what we do
with them does not concern the United States.”

I replied that I regarded myself as the friend of the Armenians and was
shocked at the way that they were being treated. But he shook his head
and refused to discuss the matter. I saw that nothing could be gained by
forcing the issue at that time. I spoke on behalf of another British
subject who was not being treated properly.

“He’s English, isn’t he?” answered Talaat. “Then I shall do as I like
with him!”

“Eat him, if you wish!” I replied.

“Oh,” said Talaat, “he would go against my digestion.” He was altogether
in a reckless mood. “_Gott strafe England!_” he shouted, using one of
the few German phrases that he knew. “As to your Armenians, we don’t
give a rap for the future! We live only in the present! As to the
English, I wish you would telegraph Washington that we shall not do a
thing for them until they let out Ayoub Sabri and Zinnoun!”

Then, leaning over, he struck a pose, pressed his hand to his head, and
said in English--I think this must have been almost all the English he
knew:

“Ayoub Sabri--he--my--brudder!”

Despite this, I made another plea for Dr. McNaughton.

“He’s not American,” said Talaat, “he’s a Canadian.”

“It’s almost the same thing,” I said.

“Well,” replied Talaat, “if I let him go will you promise that the
United States will annex Canada?”

“I promise,” said I, and we both laughed at this little joke.

“Every time you come here,” Talaat finally said, “you always steal
something from me. All right, you can have your McNaughton!”

Certainly this interview was not an encouraging beginning, so far as the
Armenians were concerned. But Talaat was not always in an “Ayoub Sabri
mood.” He went from one emotion to another as lightly as a child; I
would find him fierce and unyielding one day, and uproariously
good-natured and accommodating the next. Prudence indicated, therefore,
that I should await one of his more congenial moments before approaching
him on the subject that aroused all the barbarity in his nature. Such
an opportunity soon presented itself. One day, soon after the interview
chronicled above, I called on Talaat again. The first thing he did was
to open his desk and pull out a handful of yellow cablegrams.

“Why don’t you give this money to us?” he said, with a grin.

“What money?” I asked.

“Here is a cablegram for you from America, sending you a lot of money
for the Armenians. You ought not to use it that way; give it to us
Turks, we need it as badly as they do.”

“I have not received any such cablegram,” I replied.

“Oh no, but you will,” he answered. “I always get all your cablegrams
first, you know. After I have finished reading them I send them around
to you.”

This statement was the literal truth. Every morning all the open
cablegrams received in Constantinople were forwarded to Talaat, who read
them all before consenting to their being forwarded to their
destination. Even the cablegrams of the Ambassadors were apparently not
exempt, though, of course, the ciphered messages were not interfered
with. Ordinarily I might have protested against this infringement of my
rights, but Talaat’s engaging frankness in pilfering my correspondence,
and in even waving my own cablegrams in my face, gave me an excellent
opening to introduce the forbidden subject.

I thought I would be a little tactful, and so began by suggesting that
the Central Government was probably not to blame for the massacres.

But on this occasion, as on many others, Talaat was evasive and
non-committal, and showed much hostility to the interest which the
American people were manifesting in the Armenians. He explained his
policy on the ground that the Armenians were in constant correspondence
with the Russians. The definite impression which these conversations
left upon me was that Talaat was the most implacable enemy of this
persecuted race. “He gave me the impression,” such is the entry which I
find in my diary on August 3rd, “that Talaat is the one who desires to
crush the poor Armenians.” He told me that the Union and Progress
Committee had carefully considered the matter in all its details, and
that the policy which was being pursued was that which they had
officially adopted. He said that I must not get the idea that the
deportations had been decided upon hastily; in reality they were the
result of prolonged and careful deliberation. To my repeated appeals
that he should show mercy to these people he sometimes responded
seriously, sometimes angrily, and sometimes flippantly.

“Some day,” he once said, “I will come and discuss the whole Armenian
subject with you,” and then he added in a low tone in Turkish, “But that
day will never come.”

“Why are you interested in the Armenians, anyway?” he said on another
occasion. “You are a Jew; these people are Christians. The Mohammedans
and the Jews always get on harmoniously. We are treating the Jews here
all right. What have you to complain of? Why can’t you let us do with
these Christians as we please?”

I had always remarked that the Turks regard practically every question
as a personal matter, yet this point of view rather stunned me. It was,
however, a complete revelation of Turkish mentality; the fact that,
above all considerations of race and religion, there are such things as
humanity and civilisation never for a moment enters their mind. They can
understand a Christian fighting for a Christian and a Jew fighting for a
Jew, but such abstractions as justice and decency form no part of their
conception of things.

“You don’t seem to realise,” I replied, “that I am not here as a Jew,
but as American Ambassador. My county contains something more than
97,000,000 Christians and something less than 3,000,000 Jews. So, at
least in my ambassadorial capacity, I am 97 per cent. Christian. But,
after all, that is not the point. I do not appeal to you in the name of
any race or any religion, but merely as a human being. You have told me
many times that you want to make Turkey a part of the modern progressive
world. The way you are treating the Armenians will not help you to
realise that ambition; it puts you in the class of backward, reactionary
peoples.”

“We treat the Americans all right, too,” said Talaat, “I don’t see why
you should complain.”

“But Americans are outraged at your persecutions of the Armenians,” I
replied. “You must base your principles on humanitarianism, not racial
discrimination, or the United States will not regard you as a friend and
an equal. And you should understand the great changes that are taking
place among Christians all over the world. They are forgetting their
differences and all sects are coming together as one. You look down on
American missionaries, but don’t forget that it is the best element in
America that supports their work, especially their educational
institutions. Americans are not mere materialists, always chasing
money--they are broadly humanitarian, and interested in the spread of
justice and civilisation throughout the world. After this war is over
you will face a new situation. You say that if victorious you can defy
the world, but you are wrong. You will have to meet public opinion
everywhere, especially in the United States. Our people will never
forget these massacres. They will always resent the wilful destruction
of Christians in Turkey. They will look upon it as nothing but wilful
murder, and will seriously condemn all the men who are responsible for
it. You will not be able to protect yourself under your political status
and say that you acted as Minister of the Interior and not as Talaat.
You are defying all ideas of justice as we understand the term in our
country.”

Strangely enough, these remarks did not offend Talaat, but they did not
shake his determination. I might as well have been talking to a stone
wall. From my abstractions he immediately came down to something
definite.

“These people,” he said, “refused to disarm when we told them to. They
opposed us at Van and at Zeitoun, and they helped the Russians. There is
only one way in which we can defend ourselves against them in the
future, and that is just to deport them.”

“Suppose a few Armenians did betray you,” I said. “Is that a reason for
destroying a whole race? Is that an excuse for making innocent women and
children suffer?”

“Those things are inevitable,” he replied.

This remark to me was not quite so illuminating as one which he made
subsequently to a reporter of the _Berliner Tageblatt_, who asked him
the same question. “We have been reproached,” he said, according to this
interviewer, “for making no distinction between the innocent Armenians
and the guilty; but that was utterly impossible in view of the fact that
those who were innocent to-day might be guilty to-morrow”!

My repeated protestations evidently persuaded Talaat that at least I was
entitled to an explanation of the official attitude of the Ottoman
Government. In the early part of August, therefore, he sent a personal
messenger to me, asking me if I could not see him alone, as he wished to
go over the whole Armenian situation. This was the first time that
Talaat had admitted that his treatment of the Armenians was a matter
with which I had any concern. The interview took place two days
afterwards. It so happened that since the last time I had visited Talaat
I had shaved my beard. As soon as I came in the burly Minister began
talking in his customary bantering fashion. “You have become a young man
again,” he said; “you are so young now that I cannot come to you for
advice any more.”

“I have shaved my beard,” I replied, “because it had become very
grey--made grey by your treatment of the Armenians.”

After this exchange of compliments we settled down to the business in
hand. “Whenever you have any Armenian matters to discuss,” Talaat began,
“I should always prefer that you see me alone. I have asked you to come
to-day so that I can explain our position on the whole Armenian subject.
We base our objections to the Armenians on three distinct grounds. In
the first place, they have enriched themselves at the expense of the
Turks. In the second place, they are determined to domineer over us and
to establish a separate State. In the third place, they have openly
encouraged our enemies. They have assisted the Russians in the Caucasus,
and our failure there is largely explained by their actions. We have
therefore come to the irrevocable decision that we shall make them
powerless before this war is ended.”

On every one of these points I had plenty of arguments and rebuttal.
Talaat’s first objection was merely an admission that the Armenians were
more industrious and more able than the thick-witted and lazy Turk.
Massacre as a means of destroying business competition was certainly an
original conception! His general charge that the Armenians were
“conspiring” against Turkey, and that they openly sympathised with
Turkey’s enemies, merely meant, when reduced to its original elements,
that the Armenians were constantly appealing to the European Powers to
protect them against robbery, murder, and outrage. The Armenian problem,
like all race problems, was the result of centuries of ill-treatment and
injustice. There could be only one solution for it, the creation of an
orderly system of government, in which all citizens were to be treated
upon an equality, and in which all offences were to be punished as the
acts of individuals, and not as of peoples. I argued for a long time
along these and similar lines.

“It is no use for you to argue,” Talaat answered, “we have already
disposed of three-quarters of the Armenians; there are none at all left
in Bitlis, Van, and Erzeroum. The hatred between the Turks and the
Armenians is now so intense that we have got to finish with them. If we
don’t, they will plan their revenge.”

“If you are not influenced by humane considerations,” I replied, “think
of the material loss. These people are your business men. They control
many of your industries. They are your largest tax-payers. What would
become of you commercially without them?”

“We care nothing about the commercial loss,” replied Talaat. “We have
figured all that out and we know that it will not exceed five million
pounds. We don’t worry about that. I have asked you to come here so as
to let you know that our Armenian policy is absolutely fixed and that
nothing can change it. We will not have the Armenians anywhere in
Anatolia. They can live in the desert, but nowhere else.”

I still attempted to persuade Talaat that the treatment of the Armenians
was destroying Turkey in the eyes of the world, and that his country
would never be able to recover from this infamy.

“You are making a terrible mistake,” I said, and repeated the statement
three times.

“Yes, we may make mistakes,” he replied, “but”--and he firmly closed his
lips and shook his head--“we never regret.”

I had many talks with Talaat on the Armenians, but I never succeeded in
moving him in the slightest degree. He always came back to the points
which he made in this interview. He was very willing to grant any
request I made on behalf of the Americans, or even of the French and
English, but I could obtain no general concessions for the Armenians. He
seemed to me always to have the deepest personal feeling in this matter.
His antagonism to the Armenians seemed to increase as their sufferings
increased. One day, discussing a particular Armenian, I told Talaat that
he was mistaken in regarding this man as an enemy of the Turks; that in
reality he was their friend.

“No Armenian,” replied Talaat, “can be our friend after what we have
done to them.”

One day Talaat made what was perhaps the most astonishing request I had
ever heard. The New York Life Insurance Company and the Equitable Life
of New York had for years done considerable business among the
Armenians. The extent to which they insured their lives was merely
another indication of their thrifty habits.

“I wish,” Talaat now said, “that you would get the American life
insurance companies to send us a complete list of their Armenian
policy-holders. They are practically all dead now, and have left no
heirs to collect the money. It, of course, all escheats to the State.
The Government is the beneficiary now. Will you do so?”

This was almost too much, and I lost my temper.

“You will get no such lists from me,” I said, and got up and left him.

One other episode involving the Armenians stirred Talaat to one of his
most ferocious moods. In the latter part of September Mrs. Morgenthau
left for America. The sufferings of the Armenians had greatly preyed
upon her mind, and she really left for home because she could not any
longer endure to live in such a country. But she determined to make one
last intercession for this poor people on her own account. Her way home
took her through Bulgaria, and she had received an intimation that Queen
Eleanor of that country would be glad to receive her. Perhaps it was
Mrs. Morgenthau’s well-known interest in social work that led to this
invitation. Queen Eleanor was a high-minded woman, who had led a sad and
lonely existence, and who was spending most of her time attempting to
improve the condition of the poor in Bulgaria. She knew all about social
work in the American cities, and a few years before she had made all her
plans to visit the United States in order to study our settlements at
first hand. At the time of Mrs. Morgenthau’s visit the Queen had two
American nurses from the Henry Street Settlement of New York instructing
a group of Bulgarian girls in the methods of the American Red Cross.

My wife was mainly interested in visiting the Queen in order that, as
one woman to another, she might make a plea for the Armenians. At that
time the question of Bulgaria’s entrance into the war had reached a
critical stage, and Turkey was prepared to make concessions to gain her
as an ally. It was therefore a propitious moment to make such an appeal.

The Queen received Mrs. Morgenthau informally, and my wife spent about
an hour telling her all about the Armenians. Most of what she said was
entirely new to the Queen. Little had yet appeared in the European Press
on this subject, and Queen Eleanor was precisely the kind of woman from
whom the truth would be concealed as long as possible. Mrs. Morgenthau
gave her all the facts about the treatment of Armenian women and
children and asked her to intercede on their behalf. She even went so
far as to suggest that it would be a terrible thing for Bulgaria, which
in the past had herself suffered such atrocities at the hands of the
Turks, now to become their allies in war. Queen Eleanor was greatly
moved. She thanked my wife for telling her these truths and said that
she would intercede immediately and see if something could not be done.

Just as Mrs. Morgenthau was getting ready to leave she saw the Duke of
Mecklenburg standing near the door. The Duke was in Sofia at that time
attempting to arrange for Bulgaria’s participation in the war. The Queen
introduced him to Mrs. Morgenthau; his Highness was polite, but his air
was rather cold and injured. His whole manner, particularly the stern
glances which he cast on Mrs. Morgenthau, showed that he had heard a
considerable part of the conversation! As he was exerting all his
efforts to bring Bulgaria in on Germany’s side, it is not surprising
that he did not relish the hope which Mrs. Morgenthau expressed to the
Queen that Bulgaria should not ally herself with Turkey.

Queen Eleanor immediately interested herself in the Armenian cause, and,
as a result, the Bulgarian Minister to Turkey was instructed to protest
against the atrocities. This protest accomplished nothing, but it did
arouse Talaat’s momentary wrath against the American Ambassador. A few
days afterward, when routine business called me to the Sublime Porte, I
found him in an exceedingly ugly humour. He answered most of my
questions savagely and in monosyllables, and I was afterward told that
Mrs. Morgenthau’s intercession with the Queen had put him into this
mood. In a few days, however, he was as good-natured as ever; for
Bulgaria had taken sides with Turkey.

Talaat’s attitude toward the Armenians was summed up in the proud boast
which he made to his friends: “I have accomplished more toward solving
the Armenian problem in three months than Abdul Hamid accomplished in
thirty years!”



CHAPTER XXVI

ENVER PASHA DISCUSSES THE ARMENIANS


All this time I was bringing pressure upon Enver also. The Minister of
War, as I have already indicated, was a different type of man from
Talaat. He concealed his real feelings much more successfully; he was
usually suave, cold-blooded, and scrupulously polite. And at first he
was by no means so callous as Talaat in discussing the Armenians. He
dismissed the early stories as wild exaggerations, declared that the
troubles at Van were merely ordinary warfare, and attempted to quiet my
fears that the wholesale annihilation of the Armenians had been decided
on. Yet all the time that Enver was attempting to deceive me he was
making open admissions to other people--a fact of which I was aware. In
particular, he made no attempt to conceal the real situation from Dr.
Lepsius, a representative of German missionary interests. Dr. Lepsius
was a high-minded Christian gentleman. He had been all through the
Armenian massacres of 1895, and he had raised considerable sums of money
to build orphanages for Armenian children who had lost their parents at
that time. He came again in 1915 to investigate the Armenian situation
on behalf of German missionary interests. He asked for the privilege of
inspecting the reports of American Consuls, and I granted it. These
documents, supplemented by other information which Dr. Lepsius derived
largely from German missionaries in the interior, left no doubt in his
mind as to the policy of the Turks. His feelings were aroused chiefly
against his own Government. He expressed to me the humiliation which he
felt, as a German, that the Turks should deliberately set about to
exterminate their Christian subjects while Germany, ostensibly a
Christian country, was making no endeavours to prevent it. To him Enver
scarcely concealed the official purpose. Dr. Lepsius was simply
staggered by his frankness, for Enver told him in so many words that
they at last had an opportunity to rid themselves of the Armenians and
that they proposed to use it.

By this time Enver had become more frank with me--the circumstantial
reports which I possessed made it useless for him to attempt to conceal
the true situation further--and we had many long and animated
discussions on the subject. One of these I recall with particular
vividness. I notified Enver that I intended to take up the matter in
detail, and he laid aside enough time to go over the whole situation.

“The Armenians had a fair warning,” Enver began, “of what would happen
to them in case they joined our enemies. Three months ago I sent for the
Armenian Patriarch and told him that if the Armenians attempted to start
a revolution, or to assist the Russians, I would be unable to prevent
mischief from happening to them. My warning produced no effect, and the
Armenians started a revolution and helped the Russians. You know what
happened at Van. They obtained control of the city, used bombs against
Government buildings, and killed a large number of Moslems. We knew that
they were planning uprisings in other places. You must understand that
we are now fighting for our lives at the Dardanelles, and that we are
sacrificing thousands of men. While we are engaged in such a struggle as
this we cannot permit people in our own country to attack us in the
back. We have got to prevent this, no matter what means we have to
resort to. It is absolutely true that I am not opposed to the Armenians
as a people. I have the greatest admiration for their intelligence and
industry, and I should like nothing better than to see them become a
real part of our nation. But if they ally themselves with our enemies,
as they did in the Van district, they will have to be destroyed. I have
taken pains to see that no injustice is done; only recently I gave
orders to have three Armenians who had been deported returned to their
homes when I found that they were innocent. Russia, France, Great
Britain and America are doing the Armenians no kindness by sympathising
with and encouraging them. I know what such encouragement means to a
people who are inclined to revolution. When our Union and Progress Party
attacked Abdul Hamid we received all our moral encouragement from the
outside world. This encouragement was of great help to us and had much
to do with our success. It might similarly now help the Armenians and
their revolutionary programme. I am sure that if these outside countries
did not encourage them they would give up their efforts to oppose the
present Government and become law-abiding citizens. We now have this
country in our absolute control, and we can easily revenge ourselves on
any revolutionists.”

“After all,” I said, “suppose what you say is true, why not punish the
guilty? Why sacrifice a whole race for the alleged crimes of
individuals?”

“Your point is all right during peace times,” replied Enver. “We can
then use Platonic means to quiet Armenians and Greeks; but in time of
war we cannot investigate and negotiate. We must act promptly and with
determination. I also think that the Armenians are making a mistake in
depending upon the Russians. The Russians really would rather see them
killed than alive. They are as great a danger to the Russians as they
are to us. If they should form an independent government in Turkey, the
Armenians in Russia would attempt to form an independent government
there. The Armenians have also been guilty of massacres. In the entire
district around Van only 30,000 Turks escaped; all the rest were
murdered by the Armenians and Kurds. I attempted to protect the
non-combatants at the Caucasus; I gave orders that they should not be
injured, but I found that, the situation was beyond my control. There
are about 70,000 Armenians in Constantinople, and they will not be
molested, except those who are Dashnaguists and those who are plotting
against the Turks. However, I think you can ease your mind on the whole
subject, as there will be no more massacres of Armenians.”

I did not take seriously Enver’s concluding statement. At the time that
he was speaking massacres and deportations were taking place all over
the Armenian provinces, and they went on almost without interruption for
several months.

As soon as the reports reached the United States the question of relief
became a pressing one. In the latter part of July I heard that there
were 5,000 Armenians from Zeitoun and Sultanie who were receiving no
food whatever. I spoke about them to Enver, who positively declared that
they would receive proper food. He did not receive favourably any
suggestion that American representatives should go to that part of the
country and assist and care for the exiles.

“For any American to do this,” he said, “would encourage all Armenians
and make further trouble. There are about 28,000,000 people in Turkey,
and 1,000,000 Armenians, and we do not propose to have 1,000,000 disturb
the peace of the rest of the population. The great trouble with the
Armenians is that they are separatists. They are determined to have a
kingdom of their own, and they have allowed themselves to be fooled by
the Russians. Because they have relied upon the friendship of the
Russians they have helped them in this war. We are determined that they
behave just as Turks do. You must remember that when we started this
revolution in Turkey there were only 200 of us. With these few followers
we were able to deceive the Sultan and the public, who thought that we
were immensely more numerous and powerful than we were. We really
prevailed upon him and the public through our sheer audacity, and in
this way established the Constitution. It is our own experience at
revolution which makes us fear the Armenians. If 200 Turks could
overturn the Government, then a few hundred bright, educated Armenians
could do the same thing. We have therefore deliberately adopted the plan
of scattering them so that they can do us no harm. As I told you once
before, I warned the Armenian Patriarch that if the Armenians attacked
us while we were engaged in a foreign war we Turks would hit back, and
that we should hit back indiscriminately.”

Enver always resented any suggestion that American missionaries or other
friends of the Armenians should go to help or comfort them.

“They show altogether too much sympathy for them,” he said over and over
again.

I had suggested that particular Americans should go to Tarsus and
Marsovan.

“If they should go there, I am afraid that the local people in those
cities would become angry, and they would be inclined to start some
disturbance which might create an incident. It is better for the
Armenians themselves, therefore, that the American missionaries should
keep away from them.”

“But you are ruining the country economically,” I said at another time,
making the same point that I had made to Talaat. And he answered it in
almost the same words, thus showing that the subject had been completely
canvassed by the ruling powers.

“Economic considerations are of no importance at this time. The only
important thing is to win. That’s the only thing we have on our mind. If
we win, everything will be all right; if we lose, everything will be all
wrong, anyhow. Our situation is desperate, I admit it, and we are
fighting as desperate men fight. We are not going to let the Armenians
attack us in the rear.”

The question of relief to the starving Armenians became every week a
move pressing one. Enver still insisted that Americans should keep away
from the Armenian provinces.

“How can we furnish bread to the Armenians,” Enver declared, “when we
can’t get it for our own people? I know that they are suffering and that
it is quite likely that they cannot get bread at all this coming winter.
But we have the utmost difficulty in getting flour and clothing right
here in Constantinople.”

I said that I had the money and that American missionaries were anxious
to go and use it for the benefit of the refugees.

“We don’t want the Americans to feed the Armenians,” he flatly replied.
“That is one of the worst things that could happen to them. I have
already said that it is their belief that they have friends in other
countries, which leads them to oppose the Government and so brings down
upon them all their miseries. If you Americans begin to distribute food
and clothing among them, they will then think that they have powerful
friends in the United States. This wall encourage them to rebellion
again, and then we shall have to punish them still more. If you will
give such money as you have received to the Turks, we shall see that it
is used for the benefit of the Armenians.”

Enver made this proposal with a straight face, and he made it not only
on this occasion but on several others. At the very moment that Enver
suggested this mechanism of relief, the Turkish gendarmes and the
Turkish officials were not only robbing the Armenians of all their
household possessions, of all their food and all their money, but they
were even stripping women of their last shreds of clothing and prodding
their naked bodies with bayonets as they staggered across the burning
desert. And the Minister of War now proposed that we give our American
money to these same guardians of the law for distribution among their
charges! However, I had to be tactful.

“If you or other heads of the Government would become personally
responsible for the distribution,” I said, “of course we would be glad
to entrust the money to you. But, naturally, you would not expect us to
give this money to the men who have been killing the Armenians and
outraging their women.”

But Enver returned to his main point.

“They must never know,” he said, “that they have a friend in the United
States. That would absolutely ruin them! It is far better that they
starve, and in saying this I am really thinking of the welfare of the
Armenians themselves. If they can only be convinced that they have no
friends in other countries, then they will settle down, recognise that
Turkey is their only refuge, and become quiet citizens. Your country is
doing them no kindness by constantly showing your sympathy. You are
merely drawing upon them greater hardships.”

In other words, the more money which the Americans sent to feed the
Armenians, the more Armenians Turkey intended to massacre! Enver’s logic
was fairly maddening; yet he did relent at the end and permit me to help
the sufferers through certain missionaries. In all our discussions he
made this hypocritical plea that he was really a friend of this
distracted nation, and that even the severity of the measures which he
had adopted was mercy in disguise. Since Enver always asserted that he
wished to treat the Armenians with justice--in this his attitude to me
was quite different from that of Talaat, who openly acknowledged his
determination to deport them--I went to the pains of preparing an
elaborate plan for bettering their condition. I suggested that if he
wished to be just he should protect the innocent refugees and lessen the
suffering as much as possible, and that for that purpose he should
appoint a special Committee of Armenians to assist him, and send a
capable Armenian, such as Oskan Effendi, formerly Minister of Posts and
Telegraphs, to study conditions and submit suggestions for remedying the
existing evils. Enver did not approve either of my proposals; as to the
first, he said that his colleagues would misunderstand it, and, as to
Oskan, he said that he admired him for his good work while he had been
in the Cabinet and had backed him in his severity toward the inefficient
officials, yet he could not trust him because he was a member of the
Armenian Dashuaguist Society.

In another talk with Enver I began by suggesting that the Central
Government was probably not to blame for the massacres. I thought that
this would not be displeasing to him.

“Of course, I know that the Cabinet would never order such terrible
things as have taken place,” I said. “You and Talaat and the rest of the
Committee can hardly be held responsible. Undoubtedly your subordinates
have gone much further than you have ever intended. I realise that it is
not always easy to control your underlings.”

Enver straightened up at once. I saw that my remarks, far from smoothing
the way to a quiet and friendly discussion, had greatly offended him. I
had intimated that things could happen in Turkey for which he and his
associates were not responsible.

“You are greatly mistaken,” he said, “we have this country absolutely
under our control. I have no desire to shift the blame on our underlings
and I am entirely willing to accept the responsibility myself for
everything that has taken place. The Cabinet itself has ordered the
deportations. I am convinced that we are completely justified in doing
this owing to the hostile attitude of the Armenians toward the Ottoman
Government, but we are the real rulers of Turkey and no underling would
dare proceed in a matter of this kind without our orders.”

Enver tried to mitigate the barbarity of his general attitude by showing
mercy in particular instances. I made no progress in my efforts to stop
the programme of wholesale massacre, but I did save a few Armenians from
death. One day I received word from the American Consul at Smyrna that
seven Armenians had been sentenced to be hanged. These men had been
accused of committing some rather vague political offence in 1909, yet
neither Rahmi Bey, the Governor-General of Smyrna, nor the Military
Commander believed that they were guilty. When the order for execution
reached Smyrna these authorities wired Constantinople that under the
Ottoman law the accused had the right to appeal for clemency to the
Sultan. The answer which was returned to this communication well
illustrated the extent to which the rights of the Armenians were
regarded at that time:

“Technically you are right; hang them first and send the petition for
pardon afterward.”

I visited Enver in the interest of these men on Bairam, which is the
greatest Mohammedan religious festival; it is the day that succeeds
Ramazan, their month of fasting. Bairam has one feature in common with
Christmas, for on that day it is customary for Mohammedans to exchange
small presents, usually sweets. So after the usual remarks of
felicitation, I said to Enver:

“To-day is Bairam and you haven’t given me any present yet.”

Enver laughed.

“What do you want? Shall I send you a box of candies?”

“Oh no,” I answered, “I am not so cheap as that. I want the pardon of
the seven Armenians whom the court-martial has condemned at Smyrna.”

The proposition apparently struck Enver as very amusing.

“That’s a funny way of asking for a pardon,” he said. “However, since
you put it that way, I can’t refuse.”

He immediately sent for his aide and telegraphed to Smyrna, setting the
men free.

Thus fortuitously is justice administered and decision involving human
lives made in Turkey! Nothing could make clearer the slight estimation
in which the Turks hold life, and the slight extent to which principle
controls their conduct. Enver spared these men not because he had the
slightest interest in their cases, but simply as a personal favour to me
and largely because of the whimsical manner in which I had asked it! In
all my talks on the Armenians the Minister of War treated the whole
matter more or less casually; he could discuss the fate of a race in a
parenthesis and refer to the massacre of children as nonchalantly as we
would speak of the weather.

One day Enver asked me to ride with him in the Belgrade forest. As I
was losing no opportunities to influence him, I accepted this
invitation. We motored to Buyukdere, where four attendants with horses
met us. In our ride through the beautiful forest Enver became rather
more communicative in his conversation than ever before. He spoke
affectionately of his father and mother. When they were married, he
said, his father had been sixteen and his mother only eleven, and he
himself had been born when his mother was fifteen. In talking of his
wife, the Imperial Princess, he disclosed a much softer side to his
nature than I had hitherto seen. He spoke of the dignity with which she
graced his home, regretted that Mohammedan ideas of propriety prohibited
her from entering social life, but expressed a wish that she and Mrs.
Morgenthau could meet. He was then furnishing a beautiful new palace on
the Bosphorus; when this was finished, he said, the Princess would
invite my wife to breakfast. Just then we were passing the house and
grounds of Senator Abraham Pasha, a very rich Armenian. This man had
been an intimate friend of the Sultan Abdul Aziz, and, since in Turkey a
man inherits his father’s friends as well as his property, the Crown
Prince of Turkey, a son of Abdul Aziz, made weekly visits to this
distinguished Senator. As we passed through the park, Enver noticed with
disgust that woodmen were cutting down trees, and stopped them. When I
heard afterward that the Minister of War had bought this park I
understood one of the reasons for his anger. Since Abraham Pasha was an
Armenian, this gave me an opportunity to open the subject again.

I spoke to him of the terrible treatment from which the Armenian women
were suffering.

“You said that you wanted to protect women and children,” I remarked,
“but I know that your orders are not being carried out.”

“Those stories can’t be true,” he said, “I cannot conceive that a
Turkish soldier would ill-treat a woman with child.”

Perhaps, if Enver could have read the circumstantial reports which were
then lying in the archives of the American Embassy, he might have
changed his mind.

Shifting the conversation once more, he asked me about my saddle, which
was the well-known “General McClellan” type. Enver tried it, and liked
it so much that he afterwards borrowed it, had one made for his own
use--even including the number in one corner--and he adopted it for one
of his regiments. He told me of the railroads which he was then building
in Palestine, said how well the Cabinet was working, and pointed out
that there were great opportunities in Turkey now for real estate
speculation. He even suggested that he and I join hands in buying land
that was sure to rise in value! But I insisted in talking about the
Armenians. However, I made no more progress than before.

“We shall not permit them to cluster in places where they can plot
mischief and help our enemies. So we are going to give them new
quarters.”

This ride was so successful from Enver’s point of view that we took
another a few days afterward, and this time Talaat and Dr. Gates, the
President of Robert College, accompanied us. Enver and I rode ahead,
while our companions brought up the rear. These Turkish officials are
exceedingly jealous of their prerogatives, and, since the Minister of
War is the ranking member of the Cabinet, Enver insisted on keeping a
decorous interval between ourselves and the other pair of horsemen! I
was somewhat amused by this, for I knew that Talaat was the more
powerful politician; yet he accepted the discrimination, and only once
did he permit his horse to pass Enver and myself. At this violation of
the proprieties, Enver showed his displeasure, whereat Talaat paused,
reined up his horse, and passed submissively to the rear.

“I was merely showing Dr. Gates the gait of my horse,” he said, with an
apologetic air.

But I was interested in more important matters than such fine
distinction in official etiquette; I was determined to talk about the
Armenians. But again I failed to make any progress.

Enver found more interesting discussions.

He began to talk of his horses, and now another incident illustrated the
mercurial quality of the Turkish mind--the readiness with which a Turk
passes from acts of monstrous criminality to acts of individual
kindness. Enver said that the horse-races would take place soon and
regretted that he had no jockey.

“I’ll give you an English jockey,” I said. “Will you make a bargain? He
is a prisoner of war; if he wins will you give him his freedom?”

“I’ll do it,” said Enver.

This man, whose name was Fields, actually entered the races as Enver’s
jockey, and came in third. He rode for his freedom, as Mr. Philip said!
Since he did not come in first, the Minister was not obliged, by the
terms of his agreement, to let him return to England, but Enver
stretched a point and gave him his liberty.

On this same ride Enver gave me an exhibition of his skill as a
marksman.

At one point in the road I suddenly heard a pistol-shot ring out in the
air. It was Enver’s aide practising on a near-by object. Suddenly Enver
reined up his horse, whipped out his revolver, and, thrusting his arm
out rigidly and horizontally, he took aim.

“Do you see that twig on that tree?” he asked me. It was about thirty
feet away.

When I nodded, Enver fired--and the twig dropped to the ground.

The rapidity with which Enver could whip his weapon out of his pocket,
aim, and shoot gave me one convincing explanation for the influence
which he exercised with the piratical crew that was then ruling Turkey.
There were plenty of stories floating around that Enver did not hesitate
to use this method of suasion at certain critical moments of his career;
how true they were I do not know, but I can certainly testify concerning
the high character of his marksmanship.

Talaat also began to amuse himself in the same way, and finally the two
statesmen dismounted, began shooting in competition and behaving as
gaily and as care-free as boys let out of school.

“Have you one of your cards with you?” asked Enver. He requested that I
pin it to a tree which stood about fifty feet away.

Enver then fired first. His hand was steady; his eye went straight to
the mark, and the bullet hit the card directly in the centre. This
success rather nettled Talaat. He took aim, but his rough hand and wrist
shook slightly--he was not an athlete like his younger, wiry, and
straight-backed associate. Several times Talaat hit around the edges of
the card, but he could not duplicate Enver’s skill.

“If it had been a man I was firing at,” said the bulky Turk, jumping on
his horse again, “I would have hit him several times.”

So ended my attempts to interest the two most powerful Turks of their
day in the destruction of one of the most valuable elements in their
Empire!

I have already said that Saïd Halim, the Grand Vizier, was not an
influential personage. Nominally his office was the most important in
the Empire; actually the Grand Vizier was a mere place-warmer, and
Talaat and Enver controlled the present incumbent precisely as they
controlled the Sultan himself. Technically, the Ambassadors should have
conducted their negotiations with Saïd Halim, for he was Minister for
Foreign Affairs. I early discovered, however, that nothing could be
accomplished this way, and, though I still made my Monday calls as a
matter of courtesy, I preferred to deal directly with the men who had
the real power to decide all matters. In order that I might not be
accused of neglecting any means of influencing the Ottoman Government, I
brought the Armenian question several times to the Grand Vizier’s
attention. As he was not a Turk, but an Egyptian, and a man of education
and breeding, it seemed not unlikely that he might have a somewhat
different attitude toward the subject peoples. But I was wrong. The
Grand Vizier was just as hostile to the Armenians as Talaat and Enver. I
soon found that merely mentioning the subject irritated him greatly.
Evidently he did not care to have his elegant ease interfered with by
such disagreeable and unimportant subjects. The Grand Vizier showed his
attitude when the Greek Chargé d’Affaires spoke to him about the
persecutions of the Greeks. Saïd Halim said that such manifestations did
the Greeks more harm than good.

“We shall do with them just the opposite from what we are asked to do,”
said the Grand Vizier.

To my appeals the nominal chief Minister was hardly more statesmanlike.
I had the disagreeable task of sending him, on behalf of the British,
French, and Russian Governments, a notification that these Powers would
hold personally responsible for the Armenian atrocities the men who were
then directing Ottoman affairs. This meant, of course, that in the event
of Allied success, they would treat the Grand Vizier, Talaat, Enver,
Djemal, and their companions as ordinary murderers. As I came into the
room to discuss this somewhat embarrassing message to this member of the
royal house of Egypt, he sat there, as usual, nervously fingering his
beads, and not in a particularly genial frame of mind. He at once spoke
of this telegram, his face flushed with anger, and he began a long
diatribe against, the whole Armenian race. He declared that the Armenian
“rebels” killed 120,000 Turks at Van. This and other of his statements
were so absurd that I found myself spiritedly defending the persecuted
race, and this aroused the Grand Vizier’s wrath still further, and,
switching from the Armenians, he began to abuse my own country, making
the usual charges that our sympathy with the Armenians was largely
responsible for all their troubles.

Soon after this interview Saïd Halim ceased to be Minister for Foreign
Affairs. His successor was Halil Bey, who for some years had been
Speaker of the Turkish Parliament. Halil was a very different type of
man. He was much more tactful, much more intelligent, and much more
influential in Turkish affairs. He was also a smooth and oily
conversationalist, good-natured and fat, and by no means so lost to all
decent sentiments as most Turkish politicians of the time. It was
generally reported that Halil did not approve the Armenian proceedings,
yet his official position compelled him to accept them, and even, as I
now discovered, to defend them. Soon after obtaining his Cabinet post,
Halil called upon me and made a somewhat rambling explanation of the
Armenian atrocities. I had already had experiences with several official
attitudes toward the persecutions; Talaat had been bloodthirsty and
ferocious, Enver subtly calculating, while the Grand Vizier had been
testy. Halil now regarded the elimination of this race with the utmost
good humour. Not a single aspect of the proceeding, not even the
unkindest things I could say concerning it, disturbed his equanimity in
the least. He began by admitting that nothing could palliate these
massacres, but, he added, in order to understand them, there were
certain facts that I should keep in mind.

“I agree that the Government has made serious mistakes in the treatment
of the Armenians,” said Halil, “but the harm has already been done. What
can we do about it now? Still, if there are any errors we can correct,
we should correct them. I deplore as much as you the excesses and
violations which have been committed. I wish to present to you the view
of the Sublime Porte. I admit that this is no justification, but I think
there are extenuating circumstances that you should take into
consideration before judgment is passed upon the Ottoman Government.”

And then, like all the others, he went back to the happenings at Van,
the desire of the Armenians for independence, and the help which they
had given the Russians. I had heard it all many times before.

“I told Vartkes” (an Armenian deputy who, like many, other Armenian
leaders, was afterwards murdered) “that, if his people really aspired to
an independent existence, they should wait for a propitious moment.
Perhaps the Russians might defeat the Turkish troops and occupy all the
Armenian provinces. Then I could understand that the Armenians might
want to set up for themselves. Why not wait, I told Vartkes, until such
a fortunate time had arrived? I warned him that we would not let the
Armenians jump on our backs, and that, if they did engage in hostile
acts against our troops, we would dispose of all Armenians who were in
the rear of our army, and that our method would be to send them to a
safe distance in the south. Enver, as you know, gave a similar warning
to the Armenian Patriarch. But, in spite of these friendly warnings,
they started a revolution.”

I asked about methods of relief, and told him that already twenty
thousand pounds ($100,000) had reached me from America.

“It is the business of the Ottoman Government,” he blandly answered, “to
see that these people are settled, housed and fed until they can support
themselves. The Government will naturally do its duty! Besides, the
twenty thousand pounds that you have is in reality nothing at all.”

“That is true,” I answered, “it is only a beginning, but I am sure that
I can get all the money we need.”

“It is the opinion of Enver Pasha,” he replied, “that no foreigners
should help the Armenians. I do not say that his reasons are right or
wrong. I merely give them to you as they are. Enver says that the
Armenians are idealists, and that the moment foreigners approach and
help them they will be encouraged in their national aspirations. He is
utterly determined to cut for ever all relations between the Armenians
and foreigners.”

“Is this Enver’s way of stopping any further action on their part?” I
asked.

Halil smiled most good-naturedly at this somewhat pointed question, and
answered:

“The Armenians have no further means of action whatever!”

Since not far from 500,000 Armenians had been killed by this time,
Halil’s genial retort certainly had one virtue which most of his other
statements in this interview had lacked--it was the truth.

“How many Armenians in the southern provinces are in need of help?” I
asked.

“I do not know; I would not give you even an approximate figure.”

“Are there several hundred thousand?”

“I should think so,” Halil admitted, “but I cannot say how many hundred
thousand.

“A great many suffered,” he added, “simply because Enver could not spare
troops to defend them. Some regular troops did accompany them and these
behaved very well; forty even lost their lives defending the Armenians.
But we had to withdraw most of the gendarmes for service in the Army and
put in a new lot to accompany the Armenians. It is true that these
gendarmes committed many deplorable excesses.”

“A great many Turks do not approve these measures,” I said.

“I do not deny it,” replied the ever-accommodating Halil, as he bowed
himself out.

Enver, Halil, and the rest were ever insistent on the point which they
constantly raised, that no foreigners should furnish relief to the
Armenians. A few days after this visit the Under-Secretary of State
called at the American Embassy. He came to deliver a message from Djemal
to Enver. Djemal, who then had jurisdiction over the Christians in
Syria, was much annoyed at the interest which the American Consuls were
displaying in the Armenians. He now asked me to order these officials
“to stop busying themselves in Armenian affairs.” Djemal could not
distinguish between the innocent and the guilty, this messenger said,
and so had to punish them all! Some time afterward Halil complained to
me that the American Consuls were sending facts about the Armenians to
America and that the Government insisted that they should be stopped.

As a matter of fact, I was myself sending most of this information, and
I did not stop.



CHAPTER XXVII

“I SHALL DO NOTHING FOR THE ARMENIANS,” SAYS THE GERMAN AMBASSADOR


I suppose that there is no phase of the Armenian question which has
aroused more interest than this: Had the Germans any part in it? To what
extent was the Kaiser responsible for the wholesale slaughter of this
nation? Did the Germans favour it, did they merely acquiesce, or did
they oppose the persecutions? Germany, in the last four years, has
become responsible for many of the blackest pages in history; is she
responsible for this, unquestionably the blackest of all?

I presume most people will detect in the remarks of these Turkish
chieftains certain resemblances to the German philosophy of war. Let me
repeat certain phrases used by Enver while discussing the Armenian
massacres. “The Armenians have brought this fate upon themselves.” “I
explicitly warned them myself.” “We were fighting for our national
existence.” “We were justified in resorting to any means that would
accomplish these ends.” “We have no time to separate the innocent from
the guilty.” “At the present time Turkey has only one duty; that is to
win the war.”

These phrases somehow have a familiar ring, have they not? Indeed, I
might rewrite all these interviews with Enver, use the word Belgium in
place of Armenia, put the words in a German general’s mouth instead of
Enver’s, and we should have almost a complete exposition of the German
attitude toward subject peoples. But the teachings of the Prussians go
deeper than this. There was one feature about the Armenian proceedings
that was new, that was not Turkish at all. For centuries the Turks have
ill-treated their Armenians and all their other subject peoples with
inconceivable barbarity. Yet their methods have always been crude,
clumsy, and unscientific. They excelled in beating out an Armenian’s
brains with a club, and this unpleasant illustration is a perfect
indication of the rough and primitive methods which they applied to the
Armenian problem. They have understood the uses of murder, but not of
murder as a fine art. But the Armenian proceedings of 1915 and 1916
evidenced an entirely new mentality. This new conception was that of
_deportation_. The Turks, in 500 years, had invented innumerable ways of
physically torturing their Christian subjects, yet never before had it
occurred to their minds to move them bodily from their homes, where they
had lived for many thousands of years, and send them hundreds of miles
away into the desert. Where did the Turks get this idea? I have already
described how, in 1914, just before the European war, the Government
moved not far from 100,000 (?) Greeks from their age-long homes along
the Asiatic littoral to certain islands in the Ægean. I have also said
that Admiral Usedom, one of the big German naval experts in Turkey, told
me that the Germans had suggested this deportation to the Turks. But the
all-important point is that this idea of deporting peoples _en masse_
is, in modern times, exclusively Germanic. Anyone who reads the
literature of Pan-Germany constantly meets it. These enthusiasts for a
German world have deliberately planned, as part of their programme, the
ousting of the French from certain parts of France, of Belgians from
Belgium, of Poles from Poland, of Slavs from Russia, and other
indigenous peoples from the territories which they have inhabited for
thousands of years, and the establishment in the vacated lands of solid
honest Germans. But it is hardly necessary to show that the Germans have
advocated this as a state policy; they have actually been doing it in
the last four years. They have moved we do not know how many thousands
of Belgians and French from their native land. Austria-Hungary has
killed a large part of the Serbian population and moved thousands of
Serbian children into her own territories, intending to bring them up as
loyal subjects of the Empire. To what degree this movement of
populations has taken place we shall not know until the end of the war,
but it has certainly gone on extensively.

Certain German writers have even advocated the application of this
policy to the Armenians. According to the Paris _Temps_, Paul Rohrbach,
“in a conference held at Berlin some time ago, recommended that Armenia
should be evacuated by the Armenians. They should be dispersed in the
direction of Mesopotamia, and their places should be taken by Turks in
such a fashion that Armenia should be freed of all Russian influence and
that Mesopotamia might be provided with farmers which it now lacked.”
The purpose of all this was evident enough. Germany was building the
Bagdad railroad across the Mesopotamian desert. This was an essential
detail in the achievement of the great new German Empire, extending from
Hamburg to the Persian Gulf. But this railroad could never succeed
unless there should develop a thrifty and industrious population to feed
it. The lazy Turk would never become such a colonist. But the Armenian
was made of just the kind of stuff which this enterprise needed. It was
entirely in accordance with German conceptions of statesmanship to seize
these people in the lands where they had lived for ages and transport
them violently to this dreary, hot desert. The mere fact that they had
always lived in a temperate climate would furnish no impediment in
Pan-German eyes. I found that Germany had been sowing these ideas
broadcast for several years; I even found that German savants had been
lecturing on this subject in the East. “I remember attending a lecture
by a well-known German professor,” an Armenian tells me. “His main point
was that throughout their history the Turks had made a great mistake in
being too merciful toward the non-Turkish population. The only way to
ensure the prosperity of the Empire, according to this speaker, was to
act without any sentimentality toward all the subject nationalities and
races in Turkey who did not fall in with the plans of the Turks’.”

The Pan-Germanists are on record in the matter of Armenia. I shall
content myself with quoting the words of the author of “Mittel-Europa,”
Friedrich Naumann, perhaps the ablest propagator of Pan-German ideas. In
his work on “Asia,” Naumann, who started life as a Christian clergyman,
deals in considerable detail with the Armenian massacres of 1895-96. I
need only quote a few passages to show the attitude of German state
policy on such infamies. “If we should take into consideration merely
the violent massacre of from 80,000 to 100,000 Armenians,” writes
Naumann, “we can come to but one opinion--we must absolutely condemn
with all anger and vehemence both the assassins and their instigators.
They have perpetrated the most abominable massacres upon masses of
people, more numerous and worse than those indicted by Charlemagne on
the Saxons. The tortures which Lepsius has described surpass anything we
have ever known. What, then, prohibits us from falling upon the Turk,
and saying to him: ‘Get thee gone, wretch!’ Only one thing prohibits us,
for the Turk answers: ‘I, too, I fight for my existence!’--and, indeed,
we believe him. We believe, despite the indignation which the bloody
Mohammedan barbarism arouses in us, that the Turks are defending
themselves legitimately, and, before anything else, we see in the
Armenian question and Armenian massacres a matter of internal Turkish
policy, merely an episode of the agony through which a great empire is
passing which does not propose to let itself die without making a last
attempt to save itself by bloodshed. All the great Powers, excepting
Germany, have adopted a policy which aims to upset the actual state of
affairs in Turkey. In accordance with this, they demand for the subject
peoples of Turkey the rights of man, or of humanity, or of civilisation,
or of political liberty--in a word, something that will make them the
equals of the Turks. But just as little as the ancient Roman despotic
state could tolerate the Nazarene’s religion, just as little can the
Turkish Empire, which is really the political successor of the Eastern
Roman Empire, tolerate any representation of Western free Christianity
among its subjects. The danger for Turkey in the Armenian question is
one of extinction. For this reason she resorts to an act of a barbarous
Asiatic state; she has destroyed the Armenians to such an extent that
they will not be able to manifest themselves as a political force for a
considerable period. A horrible act, certainly, an act of political
despair, shameful in its details, but still a piece of political
history, in the Asiatic manner.... In spite of the displeasure which the
German Christian feels at these accomplished facts, he has nothing to do
except quietly to heal the wounds so far as he can, and then to let
matters take their course. For a long time our policy in the Orient has
been determined: we belong to the group that protects Turkey, that is
the fact by which we must regulate our conduct.... We do not prohibit
any zealous Christian from caring for the victims of these horrible
crimes, from bringing up the children and nursing the adults. May God
bless these good acts like all other acts of faith. Only we must take
care that acts of charity do not take the form of political acts which
are likely to thwart our German policy. The internationalist, he who
belongs to the English school of thought, may march with the Armenians.
The nationalist, he who does not intend to sacrifice the future of
Germany to England, must, on questions of external policy, follow the
path marked out by Bismarck, even if it is merciless in its
sentiments.... National policy: that is the profound moral reason why we
must, as statesmen, show ourselves indifferent to the sufferings of the
Christian peoples of Turkey, however painful that may be to our human
feelings.... That is our duty, which we must recognise and confess
before God and before man. If for this reason we now maintain the
existence of the Turkish state, we do it in our own self-interest,
because what we have in mind is our great future.... On one side lie our
duties as a nation, on the other our duties as men. There are times
when, in a conflict of duties, we can choose a middle ground. That is
all right from a human standpoint, but rarely right in a moral sense. In
this instance, as in all analogous situations, we must clearly know on
which side lies the greatest and most important moral duty. Once we have
made such a choice we must not hesitate. William II. has chosen. He has
become the friend of the Sultan, because he is thinking of a greater,
independent Germany.”

Such was the German state philosophy as applied to the Armenians, and I
had the opportunity of observing German practice as well. As soon as the
early reports reached Constantinople it occurred to me that the most
feasible way of stopping the outrages would be for the diplomatic
representatives of all countries to make a joint appeal to the Ottoman
Government. I approached Wangenheim on this subject in the latter part
of March. His antipathy to the Armenians became immediately apparent. He
began denouncing them in unmeasured terms; like Talaat and Enver, he
affected to regard the Van episode as an unprovoked rebellion, and, in
his eyes, as in theirs, the Armenians were simply traitorous vermin.

“I will help the Zionists,” he said, thinking that this remark would be
personally pleasing to me, “but I shall do nothing whatever for the
Armenians.”

Wangenheim affected to regard the Armenian question as a matter that
chiefly affected the United States. My constant intercession on their
behalf apparently created the impression, in his Germanic mind, that any
mercy shown this people would be a concession to the American
Government. And at that moment he was not disposed to do anything that
would please the American people.

“The United States is apparently the only country that takes much
interest in the Armenians,” he said. “Your missionaries are their
friends and your people have constituted themselves their guardians. The
whole question of helping them is therefore an American matter. How
then, can you expect me to do anything as long as the United States is
selling ammunition to the enemies of Germany? Mr. Bryan has just
published his Note, saying that it would be unneutral not to sell
munitions to England and France. As long as your Government maintains
that attitude we can do nothing for the Armenians.”

Probably no one except a German logician would ever have detected any
relation between our sale of war materials to the Allies and Turkey’s
attacks upon hundreds of thousands of Armenian women and children. But
that was about as much progress as I made with Wangenheim at that time.
I spoke to him frequently, but he invariably offset my pleas for mercy
to the Armenians by references to the use of American shells at the
Dardanelles. A coolness sprang up between us soon afterward, the result
of my refusal to give him “credit” for having stopped the deportation of
French and German civilians to the Gallipoli Peninsula. After our
somewhat tart conversation over the telephone, when he had asked me to
telegraph Washington that he had not “hetzed” the Turks in this matter,
our visits to each other ceased for several weeks.

There were certain influential Germans in Constantinople who did not
accept Wangenheim’s point of view. I have already referred to Paul
Weitz, for thirty years the correspondent of the _Frankfürter Zeitung_,
who probably knew more about affairs in the Near East than any other
German. Although Wangenheim constantly looked to Weitz for information,
he did not always take his advice. Weitz did not accept the orthodox
imperial attitude towards Armenia, for he believed that Germany’s
refusal effectively to intervene was doing his Fatherland everlasting
injury. Weitz was constantly presenting this view to Wangenheim, but he
made little progress. Weitz told me about this himself, in January,
1916, a few weeks before I left Turkey. I quote his own words on this
subject:

“I remember that you told me at the beginning,” said Weitz, “what a
mistake Germany was making in the Armenian matters. I agreed with you
perfectly, but when I urged this view upon Wangenheim he twice threw me
out of the room!”

Another German who was opposed to the atrocities was Neurath, the
Conseiller of the German Embassy. His indignation reached such a point
that his language to Talaat and Enver became almost undiplomatic. He
told me, however, that he had failed to influence them.

“They are immovable and are determined to pursue their present course,”
Neurath said.

Of course, no Germans could make much impression on the Turkish
Government as long as the German Ambassador refused to interfere, and,
as time went on, it became more and more evident that Wangenheim had no
desire to stop the deportations. He apparently wished, however, to
re-establish friendly relations with me, and soon sent third parties to
ask why I never came to see him. It is doubtful whether we would have
met again had not a great personal affliction befallen him. In June
Lieut.-Col. Leipzig, the German Military Attaché, died under the most
tragic and mysterious circumstances in the railroad station at Lule
Bourgas. He was killed by a revolver-shot. One story said that the
weapon had been accidentally discharged, another that the Colonel had
committed suicide; still another that the Turks had assassinated him,
mistaking him for Liman von Sanders. Leipzig was one of Wangenheim’s
intimate friends; as young men they had been officers in the same
regiment, and at Constantinople they were almost inseparable. I
immediately called on the Ambassador to express my condolences. I found
him very dejected and careworn. He told me that he had heart trouble,
that he was almost exhausted, and that he had applied for a few weeks’
leave of absence. I knew that it was not only his comrade’s death that
was preying upon Wangenheim’s mind. German missionaries were flooding
Germany with reports about the Armenians and calling upon the German
Government to stop them. Yet, overburdened and nervous as Wangenheim was
this day, he gave many signs that he was still the same unyielding
German militarist. A few days afterward, when he returned my visit, he
asked:

“Where’s Kitchener’s Army?

“We are willing to surrender Belgium now,” he went on. “Germany intends
to build an enormous fleet of submarines with great cruising radius. In
the next war we shall therefore be able completely to blockade England,
so we do not need Belgium for its submarine bases. We shall give her
back to the Belgians, taking the Congo in exchange.”

I then made another plea on behalf of the persecuted Christians. Again
we discussed this subject at length.

“The Armenians,” said Wangenheim, “have shown themselves in this war to
be enemies of the Turks. It is quite apparent that the two peoples can
never live together in the same country. The Americans should move some
of them to the United States, and we Germans will send some to Poland,
and in their place send Jewish Poles to the Armenian provinces--that is,
if they will promise to drop their Zionist schemes.”

Again, although I spoke with unusual earnestness, the former Ambassador
refused to help the Armenians.

Still, on July 4th, Wangenheim did present a formal note of protest. He
did not talk to Talaat or Enver, the only men who had any authority, but
to the Grand Vizier, who was merely a shadow. The incident has precisely
the same character as his “pro forma” protest against sending the French
and British civilians down to Gallipoli to serve as targets for the
British fleet. Its only purpose was to put Germans officially on record.
Probably the hypocrisy of this protest was more apparent to me than to
others, for, at the very moment when Wangenheim presented this
so-called protest, he was giving me the reasons why Germany could not
take really effective steps to end the massacres! Soon after this
interview Wangenheim received his leave and went to Germany.

Callous as Wangenheim showed himself to be, he was not quite so
implacable toward the Armenians as the German Naval Attaché at
Constantinople, Humann. This person was generally regarded as a man of
great influence; his position in Constantinople corresponded to that of
Boy-ed in the United States. A German diplomat once told me that Humann
was more of a Turk than Enver or Talaat. Despite this reputation, I
attempted to enlist his influence. I appealed to him particularly
because he was a friend of Enver, and was generally looked upon as an
important connecting link between the German Embassy and the Turkish
military authorities. Humann was a personal emissary of the Kaiser, in
constant communication with Berlin, and undoubtedly he reflected the
attitude of the ruling powers in Germany. He discussed the Armenian
problem with the utmost frankness and brutality.

“I have lived in Turkey the larger part of my life,” he told me, “and I
know the Armenians. I also know that both Armenians and Turks cannot
live together in this country. One of these races has got to go, and I
don’t blame the Turks for what they are doing to the Armenians. I think
that they are entirely justified. The weaker nation must succumb. The
Armenians desire to dismember Turkey; they are against the Turks and the
Germans in this war, and they therefore have no right to exist here. I
also think that Wangenheim went altogether too far in making a protest;
at least, I would not have done this.”

I expressed my horror at such sentiments, but Humann went on abusing the
Armenian people and absolving the Turks from all blame.

“It is a matter of safety,” he replied; “the Turks have got to protect
themselves, and, from this point of view; they are entirely justified in
what they are doing. Why, we found 7,000 guns at Kadikeuy which belonged
to the Armenians. At first Enver wanted to treat the Armenians with the
utmost moderation, and four months ago he insisted that they be given
another opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty. But after what they
did at Van he had to yield to the Army, who had been insisting all along
that they should protect their rear. The Committee decided upon the
deportations and Enver reluctantly agreed. All Armenians are working for
the destruction of Turkey’s power, and the only thing to do is to
deport them. Enver is really a very kind-hearted man; he is incapable
personally of hurting a fly, but when it comes to defending an idea in
which he believes, he will do it fearlessly and recklessly. Moreover,
the Young Turks have to get rid of the Armenians merely as a matter of
self-protection. The Committee is strong only in Constantinople and a
few other large cities. Everywhere else the people are strongly ‘Old
Turk,’ and these Old Turks are all fanatics. The Old Turks are not in
favour of the present Government, and so the Committee has to do
everything in its power to protect itself. But don’t think that any harm
will come to other Christians. Any Turk can easily pick out three
Armenians among a thousand Turks”!

Humann was not the only important German who expressed this latter
sentiment. Intimations began to reach me from many sources that my
“meddling” on behalf of the Armenians was making me more and more
unpopular in German officialdom. One day in October, Neurath, the German
Conseiller, called and showed me a telegram which he had just received
from the German Foreign Office. This contained the information that Lord
Crewe and Lord Cromer had spoken on the Armenians in the House of Lords,
had laid the responsibility for the massacres upon the Germans, and had
declared that they had received their information from an American
witness. The telegram also referred to an article in the _Westminster
Gazette_, which said that the German Consuls at certain places had
instigated and even led the attacks, and particularly mentioned Resler
of Aleppo. Neurath said that his Government had directed him to obtain a
denial of these charges from the American Ambassador at Constantinople.
I refused to do this, saying that I did not feel called upon to decide
officially whether Turkey or Germany was responsible for these crimes.

Yet everywhere in diplomatic circles there seemed to be a conviction
that the American Ambassador was responsible for the wide publicity
which the Armenian massacres were receiving in Europe and the United
States. I have no hesitation in saying that they were right about this.
In December my son, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., paid a visit to the Gallipoli
Peninsula, where he was entertained by General Liman von Sanders and
other German officers. He had hardly stepped into German headquarters
when a General came up to him and said:

“Those are very interesting articles on the Armenian question which your
father is writing in the American newspapers.”

“My father has been writing no articles,” my son replied.

“Oh,” said this officer, “just because his name isn’t signed to them
doesn’t mean that he is not writing them.”

Von Sanders also spoke on this subject.

“Your father is making a great mistake,” he said, “giving out the facts
about what the Turks are doing to the Armenians. That really is not his
business.”

As hints of this kind made no impression on me, the Germans evidently
decided to resort to threats. In the early autumn a Dr. Nossig arrived
in Constantinople from Berlin. Dr. Nossig was a German Jew, and came to
Turkey evidently to work against the Zionists. After he had talked with
me for a few minutes describing his Jewish activities, I soon discovered
that he was a German political agent. He came to see me twice; the first
time his talk was somewhat rambling, the purpose of the call apparently
being to make my acquaintance and insinuate himself into my good graces.
The second time, after discoursing vaguely on several topics, he came
directly to the point. He drew his chair closely up to me and began to
talk in the most friendly and confidential manner.

“Mr. Ambassador,” he said, “we are both Jews, and I want to speak to you
as one Jew to another. I hope you will not be offended if I presume upon
this to give you a little advice. You are very active in the interests
of the Armenians, and I do not think you realise how very unpopular you
are becoming for this reason with the authorities here. In fact, I think
that I ought to tell you that the Turkish Government is contemplating
asking for your recall. Your protests will be useless. The Germans will
not interfere on behalf of the Armenians, and you are just spoiling your
opportunities of usefulness and running the risk that your career will
end ignominiously.”

“Are you giving me this advice,” I asked, “because you have a real
interest in my personal welfare?”

“Certainly,” he answered, “all of us Jews are proud of what you have
done and would hate to see it end disastrously.”

“Then you go back to the German Embassy,” I said, “and tell Wangenheim
that I said, to go ahead and have me recalled. If I am to suffer
martyrdom, I can think of no better cause in which to be sacrificed. In
fact, I would welcome it, for I can think of no greater honour than to
be recalled because I, a Jew, had been exerting all my powers to save
the lives of hundreds of thousands of Christians.”

Dr. Nossig hurriedly left my office and I have never seen him since.
When I next met Enver I told him that there were rumours that the
Ottoman Government was about to ask for my recall. He was very emphatic
in denouncing the whole story as a falsehood. “We would not be guilty of
making such a ridiculous mistake,” he said. So there was not the
slightest doubt that this attempt to intimidate me had been hatched at
the German Embassy.

Wangenheim returned to Constantinople in early October. I was shocked at
the change that had taken place in the man. As I wrote in my diary, “he
looked the perfect picture of Wotan.” His face was almost constantly
twitching, he wore a black cover over his right eye, and he seemed
unusually nervous and depressed. He told me that he had obtained little
rest, but had been obliged to spend most of his time in Berlin attending
to business. A few days after his return I met him on my way to Haskeuy;
he said that he was going to the American Embassy, and together we
walked there. I had been recently told by Talaat that he intended to
deport all the Armenians who were left in Turkey, and this statement had
induced me to make a final plea to the one man in Constantinople who had
the power to end the horrors. I took Wangenheim up to the second floor
of the Embassy, where we could be entirely alone and uninterrupted, and
there, for more than an hour, sitting together over the tea-table, we
had our last conversation on this subject.

“Berlin telegraphs me,” he said, “that your Secretary of State tells
them that you say that more Armenians than ever have been massacred
since Bulgaria has come in on our side.”

“No, I did not say that,” I replied. “I admit that I have sent a large
amount of information to Washington. I have sent copies of every report
and every statement to the State Department. They are safely lodged
there, and, whatever happens to me, the evidence is complete and the
American people are not dependent on my oral report for their
information. But this particular statement you make is not quite
accurate. I merely informed Mr. Lansing that any influence Bulgaria
might exert to stop the massacres has been lost now that she has become
Turkey’s ally.”

We again discussed the deportations.

“Germany is not responsible for this,” Wangenheim said.

“You can assert that to the end of time,” I replied, “but nobody will
believe it. The world will always hold Germany responsible; the guilt of
these crimes will be your inheritance for ever. I know that you have
filed a paper protest. But what does that amount to? You know better
than I do that such a protest will have no effect. I do not claim that
Germany is responsible for these massacres in the sense that she
instigated them; but she is responsible in the sense that she had power
to stop them and did not use it. And it is not only America and your
present enemies that will hold you responsible. The German people will
themselves some day call you to account. You are a Christian people, and
the time will come when Germans will realise that you have let a
Mohammedan people destroy another Christian nation. How foolish is your
protest that I am sending information to my State Department! Do you
suppose that you can keep things like these atrocities secret? Don’t get
such a foolish, ostrich-like thought as that--don’t think that by
ignoring them yourselves you can get the rest of the world to do so.
Crimes like these cry to heaven. Do you think I could know about things
like this and not report them to my Government? And don’t forget that
German, missionaries, as well as American, are sending me information
about the Armenians.”

“All that you say may be true,” replied the German Ambassador, “but the
big problem that confronts us is to win this war. Turkey has settled
with her foreign enemies; she has done that at the Dardanelles and at
Gallipoli. She is now trying to settle her internal affairs. They still
greatly fear that the capitulations will be forced upon them again. If
they should again be put under this restraint, they intend to have their
internal problems in such shape that there will be little chance of any
interference from foreign nations. Talaat has told me that he is
determined to complete this task before peace is declared. In the future
they don’t intend that the Russians shall be in a position to say that
they have a right to intervene about Armenian matters because there are
a large number of Armenians in Russia who are affected by the troubles
of their co-religionists in Turkey. Giers used to be doing this all the
time, and the Turks do not intend that any Ambassador from Russia, or
from any other country, shall have such an opportunity in the future.
The Armenians, anyway, are a very poor lot. You come in contact in
Constantinople with Armenians of the educated classes, and you get your
impressions about them from these men, but all the Armenians are not of
that type. Yet I admit that they have been treated terribly. I sent a
man to make investigations, and he reported that the worst outrages have
not been committed by Turkish officials but by brigands.”

Wangenheim again suggested that the Armenians be taken to the United
States, and once more I gave him the reasons why this would be
impossible.

“Never mind all these considerations,” I said. “Let us disregard
everything--military necessity, State policy, and all else--and let us
look upon this simply as a human problem. Remember that most of the
people who are being treated in this way are old men, old women, and
helpless children. Why can’t you, as a human being, see that these
people are permitted to live?”

“At the present stage of internal affairs in Turkey,” Wangenheim
replied, “I shall not intervene.”

I saw that it was useless to discuss the matter further. He was a man
who was devoid of sympathy and human pity, and I turned from him in
disgust. Wangenheim rose to leave. As he did so he gave a gasp, and his
legs suddenly shot from under him. I jumped and caught him just as he
was falling. For a minute he seemed utterly dazed; he looked at me in a
bewildered way, then suddenly collected himself and regained his poise.
I took the Ambassador by the arm, piloted him downstairs and put him
into his auto. By this time he had apparently recovered from his dizzy
spell and he reached home safely. Two days afterward, while sitting at
his dinner-table, he had a stroke of apoplexy; he was carried upstairs
to his bed, but never regained consciousness. On October 24th I was
officially informed that Wangenheim was dead. And this, my last
recollection of Wangenheim, is that of the Ambassador as he sat in my
office in the American Embassy, absolutely refusing to exert any
influence to prevent the massacre of a nation. He was the one man who
could have stopped these crimes, and his Government the one Government,
but, as Wangenheim told me many times, “our one aim is to win this war.”

A few days afterward official Turkey and the diplomatic force paid their
last tribute to this finished embodiment of the Prussian system.
Wangenheim was buried in the Park of the Summer Embassy at Therapia, by
the side of his comrade Col. Leipzig. No resting-place could have been
more appropriate, for this had been the scene of his diplomatic
successes, and if was from here that, a little more than two years
before, he had directed by wireless the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_,
safely brought them into Constantinople, made it inevitable that Turkey
should join forces with Germany, and paved the way for all the triumphs
and all the horrors that had necessarily followed that event.



CHAPTER XXVIII

ENVER AGAIN MOVES FOR PEACE--FAREWELL TO THE SULTAN AND TO TURKEY


My failure to prevent the destruction of the Armenians had made Turkey
for me a place of horror, and I found intolerable my further daily
association with men who, however gracious and accommodating and
good-natured they might have been to the American Ambassador, were still
reeking with the blood of nearly a million human beings. Could I have
done anything more, either for Americans, enemy aliens, or the
persecuted peoples of the Empire, I would willingly have stayed. The
position of Americans and Europeans, however, had now become secure,
and, so far as the subject peoples were concerned, I had reached the end
of my resources. Moreover, an event was approaching in the United States
which, I believed, would inevitably have the greatest influence upon the
future of the world and of democracy--the presidential campaign. I felt
that there was nothing so important in international politics as the
re-election of President Wilson. I could imagine no greater calamity for
the United States and the world than that the American nation should
fail to heartily endorse this great statesman. If I could substantially
assist in Mr. Wilson’s re-election, I concluded that I was certainly
wasting valuable time in this remote part of the world.

I had another practical reason for returning home, and that was to give
the President and the State Department, by word of mouth, such
first-hand information as I possessed on the European situation. It was
especially important to give them the latest sidelights on the subject
of peace. In the latter part of 1915 and the early part of 1916 this was
the uppermost topic in Constantinople. Enver Pasha was constantly asking
me to intercede with the President to end the war. Several times he
intimated that Turkey was war-weary and that its salvation depended on
getting an early peace. I have already described the conditions that
prevailed a few months after the outbreak of the war, but by the end of
1915 they were infinitely worse. When Turkey decided on the deportation
and massacre of her subject peoples, especially the Armenians and
Greeks, she had signed her own economic death warrant. These were the
people, as I have already said, who controlled her industries and her
finance and developed her agriculture, and the material consequences of
this great national crime now began to be everywhere apparent. The farms
were lying uncultivated and thousands of peasants were daily dying of
starvation. As the Armenians and Greeks were the largest taxpayers,
their annihilation greatly reduced the State revenues, and the fact that
practically all Turkish ports were blockaded had shut off customs
collections. The mere statement that Turkey was barely taking in money
enough to pay the interest on her debt, to say nothing of ordinary
expenses and war expenses, gives a fair idea of her advanced degree of
bankruptcy. In these facts Turkey had abundant reasons for desiring a
speedy peace. Besides this, Enver and the ruling party feared a
revolution unless the war quickly came to an end. As I wrote the State
Department about this time, “these men are willing to do almost anything
to retain their power.”

Still, I did not take Enver’s importunities for peace any too seriously.

“Are you speaking for yourself and your party in this matter,” I asked
him, “or do you really speak for Germany also? I cannot submit a
proposition from you unless the Germans are back of you. Have you
consulted them about this?”

“No,” Enver replied, “but I know how they feel.”

“That is not sufficient,” I answered; “you had better communicate with
them directly through the German Embassy. I would not be willing to
submit a proposition that was not endorsed by all the Teutonic Allies.”

Enver replied that he did not think it worth while to discuss the matter
with the German Ambassador. He said, however, that he was just leaving
for Orsova, a town on the Bulgarian and Rumanian frontier, where he was
to have a conference with Falkenhayn, at that time the German
Chief-of-Staff. Falkenhayn, said Enver, was the important man; he would
take up the question of peace with him.

“Why do you think that it is a good time to discuss peace now?” I asked.

“Because in two weeks we shall have completely annihilated Serbia. We
think that will put the Allies in a frame of mind to discuss peace. My
visit to Falkenhayn is to complete arrangements for the invasion of
Egypt. In a very few days we expect Greece to join us. We are already
preparing tons or provisions and fodder to send to Greece. And when we
get Greece, of course, Rumania will come in. When the Greeks and
Rumanians join us we shall have a million fresh troops. We shall get
all the guns and ammunition we need from Germany as soon as the direct
railroad is opened. All these things make it an excellent time for us to
take up the matter of peace.”

I asked the Minister of War to talk the matter over with Falkenhayn in
his proposed interview, and report to me when he returned. In some way
this conversation came to the ears of the new German Ambassador, Graf
von Metternich, who immediately called to discuss the subject. He
apparently wished to impress upon me two things: that Germany would
never surrender Alsace-Lorraine and that she would insist on the return
of all her colonies. I replied that it was apparently useless to discuss
peace unless England first won some great military victory.

“That may be so,” replied the Graf, “but you can hardly expect that
Germany shall let England win such a victory merely to put her in a
frame of mind to consider peace. But I think that you are wrong. It is a
mistake to say that Great Britain has not already won great victories. I
think that she has several very substantial ones to her credit. Just
consider what she has done. She has established her unquestioned
supremacy of the seas and driven off all German commerce. She has not
only not lost a foot of her own territory, but she has gained enormous
new domains. She has annexed Cyprus and Egypt and has conquered all the
German colonies. She is in possession of a considerable part of
Mesopotamia. How absurd to say that England has gained nothing by the
war!”

On December 1st Enver came to the American Embassy and reported the
results of his interview with Falkenhayn. The German Chief-of-Staff had
said that Germany would very much like to discuss peace, but that
Germany could not state her terms in advance, as such an action would be
generally interpreted as a sign of weakness. But one thing could be
depended on: the Allies could obtain far more favourable terms at that
moment than at any future time. Enver told me that the Germans would be
willing to surrender all the territory they had taken from the French
and practically all of Belgium. But the one thing on which they had
definitely settled was the permanent dismemberment of Serbia. Not an
acre of Macedonia would be returned to Serbia, and even parts of old
Serbia would be retained; that is, Serbia would become a much smaller
country than she had been before the Balkan Wars and, in fact, she would
practically disappear as an independent State. The meaning of all this
was apparent, even then. Germany had won the object for which she had
really gone to war: a complete route from Berlin to Constantinople and
the East. Part, and a good part, of the Pan-German “Mittel Europa” had
thus become an accomplished military fact. Apparently Germany was
willing to give up the overrun provinces of Northern France and Belgium,
provided that the Entente would consent to her retention of these
conquests. The proposal which Falkenhayn made then did not materially
differ from that which he put forward in the latter part of 1918(?).
This Enver-Falkenhayn interview, as reported to me, shows that it is no
suddenly conceived German plan, but that it has been Germany’s scheme
from the first.

In all this I saw no particular promise of an early peace. Yet I thought
that I should lay these facts before the President. I therefore applied
to Washington for a leave of absence, which was granted.

I had my farewell interview with Enver and Talaat on January 13th. Both
men were in their most delightful mood. Evidently both were turning over
in their minds, as was I, all the momentous events that had taken place
in Turkey and in the world since my first meeting with them two years
before. Then Talaat and Enver were merely desperate adventurers who had
reached high position by assassination and intrigue. Their position was
insecure, for at any moment another revolution might plunge them into
the obscurity from which they had sprung. But now they were the
unquestioned despots of the Ottoman Empire, the allies of the then
strongest military power in the world, and the conquerors--at least,
they so regarded themselves--of the British Navy. At this moment of
their great triumph--the Allied expedition to the Dardanelles had
evacuated their positions only two weeks before--both Talaat and Enver
regarded their country again as a world power.

“I hear you are going home to spend a lot of money and re-elect your
President,” said Talaat--this being a jocular reference to the fact that
I was the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Democratic National
Committee. “That’s very foolish; why don’t you stay here and give it to
Turkey? We need it more than your people do.

“But we hope you are coming back soon,” he added. “We feel almost as
though you were one of us. You and we have really grown up together; you
came here about the same time that we took office and we don’t know how
we could ever get so well acquainted with another man. We have grown
fond of you, too. We have had our differences, and pretty lively ones at
times, but we have always found you fair, and we respect American
policy in Turkey as you have represented it. We don’t like to see you
go, even for a few months.”

I expressed my pleasure at these words.

“It’s very nice to hear you talk that way,” I answered. “Since you
flatter me so much, I know that you will be willing to promise me
certain things. Since I have you both here together, this is my chance
to put you on record. Will you treat the people in my charge
considerately, just the same as though I were here?”

“As to the American missionaries and colleges and schools,” said Talaat,
and Enver assented, “we give you an absolute promise. They will not be
molested in the slightest degree, but can go on doing their work just
the same as before. Your mind can rest easily on that score.”

“How about the British and French?” I asked.

“Oh, well,” said Talaat, smiling, “we may have to have a little fun with
them now and then, but don’t worry. We’ll take good care of them.”

And now for the last time I spoke on the subject that had rested so
heavily on my mind for many months. I feared that another appeal would
be useless, but I decided to make it.

“How about the Armenians?”

Talaat’s geniality disappeared in an instant. His face hardened, and the
fire of the beast lighted up his eyes once more.

“What’s the use of speaking about them?” he said, waving his hand. “We
are through with them. That’s all over.”

Such was my farewell with Talaat. “That’s all over” were his last words
to me.

The next day I had my farewell audience with the Sultan. He was the same
gracious, kindly old gentleman that I had first met two years before. He
received me informally, in civilian European clothes, and asked me to
sit down with him. We talked for twenty minutes, discussing, among other
things, the pleasant relations that prevailed between America and
Turkey. He thanked me for the interest which I had taken in his country
and hoped that I would soon return. Then he took up the question of war
and peace.

“Every monarch naturally desires peace,” he said. “None of us approve
the shedding of blood. But there are times when war seems unavoidable.
We may wish to settle our disputes amicably, but we cannot always do it.
This seems to be one of them. I told the British Ambassador that we did
not wish to go to war with his country. I tell you the same thing now.
But Turkey had to defend her rights. Russia attacked us, and naturally
we had to defend ourselves. Thus the war was not the result of any
planning on our part, it was an act of Allah--it was fate.”

I expressed the hope that it might soon be over.

“Yes, we wish peace also,” replied His Majesty. “But it must be a peace
that will guarantee the rights of our Empire. I am sure that a civilised
and flourishing country like America wants peace, and she should exert
all her efforts to bring about a peace that shall be permanent.”

One of the Sultan’s statements in this interview left a lasting
impression. This was his assertion that “Russia attacked us.” That the
simple-minded old gentleman believed this was apparent; it was also
clear that he knew nothing of the real facts--that Turkish warships,
under German officers, had plunged Turkey into the war by bombarding
Russian seaports. Instead of telling him the truth, the Young Turk
leaders had foisted upon the Sultan this fiction of Russia as the
aggressor. The interview showed precisely to what extent the ostensible
ruler of Turkey was acquainted with the crucial facts in the government
of his own Empire.

In our interview Talaat and Enver had not said their final farewells,
telling me that they would meet me at the station. A few minutes before
the train started Bedri came up, rather pale-faced and excited, and
brought me their apologies.

“They cannot come,” he said, “the Crown Prince has just committed
suicide!”

I knew the Crown Prince well and I had expected to have him as a
fellow-passenger to Berlin; he was about to make a trip to Germany, and
his special car was attached to this train. I had seen much of Youssouf
Izzeddin; he had several times invited me to call upon him, and we had
spent many hours talking over the United States and American
institutions, in which subject he had always displayed the keenest
interest. Many times had he told me that he would like to introduce
certain American governmental ideas in Turkey. The morning when we were
leaving for Berlin the Crown Prince was found lying on the floor in his
villa, bathed in a pool of blood, with his arteries cut. Youssouf was
the son of Abdul-Aziz, Sultan from 1861 to 1876, who, gruesomely enough,
had ended his days by opening his arteries forty years before. The
circumstances surrounding the death of father and son were thus
precisely the same. The fact that Youssouf was strongly pro-Ally, that
he had opposed Turkey’s participation in the war on Germany’s side, and
that he was extremely antagonistic to the Committee of Union and
Progress gave rise to many suspicions. I know nothing about the stories
that now went from mouth to mouth, and merely record that the official
report on the death was that it was a case of “suicide.”

“_On l’a suicidé_” (they have suicided him!), remarked a witty
Frenchman, when this verdict was reported.

This tragic announcement naturally cast a gloom over our party as our
train pulled out of Constantinople, but the journey proved to be full of
interest. I was now on the famous Balkanzug, and this was only the
second trip which it had made to Berlin. My room was No. 13; several
people came to look at it, telling me that, on the outward trip, the
train had been shot at, and a window of my apartment broken!

Soon after we started I discovered that Admiral Usedom was one of my
fellow-passengers. Usedom had had a distinguished career in the Navy;
among other things he had been captain of the _Hohenzollern_, the
Kaiser’s yacht, and thus was upon friendly terms with His Majesty. The
last time I had seen Usedom was on my visit to the Dardanelles, where he
had been Inspector-General of the Ottoman defences. As soon as we met
again the Admiral began to talk about the abortive Allied attack. He
again made no secret of the fears which he had then entertained that
this attack would succeed.

“Several times,” he said, “we thought that they were on the verge of
getting through. All of us down there were very much distressed and
depressed over the prospect. We owed much to the heroism of the Turks
and their willingness to sacrifice an unlimited number of human lives.
It is all over now--that part of our task is finished.”

The Admiral thought that the British landing-party had been badly
prepared, though he spoke admiringly of the skill with which the Allies
had managed their retreat. I also obtained further light on the German
attitude toward the Armenian massacres. Usedom made no attempt to
justify them; neither did he blame the Turks. He discussed the whole
thing calmly, dispassionately, and merely as a military problem, and one
would never have guessed from his remarks that the lives of a million
human beings had been involved. He simply said that the Armenians were
in the way, that they were an obstacle to German success, and that it
had therefore been necessary to remove them, just like so much useless
lumber. He spoke about them as detachedly as one would speak about
removing a row of houses in order to bombard a city.

Poor Serbia! As our train sped through her devastated valleys I had a
picture of what the war had meant to this brave little country. In the
last two years this nation had stood alone, practically unassisted by
her allies, attempting to stem the rush of Pan-German conquest, just as,
for three centuries, she had stood as a bulwark against the onslaughts
of the Turks. And she had paid the penalty. Practically every farm we
passed was abandoned, overgrown with weeds and full of debris, and the
buildings were usually roofless and sometimes razed to the ground.
Whenever we crossed a stream we saw the remains of a dynamited bridge;
in all cases the Germans had built new ones to replace those which had
been destroyed. We saw many women and children, looking ragged and
half-starved, but, significantly, we saw very few men, for all had
either been killed or they were in the ranks of Serbia’s still existing
and valiant little army. All this time trainloads of German soldiers
were passing us or standing on the switches at the stations where we
slowed up, a sufficient explanation for all the misery and devastation
we saw on our way.



CHAPTER XXIX

VON JAGOW, ZIMMERMAN, AND GERMAN-AMERICANS


Our train drew into the Berlin station on the morning of February 3rd,
1916. The date is worth mentioning, for that marked an important crisis
in German-American relations. Almost the first man I met was my old
friend and colleague, Ambassador James W. Gerard. Mr. Gerard told me
that he was packing up, and expected to leave Berlin at any moment, for
he believed that a break between Germany and the United States was a
matter only of days, perhaps of hours. At that time Germany and the
United States were discussing the settlement of the _Lusitania_ outrage.
The negotiations had reached a point where the Imperial Government had
expressed a willingness to express her regrets, pay an indemnity, and
promise not to do it again. But the President and Mr. Lansing insisted
that Germany should declare that the sinking of the _Lusitania_ had been
an illegal act. This meant that Germany at no time in the future could
resume submarine warfare without stultifying herself and doing something
which her own Government had denounced as contrary to international law.
But our Government would accept nothing less, and the two nations were
therefore at loggerheads.

“I can do nothing more,” said Mr. Gerard. “I want to have you talk to
Zimmerman and von Jagow, and perhaps you can give them a new point of
view.”

I soon discovered from my many callers that the atmosphere in Berlin was
tense and exceedingly anti-American. Our country was regarded everywhere
as practically an ally of the Entente, and I found that the most absurd
ideas prevailed concerning the closeness of our relations with England.
Thus it was generally believed that Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, the British
Ambassador in Washington, met regularly with President Wilson’s Cabinet
and was consulted on all our national policies.

At three o’clock Mr. Gerard took me to the Foreign Office and we spent
an hour there with von Jagow. Von Jagow was a small, slight man of
nervous disposition. He lighted cigarette after cigarette during our
interview. He was apparently greatly worried over the American
situation. Let us not suppose that the German Government regarded
lightly a break with the United States. At that time their newspapers
were ridiculing and insulting us and making fun of the idea that Uncle
Sam would go to war. The contrast between these journalistic vapourings
and the anxiety, even the fear, which this high German official
displayed much impressed me. The prospect of having our men and our
resources thrown on the side of the Entente he did not regard
indifferently, whatever the Berlin Press might say.

“It seems to us a shame that Mr. Lansing should insist that we declare
the _Lusitania_ sinking illegal,” von Jagow began. “He is acting like a
technical lawyer.”

“If you want the real truth,” I replied, “I do not think that the United
States is particular or technical about the precise terms that you use.
But you must give definite assurances that you are sorry for the act,
say that you regard it as an improper one, and that it will not occur
again. Unless you do this, the United States will not be satisfied.”

“We cannot do that,” he answered. “Public opinion in Germany would not
permit it. If we should make a declaration such as you outline the
present Cabinet would fall.”

“But I thought that you had public opinion here well under control,” I
answered. “It may take a little time, but certainly you can change
public sentiment so that it would approve such a settlement.”

“As far as the newspapers are concerned,” said von Jagow, “that is true.
We can absolutely control them. However, that will take some time. The
newspapers cannot reverse themselves immediately; they will have to do
it gradually, taking two or three weeks. We can manage them. But there
are members of Parliament whom we can’t control, and they would make so
much trouble that we would all have to resign.”

“Yet it seems to me,” I rejoined, “that you could get these members
together, explain to them the necessity of keeping the United States out
of the war, and that they would be convinced. The trouble is that you
Germans don’t understand conditions in my country. You don’t think that
the United States will fight. You don’t understand President Wilson; you
think that he is an idealist and a peace man, and that under no
circumstances will he take up arms. You are making the greatest and most
costly mistake that any nation could make. The President has two sides
to his nature. Do not forget that he has Scotch-Irish blood in him. Up
to the present you have seen only the Scotch side of him. That makes him
very cautious, makes him weigh every move, makes him patient and
long-suffering. But he has also all the fire and combativeness of the
Irish. Let him once set his jaws and it takes a crowbar to open them
again. If he once decides to fight, he will fight with all his soul, and
to the bitter end. You can go just so far with your provocations but no
farther. You are also greatly deceived because certain important members
of Congress, perhaps even a member of the Cabinet, have been for peace.
But there is one man who is going to settle this matter--that is the
President. He will settle it as he thinks right and just, irrespective
of what other people may say or do.”

Von Jagow said that I had given him a new impression of the President.
But he still had one more reason to believe that the United States would
not go to war.

“How about the German-Americans?” he asked.

“I can tell you all about them,” I answered, “because I am one of them
myself. I was born in Germany and spent the first nine years of my life
here. I have always loved many things German, such as its music and its
literature. But my parents left this country because they were
dissatisfied and unhappy here. The United States gave us a friendly
reception and a home, and made us prosperous and happy. There are many
millions just like us; there is no business opportunity and no social
position that is not open to us. I do not believe that there is a more
contented people in the world than the so-called German-Americans. We
have one loyalty and one love, and that is for the United States. Take
my children--they are German-Americans of the second generation. Their
sympathies all through this war have been with England and her Allies.
My son is here with me; he tells me that if the United States goes to
war he will enlist immediately. Do you suppose in case we should go to
war with Germany that they would side with you? The idea is simply
laughable. And the overwhelming mass of German-Americans feel precisely
the same way.”

“But I am told,” said von Jagow, “that there will be an insurrection of
German-Americans if your country makes war on us.”

“Dismiss any such idea from your mind,” I replied. “The first one who
attempts it will be punished so promptly and so drastically that such a
movement will not go far. And I think that the loyal German-Americans
themselves will be the first to administer such punishment.”

“We wish to avoid a rupture with the United States,” said von Jagow,
“but we must have time to change public sentiment here. There are two
parties here, holding diametrically opposed views on submarine warfare.
One believes in pushing it to the limit, irrespective of consequences to
the United States or any other Power. The present Cabinet takes the
contrary view; we wish to meet the contentions of your President, but
the militaristic faction is pushing us hard. They will force us out of
office if we declare the _Lusitania_ sinking illegal or improper. I
think that President Wilson should understand this. We are working with
him, but we must go cautiously. I should suppose that Mr. Wilson, since
he wishes to avoid a break, would prefer to have us in power. Why should
he take a stand that will drive us out of office and put in here people
who will make war inevitable between Germany and the United States?”

“Do you wish Washington to understand,” I asked, “that your tenure of
office depends on your not making this declaration?”

“We certainly do,” replied von Jagow. “I wish that you would telegraph
Washington to that effect. Tell the President that, if we are displaced
now, we shall be succeeded by people who advocate unlimited submarine
warfare.”

He expressed himself as amazed at my description of President Wilson and
his willingness to fight. “We regard him,” said von Jagow, “as
absolutely a man of peace. Nor do we believe that the American people
will fight. They are far from the scene of action, and what, after all,
have they to fight for? Your material interests are not affected.”

“But there is one thing that we will fight for,” I replied, “and that is
moral principle. It is quite apparent that you do not understand the
American spirit. You do not realise that we are holding off, not because
we have no desire to fight, but because we wish to be absolutely fair.
We first wish to have all the evidence in. I admit that we are reluctant
to mix in foreign disputes, but we shall insist upon our right to use
the ocean as we see fit, and we don’t propose to have Germany tell us
how many ships we can sail and where they are to go. The American is
still, perhaps, a great powerful youth, but, once he gets his mind made
up that he is going to defend his rights, he will do so irrespective of
consequences. You seem to think that Americans will not fight for a
principle; you apparently have forgotten that all our wars have been
over matters of principle. Take the greatest of them all--the Civil War,
from 1861 to ’65. We in the North fought to emancipate the slaves; that
was purely a matter of principle, our material interests were not
involved. And we fought that to the end, although we had to fight our
own brothers.”

“We don’t want to be on bad terms with the United States,” von Jagow
replied. “There are three nations on whom the peace of the world
depends--England, the United States, and Germany. We three should get
together, establish peace and maintain it. I thank you for your
explanation; I understand the situation much better now. But I still
don’t see why your Government is so hard on Germany and so easy with
England.”

I made the usual explanation that we regarded our problem with each
nation as a distinct matter, and could not make our treatment of Germany
in any way conditional on our treatment of England.

“Oh yes,” replied von Jagow rather plaintively. “It reminds me of two
boys playing in a yard. One is to be punished first and the other is
waiting for his turn. Wilson is going to spank the German boy first and,
after he gets through, then he proposes to take up England.

“However,” he concluded, “I wish you would cable the President that you
have gone over the matter with me and now understand the German point of
view. Won’t you please ask him to do nothing until you have reached the
other side and explained the whole thing personally?”

I made this promise and cabled immediately.

At three o’clock I had an engagement to take tea with a director of the
Orient Bank and his wife. I had been there only a few minutes when
Zimmerman was announced. He was a different kind of man from von Jagow.
He impressed me as being much stronger, mentally and physically. He was
tall, even stately in his bearing, masterful in his manner, direct and
searching in his questions, but extremely pleasing and insinuating.

Zimmerman, discussing the German-American situation, began with a
statement which I presume he thought would be gratifying to me. He told
me how splendidly the Jews had behaved in Germany during the war and how
deeply under obligations the Germans felt to them.

“After the war,” he said, “they are going to be much better treated in
Germany than they have been.”

Zimmerman told me that von Jagow had told him about our talk, and asked
me to repeat part of it. He was particularly interested, he said, in my
statements about the German-Americans, and he wished to learn from me
himself the facts upon which I based my conclusions. Like most Germans,
he regarded the Germanic elements in our population as almost a part of
Germany.

“Are you sure that the mass of German-Americans would be loyal to the
United States in case of war?” he asked. “Aren’t their feelings for the
Fatherland really dominant?”

“You evidently regard those German-Americans as a distinct part of the
population,” I replied, “living apart from the rest of the people and
having very little to do with American life as a whole. You could not
make a greater mistake. You can purchase a few here and there who will
make a big noise and shout for Germany, but I am talking about the
millions of Americans of German ancestry. These people regard themselves
as Americans and nothing else. The second generation particularly resent
being looked upon as Germans. It is practically impossible to make them
talk German; they refuse to speak anything but English. They do not read
German newspapers and will not go to German schools. They even resent
going to Lutheran churches where the language is German. We have more
than a million German-Americans in New York City, but it has been a
great struggle to keep alive one German theatre; the reason is that
these people prefer the theatres where English is the language. We have
a few German clubs, but their membership is very small. The
German-Americans prefer to belong to the clubs of general membership,
and there is not a single one in New York, even the finest, where they
are not received upon their merits. In the political and social life of
New York there are few German-Americans who, as such, have acquired any
prominent position, though there are plenty of men of distinguished
position who are German in origin. If the United States and Germany go
to war, you will not only be surprised at the loyalty of our German
people, but the whole world will be. Another point: if the United States
goes in, we shall fight to the end, and it will be a very long and a
very determined struggle.”

After three years I have no reason to be ashamed of either of these
prophecies. I sometimes wonder what Zimmerman now thinks of my
statements.

After the explanation, Zimmerman began to talk about Turkey. He was very
interested in finding out whether the Turks were likely to make a
separate peace. I bluntly told him that the Turks felt themselves to be
under no obligations to the Germans. This gave me another opportunity.

“I have learned a good deal about German methods in Turkey,” I said. “I
think it would be a great mistake to attempt similar tactics in the
United States. I speak of this because there has been a good deal of
sabotage there already. This in itself is solidifying the
German-Americans against you, and is, more than anything else, driving
the United States into the arms of England.”

“But the German Government is not responsible,” said Zimmerman. “We know
nothing about it.”

Naturally I could not accept that statement on its face value--recent
developments have shown how mendacious it was--but we passed to other
topics. The matter of the submarine came up again.

“We have voluntarily interned our Navy,” said Zimmerman. “We can do
nothing at sea except with our submarines. It seems to me that the
United States is making a serious mistake in so strongly opposing the
submarine. You have a long coastline and you may need the U-boat
yourself some day. Suppose one of the European Powers, and particularly
Japan, should attack you. You could use the submarine to good purpose
then. Besides, if you insist on this proposed declaration in the
_Lusitania_ matter, you will simply force our Government into the hands
of the Tirpitz party.”

Zimmerman now returned again to the situation in Turkey. His questions
showed that he was much displeased with the new German Ambassador, Graf
von Metternich. Metternich, it seemed, had not made a success of winning
the goodwill of the reigning powers in Turkey and had been a trial to
the German Foreign Office. Metternich had shown a different attitude
toward the Armenians from Wangenheim, and he had made sincere attempts
with Talaat and Enver to stop them. Zimmerman now told me that
Metternich had made a great mistake in doing this and had destroyed his
influence at Constantinople. Zimmerman made no effort to conceal his
displeasure over Metternich’s manifestation of a humanitarian spirit. I
now saw that Wangenheim had really represented the attitude of official
Berlin, and I thus had confirmation, from the highest German authority,
of my conviction that Germany had silently acquiesced in those
deportations.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a few days we had taken the steamer at Copenhagen, and on February
22nd I found myself once more sailing into New York Harbour.



INDEX


Abdul-Hamid, 6, 9, 186, 188

Adrianople, 9, 19, 173, 178

Ægean Coast, Greek population of, 30

Ægean Coast deportations, 31

Alsace-Lorraine, 59

American ammunition for Allies, 103

American and Turkish relations, 103

Angora deportations, 205

Angora, Typhus at, 170

Archangel, 70

Armenians, American assistance of, 227-239

Armenians, Destruction of, 211

Armenians, History of, 188

Armenians massacred, 111, 189, 198

Armenian politics, 186, 191

Armenian soldiers, 186, 198

Armenian State Church, 189

Arrogant Turks, 180

Assassination of Austrian Heir, 37

Assassination of Nazim, 9


Bagdad, 182

Bagdad Railway, 59, 241

Balkans smouldering, 35

Balkanzug, The, 179, 259

Baltic, The, 70

Bastinado, The, 201

Bedri Bey, 87, 97, 100, 123, 163, 167, 204

Berlin, February, 1916, 261

Bethlehem Steel Co., 103

Bethmann-Hollweg, 55

Billings, C. K., 9, 23

Black Sea, Control of, 51

“Blacksmith of Bashkale,” 202

Bompard, 17, 82

Bosnia and Herzegovina, 7, 37, 57, 177

Bosphorus, The, 36, 53, 71

“Boss System” in Turkey, 12

Bouvet, The, 140, 147

_Breslau_, The, 45, 63, 140, 252

Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of, 117

British Records, Burning of, 83

Bronsart, 40, 96, 130

Bruère, Henry, 23

Bulgaria, 118, 147, 159, 173

Bulgaria up for auction, 176

Bulgaria joins Central Powers, 177

Burial permits, 184

Burlesque gun, A, 144

Bustány Effendi, 23, 78


Cabinet Council, A Turkish, 160

Calais, 60

Caliph, The, 10

Capitulations, The, 73, 183

Capitulations, Abrogation of, 74

Churchill, Winston, 124, 135

Commander Stoker, 170

Committee of Union and Progress, 8, 10, 18, 82, 113, 130, 188, 204, 231

Constantinople, Control of, 1

Constantinople, Coup d’Etat, 8

Constantinople, Decorations to order, 146

Constantinople, Eve of war in, 39

Constantinople, Exodus from, 131

Constantinople, Germans in, 66

Constantinople, Panic in, 123, 129

Constantinople, Peace negotiations (1915), 116

Constantinople, Street signs in, 187

Concentration Camp, A, 158

_Corcovado_, The, 40, 45, 48, 58

Crisis, The German-American, 261

Cromer Commission, The, 128

Crown Prince Youssouf, 258


Dardanelles, The, 3, 47, 51, 60, 67

Dardanelles, Closing of the, 70

Dardanelles closed by Germans, 68

Dardanelles defences inspected, 133

Dardanelles, Fortifications of the, 137, 152

Dardanelles, First bombardment of, 94

Dardanelles, Further bombardments of, 121, 124, 130

Dardanelles, Land attack on, 155, 158

Dardanelles, Mines in the, 143

Dardanelles, Withdrawal from the, 179

Dedeagatch Railway, 173, 177

Deportations of Armenians, 202

Deportations of Greeks, 31

Deportations from Angora, 205

Deportations from Harpoot, 209

Deportations as a policy, 241

Der Tag, 139

Diplomatic conversation, A, 157

Djavid Bey, 52, 68, 78, 94, 138, 141, 144

Djemal Pasha, 7, 9, 33, 64, 81

Djemal Pasha’s personality, 112-3, 187, 239

Djevdet Bey, 195, 202

Dolci, Monsignor, 171


_E_15, 170

Eau-de-Cologne, 136

England’s Declaration of War, 58

Enver Pasha, 7, 64, 68, 85, 113, 129, 133, 153, 165, 171, 187

Enver Pasha at home, 74

Enver Pasha’s German sympathies, 20

Enver Pasha’s wedding, 25

Enver Pasha raises an army, 42

Enver Pasha’s personality, 19

Enver Pasha’s visit to Robert College, 76

Enver Pasha and Armenian Massacres, 226

Enver Pasha’s marksmanship, 235


Failure of “Holy War,” 110

Falkenhayn interview, 254

Farewell to Talaat and Enver, 256

Farewell to the Sultan, 257

Fisher, Admiral, 121

Fitzgerald, Lt., 170

Foreigners, Deportations of, 160

Foreigners leave Turkey, 87, 95

Foreigners, Treatment of, 97, 156

Fourth of July, 1914, 38

Fourth Turkish Army, 112

Franco-Russian Alliance, 3

Fuad Pasha, 133, 136


Gallipoli, 145, 153

Garroni, Marquis, 56

_General_, The, 67, 81

Gerard, James W., 261

German Caste organisation, 3

German Imperial Conference, 54

German Incentive to murder, 109

German Military Mission, 21, 26

German propaganda, 65, 71, 104

German responsibility for war, 55

German scheme to rouse Islam, 105

German Wireless Station in Turkey, 40

Germans disillusioned, 70

Germany and Armenian Massacres, 240

Germany and International Law, 47

Germany’s first Peace Terms, 119

Germany precipitating the War, 54 59

German-Americans, 263, 265

Giers, M. de, 17, 27, 82

_Gloucester_, H.M.S., 44, 48

_Goeben_, The, 45, 63, 146, 149, 252

Goltz, von der, 41, 121, 150

Grand Vizier, The, 28, 51, 64, 68, 79, 81, 94, 159, 235

Greek deportations, 31, 212

Greek Islands, 30, 49

Greek purchase of Dreadnoughts, 35

Greeks, Treatment of, 32, 213

Grey, Sir Edward, 165


“Hadji Wilhelm,” 65

Halil Bey, 236

Hamidié, Fort, 140, 148

Hoffman, Philip, 164

“Holy War,” The, 105, 111, 146

Hostages on Gallipoli, 165

Humann, 18, 40, 43

Humann and the Armenians, 247


_Ikdam_, The, 104-6

Isolation of Turkey, 147, 180


Jagow, von, 261

January, 1915, 118

January, 1916, 179

Jihad, The, 105, 110

Junkers, The, 3, 119


Kaiser, The, 192

Kiamil Pasha, 9

Kilid-ul-Bahr, 146, 148

Kitchener, Lord, 29

Koloucheff, 159, 175

Konia, 170

Kühlmann, von, 117, 120

Kum Kalé, 139, 144


Landing on Gallipoli, The, 155

Leipzig, Lt.-Col., Death of, 245

Lepsius, Dr., 226

_Levant Herald_, The, 169

Levantines, 153

Lichnowsky, Prince, 117

Liman von Sanders, 26, 28, 40, 130

Limpus, Admiral, 26, 66

London, Treaty of, 30

_Lusitania_, The, 261


Macedonia, 176

Mallet, Sir Louis, 17, 29, 68, 79, 83

Mark Antony, 112

Marne, Battle of the, 1, 59

Massacre of Armenians, 111, 180

_Medilli_, The, 48

Mère Elvira, 98

Mesopotamia, 182, 202

Messina, 47

_Mesudie_, The, 138

Metternich, Count, 255, 267

Mexico, 17

Millets, 184

Mizzi, Dr., 169

Mobilisations, 39

Mohammed V., 7

Mohammed V.’s personality, 10

Mosque of Santa Sophia, 130, 183

Murder of a Nation, The, 198

Mutius, von, 28, 37, 117


Nagara Point, 137, 149

Napoleon, 19

Naval preparations, 33

Navy, Turkish, 66

Nazim Pasha, 9

New Turkey, 180

Nossig, Dr., 249

Odessa raided by Turks, 81

Oppenheim, Baron, 65

Optical illusion, 141

Otranto, 48

Ottoman Empire, 3, 15, 147, 180, 188

Ottoman Turks, 182


Pallavicini, 37, 56, 70, 96, 119, 123, 159

Pallavicini’s personality, 5-6

Pan-Germany, 2, 31, 241

Pan-Turkism, 114, 186

Peace Campaign, 115, 254

Pears, Sir Edwin, 167

Pola, 47

Poland, 59

Policy, Turkish, 76

President Wilson, 117

Prince Lichnowsky, 117

Propaganda, German, 65, 71

Prussian Military System, 3

Prussian Teachings, 240


_Queen Elizabeth_, The, 139, 145, 149


Race psychology, 181

Rayah, 183

Red Sultan, The, 186, 188

Religious hatred, 106

Reprisals, 170

Requiem Mass, 37

Requisitions in Turkey, 41

Retreat from Mons, 60

“Revolution” at Van, 193

Robert College, 38, 73, 76

Rumania, 118

Rumania, Neutrality of, 148

Russia, 4

Russia, Isolation of, 70, 134

Russia, Strangling of, 125


Saïd Halim, 15, 28, 51, 64, 81, 235

St. Bartholomew’s Eve, 211

Sanders, Liman von, 26, 28, 40, 130, 248

Santa Sophia, 130, 183

“Saviour of Egypt,” 112

Scrap of Paper, A, 58

Secret Pamphlet, The, 106

Sedd-ul-Bahr, 144, 152

Serajevo, 37, 55, 57

Serbia, 37, 57, 148, 152, 177, 188, 260

Sheik-ul-Islam, The, 106

Siberian Railway, The, 71

Sicilian Vespers, The, 211

Simon, Robert E., 23

Smyrna, 30

Souchon, Admiral, 46, 67, 81

Stock Exchanges, 56

Stoker, Commander, 170

Sublime Porte, The, 9, 67, 127, 160

Submarine war, First warning of, 61

Submarine war, Unlimited, 264

_Sultan Selim_, 48


Tahsin Pasha, 193

Talaat Bey, 7, 8, 22, 50, 113, 128, 150, 167, 187, 203, 217

Talaat Bey and Armenian Massacres, 213

Talaat Bey at home, 91

Talaat Bey’s first Cabinet, 15

Talaat Bey as Minister of War, 20

Talaat Bey’s personality, 12

Talaat Bey’s policy, 64-79

Taylor, Major John, 29

“Three Thousand Civilians,” 153

Tocheff, M., 110

Treaty of Bucharest, 56

Tripoli, 7, 17

Troy, Plains of, 144

Turk, The, 181

Turk as torturer, 201

Turk, Attitude to Christians, 83

Turk, Pride of the, 181

Turkey on the eve of war, 80, 82

Turkey declares war, 85

Turkey, Isolation of, 147, 180

Turkey, Situation of (1915), 122, 128, 149

Turkish Army, 21, 28

Turkish Army review, 29

Turkish bankruptcy, 254

Turkish deportations, 159, 224

Turkish Dreadnoughts, 49

Turkish Empire, 3, 6, 32

Turkish Empire, Reforms in, 6

Turkish Expedition against Egypt, 114

Turkish Expedition against Egypt, Failure of, 121

Turkish Expedition in Caucasus, 114

Turkish Expedition in Caucasus, Failure of, 121

Turkish fears of Russia, 16

Turkish finances, 23

Turkish Government, Preparations for flight of, 122

Turkish mobilisation, 39

Turkish Navy, 50, 66

Turkish neutrality, 63

Turkish peace overtures (1916), 253

Turkish plots against Greece, 33

Turkish policy, 76

Turkish Press, 65, 104

Turkish requisitions, 41


Ultimatum of July, 1914, 37, 55

Usedom, Admiral, 259

Usher, Dr., 197


Van, 193

Vladivostock, 70

“Vulnerability of British Fleet,” 135


Wangenheim, Baron von, 2, 27, 34, 38, 45, 50, 53, 70, 151

Wangenheim’s ambition, 5

Wangenheim’s confidence in victory, 59

Wangenheim and American ammunition, 103

Wangenheim and Armenian Massacre, 245

Wangenheim, A last appeal to, 251

Wangenheim “between two fires,” 127

Wangenheim’s peace overtures, 118

Wangenheim’s personality, 3-4

Wangenheim’s plot against British, 123

Wangenheim’s principles, 115

Wangenheim’s promise, 96

Wangenheim’s vanity, 55

Wangenheim, death of, 252

War-weariness, 253

Weber Pasha, 69

Wehrle, Oberst, 138

Weitz, Paul, 18, 37, 177, 245

Welt-Politik, 117

Wertheim, Maurice, 44

White Slave Gang, 101

Wigram, Dr., 164

Wilson, President, 253

Wireless Station, A, 40

“World Empire or Downfall,” 5


Young Turks, 6, 11, 17, 75, 128, 180, 185, 192

Youssouf, Suicide of, 258


Zimmerman, 261, 265

Zion Sisters’ School, 97

Zion Sisters’ treasure saved, 100

Zionists, The, 249





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Secrets of the Bosphorus" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

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.



Home