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Daily Newspaper Reporting of The Armenian Genocide: Could They All Be Wrong?
DAILY NEWSPAPER REPORTING OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE:
COULD THEY ALL BE WRONG?
Armenian News Network / Groong
April 23, 2008
By Katia M. Peltekian
In a world where there were no radios, televisions or the internet,
the only source of information for events occurring around the world
was the newspaper. At the time, the news did not travel fast, but it
did eventually reach the four corners of the world.
Throughout the world, papers filled their pages with news from the
Ottoman Empire. Towards the end of the 19th century, when European
countries as well as the United States were on friendly terms with
Turkey, thousands of reports about the on-going massacres and
mistreatment of the Armenians were printed on the pages of such well-
known newspapers in the English language as The Times (of London),
The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The
Toronto Star, The Montreal Gazette, etc. These newspapers included
reports by correspondents, travelers, and consuls or ambassadors of
different countries based in the different regions of the Ottoman
Empire. But the more detailed reports came from the missionaries who
witnessed the plight of the Armenians and tried to help the orphans
and the survivors as best they could.
It is to be noted that the Western press covered the Hamidian
massacres much more extensively than the massacres of World War One
period since many of the western countries broke diplomatic relations
with Turkey when the Great War broke out. Not only diplomats left the
Empire but for safety reasons their citizens left also. On the other
hand, as a neutral country, the USA kept its ambassador, consuls and
missionaries in Turkey for the first three years of the War. As the
number and frequency of the reports in the British press dropped, for
example, those in the American press were on the rise until America
joined the War on the side of the Allies in April 1917.
A careful examination of various newspapers in the English language
will show that the sources for information originated from what could
be labeled as the best kind of evidence: eyewitnesses as well as
victims themselves. Most of the news originated from the war zone and
its vicinity where refugees were welcomed; the reports included the
eyewitness accounts of missionaries, consuls, survivors and refugees.
Other sources emerged from world capitals such as London, Paris,
Berlin, Washington and, more importantly, from Constantinople where
correspondents and diplomatic missions of neutral or allied countries
Thus most of the information about the ongoing massacres in the
different regions of the Ottoman Empire came from diplomatic
missions, religious missions, physicians, teachers and travelers.
These sources were often referred to as sources of `unquestioned
veracity, integrity and authority'; in many instances, the reports
came from an eyewitness whose `reliability cannot be questioned', or
from `well-known Americans who are cognizant of the actual situation
in Turkey' who `produce absolutely trustworthy evidence and
The United States maintained a neutral position during the first
three years of the Great War. It had an ambassador residing in
Constantinople, and consuls and vice-consuls well-spread around the
Ottoman Empire. In addition, the American missionaries were placed
throughout the area where they could observe events or record
eyewitness testimonies directly from survivors and victims. Since the
missionaries were in daily contact with the people, they were able to
provide credible testimony on the treatment of the Armenians during
the deportations and about the mass murders.
The British and the Commonwealth countries, on the other hand,
depended on the British ex-residents of Turkey who left their homes
as the war broke out. Also correspondents traveling with the Russian
army on the Caucasus front reported the scenes of atrocities as the
Russians liberated the Armenian cities of Erzurum, Bitlis and Trebizond.
In many instances the British, Canadian and the American newspapers
relied also on reports written by the foreign press or were released
by foreign missionaries and diplomats. For example, the Italian
consul of Trebizond Signor Giacomo Gorrini stated in a special cable
dispatch to a Canadian newspaper in August 1915 the following:
The decree, which was published on June 24, ordered the massacre of
Armenians, and forms the blackest page in Ottoman history ... The
result of the proclamation was carnage on a big and bloody scale ... I
saw thousands of innocent women and children placed on boats which
were capsized in the Black Sea. Thousands of young Armenian women
were forcibly converted to Mohammedism ... I shall never forget the
scenes of horror I witnessed from June 21 to July 23, when I left.'
Another source of information came from the Germans themselves,
Turkey's allies during the Great War. In October 1915, The Los
Angeles Times published a translated version of what a German
official had declared in German newspapers:
If Turkey considers necessary that the Armenian uprising and other
intrigues be suppressed with all means ... that does not constitute
massacres nor atrocities, but simply a measure of a justified and
necessary character ... `
Occasionally, there also appeared the Turkish `version' of the events
that occurred in the Eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire, denying
all the reports that diplomats and missionaries wrote. However, there
was a Turkish statesman who denounced the atrocities committed by the
Turkish authorities. According to a statement Cherif Pasha sent to
The New York Times in October 1915
... the Young Turks, or the Committee of Union and Progress, ... for
years plotted the extermination of the Armenian people.
The answer of the Turkish Consul General in New York Djelal Bey to
the same newspaper came as such:
... There may have been cases where inoffensive people shared the
fate of the offender ... Unfortunately, in times of war, such
discrimination is utterly impossible... However much to be deplored may
be these harrowing events in the last analysis, we can but say that
the Armenians have only themselves to blame.
In 1916, The Times of London (Great Britain) printed an interview
with Talaat Bey, the Turkish Minister of Interior. The source was a
newspaper from Germany - an ally of Turkey. Talaat was quoted
confessing the following:
The removal of the Armenians from the eastern Vilayets of Turkey
became in consequence a military, national and historical necessity ...
The removal of the western group to Deyr-Zor was unfortunately
entrusted to an incapable official and serious `excesses' followed ...
We have been blamed for not making a distinction between the innocent
and the guilty. It was impossible; the innocent of today might become
the guilty of tomorrow.
THE WORD `GENOCIDE'
The word Genocide was not coined until the 1940s; however, other
terms and phrases were used to describe the way the Armenians were
treated in Ottoman Turkey not only by the Turkish and Kurdish
population but by the Turkish authorities also.
Some of these terms in the American and British press correspond
partly or wholly to the definition of Genocide: `organized and
systematic massacre,' `a systematic authorized and desperate effort
on the part of the rulers of Turkey to wipe out the Armenians,' and
`a war of extermination on Armenians,' `annihilation of the whole
people,' or `the gradual destruction of the Armenians.'
Although successive Turkish governments have denied that the Ottoman
government had any intention to wipe out the Armenians, the reports
coming out of Turkey confirmed that the `police massacre Armenians on
orders of authorities,' that the Armenians were `exiled under
conditions that mean slow extermination,' that the Armenians were
`being exterminated as a result of an absolutely premeditated policy
elaborately pursued by the gang now in control of Turkey,' or that
`the massacres are the result of a deliberate plan of the Turkish
Government to get rid of the Armenian question.'
Many similar descriptions do in fact confirm that the Turkish
authorities planned and executed the extermination of the Armenian
PERIOD BEFORE THE GREAT WAR
One reason Turkey and Turkish historians now give for the wholesale
massacre of Armenians is that there was a war and just as Turks were
killed, so were the Armenians. Of course, they also claim that many
Armenians were punished because they were traitors and joined the
Russian army fighting against Turkey. However, there is no
explanation for the massacres that occurred prior to the Great War.
During the Sultan Hamid era, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were
killed in cold blood in such cities as Zeitoun, Sassoun, Ourfa,
Erzurum and Van in the 1890s.
At the time, the newspapers of the western world, which were on good
terms with Turkey, printed thousands of reports describing the
deplorable situation of the Armenians under Turkish rule. A small
sampling of the headlines from the 19th century papers outlines the
condition of the Armenians under Turkish rule:
. Fresh Turkish Outrages: 700 Christians reported to have been
massacred at Erzeroum. (The New York Times - Sept. 27, 1876)
. The Erzeroum Massacre: Armenians slaughtered and the British
Consulate stoned. (The New York Times - July 26, 1890)
. Dungeons for Christians: Nearly 2,000 Armenians immured in Turkish
prisons. (The Washington Post - April 10, 1893)
. The Armenians: Innocent Christians executed by the Ottoman
Authorities. (The Los Angeles Times - Aug. 4, 1893)
. Armenians murdered in Turkey: Hundreds of bodies thrown into the
harbor of Constantinople. (Chicago Daily Tribune - Oct. 20, 1893)
. Massacre of Armenians: Horrible tales of butchery perpetrated by
Turks - Thousands were killed. (The Halifax Herald - Nov. 20, 1894)
. Massacre of the Armenians: Turkish troops made a solitude and called
it peace in Sassoun. (The New York Times - Nov 27, 1894)
. Disturbed Armenia: Massacres Confirmed. (The Times - Dec. 4, 1894)
He Tells of the Sacking of Hadjin: Another story of the Armenian
massacre from an eye-witness. (Chicago Daily Tribune - Dec. 8, 1894)
. Horrible Massacres: Treacherous Turkish troops murder 360 Armenians
of all ages and both sexes. (The Halifax Herald - Feb 28, 1895)
. Eight Thousand Butchered: The horrors of the Armenian massacres only
just beginning to be realized by the World. (The New York Times -
March 25, 1895)
. Turkish Atrocities: Pitiful stories of pillage, burning, torture and
murder. (The Halifax Herald - June 13, 1895)
. The Trebizond Massacre. (The Sunday Times - Oct. 27, 1895)
. The Massacres in Erzurum. (The Times - Nov. 16, 1895)
. Plunder and Outrage: Armenian villages for a distance of 200 miles
are looted and burned and their inhabitants killed or put to flight.
(The Los Angeles Times - Jan. 1, 1896)
. 100,000 Massacred in Armenia and 250,000 Christians rendered
homeless. (The Halifax Herald - Jan. 3, 1896)
. Two Thousand Dead: The awful sweep of the ravenous Turk. (The Los
Angeles Times - Feb. 12, 1896)
. At Mercy of the Turks: Graphic picture of the suffering of the
Armenians - Massacres the result of definite plan devised by the
. Sultan and his advisers to annihilate the `Hated Christians' (Chicago
Daily Tribune - Feb. 22, 1896)
. Armenians Killed at Oorfa: 8,000 victims said to have been murdered.
(The New York Times - May 19, 1896)
. The Armenian Outrages: How the Christians were murdered by the cruel
Turks - Stories of horror which are unequaled - Mothers killed in the
presence of their husbands and children. (The New York Times - June
. Fresh Disturbances in Van: Renewal of the Armenian massacres - 400
people killed. (The Washington Post - June 25, 1896)
. Deportation of the Armenians - (The New York Times - Sept. 7, 1896)
. Armenians Slain by the Hundreds: British Ambassador Currie makes a
protest. (The Halifax Herald - March 27, 1897)
. The Tokat Massacre. (The Times - May 6, 1897)
Wholesale Massacre: Secret Extermination. (The Halifax Herald - July
And the massacres did not stop there. At different intervals of time,
massacres of the Armenian population also took place during the first
years of the 20th century.
The following selective excerpts from different newspapers illustrate
the situation of the Armenians between 1900 and 1914. The Armenians
were exposed to not only massacres but also dislocation. They were
disarmed, dispersed, pillaged, outraged and murdered in cold blood
during peaceful times. The worst was in 1909 when the Turks and Kurds
descended on the Armenians of the Vilayet of Adana and wiped out an
estimated number of 30,000 in the towns and villages of the district.
At the time, there was no Great War. The Armenians were not simply
casualties of war. Their extermination was a premeditated plan set by
the Turkish authorities.
Chicago Daily Tribune - Oct. 21, 1900.
According to a dispatch to a French newspaper, `frightful massacres
of Armenians have just occurred in the district of Diarbekir.' The
report asserts that for five days, the Turkish population of the city
killed and outraged the Armenians as the Turkish troops watched. In
addition, eight villages were entirely destroyed and burned and the
residents were left homeless.
The New York Times - Aug. 30, 1901.
A reference is made to an article in the London-based newspaper The
Daily Mail and written by Ali Nouri Bey, ex-Turkish Consul at
Rotterdam with the heading that confirms the Porte intends to
exterminate the Armenian race by a regular system. According to Ali
Nouri Bey, the massacres that had recently restarted are `part of a
regular system of extermination. The number of Armenians killed will
depend upon the outcry raised in Europe and the pressure brought to
bear upon the Sultan. The same horrible process will be repeated year
by year until all are killed.'
On September 20, 1901, the same paper reports briefly about The
Armenian Troubles: It is believed that the Turks mean to exterminate
the Mountaineers in Sassoun Vilayet.
The Washington Post - May 14, 1904.
Titled Sassoun Armenians practically exterminated by the Turks, an
official dispatch received from Constantinople by the French Foreign
Office confirms `the reports that Turkish troops have burned villages
throughout the Sassoun district of Armenia, killing the
inhabitants.' Together with the British and Russian Ambassadors, the
French Ambassador M. Constans sent consuls to the Erzeroum area to
try and stop further massacres from occurring. `However, the official
advices indicate that the work of exterminating the Armenians
occupying the mountainous district of Sassoun is practically
Chicago Daily Tribune - May 29, 1904.
The headline reads Turks said to have destroyed forty-three villages
and massacred the inhabitants. The news from Paris reports: `Deputy
De Pressense (Socialist) has received a telegram from Baku saying the
Turkish forces operating against the Armenians consisted of 12,000
regulars and 10,000 Kurds, ... and that forty-three villages were
burned and their inhabitants killed. The male Armenians are said to
have made a desperate resistance on the summit of Mount Antok.'
The Washington Post - July 13, 1906.
The massacres have reached the city of Van. `Alarming news has been
received [in Tiflis] of horrible ravages by Turkish troops across the
border, in Turkish Armenia. Soldiers who were collecting taxes are
said to have indulged in frightful outrages. The population of the
city of Van is represented to have been nearly destroyed by the
Turkish troops, who pulled down houses, assaulted the women, and
acted generally like wild beasts ...'
The New York Times - Oct. 18, 1908.
This brief news comes from Berlin confirming that the Turkish troops
committed many atrocities. According to a dispatch published by the
German newspaper Berliner Tageblatt, `Armenians in Viran-Shehr have
been massacred by Turkish troops. The women and children have been
subjected to fearful treatment. The troops were sent to Viran-Shehr
to overawe the mutinous townspeople, two-thirds of whom are
Armenians, and they at once began to murder and plunder. They are
said to have completely overrun the city.'
The New York Times - April 25, 1909.
The large title affirms 30,000 Killed in Massacres: Conservative
Estimate of Victims of Turkish Fanaticism in Adana Vilayet. The news
from Beirut describes the following: `At the town of Adana more than
100 girls are missing. It is known that twenty-one native pastors
have been killed. Fears are entertained that other American
missionaries than those whose deaths have been reported, have been
murdered. There are 15,000 refugees in Adana and Tarsus and 5,000 at
Mersina.' The article also reports the following about different
`In Hadjin, an American lady missionary Miss Lambert has been killed
in the streets two days after she sent an appeal to Constantinople.'
`Dortyol is holding out.'
`Antioch is quiet, there being no Armenians left in that town.'
`The Armenian village of Kessab has been burned and many persons
killed there. The women and children of Kessab are fugitives in the
surrounding mountains, exposed to hunger and mob violence.'
The New York Times - April 28, 1909.
The Rev. Herbert Adams Gibbons of Hartford, Connecticut, a missionary
of the American Board of Foreign Missions stationed in Adana and
Tarsus writes a long report in which he describes the massacres as he
`The entire Vilayet of Adana has been visited during the last five
days with a terrible massacre of Armenians, the worst ever known in
the history of the district.'
The report continues: `Adana was a hell. The bazaars were looted and
set on fire. There was continuous and unceasing shooting and killing
in every part of the town, and fires raged in many quarters. Moslems
from the neighborhood began pouring into the city and notwithstanding
our protests, the Vali distributed arms to these men, alleging that
they were Turkish reserves.'
`Adana is in a pitiable condition. The town has been pillaged and
destroyed, and there are thousands of homeless people here without
means of livelihood ... The corpses lie scattered through the streets.
Friday, when I went out, I had to pick my way between the dead to
avoid stepping on them. Saturday morning I counted a dozen cartloads
of Armenian bodies in one-half an hour being carried to the river and
thrown into the water...'
`The condition of the refugees is most pitiable and heartrending. Not
only are there orphans and widows beyond number, but a great many,
even the babies, are suffering from severe wounds.'
The report by Rev. Gibbons also gives details on how the problems
started between the Turks and the Armenians and how the British
Consul and his wife personally helped the wounded and the refugees.
Christian Science Monitor - Aug 21, 1913.
Turks Resume Persecution of the Armenians is the headline in this
journal which publishes information that was placed in its
possession. It prints the following by the journal's informant who
`is the most unimpeachable source.' The article says:
`News also comes, our informant continues, from Diarbekir to the
effect that Turks and Kurds are openly arming on a great scale with
the connivance of the authorities; whereas the Christians have even
their pocket revolvers taken away whenever the police can find them ...'
`In spite of categorical assurances given by the Porte to the
Patriarchate that no Moslem emigrants from Macedonia and Thrace would
be sent to Armenia, the first contingent of Turks has already reached
Diarbekir. It is stated authoritatively that about 1000 of such
families are to be quartered in the district of Tidje, Diarbekir,
where the Armenian element predominates ...'
`The public debt department of the district has computed the loss
suffered by the Armenians of Tchengiler (in Vilayet of Brusa) at
#6000. This means that about 4000 Armenian peasants have been reduced
to the brink of starvation for a whole year. This fact, out of many,
is sufficient to demonstrate the policy adopted by the Turks to bring
about the economic ruin of the Armenian element.'
THE WORLD WAR ONE PERIOD
And the Great War broke out in mid-1914. The Young Turks continued
their policy of exterminating the Armenians and other minorities
under the guise of war casualties.
When the war broke out and Turkey joined Germany and Austria,
diplomats, correspondents and residents of those countries at war
with Turkey left the Ottoman Empire. Although prior to the Great War
the British sources, for example, had provided extensive reports
about the conditions under which the Armenians lived, once the war
broke out, the American diplomats and missionaries became the
eyewitnesses to the wholesale massacres that took place in Armenian
towns and villages.
The following handful of excerpts from the thousands of news reports
printed in the British, American and Canadian press describe the
horrible massacres and deportations which the Turkish authorities
The Times - Jan. 13, 1915.
The news received in Tiflis describes the frightful conditions in
Azerbaijan as Turkey invades the region. The entire Armenian
population in Tabriz is escaping towards the Caucasus as `the
massacre of Armenians in the region of Bashkala, between Van and
Urumia Lakes, continues.'
The Times - Feb. 23, 1915.
The details of the horrors perpetrated by the Turks during the
occupation of Ardanuch are now available. According to a Tiflis
correspondent, the Turks first `confined themselves to pillage, and
slew only 15 civilians, but after December 30, when the news of our
[Russian] occupation of Ardahan was received, the local Mussulmans
threw off the mask, and the same evening organized a systematic
massacre.. One hundred and fifty Armenians were led out into the
street and shot, or had their throats cut ...'
The Washington Post - Feb. 28, 1915.
The details of further massacres are revealed: `Two hundred and fifty
men were massacred at Tambot and their women carried into slavery.
The Turks did not even permit internment of the bodies, but left them
to be devoured by dogs.'
The New York Times - March 20, 1915
According to a report received by the Red Cross Fund in London, the
`whole plain of Alashgerd is virtually covered with the bodies of
men, women, and children.' The organizers of the Red Cross Fund say
there are 120,000 destitute Armenians now in the Caucasus.
The Washington Post - April 25, 1915.
From Tabriz comes the following news: `Hundreds of Armenians in the
Vilayet of Van have been massacred by Turkish troops, according to
refugees who arrived here today. All the towns near Lake Van have
been sacked, the Turkish police killing all the Christians who
escaped the first attack on the troops...'
Toronto Daily Star - April 26, 1915.
In a Canadian Press dispatch from Tiflis, terrible tales of Armenian
slaughter have been reported. According to the Associated Press, 800
villagers of Urfa and 720 in Salmas were massacred. The report
continues: `Three weeks had failed to obliterate the signs of the
slaughter. Pools of blood still marked the execution places in
Haltevan. The caps of 36 victims lay where a mud wall had been
toppled over them...'
The Washington Post - April 26, 1915
According to American missions in Persia, many refugees were arriving
at Julfa in deplorable conditions: `Maddened women threw their
children into the Araxes River or into pools in order to end their
sufferings from cold and hunger. The mud and the cold and the
shelterless nights, during which the garments of the refugees were
frozen knee high, continued for three weeks, until the people were
slowly dispersed by rail.'
The New York Times - April 29, 1915
In a letter sent to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, Dr.
W.S. Vanneman, head of the Mission Hospital at Tabriz and the
chairman of the relief committee appointed by the American Consul,
writes the following: `About ten days ago the Kurds in Salmas, with
the permission of the Turkish troops, gathered all the Nestorian and
Armenian men remaining there, it is reported about 800. Four hundred
were sent to Khosrova and 400 to Haft Dewan under the pretense of
giving them bread. They were held a few days and then all of them
were tortured and massacred. Many of the women and children were
taken away and maltreated...'
The Washington Post - May 16, 1915.
The headline reads Kill 10,000 Christians: Turkish Regulars, with
Artillery, Bombard Armenians. Van is again attacked. According to
American missionary Robert M. Larabee and other aid agents, `this
Armenian city in Asiatic Turkey was bombarded by 900 Turkish regular
troops who had with them three pieces of artillery. Armenians
numbering 860 assembled in the village of Saragunis to oppose the
murderous bands of Kurds threatening that place, but the Kurds were
aided by Turkish regulars, and after a long struggle the detachment
of Armenians were all wiped out with the exception of eight men, who
ultimately found shelter in the monastery of St. Tatius...'
The Times - May 24, 1915.
This London based newspaper has received the following from the Press
Bureau. `His Majesty's Government, in common with the Governments of
France and Russia, make the following public declaration: For about
the last month the Kurds and the Turkish population of Armenia have
been engaged in massacring Armenians, with the connivance and often
the help of the Ottoman authorities. Such massacres took place about
the middle of April at Erzerum, Dertchan, Egin, Bitlis, Sassoun,
Moush, Zeitun, and in all Cilicia. The inhabitants of about 100
villagers near Van were all assassinated, and in the town itself the
Armenian quarter is besieged by Kurds. At the same time the Ottoman
Government at Constantinople is raging against the inoffensive
Armenian population. In the face of these fresh crimes, committed by
Turkey, the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte
that they will hold all the members of the Ottoman Government, as
well as such of their agents as are implicated, personally
responsible for such massacres.'
The Montreal Daily Star - July 23, 1915.
Francis Lavelle Murray of the International News reports from
Petrograd: `After looting and burning homes of Christians in Bitlis,
and torturing or killing many of the residents of that city, the
Turks gathered 9,000 men, women and children from the nearby villages
and drove them more than thirty miles to the banks of the Tigris,
where all were shot. Their bodies were then thrown into the river...'
The Los Angeles Times - July 25, 1915.
A report by an Associated Press foreign correspondent is titled Wells
Filled With The Dead - Every Woman and Child in Heresan is Killed.
The correspondent had been riding with general Antranik and the
Russian army. At Heresan, he found `60 Armenian men, all that are
known to remain alive and free in a population of 500... Half a dozen
wells were crammed with the bodies of those who had not been carried
The Montreal Daily Star - Aug. 3, 1915.
The United Press correspondent Henry Wood writes: `Atrocities that
rival the outrages of Abdul Hamid are being inflicted on the
2,000,000 Armenians in Turkey by the Young Turks Government. Official
circles in Turkey are using every possible means to prevent the news
from reaching the outside world ...'
`Thousands of Armenians have been deported from their homes in Asia
Minor, their property confiscated and their families broken up. Young
Armenians have been hurriedly drafted into the army and rushed to
Gallipoli Penninsula to meet a quick end in the trenches of the
Dardanelles. Wives, mothers and young children have been left
helpless in the streets or transported to strange cities and
abandoned to the mercies of the Mussulman population...'
`The order for the present cruelties was issued early in may and
executed with all the extreme genius of the Turkish police system. At
Broussa, in Asiatic Turkey, the city which it is expected the Turks
will select for their capital if Constantinople falls, I investigated
personally the manner in which the decree was carried out. From
eyewitnesses from other towns of the interior, I found that the
procedure in nearly every instance was the same...'
`... the Constantinople police arrested the alleged leaders of an
Armenian society who were charged with plotting the establishment of
an independent Armenia. Nineteen of these men were convicted by a
court-martial and hanged in front of the Ministry of War...'
`Twenty thousand Turks from Thrace were taken to Zeitoun and
established in houses that for generations belonged to the Armenians,
while the former owners were scattered to the extreme ends of the
Empire. One portion being sent to the sandy deserts of the head of
the Persian Gulf and the other to malarial marshes in the interior.
Eyewitnesses from the interior, coming to Constantinople describe the
processions of these ragged, miserable Armenians as they poured off
to Zeitoun, herded by soldiers in groups ranging from fifty to
several hundred. Old men who could not maintain the pace were beaten
by the soldiers until they died in their tracks. Children dropped out
of the wayside to perish. Mothers unable any longer to nourish their
babies, dropped them in wells as they passed, preferring to end their
The Turkish government accused the Armenians of rebellion. It charged
the Armenians of extending important aid to the Russian army as it
entered Van. And at the same time, the authorities expressed `regret
that it was found necessary to punish large numbers of Armenians, but
declare[d] they found it impossible to search among two million men
small group of offenders.'
The Washington Post - Aug. 4, 1915.
9,000 Women and Children Slain by Turks on Banks of the Tigris reads
the headline. It reports how the `Turks, after massacring all the
males of the population in the region of Bitlis,... assembled 9,000
women and children and drove them to the banks of the Tigris where
they shot them and threw the bodies into the river.'
The New York Times - Aug. 18, 1915.
In London, British parliamentarian Aneurin Williams presents a report
which confirms the news that the Armenians of Cilicia have been
deported into the Syrian Desert. He continues: `We learn, besides,
that the roads and the Euphrates are strewn with corpses of exiles,
and those who survive are doomed to certain death, since they will
find neither house, work, nor food in the desert. It is a plan to
exterminate the whole Armenian people...'
The report continues describing the arrests and execution of men
accused of `meeting secretly' in such places as Caesarea and Sivas.
It adds, `Hundreds of women and young girls and even children groan
in prisons. Churches and convents have been pillaged, defiled, and
destroyed. The villages around Van and Bitlis have been pillaged and
the inhabitants put to the sword. At the beginning of this month all
the inhabitants of Karahissar were pitilessly massacred, with the
exception of a few children.'
The Washington Post - Sept. 3, 1915.
Edgar A. Mowrer reports from Rome that the Armenian population of
Istanbul has been reduced from 60,000 to 30,000 under cover of
deportation. However, `the Turks indulged in murder, rapine and
atrocities of all descriptions.'
The Montreal Daily Star - Sept. 16, 1915.
In a special cable from Constantinople by the United Press, `The
Turks have resumed the methodical extermination of Armenians in all
the provinces of the Empire. Frightful scenes are being enacted
according to reports brought here. Women are being outraged or sold
into slavery, males are being massacred, and whole communities driven
off into the desert countries...'
The cable also quotes from Le Tanine, the official organ of the Young
Turk Party. The editorial reads: `Turkey will not be safe until the
Armenians either are exterminated or forced to accept the Mohammedan
The Times - Sept. 22, 1915.
5,000 Armenians rescued by French Cruisers. The following official
communication is issued by the French Ministry of Marine: `Pursued by
the Turks, about 5,000 Armenians, nearly 3,000 of whom were women and
children or old people, took refuge towards the end of July in the
massif of Djebel Moussa, to the north of the Bay of Antioch. There
they had succeeded in keeping off their aggressors until the
beginning of September, but then their provisions and munitions began
to fail and they seemed certain to fall into the hands of the Turks,
when they succeeded in signaling to a French cruiser the dangerous
position in which they were. The cruisers of the French squadron
immediately went to their assistance and succeeded in assuring the
escape of the 5,000 Armenians, who were conveyed by our warships to
port Said, where they were heartily welcomed. They have been
accommodated in a temporary camp.'
Chicago Daily Tribune - Sept. 24, 1915.
The paper quotes from British refugees who arrived at Alexandria and
brought terrible tales of sufferings. These refugees witnessed the
massacres of August 19 in Urfa. `The Turks systematically murdered
the men and turned the women and children out into the desert where
thousands perished of starvation ...'
The New York Times - Sept. 24, 1915.
Charles R. Crane, the Director of Roberts College, and James Burton,
foreign Secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign
Missions, visited the State Department and conferred with the
officials regarding the slaughter of Armenians by the Turks and
Kurds. The article continues: `The records of the State Department
are replete with detailed reports from American Consular officers in
Asia Minor, which give harrowing tales of the treatment of the
Armenian Christians by the Turks and the Kurds. These reports have
not been made public. They indicate that the Turk has undertaken a
war of extermination on Armenians, especially those of the Gregorian
Church, to which about 90 per cent of the Armenians belong. The
Turkish Government originally ordered the deportation of all
Armenians, but, some time ago, after representations had been made by
Ambassador Morgenthau, the Ottoman Government gave assurances that
the order would be modified so as not to embrace Catholic and
The Times - Sept. 30, 1915
The headline reads Wholesale Murder in Armenia: Exterminating a Race.
Reports confirming the current atrocities perpetrated against the
Armenians are confirmed. According to the correspondent in Cairo, the
attack on the Armenians began after Enver Pasha returned from the
Caucasus front and was infuriated that the Armenians had assisted the
Russians. Thus, Talaat Bey took the opportunity to retaliate on the
unarmed Armenians of Asia Minor and ordered their expulsion. The
`One instance, in which leading Armenians were concerned, shows the
fate awaiting even those who obey the order. Vartkes Effendi and
Zohrab Effendi, two prominent members of Parliament, Aghnuni, one of
the chief Dashnakists, Haladjian Effendi and Pastermadjian Effendi,
ex-minister of Public Works and Agriculture, were put in carriages at
Urfa for conveyance to Diarbekir, and then were murdered en route,
the escort reporting that the murders were the work of brigands...'
`... The present atrocities are not confined to a definite area. From
Samsun and Trebizond, from Ordu and Aintab, from Marash and Erzerum
come the same tales of atrocities - of men shot down in cold blood,
crucified, mutilated, or dragged off for labour battalions, of
children carried off and forcibly converted to Islam, of women
violated and enslaved in the interior, shot down, or sent off with
their children to the desert west of Mosul ... or to Deir esZor ... to
die miserably. Many of these unfortunates did not reach their
destination, because the escort so overdrove the victims that many
fell out, and, as flogging and kicking were unavailing, they were
left to perish by the roadside, their corpses distinctly defining the
route followed. Many were tied back to back in pairs and thrown into
rivers alive ...'
The Washington Post - Oct. 4, 1915.
An American committee makes public the report it has prepared after
careful and extensive investigation of the evidence on the atrocities
inflicted on the Armenians. The committee was made up of Charles R.
Crane, Samuel T. Dutton, Cleveland H. Dodge, Arthur C. James, Stephen
S. Wise, Frank Mason North, John R. Mott, Stanley White, James L.
Barton, William Sloane, William I Haven, George A. Plimpton, Carl
Davis Robinson, Frederick lynch, Norman Hapgood, Edward Lincold
Smith, Bishop David H. Greer, William W. Rockwell, Oscar S. Straus
According to this report, `more than 800,000 Armenians have been
driven from their towns and cities into deserts where life is
unsupportable, and where it is known thousands would die...'
`In many cases the men [of military age] were bound tightly together
with ropes or chains. Women with little children in their arms, or in
the last days of pregnancy, were driven along under the whip like
cattle. Some women so completely worn out and hopeless that they left
their infants beside the road ...'
The report continued describing how the Armenian prisoners were
treated where the men received 200, 300, or even 800 bastinadoes
(beating with a stick). The prisoners `all had their feet in such a
state that they had to be amputated. A young man was beaten to death
within the space of five minutes. Apart from the bastinadoing other
methods were employed, too, such as putting hot irons on the chest ...'
`The worst and most unimaginable horrors were reserved for us at the
banks of the Euphrates and in the Erzingian plain. The mutilated
bodies of women, girls and little children made everyone shudder. The
bandsmen were doing all sorts of awful deeds to the women and girls
that were with us, whose cries went up to heaven. At the Euphrates,
the bandsmen and gendarmes threw into the river all the remaining
children under 15 years old ...'
`On the way we constantly met murdered men and youth, all covered
with blood. There were also women and girls killed near their
husbands or sons. On the heights of the mountains and in the depths
of the valleys numbers of old men and babies were lying on the ground
dead. The poor people found themselves in the necessity of eating
Toronto Daily Star - Oct. 9, 1915.
Dr. A.H. Abbott of the University of Toronto has received a letter
from a Canadian missionary Rev. E.O. Eshoo in which the latter
describes the atrocities he has witnessed. The letter says that
`Twelve thousand people in the city of Urumia alone were massacred
outright, have since died of ill-treatment or starvation, or being
taken as harem slaves.' Mr. Eshoo's two sons are safe. But his mother
died of shock. `After hiding as a refugee for a week in the hay under
a barn with her daughter, she was set upon, robbed and beaten by
Kurds while on the road to Russian territory, and died a few days
later.' Eshoo's aunt was killed in bed, her head and breast being
crushed with stones. His uncle and nephew were both killed and one of
them was literally skinned alive ...
Eshoo further describes that `the Turks and Kurds were not mere
outlaws and raiders. They were part of the Turkish army, the first
lot being a detachment of 5,000 men under regular Turkish officers.'
He tells of one case of how a child was roasted alive in front of his
parents who were given the choice of either converting to Islam or
eating the flesh of their child.
Chicago Daily Tribune - Oct. 13, 1915.
The news has reached the US State Department from Ambassador
Morgenthau that the massacre of Armenians in Asiatic Turkey were
renewed with vigor. Apparently the American government had warned
Turkey that further atrocities against the Armenians would `alienate
the sympathy of the American people.' But no warnings were given by
the US government that diplomatic ties would be severed if these
The paper continues: `Earlier representations were met with two
concessions promising that those Armenians who wished to leave the
country would be permitted to do so unharmed and further that
Protestant Armenians would be spared. Information recently reaching
this country, however, indicates that these conditions have not been
strictly adhered to. From one quarter it was asserted that `they were
rescinded the next day.''
The Times - Oct. 26, 1915.
Addressing a large meeting in Manchester, Lord James Bryce made the
`A large number of the young women were driven from their houses,
somehow even stripped of their own clothes, taken into the street,
and paraded before the Turkish officials, civil and military, who
picked out those they wished to send to their harems, while others
were publicly sold to anyone who would buy them - sold into a life of
`The children shared a similar fate. The elder ones were mostly
killed. The younger ones were put into the market, and were sold at
prices which ran from 8s to 14 shillings, and sold only to Moslems on
the condition that they were brought up as Mohamedans. The whole
thing ... had come from the Government, so that there should be nothing
but Moslems in the Turkish Empire ...'
Chicago Daily Tribune - Nov. 4, 1915.
An American resident of Chicago, Mrs. Samuel Byloz recently arrived
back home from Marsovan, Turkey, where she was visiting when the war
broke out. She relates the following: `When the war began more than a
year ago the Turkish military authorities confiscated all brass and
copper owned by Armenians, even tearing the hardware from the
churches. This was followed by systematic pillage until the Armenians
were destitute. Last August murder and rapine began. I was at
Marsovan, a city of 12,000 located 75 miles west of the Black Sea
port of Samsoun, and the seat of the largest Armenian college, early
last August. I had been trying vigorously to secure a safe conduct
from the country but had been unsuccessful. On Aug. 5 a general
massacre of all Armenians in the city was declared by the priests
[i.e. sheikhs] in the mosques, and the next day the soldiers began
their work. I gained the protection of American Consul Petro of
Samsoun, who chanced to be in Marsovan. For three days the soldiers
stabbed and burned. The babies were thrown into the baths, and some
of the streets were littered with dead bodies. Young girls were
assaulted and older women killed. Then orders came to deport those
still living. Deport! the word is a farce. With practically nothing
to eat or wear, my countrymen were taken far into the AntiTaurus
Mountains and abandoned.' She then recounts how she secured a passage
to Bulgaria with the help of the American consul.
The Sunday Times - Nov. 14, 1915.
The paper gives excerpts of a book written by Arnold J. Toynbee. The
book in its entirety was going to be released the following day on
Nov. 15. Dealing with the outrages against the women, Toynbee states:
`Abundant news has come from Constantinople itself of their being
sold for a few shillings in the open markets of the capital; and one
piece of evidence in Lord Bryce's possession comes from a girl no
more than ten years old, who was carried with this object from a town
of North-Eastern Anatolia to the shores of the Bosphorus. These were
Christian women, as civilised and refined as the women of Western
Europe, and they were enslaved into degradation ...'
The report continues with the following description recounted by a
lady: `The worst and most unimaginable horrors were reserved for us
at the banks of the (Western) Euphrates (Kara Su) and the Erzinjan
Plain. The mutilated bodies of women, girls, and little children made
everybody shudder. The brigands were doing all sorts of awful deeds
to the women and girls that were with us, whose cries went up to
heaven. At the Euphrates the brigands and gendarmes threw into the
river all the remaining children under fifteen years old. Those who
could swim were shot down as they struggled in the water ...'
The New York Times - Nov. 27, 1915.
From London comes a report by Viscount Bryce, who made public the
details of further Armenian massacres. He describes the Armenians'
Heroic Stand in Mountains.
`The surviving warriors found themselves surrounded at close quarters
by 30,000 Turks and Kurds. Then followed one of those desperate,
heroic struggles for life which have always been the pride of the
mountaineers. Men, women, and children fought with knives, scythes,
and stones, and anything else they could handle. They rolled blocks
of stone down the steep slopes, killing many of their enemies. In the
frightful hand-to-hand combats women were seen thrusting their knives
into the throats of the Turks. When every warrior had fallen, several
of the younger women who were in danger of falling into the hands of
the Turks threw themselves from the rocks, some of them with infants
in their arms ...'
Another excerpt from Bryce's report describes the burning of women
and children: `The ghastly scenes which followed may seem incredible,
yet these reports have been confirmed beyond all doubt. The shortest
means employed for disposing of the women and children in the various
camps was by burning. Fire was set to the large wooden sheds in
Alijan, Mograkom, Khasjogh, and other Armenian villages, and these
absolutely helpless women and children were roasted to death ... The
odor of burning flesh [according to witnesses] permeated the air for
many days ...'
Christian Science Monitor - Dec. 17, 1915.
The paper reports that the Turkish government will not permit any
investigation of the condition of those Armenians who escaped the
massacres. The paper asserts that this is the most significant news
coming out of the Turkish capital and it comes from an
`unquestionable' source: Henry Mongenthau, the Ambassador of the
United Stated in Constantinople, who has sent the report to the State
Department asking for funds to help the remnants of the Armenian people.
The paper gives details of the report by Mr. Morgenthau and the
circumstances that had permitted this letter from reaching
Washington. The paper then continues: `It seems unquestionable that
everything which the United States can do to assist the people of
Armenia has been already done. For the moment what assistance is
possible seems to be reduced to financial aid. We are afraid that if
anything further were attempted, at this particular juncture, only a
remnant of the Armenian remnant would be left to cumber the earth.
The fate of these people is unthinkably terrible. They are penned in
the midst of an armed camp of religious fanatics, whose highest
conception of right is to offer them the Koran or the sword ... What
hope there would be for the Armenians inside the Ottoman gates, as it
were, with an allied army outside those gates, may easily be
imagined. Possibly the only remaining thing that could be done for
their protection would be to make it perfectly clear to the Sublime
Porte that its individual members would be held, in such
circumstances, absolutely responsible for whatever occurred.'
The Washington Post - Dec. 21, 1915.
The paper quotes from a statement by Count Ernest Von Reventlow, a
German naval expert, who was an advocate of the Turkish atrocities
perpetrated against the Armenians. He states: `It is high time
Germans comprehended the real meaning of Armenian atrocity affairs.
They should finally understand that it is not our affair to feel or
even express sympathy with Armenian revolutionaries and usurers, who
form a great and malignant danger for our brave, tried and true
Turkish allies and who are the tool of our mortal enemies - Great
Britain and Russia. If the Turks did not defend themselves
energetically and thoroughly against the Armenian danger whenever it
arises, they would be doing their allies as well as themselves a bad
service. Therefore we Germans must consider the handling of the
Armenian question as an internal affair of the Turks.'
The Times - Jan. 4, 1916.
A young missionary of the American Board of Foreign Missions (Boston)
writes from Egypt, where she recently arrived from Beirut. Other than
describing outrages committed against Armenian refugees from Kharput,
the young lady accounts the following: `In Marash an orphanage had to
be given up to the Turks, who turned it over to men. Its occupants
were girls and young women made orphans by the massacres of 1909 and
preceding years. Many of them were cultured young women. The
condition of those not yet dead is worse than death itself. In a
German orphanage in Marash there were more than 1,000 girls. The
order for expatriation came, and, in order that she might shield a
few of the older girls, the headmistress kept them under her
protection. Soon there came a telegram from the German Consul at
Aleppo, saying, `You have hidden some girls. You have no business to
do such a thing. Give them up.' The girls had to be given up, and
were taken away to suffer the inevitable at the hands of their
Turkish masters. This so angered the headmistress that she went to
Constantinople to protest to the German Ambassador.' Although she
tried hard to meet with the Ambassador, she failed and was told
`curtly' that it was none of her business.
The Washington Post - Feb. 6, 1916.
More details of the atrocities perpetrated against the Armenians is
reported by a young American woman who, after arriving in Cairo, gave
an account of what she witnessed and went through herself. Although
the official report submitted to the Board of Missions included all
the names of people and places, she had asked that these names not be
made public. The Post prints excerpts of her report: `At Aleppo she
(the missionary) saw the remnants of 5,000 exiles who had started
from ---. When they started they were of all ages and both sexes.
They went toward Aleppo down the Euphrates. When they came to
crossings of the rivers that flow into the Euphrates all the able-
bodied men were drowned and their bodies left in the water. Farther
on all the survivors, now only old men, women and children, were
entirely stripped of their clothing ... Of the 5,000 that started only
213 were left ...'
The Halifax Herald - March 15, 1916.
The terrifying tale of the Armenian massacres by a German mission is
reported by this Canadian newspaper. The mission's report states:
`Turkish soldiers who witnessed scenes of indescribable horror and
fanatical savagery told our investigators they saw hundreds of
terrified Armenian women slain outright as they pleaded for mercy on
`To save their babies from excruciating tortures, many of the women,
driven to desperation, flung their infants to drown in the rivers
Tigris and Euphrates, as the ravening hordes of religious intoxicated
Turks bore down on their homesteads, killing as they came.
Investigators asked the soldiers, `You mean to tell us you pitilessly
shot down women and children?' The soldiers replied, `We had no
choice; we only obeyed orders ...' '
The Washington Post - May 7, 1916.
Richard Hill, a local representative of the American Committee for
Armenian and Syrian relief, reports that 15,000 Armenians were killed
by Turks at Mamakhatun prior to the evacuation of Erzurum. According
to Hill, `the whole of the province has been cleared of Armenians
with the exception of those few who hid in the city. At the same time
15,000 were sent away from villages nearby. These were taken as far
as Mamakhatun, where they were killed. Other groups have been sent
off at different times, many of them, too, no doubt, sharing the same
fate as those from Erzurum, although some hope is entertained that
many of them may still be found alive in the region of Aleppo.'
The Sunday Times - May 14, 1916.
The news this time comes from Trebizond where the children were the
target for the atrocities. In Trebizond and its environs, the
Armenians were all massacred or drowned by the Turks. The report
continues saying: `It is unanimously declared that the atrocities
committed on the Armenians at Trebizond surpassed all the Turkish
cruelties towards the Armenians in other places. The expulsion of the
Armenians in Trebizond began in July 1915, and to begin with several
hundreds of young and influential Armenians were arrested on charges
of treason and of aiding the Russians. They were embarked on boats,
and drowned in the sea.'
`Other persons who were arrested were dispatched, men and women
separately, to the village of Djivizlik, near Trebizond, where the
women were violated and then killed, and the children bayoneted. The
Turks also amused themselves with firing practice, taking the heads
of the little children as targets. The survivors were sent to Erzurum.'
The Washington Post - Aug. 6, 1916.
A report comes from Paris in a special cable to the paper. It gives
estimates that the Armenian population prior to 1915 was two and a
half million, and then calculates that only some half a million were
left. The report puts the blame on the Young Turk government. `The
whole of the responsibility for the massacres rests with the Young
Turk government and it is these young Turks who, under the eye of
their accomplices, the German authorities in Constantinople,
conceived and ordered the massacres and it is they who urged the
savage Kurds to carry out the murders also, wherever possible, the
Mussulmans, by means of arousing their fanaticism.'
The Halifax Herald - Aug. 9, 1916.
The details of the desperate condition of deported Armenians in the
deserts of Northern Arabia and the lower Euphrates are made public by
the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief. According to
eyewitnesses, the Armenians were seen `eating grass, herbs and
locusts, and in desperation dead animals and human bodies are
reported to have been eaten.'
The New York Times - Aug. 21, 1916.
After returning from a three-month relief work in the devastated
villages in the Ottoman Empire, Rev. Harold Buxton, Secretary of the
Armenian Refugee Fund, gives details that confirm the previous
reports about the atrocities committed against the Armenians,
especially those reports which Viscount Bryce had presented to the
British House of Lords.
Rev. Buxton states: `I don't think there has been any exaggeration as
to the losses as published in England. The Armenian race numbered
over 4,000,000 of whom 2,000,000 were Turkish Armenians and of these
perhaps 1,000,000 have been deported and 500,000 massacred. Only
200,000 escaped into the mountains, and so across to Russian soil.
There are some hundreds of thousands in concentration camps between
Aleppo and Mosul and in the neighboring regions of Mesopotamia, where
Turkey continues to be supreme over their fate.'
The Times - Aug. 24, 1916.
According to Turkish and German sources, some 12,000 Armenian
workers, including women and children, were collected in the vicinity
of the Bozanti Tunnel through the Taurus Mountains to work under
German supervision. Later the more intellectual and active among them
were massacred with `utmost brutality.' The women were separated from
the men and `suddenly ordered to move on in their emigration. This is
the euphemistic term now employed by Turkish newspapers in referring
to the gradual destruction of the Armenians. The Governor of Adana,
brother-in-law of Enver Pasha, is entrusted with this task.'
The Washington Post - Oct. 15, 1916.
Letters have reached the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian
Relief describing the `heart-rending' picture of the remnants of the
Armenians and other Christians who were driven from their homes to
die of disease, hunger, and torture.
The first message comes from Der Zor, September 3, and reads in part:
`Tell our missionaries that their college children, young men and
girls are dying of hunger. To look at them breaks one's heart. But I
am not thinking of myself, but of the crowds of children outside that
are crying for bread, of the many pure young girls who, driven by
hunger and loneliness at home, seek refuge at the hearths of Arabian
men, to whom they are sold for bread; the women, mothers, who are
wandering about in despair to find bread for the little ones; the
young people, who, weakened by hunger, appear like old people,
The letter continues: `We must daily buy back at least three or four
young girls, else they will be completely lost.'
`The people kill and eat the street dogs ... I saw a woman, who from
the street ate the clotted blood of an animal ... `
The Times - Nov. 24, 1916.
According to Reuter news agency in Baku, the Turks have massacred
some 5,000 to 6,000 Armenians in Sivas in Anatolia.
The Times - Jan. 1, 1917
The paper prints a report about how the Armenians were exterminated
described by Moslem eyewitnesses who had former official standing.
One of these eyewitnesses relates the following: `I saw in the
suburbs of Mush large numbers of dead bodies of Armenian men, women
and children lying in the fields. Some had been shot, some stabbed,
and nearly all horribly mutilated. The women were mostly naked. In
the same month I saw about 500 women, girls, and children, guarded by
gendarmes in a camp outside Bitlis. The gendarme said that these
people were being deported, but that the orders were to let the
`shotas,' or bands of Kurds, Turkish gendarmes, and criminals, deal
with them on the way. The bands had been organized by the Government
for the purpose of massacring the Armenians. At Bitlis I saw a number
of Armenian bodies floating in the water. Some had been washed up on
the banks. The smell was terrible and the water undrinkable ...'
The second Moslem eyewitness stated the following: `In April 1915, an
order came from Constantinople to Erzurum, where I was quartered that
the Armenians inhabiting frontier towns and villages should be
deported into the interior. I saw large convoys of Armenians go
through Erzurum. In May I was transferred to Trebizond. In July an
order came that all the Armenians of that vilayet should also be
deported to the interior. As I was a member of the Court-martial, I
knew that deportation meant massacre. Besides the deportation order,
an Imperial Iradeh commanded that all deserters, when caught, should
be shot without trial. A secret order, however, said `Armenians'
instead of `deserters.' A `fetva' from the Sheikh-ul-Islam
accompanied the Iradeh, saying that the Armenians had shed Moslem
blood, and it was lawful to kill them. I heard that all Armenian men
were being massacred on their way into the interior. They were lined
up on the edge of ditches, prepared beforehand, shot, and thrown into
the ditches. The women and children were attacked by organized bands,
called `Shotas,' plundered, outraged, and murdered. The children, of
whom the government had taken charge, were also massacred ...'
The Halifax Herald - Feb. 22, 1917.
According to the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief,
one third of the Armenian race has been massacred by the Turks and
one half of the survivors are left homeless and dying in exile. The
message from famous English writer John Massfield says in part: `Far
away as she is from the main conflict, Armenia has suffered more in
this war than any devastated land in Europe. She is like a victim met
by troops on the march and beaten and stabbed and left to die. There
is nothing in her misery to make a headline or a battle cry. It is
just dumb suffering, lying by the road.'
The United States of America formally declared war on Germany and its
allies on April 6, 1917.
The Washington Post - May 28, 1917
Henry Morgenthau, the former American Ambassador to Turkey, speaks at
a Presbyterian church in New York describing the barbarities which
the Turks practiced on their Christian subjects taking advantage of
Mr. Morgenthau stated: `While the attention of the world was absorbed
in other things, the Turks felt that the time had come to strike.
Political considerations prevented Germany and Austria from
interfering with the outrages committed. Turks justify their conduct
and the wholesale deportations on the ground of fear that the
Armenians might revolt. As a matter of fact, they did not revolt in a
The report continues: `Mr. Morgenthau, who is giving a large amount
of his time to the Armenian-Syrian Relief Committee, described the
attempt of the Turks to annihilate the Armenian race. He mentioned
the methods of extermination employed as follows: Requisitions,
without payment, resulting in economic ruin; confiscation, forced
exorbitant contributions and taxes; searches in Armenian houses for
arms, but in reality, for purposes of pillage; beating to death;
torture beyond imagination and too obscene to be related; forced
conversions to Mohamedanism; massacres and deportations.'
The Halifax Herald - Oct. 2, 1917.
Rev. George E. White, president of Anatolia college recently returned
to Canada. He described the following: `The slaughter with axes of
all the Armenian faculty members of Anatolia College, Marsovan ...
together with twelve hundred others, by Turkish peasants, whose pay
for the work was the privilege of stripping the clothing of their
victims' bodies ... The massacres were committed at night by order of
the Turkish government, the Armenians being sent out in lots of one
hundred and two hundred to their doom, and their bodies rolled into
prepared burial trenches.'
Christian Science Monitor - Nov. 5, 1917
The report's headline states Turks Massacre Great Numbers of
Armenians: Out of the 300,000 who left City of Sivas, only 5000
arrived at Destination.
`From Trebizond to Kermanshah, in Turkey, practically all the
Armenians and Assyrians have been either deported or massacred, the
deported population being sent to Mesopotamia, the destination the
Turks had chosen, according to a statement made by E.W. MacCallum,
chairman of the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief's
Caucasus Branch, whose headquarters were in Tiflis.'
MacCallum is quoted saying: `Out of the 300,000 Armenians who started
from the city of Sivas, moved by Turkish force, only 5000 arrived at
their destination. The other 295,000 were either massacred or, in the
cases of women and girls, taken by the Turks and Kurds for their
harems or some other hiding places.'
He continued: `The Armenians of Trebizond were taken in boats, on the
pretense of conveying them to another port on the Black Sea, where
they were all thrown overboard, the boats coming back empty in a few
hours from a trip which takes days to make. Children were put in
sacks and then the sacks were sewn up and thrown into the sea. This
is not a story concocted for a purpose. We have the testimony of the
American and Italian consuls of Trebizond to confirm it ...'
The New York Times - March 4, 1918.
A special cable to the paper reads: `The Copenhagen correspondent of
the Exchange Telegraph Company says that information has been
received there that Turkish soldiers have committed new massacres in
the district of Armenia which has been deserted by the Russians.'
The Times - March 8, 1918
Reports have reached London that all Armenian males were put to the
sword. `At Samsun, on the Black Sea, every Armenian male - man, boy,
or baby - has been put to the sword, while similar atrocities are
being perpetrated in towns and village.'
The Times - May 25, 1918.
Armenians saved by Arabs, reads the title. As the Arabs of the Hedjaz
joined the British forces, many Armenians who were deported by the
Turks were rescued. On the receipt of this news, Boghos Nubar Pasha
sent the following telegram to Emir Feisal, the Commander of the
Northern Meccan Army and a son of the King of Hedjaz:
`To the noble-born Emir Feisal. - We have just learned of the rescue
of our unfortunate fellow-countrymen through the efforts of your
gallant troops in Southern Syria. May God bless and prosper the
progress of your arms. The chivalrous act of the noble Moslems who
fight under your banners adds fresh luster to the annals of the Arab
race. Every Armenian throughout the world is today an ally of the
Arab movement: the praises of your clemency and the justice of your
cause shall be known wherever we can make our voices heard.'
To this telegram, the King of the Hedjaz sent the following reply:
`Your kind message to Feisal, of which I have heard, is a proof of
good will and affection. We pray God to make us worthy of your kind
thoughts. Feisal in assisting the oppressed has only performed one of
the first duties of our religion and of Arabs' faith. I say with
confidence and pride that the Armenian race and other races in
similar plight are regarded by us as partners in our fortunes in weal
and woe. We ask God before everything to give us strength to enable
us to do them helpful service by which to prove to the world the true
feelings of Islam, whose watchword is freedom. May God preserve you
in health and bring desires to a successful attainment by His help
THE POST-WAR PERIOD
The Great War ended with the signing of the armistice on November 11,
1918. Yet the massacres of the Armenians and other Christian
minorities in Turkey continued. Reports coming out of Constantinople
confirmed that Mustapha Kemal and his nationalists continued what
their predecessors had started. They were determined to end the
`minority question' by wiping out the minority.
The New York Times - Nov. 25, 1918.
According to a dispatch by the Associated Press, Enver Pasha's
brother Nouffi Pasha resumes the massacres. `Attacks on the Armenians
have been resumed in the district of Erzbeidjan [Azerbaijan], on the
border of the Caucasus, by Turkish troops under the leadership of
Nouffi Pasha, brother of Enver Pasha, former Minister of War. Nouffi
Pasha declares that he is outside the authority of the present
Constantinople Government, and that he has been delegated by the
Moslems of the district to suppress the revolt of the Armenians.'
Christian Science Monitor - Dec. 28, 1918.
Reports reaching Washington, DC, claim that the Turkish Government
has decided to court-martial all those who were responsible for the
Armenian massacres. However, most of them have fled the country with
Enver and Jemal Pashas.
Toronto Daily Star - Jan. 29, 1919.
Turks again slay 20,000 Armenians, this time in Baku and the
surrounding regions. `Large bodies of Turkish troops are reported to
have joined Tartar bands and are attacking Armenian villages. It is
feared that still another chapter of atrocities will be added to the
Turkish record before the allies are able to relieve the beleaguered
Toronto Daily Star - Feb. 11, 1919.
Canadian missionary Rev. L.W. Pierce and his wife reach Toronto from
Turkey and tell of horrible tales that they have witnessed and
experienced. `For 150 miles we traveled through a lane of dead
Armenians. Men, women and children lay by the roadside decapitated,
and otherwise mutilated. Some were sitting up as in life, but when we
drew near, we found they had sat down on the roadside and died from
the ravages of typhus ...'
`One man had his brains knocked out before us as we went, a babe in
arms was dragged from its mother's breast and thrown into a boiling
caldron. Other children were caught by the heels and swung around ...
and thrown far into the river ...'
The Halifax Herald - April 18, 1919.
The headline says Starving Women and Children Are Turned Loose By the
Turks: Thousands are wandering about the country utterly destitute,
some crazed from hunger and exposure. According to dispatches from
Constantinople, these women and children were being released from
Turkish harems in Asia Minor. One of the dispatches says: `Under
normal conditions this would be glad news indeed, but with members of
their families killed or deported in most instances and the remaining
people reduced to the severest poverty, it will be impossible for the
Armenians themselves to find shelter, clothing and food for hundreds
of thousands of children and tens of thousands of women thus thrust
upon them suddenly.'
The New York Times - April 19, 1919.
The murder of the Armenians is continuing. John H. Finley,
Commissioner for the Red Cross for Palestine, who has just returned
from a trip to the Near East states the following: `Throughout Asia
Minor, beyond the points to which the British and French troops have
advanced, the Armenians are still being persecuted by the Turks. The
fact that the armistice has been signed makes no difference. In one
way or another, by individuals and by groups, Armenians are being
killed. I know of one case where 100 Armenians were slaughtered, and
another where forty were shot down - all of this since the armistice
The Washington Post - July 30, 1919.
In Berlin, the German paper Tageblatt prints extracts from a book
based upon diplomatic documents which the Foreign Ministry had
commissioned John Lepsius to write. `The writer shows that the
Turkish Committee of Union and Progress deliberately decided to
realize national ideas by assimilating or destroying the Armenians,
who in Turkey number about 1,850,000. He described the arrest and
massacre of 600 Armenian leaders in April 1915, and how the previous
so-called `Armenian rising' was provoked as a pretext for Young
The Halifax Herald - Sept. 18, 1919.
`The Turks have resumed their attacks upon the Armenians, and the
very existence of the nation is in danger.'
Christian Science Monitor - Feb 16, 1920.
Reports confirming the fresh massacre of Armenians reach London. Rev.
Charles Boxton, the representative of the Lord Mayor's Armenian
refugee fund, writes from Constantinople `confirming the massacre of
1500 Armenians at the end of January, near Marash, in Cilicia, by
Chicago Daily Tribune - Feb 17, 1920.
A brief report reads the following: `Seven thousand Armenians have
been massacred in Cilicia in a new attack by Mustapha Kemal's Turkish
and Kurdish troops, which is still in progress.'
Toronto Daily Star - April 21, 1920.
The headline says Turks Still Slaying Helpless Armenians. Edgar A.
Mowrer, a correspondent, writes the following: `The Turkish
Nationalists in Cilicia are continuing to massacre Armenians ...'
The New York Times - June 12, 1920
The headline is explains the grave situation: Armenia Faces Butchers
Anarmed: Only aid from Allies or America can save her, says Sir
Philip Gibbs. The Subtitle continues: Turks Vow Extermination - `The
West may make Armenia free,' they say; `We will make it a desert.'
Christian Science Monitor - Oct 25, 1921
The Constantinople correspondent of the paper writes: `Mustapha Kemal
Pasha, remaining faithful to favorite Turkish methods, is now
systematically carrying on the destructive processes of deportation,
looting and massacre. Numerous reports reaching the Armenian and
Greek Patriarchates in Constantinople reveal the tremendous
destructive work done by the Kemalists. To escape future
responsibilities, Mustapha Kemal has organized various lawless bands
to strike the Christians ...'
The papers continued reporting about new massacres perpetrated
against the Armenians, Greeks and other Christian minorities. In
fact, the next large-scale massacre was in Smyrna in September of
1922 when the Turks under Mustapha Kemal massacred the Armenian and
Greek population of that city, and destroyed it completely, leaving
60,000 homeless. Although it had been almost 4 years since the end of
the War, Turks continued implementing their plans to exterminate the
Christian population under the watchful eyes of the western world.
The Halifax Herald - Sept. 16, 1922.
Smyrna is burning. Sixty thousand Armenians and Greeks are left
homeless. Apparently, `the Kemalists deliberately set the city on
fire in order to evacuate the entire Christian population, thereby
relieving the Turks altogether of the problem of minorities in
The Los Angeles Times - Sept. 16, 1922
The horrors in Smyrna describe the `savagery of the Turks.' Both the
Greek and Armenian citizens in that district are being massacred as a
great number of them `were shot in masses on Turkish galleys.' The
Associated Press cable also mentions that the Greek metropolitan was
executed and the Armenian archbishop killed. `The details of the
savages of the Turks passes all imagination. An American woman is
said to have seen the bodies of women who had been killed by sword
thrusts through their bodies.'
The Halifax Herald - Sept. 18, 1922.
Smyrna: Vast Sepulchre of Human Ashes reads the headline. `Only the
shattered walls of 25,000 homes and the charred bodies of countless
victims remain to tell the story of death and destruction unexampled
in modern history ... Every building in the Armenian quarter has been
burned, with the dead lying about ... `
Following these atrocities, in December of 1922, the League of
Nations tried to find a solution for the minorities living in Turkey.
There was a plan drawn by the victorious powers for an independent
Armenia. However, during the Lausanne meeting, Ismet Pasha, head of
the Turkish delegation, adamantly refused to even discuss the
`Armenian question,' claiming that any discussion of the minorities
in Turkey would mean interference in Turkey's internal affairs by the
League of Nations. He even declared that `the Armenians brought the
massacres on themselves.'
Lord Curzon, the head of the British delegation at Lausanne, demanded
that Ismet Pasha explain what he meant by his accusations against the
League of Nations. But what is more interesting in Lord Curzon's
speech, reported by the majority of the press, is his defense of the
Armenian people. He found it difficult to understand Ismet Pasha's
statements that Turkey had given fair treatment to the minorities
`with the fact that of the three million Armenians formerly resident
in Anatolia, only 130,000 remained.'
He then raised the following questions: `Did they kill themselves or
did they voluntarily leave Anatolia? Why were the French troops
leaving Anatolia followed by 80,000 Armenians, who deserted
everything they had? Why are there hundreds of thousands of these
miserable Armenians scattered over the neighboring countries? Why do
they stay there if all they have to do is to return to Turkey and be
embraced by the Turkish government? Why is the Armenian question one
of the greatest scandals of the world?'
Lord Curzon continued: `It is easy for the Turks to offer to live
peacefully with a minority that has been reduced to a miserable
handful, but the eyes of the world are upon the Armenians and Turkey
and the world will not be content that the remnant of these wretched
people be left without protection other than what Turkey may be
pleased to accord.'
Unfortunately for the persecuted people, these same powers -
especially Great Britain and the United States of America - easily
forgot those wretched Armenians. Their governments now dishonor their
own past statesmen, diplomats and even citizens, whose only aim was
to help humanity, by refusing to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and
letting Turkey get away with the most atrocious crime of humanity,
the `greatest scandal.' It is this impunity that has encouraged other
nations to commit similar crimes against humanity. And the ones to be
blamed more are those who claim to be defenders of humanity yet
conveniently forget who the perpetrators of those crimes are. After
all, those who deny a crime - a crime amply recorded in their own
governmental archives - can only be called accomplices in the crime.
Although successive Turkish governments and Turkish historians have
denied and continue to deny that there ever was genocide, or that the
authorities had planned the extermination of the Armenians, the above
sample of extracts from thousands of accounts reported by
eyewitnesses, diplomats and missionaries confirm the opposite. The
Turkish governments before, during and after World War One were
responsible for the ongoing massacres perpetrated against the
Armenians and the other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire.
And although successive Turkish governments have claimed that the
Armenians were only casualties of the War, just as the Turks were,
the above reports only confirm the opposite: that even in peaceful
times, the Armenian population was massacred in cold blood with the
intention of wiping them out completely.
Could all those who had reported the cruelties be wrong? Were all the
American missionaries who witnessed, investigated and reported the
massacres wrong? Was the American Ambassador to Turkey, Mr. Henry
Morgenthau, together with his consuls stationed in the different
parts of Turkey, lying or making up stories? Were the British,
French, Italian, German, Russian and other diplomats all wrong? Or
were all the correspondents who reported from the scenes of the
crimes all imagining the bloodshed? Of course, we shouldn't forget
the hundreds of international scholars who have since proven that
what happened to the Armenians at the hands of the Turks is Genocide.
Could all of them be wrong and Turkey, the perpetrator of the
Genocide, be right?
All New York Times reports were taken from Richard D. Kloian's
compilation The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts from the American
Press:1915-1922. Published by Heritage Publishing, California.
The news items from The Halifax Herald were taken from Katia
Peltekian's compilation The Heralding of the Armenian Genocide:
Reports in the Halifax Herald 1894 - 1922. Published in Halifax,
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