from ‘the Times History of the War’ volume VIII, Chapter CXXXIII
'The Extermination of the Armenians'

the Forced Exodus of a People


The Armenians and Their Relations with the Turks—The Six Vilayets— Description of the Country—Armenian Character—Former Turkish Atrocities—The Young Turks and Their Policy—Military Reverses and Armenian Persecutions—The Scheme of Disarmament —Turkish Tortures—The "Pan-Turanian Idea" Made in Germany— "Deportation"— History of the Atrocities in 1915—Zeitoun—Cilicia—Van—Urmia—Djevdet Bey's Massacres—Heroism of American Missionaries—Sassoun—The Horrors of Flight— Treatment of Armenian Women—Extent of the Atrocities— Deliberate Policy of Extermination—German Responsibility.



At the beginning of the year 1915 there were upwards of two million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. By the end of the year, two-thirds of them had either been massacred in their native towns and villages or uprooted from their homes, while of those "deported" (as the latter process was officially styled) less than 50 per cent, ever reached their allotted destinations. The rest perished by outrage or exhaustion on the way, and even those who reached their journey's end died off rapidly after their arrival, through famine, exposure and disease. "Deportation," in fact, was simply a method of gradual massacre, more effectual in dealing with numbers, and, above all, more cruel to the individual, than instant massacre by bullet or bayonet.

When one reads the story of these atrocities {and there is abundant testimony from neutral eye-witnesses who escaped from Turkey and made depositions about the scenes they saw), one almost imagines oneself back in the eighth century B.C., hearing tidings of how the children of Israel were "carried into captivity" by the Assyrians. This method of destroying a nation has indeed been practised in the Near East since the days of the earliest Oriental empires. Sargon and Nebuchadnezzar and Darius set the precedent which was followed by the Young Turks, but the latter had means at their command which their predecessors never possessed. There was a uniformity, an efficiency, a thoroughness in their work which betrayed the Prussian connexion. The deportation of the Armenians in 1915 was organized from the Ministries of the Interior and of War at Constantinople by telegraph and telephone; the exiles were in many cases conveyed by rail; the recalcitrants were overawed or shot down by quick-firing mountain batteries and machine-guns (the artillery being actually directed, in certain instances, by German officers); and all these moiern appliances added immeasurably to the horror of the crime. The scenes in the crowded cattle-trucks and at the junctions and rail-heads of the Anatolian and Baghdad lines were almost more terrible than those on the mountain-tracks and in the gorges of the Euphrates.

To explain this frenzy of Rightfulness which swept over the Near East in the year 1915, we must describe very briefly who the Armenians were and what were their relations with the Turks.

The Armenians were one of the scattered, submerged nationalities of the Near East. They were a Christian nation, held together by their national church, with its Bible and liturgy in the native language, but there has been no united kingdom of Armenia since 387 A.D. The Katholikos or ecclesiastical primate of All the Armenians, who resides at the Monastery of Etchmiadzin in Russian Caucasia, is the only surviving representative of this ancient Armenian State. Not even a fragment of the Armenian nation has enjoyed political independence since 1375, when the refugee principality of Lesser Armenia in the Cilician hills, which had been a stalwart ally of the Crusaders and had taken to itself a French dynasty of kings, succumbed to the surrounding Mohammedan Powers. During all the intervening centuries the Armenian people has been subject to foreign, and for the most part unfriendly, rulers; yet, like the Jews, they seem actually to have found a stimulus in adversity. By the year 1915, they had spread themselves over the world, from Calcutta and Singapore to New York and California, and, wherever they settled, they made their way and made themselves at home. The vast majority of the nation, however, was still to be found within the frontiers of the Turkish and Russian Empires.

The original home of the Armenian race, and the seat of the ancient Armenian kingdom, is a plateau of upland pastures, buttressed with huge mountain barriers and intersected by the deep ravines of rivers, which interposes itself between the Caspian, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf, and feeds the waters that flow into all four. This plateau is intersected, from north-west to south- east, by the Russo-Turkish frontier established in 1878, and the great advance of the Grand Duke's armies in the early months of 1916 brought practically the whole of it within the Russian lines. But in 1915 the Armenian population in Turkey was not confined to the plateau. The provinces which were considered specifically Armenian and which were known to Near Eastern diplomatists as the "Six Vilayets," extended west of the Euphrates far into the Anatolian Peninsula; Cilicia—the region facing Cyprus at the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean, which had been the seat of that last Armenian principality which fell in 1375—was still sown thick with Armenian towns and villages; and there was a very strong Armenian element in the neighbourhood of Constantinople—about 150,000 Armenians in the population of the city itself, and perhaps almost as many again in the Asiatic districts along the eastern and southern coasts of the Sea of Marmora. The Armenians were thus very widely distributed in Turkey, but, as has been said, they were a scattered and submerged race. No territory was in their exclusive possession. Even their native plateau was tenanted in part by the Kurdish shepherd tribes, who pastured their flocks on the alps and down-lands, confining the Armenian cultivators to the valleys and plains. In the towns and countryside of the Anatolian Peninsula they were mingled with the Turkish townsfolk and peasantry. They shared Constantinople with all the nations of the Near East. It was only in the mountains of Cilicia and in the basin of Lake Van—the north- easternmost province of Turkey towards the Russian and Persian frontiers—that there was anything like a pure, homogeneous Armenian population.

Thus, in 1915, the Armenians amounted numerically to no more than 10 per cent, of the population of the Ottoman Empire—2,000,000 out of 20,000,000 in all; but their social and economic importance was far in excess of their numbers. They were a keen-witted, businesslike people, gifted with a remarkable energy, and with an industry which made the most of what their energy achieved. They had inherited an ancient and deep-rooted civilization, and they had been invigorated during the last century by missionary influences from the West. The coming of the Jesuit and American missionaries to Armenia, and the counter-movements of Armenian emigrants to Venice and Lemberg, Marseilles and London and New York, brought the Armenian people into living contact with Western Europe, and raised them in civilization altogether above their Moslem neighbours and fellow-citizens.

The result was that, by 1915, the Armenians had risen to extreme social and economic importance in Turkey. In all parts of the Empire, except the Arabic provinces of the south-east, they had taken on themselves the functions of a middle or professional class. The big import merchants and wholesale dealers at Constantinople were recruited from their ranks; they were the bankers and shop- keepers of the provincial cities; and skilled work, whether of brain or hand, was so entirely dependent on Armenian practitioners, that it literally came to a standstill when the Armenian population of any given locality was massacred or carried into exile. "Now that the Armenians are gone," write several witnesses from different centres, in almost identical words, "there are no doctors, chemists, lawyers, smiths, potters, tanners, weavers left in this place" — and so on, through the whole catalogue of trades. So far as the Ottoman Empire kept abreast with the intellectual and technical progress of the modern world, it did so through the enterprise and intelligence of its Armenian citizens.

But the position which the Armenians had won for themselves in the country by their natural capacities did not at all correspond to the position assigned to them under the traditional constitution of the Ottoman State. The Ottoman State, like the Hapsburg and Hohenzollern States with which it entered into alliance, is based on the antithesis of democracy—on the forcible domination of one race, or rather one caste, over a subject population, and in Turkey this domination took on an even cruder form than in Central Europe. The Moslem conquerors were a chosen people; the conquered Christians were "Rayah"—cattle—who were hardly regarded as integral members of the State. But such extreme injustice had provoked rebellion, and in the course of the nineteenth century the Ottoman Empire was' cut

short by the breaking away of one Christian nationality after another. The process culminated in the Balkan War of 1912, which almost ejected the Turks from Europe, and left their former Christian subjects on the European continent organized in independent national States. The war of 1912 practically confined the problem of the subject nationalities to the single problem of the Armenians.

Unlike their fellow-subjects in Europe, the Armenians had never played for political independence. When Turkey was beaten by Russia in 1878 and many Balkan populations obtained their freedom from Turkish rule, the Armenians merely asked for a reform of administration in the six north-eastern provinces of Turkey in Asia (thereafter known as the "Six Vilayets"), and they limited themselves to the same demand when Turkey was prostrate once more in 1913. This moderate policy was dictated by obvious national interests. Scattered as they were through the length and breadth of Asiatic Turkey, the whole Empire was their potential economic heritage, while no part of it was sufficiently their own in population to make of it a politically independent Armenian State. They had therefore everything to gain from the maintenance of Turkish integrity, if only the injustice of their present status in Turkey were reformed; and the Turks, in turn, had every interest (if they were wise enough to see it) in giving the Armenians reasonable civil rights and a free hand in the economic sphere; for the Armenians were the only native element which could regenerate the country and keep it in line with modern developments from within. If the Armenians were hindered from doing this, it was clear to any observer that it would be done by some covetous and high-handed Power from outside, and this is precisely what happened. By eliminating the Armenians in 1915, the Turks merely opened a wider door to the German interloper.

Ever since 1878, the year in which Turkey had to cede to Russia the north-eastern part of the Armenian plateau and the Ottoman Armenians first asked for administrative reforms, the Armenian people had been singled out by the Ottoman Government for repression. The Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid (1876-1908) conceived the idea of re-arming the Kurdish tribes (who had been disarmed with infinite pains by his predecessor Mahmud, fifty years before), and giving them carte blanche, as "Hamidia" (Irregular Gendarmerie), to rob the goods and rape the women of their defenceless Armenian neighbours. This policy provoked an Armenian revolutionary movement, and within five years of the arming of the Kurds racial feeling was so envenomed on both sides that Abd-ul-Hamid was able to organize a series of Armenian massacres (1894-6) in the chief Armenian centres of the Empire, culminating in an open butchery in the streets of Constantinople. The Powers were paralyzed by mutual jealousy, and were as little able to stop the slaughter in 1894-6 as they had been to impose the administrative reforms stipulated at Berlin in 1878. In these massacres about 100,000 people perished (the figure is dwarfed by the statistics of 1915) and the Armenian population in Turkey was further thinned by the accelerated current of emigration.

Abd-ul-Hamid’s work in 1894-6 was crowned and completed in 1915 by the Young Turks, and yet, when the Young Turkish Revolutionaries overthrew the Sultan in 1908, the Armenians imagined (and not without justification) that a better day had dawned. The Young Turks had drunk in all the political ideas of Western Europe. They preached the "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" of the French Revolution; they set up a parliamentary constitution, and the Armenian revolutionary societies joyfully transformed themselves into parliamentary parties. But there was another aspect of the Young'- Turkish programme. There was an "equality before the law," for instance, which principally declared itself in the extension to Christian citizens of compulsory military service, which formerly had been obligatory on Moslems alone. And there was a doctrine of "Ottomanization" (that is, of assimilating all other peoples in the Empire to the dominant Turkish race), which quickly drove the Armenian members of parliament to the opposition benches, where they voted side by side with the Arabs against such ominous proposals as the compulsory use of the Turkish language in all secondary schools. The Young Turks, in fact, had imbibed the chauvinism as well as the' liberalism of their West-European ensamples. To the religious fanaticism of the Old Turk they had added the new-fangled fanaticism of language and race, and it was simply a question which of their two incompatible ideals would ultimately prevail. The years 1908 to 1914 were the critical period. In the summer of 1908 the Young Turkish regime began with a veritable-Golden Age; but in six weeks that had passed, and, under the influence of failures and misfortunes, chauvinism steadily gained the upper hand, while the power of the party became concentrated in the hands of a gang of unscrupulous adventurers. Within a year of the constitution came the new outbreak of massacre at Adana, but the Armenians were not alienated even by that. It was represented at the time as a device of Abd-ul-Hamid's adherents for discrediting the new regime, and the actual guilt of the Young Turks themselves was not disclosed till later on. In 1912, when the Balkan War broke out and the Armenians were called upon, under the new law, to serve the Ottoman State in arms, they acquitted themselves - so well in doing battle for the common fatherland of Armenian and Turk, that they extorted the commendation of their Turkish officers. In 1913 the Young Turks accepted (with modifications) the new reform scheme for the "Six Vilayets." It seemed that the breach might still be averted, and the liberal tendency prevail; but all hope was lost when the Young Turkish Government deliberately involved the country in the European War.

The Young Turks entered the war from thoroughly Prussian motives. Their object was to restore Young Turkish prestige—their international prestige by territorial conquests at the expense of Russia and Persia and Great Britain which would eclipse the territorial losses of the Balkan War, and their prestige at home by a drastic process of Ottomanization and the solution of other problems which had not yielded to negotiation and parliamentary procedure. In fact, the Gordian knot in which they had entangled themselves during their half-dozen years of power was to be hacked through by the sword. Their first bid was for military success, but when the offensives launched successively on the Caucasian, Persian and Egyptian fronts had successively come to grief, they threw themselves all the more savagely into the project of Ottomanization at home, which meant, in effect, the extermination of the Armenian race.

An almost exact correspondence can be traced in the Young Turkish Government's policy between their reverses at the front and their persecution of the Armenians in the interior. The sufferings of the Armenians began indeed with the declaration of war, for all male Ottoman citizens between the ages of twenty and forty-five, and soon between those of eighteen and fifty, were mobilized without distinction of religion or privilege, and Armenians who had passed the age of training before the ratification of the new military service law of 1908, and were therefore legally exempt so long as they paid their annual commutation-tax, were thus called up in violation of their rights. There was also a wholesale requisitioning of private property for military use, which hit the Armenians more heavily than other sections of the community, because they were the principal merchants and dealers and shopkeepers of the country.

But all these measures were prima facie military rather than political in intention, and might be ascribed to the pressure of war as plausibly as to the discrimination of the Government. Young Turkish circles were in an optimistic mood, and they hoped that the confidently expected successes at the front would solve all their problems for them at one stroke. When the Young Turkish Government declared war on the Allies in the latter part of October, 1914, the "Dashnaktzoutian Party"—the chief Armenian parliamentary group in the Ottoman Empire—happened to be holding its annual party convention at Erzerum, and the Young Turks sent emissaries to lay proposals before this congress. They proposed that the Armenians, as a nation, should make common cause with the Ottoman Government in prosecuting the war. They suggested that the Dashnaktzoutian leaders should raise bands of Armenian volunteers to join in the coming invasion of Russian Caucasia; and, as a reward, they sketched a project for breaking up a large zone of Russian territory into autonomous national states under Ottoman suzerainty. The most substantial of these protectorates was to be the Armenian one, and the Young Turkish emissaries even hinted at the possibility of incorporating with it part, at least, of the Ottoman provinces of Bitlis and Van—all this on condition that the Armenians cooperated with them heart and soul in the war. These ambitious overtures were met by the Dashnaktzoutian Conference with a decided refusal. They had no quarrel with Russia; they doubted the power of the Turkish Government to conquer the territory it was so complacently partitioning on the map; and they doubted still more whether it would fulfil its engagements if it were really to gain such an overwhelming success; they could not forget that the Turks had treated them as aliens and almost as outlaws in the past, and the appeal for an Armeno-Turkish entente was crossed in 1914 by the shadow of the Adana massacres and the massacres of Abd-ul-Hamid. The Armenians affirmed their intention of doing their duty as Ottoman subjects, but declined the proposal that they should do more, and here matters rested for the moment, while everybody's attention was concentrated upon the winter offensive.

The course of these military operations has already been described in detail. The main enveloping movement in Caucasia, which looked so promising in the last week of December, 1914, turned to disaster in the first days of January, 1915; the subsidiary advance further east, which had brought most of the Persian province of Azerbaijan under Turkish occupation, ebbed again in the course of the same month in conformity with events in the principal theatre; in February Djemal Pasha's much- advertised expedition against Egypt ridiculously missed fire. The Turkish offensive was over and done with. The Turkish armies had fallen back ignominiously upon their own frontiers, with the prospect of facing a counter-invasion in the coming spring. Under these circumstances the swollen hopes of the Young Turkish Government gave way to a feverish pessimism, and the Armenian nation was the inevitable scapegoat of their renewed disappointment and their irreparably damaged prestige.

Several factors combined to sharpen their fear and hate. The danger of invasion was much more imminent on the Russian front than on the others. The next campaign in this quarter was almost certain to be fought on Ottoman territory—on the Ottoman portion of the Armenian plateau with its strong Armenian population, which had been hopelessly alienated from the Ottoman Government by the previous policy of the Young Turks themselves, and was likely to give a cordial reception to the invaders. The friendly feeling towards Russia which was cherished by the Armenian nation as a whole had indeed been brought home to the Turks in the course of the winter campaign. The Russian Armenians had done of their own accord what the Ottoman Armenians had refused, when appealed to, to do. They had raised bands of volunteers for their Government's service, and had contributed valiantly to the discomfiture of the Turkish armies at Ardahan and Sarikamish. Of course the Turks had no proper ground for resentment in this. These Armenian volunteers were lawful Russian subjects, doing battle for the State to which their allegiance was legally due. If the Ottoman Armenians had not been moved to do likewise, that was a serious reflection on the behaviour of Turkey towards her Armenian subjects as compared with the behaviour of Russia. But the Young Turks were in no condition to consider the cold truth. Their armies had been disastrously beaten; there had been Armenians in the enemy's ranks, some of whom had come all the way from New York in their eagerness to beat the Turks. Well, they would take their revenge on those other Armenians who still remained in their power. It was in this spirit that, at some time during the course of February, 1915, the Young Turks made up their minds to strike at the Armenians with all their might.

But before a comprehensive scheme could be set on foot the Armenians must be rendered powerless to resist, and so the first step taken was to deprive them of their arms. Enver Pasha, at the Ministry of War, undertook to deal with the Armenian soldiers. In the very month of February, 1915, he had praised the conduct of the Armenian troops in an interview with the Gregorian Bishop of Konia, and had even allowed the Bishop to communicate his words, fortified with his signature, to the Armenian and the Turkish Press. Yet within a few weeks of this the order came from the War Ministry that all Armenians in the Army were to be disarmed. They were drafted out of the service battalions and re-formed into labour battalions, to work behind the front at throwing up fortifications and building roads. At the same time, under instructions from the Ministry of the Interior, the provincial administrative authorities set about disarming the Armenian civil population. The Armenians had, in fact, possessed themselves individually of a certain number of arms since the year 1908—and this by the permission and even advice of the Young Turks themselves; for in their earlier and better days the Young Turks had been genuinely desirous of restoring individual liberty and creating an equilibrium between the different races of the Empire, and as it was beyond their power to undo Abd-ul-Hamid's work by disarming the Kurds, they attempted to restore the balance by sanctioning the acquisition of arms by the Armenians. The private bearing of arms for personal defence was an established privilege of the Ottoman Moslem, and the Young Turks were only carrying out their avowed principles in extending the privileges as well as the duties of the Moslem to his Christian fellow-citizens. Now, however, this liberal policy was arbitrarily reversed. It was declared that the young Armenians of military age had been taken for the Army in a lesser proportion than the Turks, and that, in the critical military situation of the moment, their presence in the interior with arms at their command was a menace to the security of the state. Violent measures were enjoined by the Central Government to meet the alleged emergency. In every town a number of Armenian men, amounting in the larger places to as many as four or five hundred, were suddenly arrested and thrown into prison. It was announced by the local governor of whatever place it might be that a certain number of rifles were believed to be in the private possession of the Armenians of the district, and that that number must be delivered into the hands of the authorities by a certain date. If they were not forthcoming, the severest punishment would fall upon the hostages in prison, in the first instance, and, in a secondary degree, upon the Armenian community as a whole.

The Armenians were very unwilling to surrender their arms, for they realized that by doing so they would place themselves entirely in the Government's hands, and they remembered that the massacres of 1908 and 1894-6 had been preceded by a precisely similar demand. But the clergy and the political leaders (especially the leaders of the Dashnaktzoutian Party, who had once worked with the Young Turks in the Ottoman Parliament) realized very strongly the importance of avoiding a breach and of giving the Government no pretext for putting the Armenians in the wrong. Generally a meeting of the local Armenian notables was convened to decide what action should be taken in view of the Government's decree. One neutral witness (a Danish sister serving with the German Red Cross in a certain Asiatic town) describes how, when the Armenian meeting was unable to arrive at a decision, it was resolved to invite the Turkish notables of the place to hold a joint conference with the Armenians. In this case the Armenians were induced to deliver up their weapons by a guarantee, on the part of their Turkish neighbours, that they, personally, would see to it that no harm came to them through taking this step. Possibly these local Turks were sincere in their undertaking, but, in the instance in question, the Governor had the arms photographed as soon as they were brought in, and sent the photograph to Constantinople, submitting it as proof of an imminent Armenian rebellion, and asking what action the Government desired him to take. The Government telegraphed back that it gave him a free hand, and there followed in that place a succession of atrocities on the standard pattern that will be set forth in the sequel. In this instance the local governor and the central auth6rities were obviously in collusion. There were certain cases, it is true, in which the local administrators refused to carry out the atrocious instructions from Constantinople—such honourable officials were promptly relieved of their posts and replaced by more pliant tools—and there were instances of well-intentioned but weak-minded governors who were overborne by the head of the local branch of the Committee of Union and Progress (as at Trebizond) or even by a junior official in their own entourage (as, in a certain degree, at Kharput). But in the majority of cases there was evidently a complete understanding between the central and the local authorities. On the question of policy they saw eye to eye, and an excellent telegraph system kept them very effectively in touch. Apparent disagreements or discrepancies can nearly always be traced to a prudent intention of concealing the origins of the crime and obscuring the ultimate responsibility for it.

The Armenians, as has been said, were unwilling in the first instance to surrender their arms, but, as soon as they had decided to do so, they were painfully anxious to obtain arms to surrender. Even since they received permission to bear arms in 1908, they had not possessed themselves of sufficient to go round, and the local authorities were now demanding I an arbitrary and excessive total. In many places horrible tortures were inflicted upon the hostages in prison. They were bastinadoed till their feet were reduced to a pulp (the process is described in detail in the deposition of a German missionary); their hair was plucked out; their nails were torn out by the roots. A blacksmith employed by an American college in a certain place was almost beaten to death on the charge of having "constructed a bomb"—the bomb in question was a solid iron shot which he had been forging for the competition of "putting the weight" at the forthcoming college sports. In the same place a real bomb was unearthed by the gendarmerie in the Armenian burial ground; but it was so rusty with age that it obviously dated from the Hamidian rejime before 1908, when the Young Turks, like the Dashnakists, were themselves outlaws addicted to revolutionary methods. Yet the discovery of this bomb was made a pretext for aggravating the persecution. After experiencing these tortures the victims made frantic efforts to Obtain for delivery the number of arms required of them. They bought them from any Armenian friend who was lucky enough to possess a surplus; they even bought them, naturally at. exorbitant prices, from their Turkish neighbours, who still retained the privilege of bearing arms and of procuring new ones in place of those they sold to the Armenians at such handsome profit. These Turkish weapons were solemnly handed over to the authorities and photographed by them with the rest. A series of these photographs were collected in an album by the Ottoman Government and published by them as a justification for all the crimes against their Armenian subjects which they previously or subsequently committed. This tragi-comicai procedure would be almost incredible, were it not described explicitly by trustworthy American witnesses from more than one locality.

By the beginning of the spring of 1915 this governmental campaign of torture and cajolery had done its work, and the Armenians throughout Turkey were effectively disarmed. The Government could now proceed without uneasiness to the execution of its ulterior scheme, which it had thought out long beforehand, and for which it had already made extensive preparations. The Young Turks proposed to deport all the Armenian communities in the Empire from their homes. The scheme, as we remarked at the outset, was traditional in the Near East, but the Young Turks might not have remembered it had they not been reminded of it by Dr. Rohrbach of Berlin, the Central European expert in the geography of racial ascendancy and racial repression. Dr. Rohrbach had made a special study of Turkey ever since William II. had brought that country within the Prussian purview. In the course of contemplating the ethnological map of the Near East, he had noticed that the Armenians, established on their central plateau and stretching down from it to the Black Sea, on the one hand, at Trebizond, and the Mediterranean, on the other, in Cilicia, somewhat awkwardly severed the Osmanli Turks in the heart of the Anatolian Peninsula from the other Turkish-speaking populations in Northwestern Persia and Russian Caucasia. If only this Armenian barrage could be displaced, Dr. Rohrbach would be able to make a map in which Germany's Osmami allies formed a continuous bloc with their Turkish kinsmen, in Azerbaijan and the basin of the River Aras. These latter were already in contact with still larger Turkish populations in the Russian Empire, stretching away into Central Asia and up the course of the Volga as far as Kazan; while in the other direction the Osmanlis of Anatolia were directly in touch with the Bulgars (a tribe reputed of Tatar origin) and through the Bulgars (if one counted on the forcible extinction of little Slavonic Serbia) with the "Ugro-Finnic" Magyars of Hungary—Germany's direct neighbours and closest allies. This scheme was christened the Pan-Turanian idea, on the theoretical ground that all the races in question spoke non-Indo-European languages of a "Turanian" character which were remotely allied to one another, and ought therefore to cultivate a common sentiment and practise political cooperation. The project was more plausible on the map than in reality, but any movement tending to detach Bulgaria from Russia and attract Russia's Turkish-speaking subjects towards the Ottoman Empire was worth promoting from the German point of view, and Dr. Rohrbach preached it vigorously. He is said to have expounded it first in a confidential lecture, behind closed doors, to high official circles at Berlin, and he treated it afterwards in published articles.

The immensity of the idea appealed to the crude nationalism of the Young Turkish doctrinaires, and its possibilities were seized upon by the Young Turkish politicians. Not the least ingenious part of Dr. Rohrbach's scheme was the provision he intended to make for the Armenians when he had evicted them from their native habitations. He proposed to deport them southward and settle them along the projected course of the Baghdad Railway, where it traverses the vast Mesopotamian steppes and descends to the alluvial lands of Irak. These regions are potentially the richest in the Turkish Empire, but they had lain neglected for a thousand years. The purpose of the Baghdad Railway was to open up their wealth, but the mere laying down of metals cannot revive a country without the cooperation of skilled and industrious hands. If, argued Dr. Rohrbach, the most promising human element in the Ottoman Empire were brought into contact with the most promising land, the Empire would be strengthened economically, the dividends of the shareholders in the Baghdad Railway would be assured, and a number of delicate political problems would come to a desirable solution—-all to the advantage of German World-Power.

This scheme for winnowing out the racial elements of the Near East was doubtless propounded by Dr. Rohrbach in all good faith— there is something characteristically German in the conception—but it took on a very different complexion in the hands of Enver Pasha and Talaat Bey. These Young Turkish militants had learnt from their confederates of the German General Staff the uses of the German professor as a "human screen" for the masking of "Frightfulness." Deportation, they decided, should be the word, and they adopted Dr. Rohrbach's valuable suggestion that the exiled Armenians should be replaced by Moslem refugees from the European provinces lost in the Balkan War of 1912. But they did not trouble themselves with the second chapter of his scheme. Probably they were better acquainted than Dr. Rohrbach with what lay between the exiles and their nominal goal—the rough, interminable mountain-tracks, the gorges of the Euphrates, the waterless stretches of the desert, the temper of the gendarmerie and the Kurds. Once the Armenians were on the road, the ministries at Constantinople need trouble themselves about them no more; their doom would work itself out without their further intervention, and Enver and Talaat could affect a decent regret that justice had been carried to an excess. "The bad events that have occurred in Armenia," Talaat confided to a sympathetic correspondent of the Berliner Tageblatt, a year after the deportations had been put in train, "have prevented my sleeping well at night. We have been reproached for making no distinction between the innocent Armenians and the guilty; but that was utterly impossible, considering that those who were innocent to-day might be guilty to-morrow." The ringleaders at Constantinople took full advantage of the cover afforded by Dr. Rohrbach's ingenuity, but their subordinates in the provinces were less discreet. "If you deport the Armenians under these conditions," protested an American resident in Turkey to a local governor, "they will none of them reach their destination." "What do you imagine we are deporting them for?" the official bluntly replied.



So the process of extermination was methodically put in train, and as soon as the disarming was over the deportation began. An atmosphere of horror, which breathes through all the eye-witnesses' accounts, had settled down over the provinces of the Empire. A ferocious censorship suspended communication with the outer world, not so much by excision as by terrorism, for the remotest allusion to political or military events was visited with arrest and imprisonment upon the writer, and even upon the recipient, of the letter. Constantinople was isolated from the provinces, and the provinces from each other. No Armenian might travel, or send a letter, or telegraph across the provincial boundaries. The foreboding aroused by the calling in of arms was increased by the continued retention of the hostages in prison after the arms had been delivered up. These hostages were not, for the most part, the young men who were alleged to be a danger to the State — the majority of these young men were already in the labour battalions. They were the elderly men—merchants, ecclesiastics and professors— and the Armenians realized that they had been deprived of their leaders at the moment of national crisis. Meanwhile, the Government's dispositions were swiftly and secretly going forward. The Moslem refugees from Europe— or Mouhadjirs, as they are called in Turkish— who had been stranded for the past two years on the western fringes of the Empire, along the Aegean and Marmora coasts, were collected and dispatched by the railway towards the east; the gendarmerie was reinforced by bad characters and by discredited men whose zeal was to retrieve their reputation—and this not only in the lower but in the higher ranks, for the chief director of the deportation at Adapazar, which was carried out with peculiar brutality, was a probationer of this class; and irregular bands of "chettis" —partly recruited from criminals released from prison and partly from outlaws at large, with whom the Government made its truce in return for their collaboration in its crimes—were commissioned to assist the gendarmerie in its-task. By April;all was ready, and the first convoy of exiles was led away, on April 8, from the town of Zeitoun.

Zeitoun was a mountain-community in Cilicia, which had valiantly maintained its autonomy under Ottoman overlordship since the fall of the last Armenian principality in 1375. During the massacres of 1894—6, Zeitoun had been besieged by a Turkish army, and its extermination was part of Abd-ul-Hamid's plan. But it resisted stoutly for.<six months, and finally made terms with the Government on the mediation of the Powers, retaining the ancient charter of liberties which exempted it from receiving a Turkish garrison and from furnishing a -contingent of its own' to the Turkish Army. Zeitoun stands in an almost impregnable position among the hills, and as soon as- they heard the news of the calling in of arms, the Zeitounlis put themselves in posture of defence; but they did not act upon their first-impulse. The Ottoman authorities intimated to them, through the Gregorian Katholikos. of Cilicia, that, if they resisted, reprisals would be made upon their defenceless kinsmen in the plain; while, if they accepted a garrison and surrendered their* arms, both they and the plainsmen would be left in peace. And the elders of Zeitoun themselves, like the Armenian leaders throughout the Empire, were determined to go almost any lengths in order to keep the peace. So the terms were accepted, and the Turkish troops began to arrive.

The soldiers were given good quarters and a friendly reception, and no provocation succeeded in deflecting the Armenian leaders from their policy. There was a ferocious search for arms, in which the bastinado was Applied with shocking cruelty; Haidar Pasha, the Governor of Marash, arrived on the scene and went off again with a batch of Armenian notables under arrest; Fakhri Pasha, with three German officers in his tram, came up from Aleppo to inspect proceedings; the young men of Zeitoun, in spite of their clear privilege, were rigorously conscribed and drafted away. At last 25 of these conscripts (25 young men out of 15,000 Armenians in Zeitoun and the surrounding villages) were stung into that resistance which the Turks intended to provoke. They deserted and entrenched themselves in a neighbouring monastery; the Turkish troops in Zeitoun—who now amounted to about 5,000 men, with artillery—attacked the position; they were repulsed with loss, and the recalcitrants decamped in the night. This was on April 7, and the next day, April 8, the first wholesale deportation was carried into effect. The Zeitounlis were marched away towards the south; the Mouhadjirs concentrated in readiness were hurried into their place; and the name of Zeitoun was changed to Suleimanlu. The exiles from Zeitoun were seen by many witnesses along the course of their route. There was a Swiss teacher in a town on the Cilician plain, who saw company after company of them pass through. Even at this stage they were in a miserable condition—ragged and hungry (for they had had no time to prepare food or clothing for the journey), and exhausted by their descent from the mountains on foot. Old men and women were falling by the wayside; there were children almost naked and shivering with the cold; the gendarmes were driving them along under the lash; the Moslem population was apathetic, and made no attempt to mitigate their lot, and the local Armenians were hindered from doing so by the malevolence of the authorities. From the Cilician plain they were forwarded along the Baghdad Railway in either direction. Half of them were sent north-westward across Taurus to a desolate place called Sultania, in the heart of the great central salt desert of Anatolia. They arrived there destitute—with no food or shelter, and no able-bodied men in their company to remedy the situation by their labour and wits; many of them were the families of men taken for the Army, who had a claim on the Government for support; but the Government not only omitted to house and feed and clothe them, but actually prohibited any relief from being sent them by the Armenian community in the Konia Province.

Worn out as they were, and transferred with such abruptness from their own temperate mountains to an unaccustomed and unhealthy climate, they died off in dozens every day. Later, more adequate provision was made for them on the representations of an Albanian officer appointed to the district, who was revolted by what he found, and finally they were all driven back again along the same weary road to join their fellow-townsmen in the deserts of the south-east. These other Zei-tounli convoys, who had been sent from the beginning in a south-easterly direction, began to pass through Aleppo on April 19, and were forwarded from there to Der-el-Zor, the capital of a province down the course of the Euphrates, six clays' journey by carriage from Aleppo itself.

This last and most dreadful stage in the Zeitounlis' journey has been described, in a German missionary journal, by Schwester Mohring, a German missionary, who, in the spring of 1915, was traversing this road in the opposite direction on her way to Aleppo from Baghdad. She first encountered the exiles at Der-el-Zor itself; the town was crowded with them, and they were lying about in the open, or dragging themselves along in the vain search for some untenanted patch of shade to shelter them from the intolerable heat. Between Der-el-Zor and Aleppo she met one convoy after another on the march. The track ran across a rocky, barren plateau, scored with ravines and reflecting the heat from every angle. The exiles were parched with thirst, and the Euphrates, winding away in a muddy ribbon several miles to their left, was too distant to afford them drink. One old man seized on an empty bottle dropped by one of Schwester Mohring's party at the midday meal, ran to fill it with tepid, discoloured water, and returned with tears in his eyes to thank them for the gift. This was the Young Turks' version of Dr. Rohrbach's project for colonizing the neighbourhood of the Baghdad Railway. Sul-tania was officially styled an "agricultural colony"; in reality, both Sultania and Der-el-Zor were vast mortuaries, where those who reached them alive were to die by sure degrees and leave their bones. The Zeitounlis whom Schwester Mohring saw had already been many weeks on this road to death, and they were only the vanguard of the vast procession that flowed towards Der-el-Zor from the north and north-west during the ensuing months of the year 1915.



The deportation of Zeitoun was followed at once by the deportation, without exception, of the surrounding mountain towns and villages; but the process in Cilicia was in general distinctly mildei than the methods practised in the provinces of the north and north-east, which must shortly be described. In these civilized Cilician highlands, Christian and Moslem lived together on friendly terms, and the orders sprung upon them by the authorities caused almost equal consternation to them both. An American lady, who was present in one of these hill-towns throughout the proceedings, describes how a Kurdish chief, who was in the habit of coming into town at intervals for market, wept when he heard that his best Armenian friend was to be deported, and declared that he would never again visit a place where such wickedness was done. The principal Moslem ecclesiastic of the town undertook to look after the property and interests of the leading Armenian Protestant during his absence (for the authorities always maintained the fiction that the deportation was only temporary, and that the exiles would return); the Moslem inhabitants of two neighbouring villages defied the gendarmes, and would not let their Armenian neighbours go, only yielding to pressure after they had shielded them for three months. In these mountain districts the Government's decree fell upon all alike as an inexplicable act of wickedness, a ruinous calamity; in the big towns of the Cilician plain, the fanatics of the Union and Progress Committee who were urging the Government to begin an outright massacre were still opposed by the respectable section of the Moslem community who wished to live with their Armenian fellow- citizens in peace and goodwill. But before the month of April was out, events had occurred on the north-eastern frontier which changed the situation immeasurably for the worse and accelerated the progress of the crime through the length and breadth of the Ottoman Empire.

It has been mentioned that, next to Cilicia, the principal centre of the Armenian population in Turkey was the province of Van. The city of Van itself, which is the capital of the province and lies close to the eastern shore of the great inland lake of the same name, is full of the memories of Armenian history. Its striking citadel-rock, which rises abruptly from the plain, is carved with the cuneiform inscriptions of the Urartu (Ararat) kings, who ruled there before the Armenian language was spoken in the land, and fought on equal terms with the Assyrians. In the Middle Ages Van was the seat of independent Armenian princes, and battlemented medieval walls crown the citadel's summit, while the "Walled City" clings close to the foot of the rock. This "Walled City"—a maze of tall, huddled houses with blank walls facing the street, and narrow tortuous alleys and bazaars— is still the business quarter of Van, where Christian and Moslem, Armenian and Turk and Kurd, swarm and jostle and make their bargains; but in the course of the nineteenth century, when Sultan Mahmud had chastized the Kurds and Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid had not yet undone his work, the city spread out eastwards into the open plain. New residential quarters—some Turkish, some Armenian, and some tenanted by both nationalities—grew up along the high roads leading out of the town, scattered groups of houses set in spacious gardens, well watered and planted with trees. This was the "Garden City," or the "Vineyards" (Aikesdan), as it was called by the Armenians themselves, and every morning the Turkish and Armenian businessmen of Van came, riding or on foot, from their suburban houses and passed through the battlemented gate of the "Walled City," to do their work beneath the shadow of the citadel, and passed out again every evening to their garden homes. They were a peaceful, prosperous community; the only jarring features were the Ottoman guns on the citadel and the Ottoman barracks in the plain—solid buildings planted on several eminences on the outskirts of the Garden City, and holding it under their command. In the midst of the Armenian quarters in the Gardens stood the buildings of the American Protestant Mission, with their staff of American missionaries, doctors, teachers and their families who worked among the Armenians and were likewise on friendly terms with the Government authorities. These missionaries were present at Van through all the terrible events of 1915. They endured the siege, they fell victims to the typhus, and the survivors took part in the awful retreat. The narrative of one of them, Miss Grace Higley Knapp, which was published by her in the United States before the end of the year, and is practically a reprint of private letters written by her from Van at the time, is our chief, and completely trustworthy, source of information for the events that occurred.

In Van, as a border district, the tension was greater from the beginning than in Cilicia or the regions farther west. The province was placed in a state of siege from the moment Germany declared war' on Russia in August, 1914, and when, two months later, Turkey intervened in the war herself, the registration of conscripts and the requisitioning of supplies were conducted here with special strictness. Yet here, as in other places, the Armenians did everything to maintain good relations with their Moslem neighbours; and the authorities, on their part, at first adopted a conciliatory attitude towards the local Dashnaktzoutian leaders (several of whom were members of the Ottoman Parliament), consulting them about the maintenance of public order, and making them their intermediaries in their dealings with the Armenian community. At the end of December, 1914, the Ottoman forces concentrated at Van began to move across the frontier into the Persian Province of Azerbaijan, which had been under Russian military occupation since the disorders consequent upon the Persian Revolution of 1906. The western part of Azerbaijan consists of the basin of Lake Urmia, a region of the same physiographical character as the basin of Van; and the country between Lake Urmia and the frontier is inhabited by the Nestorians, an ancient Christian nationality who differ in language and doctrine from the Armenians, but have always been their neighbours and have suffered the same vicissitudes of fate. The Urmia district was invaded by the Ottoman forces at two points. The Governor of Van himself—a brother-in-law of Enver Pasha, Djevdet Bey by name, whose father had been Governor before him— advanced upon Salmas at the north- western end of the lake, and Halil Bey, also a cor-nexion of the same family, descended upon the town of Urmia farther south. The Russians Viad only left weak forces in Azerbaijan, and had concentrated their main strength in the decisive theatre of operations to the northwest; they retreated rapidly as the Turks advanced, Salmas and Urmia fell into the invaders' hands, and, sweeping round the southern end of the lake, they momentarily occupied Tabriz.

The treatment of the Nestorians by the invading soldiery was of bad augury for their Armenian fellow Christians of Van, on the other side of the frontier. Many thousands of them, foreboding what was to come, had fled northwards in the wake of the retiring Russian army, making for Djoulfa, on the Russo-Persian frontier. It was an awful pilgrimage—seven days' struggle through morasses of mud, in bitter cold; children separated from their parents, old men and women dying by the way, and babies being born; every hovel crammed with refugees in the villages along the route, and those who could find no shelter lying outside without covering in the frozen slush. Yet these suffered less than those who had not the heart to go, for Djevdet and Halil, as they advanced, had raised the Kurdish tribes of the hills, who hated the Christian plainsmen and longed for plunder. Some Nestorian villages were overwhelmed before the people had time to flee, the men massacred, the women carried off; the remainder crowded for refuge within the walls of Urmia town. At Urmia there was a medical mission station of the American Presbyterian Church—a little colony of American men, women and children, perhaps a score in all, who in this crisis performed one of the most heroic achievements of the war. The town of Urmia is a conglomeration of yards or compounds, set wall to wall, and communicating separately with the street. The Americans" immediately hired about 20 compounds adjoining theirs, broke passages through the party-walls, blocked up their street entrances, and left no way in or out of their enlarged domain except the single gateway into their original compound, above which floated the Stars and Stripes. No less than 17,000 refugees poured into this asylum, and the Americans at once undertook their keep, making contracts with the Moslem bakers of the town, and buying, transporting and distributing half a ton of bread a day. They paid the cost out of the money left in their keeping by the richer Nestorians who had fled, which they had accepted only on the understanding that they might borrow it for this purpose, and they trusted to the generosity of their countrymen in America to refund the loan. When these funds ran low, the bakers, who were hostile to the Christians and feared that, if the Russians returned, any debts outstanding to them would not be repaid, refused to deliver on credit, but the Americans took steps to organize another supply, and cajoled the bakers into a compromise.

The conditions in the crowded compounds were indescribable. Every cranny of the church, the school-rooms and the adjoining houses was choked with human beings, and one woman, who had been sitting for days at a school-room desk, leaning her baby against a post, declared that hers, by comparison, was "a very good place." The missionaries performed miracles in keeping the water supply undefiled and taking such sanitary measures as were possible, but many were sick before-they arrived, an epidemic of typhus broke out, and several dozen dead were carried out every day, the death-rate increasing with every added week of congestion; while such terror reigned beyond the mission walls that all preferred to face the plague within rather than the Turks and Kurds without. The Americans succumbed to the typhus one by one—there is a two-months gap in the diary of the lady who has recorded these extraordinary events, during which she sickened and recovered from the disease. The Nestorian teachers and Bible-women who nursed them went down with it., the native doctors went down, and the men they had taught to organize the sanitation and the distribution of bread— but still they carried on. They kept on good terms with the Persian civil governor (who, indeed, was as impotent under the Turkish as under the Russian administration), with the Turkish military command, and with the Kurdish chiefs, who were licensed by the Turks to do much as they pleased. Various alarming incidents were tided over, and all this time they held Praise Meetings and Communion Services, married those who were to be married, and said the proper offices over the dead. Engulfed as they were among their panic-stricken and nerveless proteges, their courage never gave way, and after 20 weeks of this unparalleled stress, during which their own tiny band was thinned as grievously by the typhus as if they had been on duty in the fire-zone at the front, they brought out the majority of the refugees alive. Meanwhile, the compounds at Urmia were cut off entirely from news of the outer world, but, though they did not know it, the tide had already turned. The battles of Ardahan and Sarikamish were decisive for the whole Russo-Turkish front. Before January, 1915, was out, the Russians had re-entered Tabriz, had driven Djevdet Bey out of Salmas, and were pressing once more upon the northern and eastern frontiers of Van.

The Armenians of Van were relieved to hear of their Governor's approaching return, for the heavy fighting beyond the frontier had reacted on the internal situation in a sinister way. Half elated by hope and half exasperated by suspense, the Moslem population had been showing a dangerous temper towards their Armenian neighbours, especially in the outlying districts, and the Vice-Governor had flouted the Dashnaktzoutian leaders when they proffered him advice. Djevdet, on the other hand, had written them complimentary letters announcing his victories and declaring his appreciation of the Dashnakists' s-ervice in keeping the peace at home. Everyone hoped that he would heal the breach; but his last deed before evacuating Salmas was the massacre of all the Armenian and Nestorian males in the place and a design against the women which was only frustrated by the prompt arrival of the Russian troops. He had been turned savage by his military discomfiture, and now vented his rage upon the Armenians under his rule.

As far as it is possible to fix the guilt of what followed upon one man, the blood of the Armenians is upon Djevdet's head. Soon after his return to Van, there was a serious Moslem outbreak in the Shadakh district, towards the south of the Province, and Djevdet requested Ishkhan, one of the Dashnakist leaders in the city of Van, to go and mediate between the parties. Ishkhan consented, trusting to the Governor's former good will; but he was murdered with his companions on his journey through the mountains, almost avowedly at Djevdet's instigation. About the same time the gendarmerie massacred the young men of an outlying village where they had been sent to gather in the arms, and the young men of another village, hearing the news, fell upon another gendarmerie patrol that came up against them. A fanatical Moslerj rabble set out from Bitlis, the capital of the next province, and marched on Van along the southern shore of the lake, and the Armenians of the city met them in a narrow place and drove them back.

Meanwhile, the American missionaries, at the Armenians' desire, approached Djevdet and attempted to bring him to reason, but they found him impossible to deal with. The Russians were pushing on, and Djevdet's nerves were on edge. He could only bluster that he would first reduce Shadakh to obedience and then deal chastisement to Van. The first symptom of rebellion would be his signal, and he would leave not one Armenian house in Van standing, except tha house where his father the Governor had lived. The Armenians found that he was drawing a cordon round the Garden City, and dominating it by military works; a council of notables was held, and it was resolved to place themselves in readiness for the worst that might occur. On April 20. 1915, the catastrophe came. At six o'clock in the morning some Armenian peasant women on their way into town were molested by a picket of Turkish soldiers; two voung Ar menians intervened, and were shot by the Turks; at the first sound of firing Djevdet loosed his artillery upon the Garden City, and the fighting had begun. There were about thirty thousand Armenians in the besieged area, two or three thousand of whom were armed fighting men. This community had to be defended, provisioned and administered in one moment, but the Armenians displayed remarkable powers of emergency organization. A provisional government was appointed, with committees of defence, supplies and relief. A line of loopholed houses, barricades and trenches was made and held, and the defenders were assigned to the different sectors or to the central reserve. The population was furnished with bread-tickets and put on rations, and provision was made for the refugees who were allowed by Djevdet to flock in from the villages in the hope that they would hasten the starving-out of the town. Rifle ammunition was turned out in considerable quantities, and, under the direction of an Armenian professor, they actually constructed three cannon. Hospitals, doctors and orderlies were found for the Red Cross, and they organized a brass band, which always betook itself to the hottest part of the firing line and overtopped the noise of the artillery with its playing of the "Marseillaise" and Armenian national airs, to the rage of the Turco-German artillerymen—for there were German officers directing the fire of the Turkish guns; they were seen by Mr. Yarrow, one of the missionaries of the American station.

The American mission-station was in the heart of the besieged quarter, and Djevdet Bey, some days before he launched his attack, had proposed to instal there a guard of fifty Turkish soldiers. Their presence would, of course, have paralysed the defence, and the Armenians declared that they would oppose their entrance, but the Americans had managed to dissuade Djevdet from his purpose, and, when the siege began, they maintained their neutrality scrupulously throughout. They even refrained from doing Red Cross work for the Armenian wounded, and devoted themselves to the relief of the civil population, working at it night and day, for this task alone was almost beyond coping with. The fire of the assailants was on the whole ineffective. The Turco-German artillery had no Armenian guns to oppose it, and poured a rain of shells upon the Armenian quarter in the "Walled City" at the foot of the Castle Rock, upon the Garden City lines, and finally upon the American buildings themselves, in defiance of the American flag. But the shells produced little effect on the massive walls of sun-dried brick into which they sank. It seemed impossible, however, that the improvised defence should hold out much longer, when suddenly, in the second week of May, a flotilla of sailing-vessels was seen bearing away from the eastern shore of the Lake. The Turkish population was in retreat, and soon it was announced that one of the barracks in the plain had been evacuated; the Armenians sallied out from their lines and set it on fire. Indeed, deliverance was close at hand, for, on the news of the siege, a Russian relief column, headed by a strong contingent of Russian-Armenian volunteers, had started to march on Van by way of Bayazid. It was the knowledge of their coming that had roused Djevdet to deliver his last and most furious cannonade, but while the Turkish townspeople had been fleeing across the Lake, Djevdet had been withdrawing his troops southward over the hills, and on May 21, 1915, thirty-one days after the beginning of the siege, the Russo-Armenian forces entered Van unopposed, while four days later another Russian column entered Urmia, and liberated the Nestorian refugees. The Russian general confirmed the Armenian provisional government at Van in office, with Aram the Dashnakist as civil governor. The defence of the Garden City had been a brilliant success, and Djevdet's criminal outbreak had met its just reward. But the consequences of this armed collision between Armenian and Turk, unprovoked though it had been on the Armenians' part, were visited upon the whole Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire by the Young Turkish Government with unparalleled ferocity.

This general extermination of the Armenian people was carried through in different fashion in the different regions. From Van southward and south-west, the country threatened by the immediate Russian advance was cleared of its Christian population by outright massacre on the spot. In the region north-west of Van, extending to the Black Sea, which was close to the battlefields of Ardahan and Sarikamish, but where the Russians were not yet across the frontier, the method of deportation was nominally employed, but the exiles were murdered wholesale at the first convenient spot on their road. And, lastly, the Armenian population in the west of Anatolia, and in the immediate neighbourhood of Constantinople, was genuinely deported by rail along the Anatolian and Baghdad lines. It will be best to deal with these three regions separately, in succession.

Djevdet Bey began the south-eastern massacres on his retreat. Passing southwards from Van into the Bohtan valley, he joined forces with Halil, who was likewise retreating from Urmia, ana fell upon the Armenians of Sairt, near the confluence of the Bohtan and the Tigris. This was before the end of May, and Djevdet hastened on to Bitlis, the capital of the next province to his own, occupied it before the Russians could reach it from Van, and massacred the Armenians here also on June 25. From Bitlis he descended upon the plain of Moush. Moush lies north of Bitlis—a depression in the heart of the Armenian plateau, walled off from Lake Van by the Nimrud Dagh volcano, and draining away into the valley of the Eastern (Murad) Euphrates. The town of Moush is surrounded by a girdle of lowland villages, inhabited by a peaceful, defenceless Armenian peasantry, and there was here much work for Djevdet Bey to do. How he did it is described by a German missionary in charge of an Armenian orphanage, who was present at Moush during all that occurred. The people were told that they were going to be deported en masse, and were given several days to register themselves at the Government Building; but before the days were out Djevdet's artillery opened fire upon the town, and his soldiery was let loose upon the villages of the plain. In the first week of July 20,000 reinforcements reached Djevdet from Kharput, and, after desperate street fighting, Moush was taken by storm. Roupen of Sassoun, an Armenian leader from a neighbouring part of the Bitlis province who subsequently escaped to the Russian lines, narrates that the non- combatant population of Moush (the men had received no quarter) were removed to concentration camps prepared in the hills, and there the women were burnt alive, while the soldiers threw their babies after them into the flames, calling out mockingly: "Here are your lions!" It is added that soldiers subsequently taken prisoner by the Russians confessed to their presence at these scenes, and declared themselves haunted by the impression of horror and the smell of the burning flesh. The fate of the villages was different. We know it from the narrative of a woman who staggered, with her baby, into the town of Tchemesh-Getzak in the Dersim country, on the northern side of the Eastern Euphrates. When the men had been killed, the Turks rounded up the village women and children, and drove them northwest. They came to the Eastern Euphrates and were joined by the exiles from a dozen other villages on the farther bank. Then they proceeded westwards along the bank of the river. One day, on the inarch, they were about to rest and break their fast when suddenly they saw the Kurds descending upon them from the hills, and the next thing the woman knew she was in the water with her baby in her arms, while her companions were drowning round her or being picked off by the bullets of the Kurds. She was a strong swimmer, and she managed to gain the opposite bank with her baby and escape.

Her story was taken down by the man at Tchemesh-Getzak who sheltered her from her pursuers; but the baby died of exhaustion, and she herself was hunted down and killed.

The fresh troops that had made an end of Moush were now hurried southward to clear the district of Sassoun—the mountain block that lies between the plain of Moush and the valley of the Tigris at Diarbekr. Sassoun was a free federation of forty Armenian mountain villages, which, like Zeitoun in Cilicia, had preserved their autonomy from time immemorial, and led the same self-sufficient, cantonal life that the Scottish Highlanders led before 1745, laboriously terracing their mountain slopes and pasturing their sheep and goats among the rocks. Sassoun, in its independence and prosperity, was an eyesore to the Young Turkish nationalists as well as to the local Kurdish tribes. The Sassounlis had beep attacked and massacred by Abd-ul- Hamid's orders in 1894-5, and in the spring of 1915, at the Young Turks' instigation, their Kurdish neighbours assaulted them again. The outlying villages in the lowlands towards Diarbekr were overrun in the latter part of May, but their inhabitants made good their escape into the hills, and the hillmen held their ground. During the whole of June the Kurds failed to make any impression against them, even when Ottoman cavalry came to their aid. But now the infantry and guns arrived from Moush; most of the Sassounli leaders, with the exception of Roupen, were Killed by the explosion of a single shell, and the fighting men retired higher and higher into the mountains, covering the retreat of the non-combatants and the flocks. By the beginning of August they were surrounded in their last stronghold, the heights of Antok in the north-eastern extremity of Sassoun, almost overhanging th3 plain of Moush, and here, on August 5, they made their final stand. Men, women and children fought with desperation, rolling down boulders upon the Turks and Kurds, grappling with them hand to hand, and throwing themselves over the precipice when they could hold them back no more. But the enemy gained the summit, and Roupen himself was practically the only survivor who escaped to tell the fate of Bitlis, Moush and Sassoun. South-eastward of Van, again, in the Hakkiari district round the head- waters of the Greater Zab, there were a number of little Nestorian tribes who had preserved their independence, like the Armenians of Sassoun, against the surrounding Kurds. These, too, were attacked in June, and some of them were annihilated, while others fought their way out across the Persian frontier, reached the advancing Russian lines, and took refuge, in a destitute condition, with their hardly less sorely stricken brethren in the Salmas district.

But the crowning blow was the Turkish re-occupation of Van. By the end of July the Turkish reinforcements had mounted up to 40,000 men; they took the offensive along the southern shore of the lake, and on the last day of the month the Russian commander decided to evacuate the city. It was a cruel end to the ten weeks of national self-government that the Armenians of Van had enjoyed. The whole civil population retreated with the troops, and there are terrible descriptions of their flight, both from the American missionaries who took part in it and from the Russian Armenians of the Caucasus, who came to receive the refugees at the frontier. This journey over the bare mountains in the heat of summer was as intolerable as the Nestorians' winter journey had been from Urmia to Djoulfa. They were spurred on by the fear of being intercepted by the enemy, and though the Cossacks and the Volunteers fought heroic rearguard actions to win them time, the straggling end of the procession was cut off by the Kurds in a mountain defile beyond the north-eastern corner of the lake. Agonizing incidents were witnessed by those on the road—a mother laying down her dead child by the wayside and hurrying on; another mother shaking off a child who could walk no farther and was clinging to her skirts, because she had already two smaller children in her arms, and could carry no more; a man gazing silently at a broken-down cart, overloaded with his household goods and with his wife and children, who were too weak to walk—knowing that the cart would carry them no farther, and that to tarry was death. The little children were the most pitiable of all. Many of them had become separated from their parents at the start, and most of these had perished early on the road; but others were lying exhausted in the mountains, and parties of horsemen went out from Igdir, the first village in Russian territory, to bring them in. A witness describes the unbearable poignancy of an improvised orphanage in the town of Etchmiadzin—a great room with hundreds of babies, naked, hungry and motherless, lying on the bare floor, and the sound of faint wailing filling his ears. But these orphanages in Caucasia were happier places than the so-called orphanages instituted by the Ottoman Government, which must be described later on.

The people of Van did right to choose the horrors of flight, for when the Turkish troops re-entered the city they massacred all the people that remained and burnt the houses to the ground, resolved that Van should lie as desolate as Bitlis, Moush and Sassoun. And they succeeded in their purpose. The Russians drove them out again before the end of the same month, and the Grand Duke's great advance in the late winter of 1915-16 carried the front forward to Bitlis and well away to the southwest; but the ruin was so complete that the work of repatriation proceeded very slowly.

While massacre undisguised was being perpetrated in the south-east, massacre under the cloak of deportation had been organized in scores of Armenian towns and villages towards the north. The detailed evidence from the different centres would cover several hundred printed pages, for there were neutral witnesses at almost every centre of importance who wrote accounts of the events at which they were present. But it is possible to give a general outline of the process, because it proceeded on a common plan, drawn up by the Young Turkish Government at Constantinople and carried out simultaneously, under their directions, by the local authorities, with unimportant, though often hideous, variations.

The process generally began, in whatever centre it might be, with a sudden summons to all male Armenians still at large to present themselves at the Government Building by a given hour. Sometimes the summons was conveyed by an official proclamation affixed to the walls, announcing the scheme of deportation and 'the Government's alleged reasons for ordering it, with assurances to the victims of the Government's benevolent intentions in their regard; sometimes the town-crier proclaimed it in the streets; sometimes the summons was by bugle-call. When the men were collected, they were straightway marched out of the town. They had had no opportunity to make preparations for the journey, to wind up their affairs or to bid farewell to their families, and they were butchered at the first lonely place on the road. The men of Kerasond were butchered, like the villagers of Moush, by being thrown into a stream at the midday halt and shot down in the water. At Trebizond they drove them on board sailing-vessels in batches—not only the men, in this case, but the women and children, by anticipation, as well—-took them out into the Black Sea, cast them overboard, and clubbed or shot them as they drowned. At Angora the Moslem butchers and leather-workers were sent out in advance, with their axes and knives, to the village of Asi Yozgad on the eastern road, and hewed their Armenian fellow-townsmen in pieces by batches, as they arrived, the authorities here declaring themselves unwilling to waste rifle-ammunition on Armenian carcases. Near Angora, Marsovan, and other places, long, newly-filled trenches were pointed out to neutral travellers as the sepulchres of the Armenians disposed of in this way. When the men who were at large had been thus expeditiously slaughtered, the men who had been in prison, now many months, since the time of the inquisition for arms, were led out in batches and dealt with in the same fashion, though more at leisure than the rest. An insignificant number of skilled artisans were spared, with whose work the Government could not dispense. There were cases of this at Kharput and Erzerum; but at Erzerum, at any rate, these exempted individuals were taken out and slaughtered, with their families, as soon as the task on which they were engaged was completed, and while the civil authorities, under the direction of the Ministry of the Interior, were doing their part in this extermination, the Ministry of War was effecting the slaughter of the unarmed Armenian conscripts in the labour battalions behind the front. These defenceless Armenian servants of the Government were massacred en masse. One of their Turkish comrades testified to having been on fatigue duty, burying his Armenian comrades whom he had first worked with, and then shot down, by order of his military superiors, and two Danish hospital nurses, who had been dismissed from the service of the German Red Cross at Erzindjan for assisting the Armenian exiles, and were on their way from Erzindjan to Sivas, actually witnessed two such scenes of slaughter.



When the men had been disposed of in these various ways, it was the women's turn. In some places, as at Kerasond and Trebizond, they were marched off and drowned or cut down, like their sons and husbands and brothers: but the usual procedure was to offer them a choice—between conversion to Islam or deportation, and conversion was not the easy alternative it might seem. It could only be ratified by immediate entrance into a Moslem man's harem, and by the surrender of any children the woman might have had by her former, and now murdered, Armenian husband, to be brought up in a "Government orphanage" in the Mohammedan Faith. No such institutions had previously been known in the Ottoman Empire, and no one now knew what devilry might be cloaked under this new device. At Trebizond there was an attempt to set up an unofficial orphanage under the joint presidency of the Governor and the Greek Archbishop, but that was frustrated by the local Committee of Union and Progress. In some cases the children were abandoned to the Dervishes, communities of orgiastic religious votaries who lead a semi-monastic life, and there is a description of the Armenian boys shrieking with terror as they were handed over to their wild guardians. The fate of some orphans was more terrible still. There was another Danish nurse in a different locality (we have quoted her testimony on. another point above, who was invited by the local Governor to inspect his new "Orphanage" after the adult Armenians of his district had been deported. The Danish lady found about seven hundred Armenian children in a good building, apparently with plenty to eat and with an adequate staff of Armenian women in attendance. She went away reassured, but -When she came back, a few days later, she found the orphans gone. There was a lake by the roadside, six hours' journey from the town, and they had been taken thither and drowned by night. Subsequently three hundred more children were collected in the "Orphanage," and their fate, the Danish lady believed, was the same.

These were the implications, for an Armenian widow and mother in 1915, of conversion to Islam, and this alternative of conversion was rendered more cruel still by the extreme latitude which, on questions of religion, was allowed to the local authorities' caprice. In most places no male converts were accepted; in others, they might apostatise, with their families, on payment of enormous bribes; in one centre converts were not admitted in batches of less than a hundred at a time, but in another town, where the authorities had freely encouraged conversion to fill their own pockets, and many had availed themselves of this supposed avenue of escape, it was subsequently decreed that converts should be deported like the rest. In this town, when the day for deportation came, women were seen cursing the Governor in the streets for having made them sell their souls in vain, and gabbling the Moslem prayers they had learnt to prove their claim to the privileges of Islam. There was the same shifty dealing in the case of the Catholic and Protestant Armenian communities. These were closely connected, with foreign nations friendly or even allied to Turkey; the Austro-Hungarian and American Ambassadors made special representations at Constantinople on their behalf, and the Central government published an injunction exempting them from the doom of their Gregorian kinsmen. There were cases, certainly, where this edict took effect. The Catholics, for instance, from the village of Istanos, near Angoia, were sent back to their homes after they had started on their exile, and it is said that the Catholics of Angora itself were overtaken by a horseman with a reprieve, when they were on the point of being hewn in pieces at Asi Yozgad. But these latter, at any rate, were merely sent on into exile instead— the substitution of a lingering for a violent death—and in one Anatolian town, though the local American residents telegraphed to the Ministry at Constantinople on behalf of their Protestant Armenian clients, and received a telegram in answer confirming their reprieve, the local authorities stated that they had been given no official instructions to this effect, and deported the Protestants all the same—another instance of that collusion between the Central Government and their provincial subordinates by which they hoped to exterminate the Armenian nation without abandoning their affectation of decency towards the outer world. Thus, to be a Protestant or a Catholic or a convert to Islam was little protection to any Armenian in actual fact, and the second alternative of deportation was sooner or later imposed upon the vast majority.

The deportation of the women, in fact, was designed by the framers of the scheme as the complementary stage to the massacre of the men, and it was heralded, like the latter, by a further posting of placards or another proclamation by the town-crier in the streets. It was announced that all the remaining Armenians in each centre—the women, that is, and such sick men, old men and male children as had been passed over till now—were to start on a certain day for Der-el-Zor or Damascus or Mosul or some other place hundreds of miles and many weeks' journey away, at the opposite end of the Ottoman Empire. It was an appalling prospect, but the victims were given little time for anticipation. Sometimes they were driven straight out of their houses on to the road; at the village of Geben, in Cilicia, they were driven from the fountain where they were washing their clothes and had to march away without returning home to fetch their children or prepare themselves for the journey; but usually they were given a period of grace for preparation—occasionally a fortnight, but more often a week—and these days were among the most heart-breaking of all. They had to equip themselves with clothes and provisions, and with ready money to renew their supply, but the authorities placed an embargo on the realization of their possessions. Their property (such was the fiction) was to be held in trust for them against their assumed return, and they might only part with a strictly limited amount. But even when they were allowed to sell, they could make little by it, for their Moslem neighbours well understood their straits and beat them down to nominal prices. Cherished possessions like sewing machines sold for a few pence in the streets; and often, before they left, the exiles saw the other property which they had not been allowed to sell and which had been taken by the Government in trust—houses and fields and fruit-trees—given over into the possession of the newly-come Moslem mouhadjirs. At Trebizond the gendarmerie began to seal the houses and warehouse the goods, but they were followed round by a Moslem rabble, which rushed in after them and pillaged most of the movable property with their connivance. In some towns the Armenian quarters were burnt to the ground.

Such was the last sight the Armenian exiles had of their homes, on the day they started on their march. They were dispatched in convoys varying in size from four or five hundred individuals to four or five thousand, under the escort of detachments of gendarmes, and from the moment of starting their miseries began. They were mobbed by the Turkish peasants in the fields as they passed, and when they arrived at a village, they were put up on view in some public place, generally in front of the Government Building, that the Moslem villagers, rich and poor, might take their choice of the comeliest women, girls and boys. The villages along the exile route were filled with these Armenian slaves. They were seen by foreign travellers who traversed these roads in the opposite direction on their way out of Turkey, and a remnant of them were, happily, rescued by the Russian troops, in the districts liberated during the Grand Duke's great advance. They were happier than their companions who did not excite the peasants' lust, for these remained in the gendarmerie's hands. They were compelled by the gendarmes to sleep with them at night, and were reserved for the horrors that awaited the convoys in the later stages of their journey. Meanwhile, their numbers were being thinned by physical exhaustion, as well as by the brutality of the men at whose mercy they were. The Government professed to make provision for their transport, and in certain cases an ox-cart (or araba, as it is called in Turkish) was commandeered for each deported family. But the drivers (and owners) had no intention of making this pilgrimage of hundreds of miles. They could count on the good-will of their fellow-Moslems, the gendarmes, and when they refused to go further, as they invariably did after the first few stages on the road, the gendarmes made no opposition and the Armenians had to proceed on foot.

Where the Government did not offer even this illusory conveyance, the richer Armenians often hired carriages or pack-animals for themselves, at exorbitant prices, while families fortunate enough to possess a cart or a beast of their own started out with them on the journey. But these, too, were taken from them by the gendarmes at a longer or shorter distance from their starting place, sometimes from pure malice— as in the case of the villagers of Shar, in the Cilician highlands, who started out with their own mules and arabas on their journey to the plain, but were deliberately conducted off the wheel-road on to a mountain-track in order that they might have to abandon them by the wayside—but more often from covetousness on the gendarmes' part. The gendarmes sold the Armenians' beasts and conveyances to the local Moslems along the route, and indeed they seized and sold all the Armenians' effects. There was one convoy that had to cross a tributary of the Euphrates on its way to Aleppo. The gendarmes ordered the women to strip and ford the stream, and they did so, holding each other by the hand, while the gendarmes, with the carts, the beasts and the clothes remained on the other bank. But when the women had crossed, the gendarmes refused to restore even their clothes to them, and they had to continue their journey naked. This literal stripping of the exiles was not uncommon, and many convoys reached Aleppo in this condition, sometimes marching on foot, the women bent double with shame, and sometimes crowded into railway carriages on the last stage of their route. The Moslem rabble of Aleppo gathered at the siding, and mocked the Armenian women as they were driven out naked from the trains.

But those who reached the journey's end were only a fraction of those that set out, for every further day they marched, more and more perished of exhaustion on the road. The majority of them were townspeople, unused to physical hardship, and many were people who had been in easy circumstances—the wives and daughters of skilled workers, tradesmen, merchants, lawyers, professors and doctors—women as delicately brought up and as refined in habit, in many cases, as the women of similar station in Europe and America. These women were being driven day after day, by long marches: through the roughest country, toiling on foot, heavily laden, over unmetalled mountain tracks, and bivouacking by night on the bare ground on the outskirts of unfriendly villages. It was the hot season of the year, and their thirst alone was an intolerable torture.

There is the remembrance of this thirst in all the narratives of the victims. They would march for hours together without finding water, and when they passed some stream or spring, the gendarmes would amuse themselves by forbidding the column to halt, or would extort still more of the exiles' remaining possessions as the price of allowing them to rest themselves and drink. It was an ordeal that would have exhausted seasoned soldiers, and these Armenian women were in no condition to bear it at all. The most pitiable cases were those of the women with child—for, since whole communities had been uprooted without pity or discrimination, there were women in all stages of pregnancy in every convoy. These doomed mothers staggered along with the rest, fainting under their burden and driven to their feet again with the lash, till their hour came, perhaps at the halting place or perhaps on the march, and the child was born. When this happened, a guard was left behind with the woman, and, after a few hours' respite, she was urged on again to rejoin the column on the road. A case is reported of a merciful gendarme who saved his charge from the molestations of the Moslem country-folk, brought her water and found a beast to carry her; but most of the narratives describe a different scene—the child left to perish by the roadside or under a bush, and the woman struggling up under the blows, to die of hemorrhage a few yards from the place of her delivery or to collapse suddenly from shock an hour or two further on the way. There were neutral residents in one town through which many convoys passed, who used to go out to the place where the exiles encamped and try to save these mothers and their babes; but often they were kept at a distance by the gendarmes, and even when they succeeded in bringing mother and child to their hospital in the town, it was generally too late to preserve their lives.

The worst experiences were those of the latest convoys to leave any given town, for the roads they had to traverse were littered with the corpses of their fellow-exiles who had gone before—corpses that were generally unrecognizable, it is true, through corruption and the work of carrion beasts. The ghastliest tract of all was the road between Ourfa and Aleppo, the last stage on the journey of many convoys converging from the north. Several neutral and Armenian travellers described how this road was flanked with corpses from one end to the other the trunks lightly buried in the soil, the extremities protruding and gnawed away by dogs. These were m part the victims of exhaustion, hunger, thirst, and disease, but they were also the victims of human violence.

The cruelty of the Moslem peasants in the cultivated lands was as nothing compared to the cruelty of the Kurds and "chetti" bands in the mountains, and the gendarmes, whose duty it was to protect the exiles on the Government's behalf, always fraternized with the marauders and outdid their atrocities with worse excesses of their own. We have the narrative of an Armenian lady who marchad in the third convoy of exiles from Baibourt—at Baibourt the proceedings opened with the hanging of the Bisnop and seven other Armenian notables, and there was the usual massacre of adult males before the deportation began, This lady was a wealthy widow, and the Tui kish commandant at Baibourt had been quartered in her house since the outbreak of war, and urged her to remain behind under his protection. But the lady refused to be separated from her people, and she started off with her old mother and her little daughter, eight years old, taking three pack-horses with them to carry provisions. Her narrative reads like some tale from hell. "We were only two hours oat from home when bands of villagers and brigands surrounded us on the road and robbed us of all we had. The gendarmes took my horses and sold them to Turkish mouhadjirs. They took my money and the gold pieces from my daughter's neck, also all our food. After this, they singled out the men, one by one, and shot them all within six or seven days—every male above fifteen years old.

By my side were killed two priests, one of them over ninety years of age. The brigands took all the good-looking women and carried them off on their horses. Very many women and girls were thus carried off to the mountains, among them my sister, whose one-year-old baby they threw away—a Turk picked it up and carried it off, I know not where. My mother walked till she could walk no further, and dropped by the roadside on a mountain-top. We found on the road many of those who had been in the previous convoys from Baibourt. There were women among the killed, with their husbands and sons. We also came across old people and little infants, still alive but in a pitiable condition, having shouted their voices away." ("On the heights of the mountains and in the depths of the valleys numbers of old men and babies were lying on the ground," wrote another survivor of the same convoy.) "We were not allowed to sleep at night in the villages," the lady continues, "but lay down outside. Under cover of the night indescribable deeds were committed by the gendarmes, brigands and villagers. Many of us died of hunger and strokes of apoplexy. Others were left by the roadside too feeble to go on.

"The worst and most unimaginable horrors were reserved for us at the banks of the Euphrates, in the Erzindjan 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 who 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 that could swim were shot down as they struggled in the water. "

Few exiles, indeed, who reached Erzindjan ever passed alive beyond that point or arrived, like this lady, at Kharput, for, just below Erzindjan, the Euphrates flows into the deep gorge of Kamakh Boghaz, a place marked out for their wholesale slaughter. The very crime for which the two Danish nurses were expelled from the German Red Cross hospital at Erzindjan was that of having befriended several children belonging to a convoy from Baibourt which was on its way to this dreaded shambles. The women in this convoy, when the Danish nurses saw them, were frantic with terror. "Save us," they were crying. "We will become Moslems or Germans or anything you like—only save us. They are taking us to Kamakh Boghaz to cut our throats." A few days earlier, when the first convoy of exiles from Erzindjan itself had entered the gorge of Kamakh Boghaz, Kurdish tribesmen had suddenly fallen upon it" flanks from the heights above on either side, and, when the panic-stricken crowd had turned and attempted to fly by the way they had come, they were shot down by the gendarmes who brought up their rear. The story of the massacre had been told by two Armenian school-mistresses, who survived it, to the Danish ladies, and the news of their destined fate had spread to the other convoys on the march. The Danish ladies were told that the usual procedure was to bind the victims' hands behind their backs and cast them into the river wholesale. "This method was employed when the multitudes were too great to be dispatched in any other fashion."

The sufferings of these exiles deported over the mountains on foot were unspeakable while they lasted, but it may be doubted whether the sum of their misery was greater than that of the equally great masses of exiles who were deported from the north- west by train. These were tradesmen and merchants from Constantinople and the neighbourhood—at Constantinople the Government made a register of Armenian inhabitants born in the city and those of provincial birth, and sent the latter into exile— seminarists of the Gregorian College at Armacha, business men from prosperous country-towns like Adapazar in the district of Ismid, and peasants from the villages of Isnik. Men, women and children, the new-born babies and the sick, they were packed in cattle-trucks and dispatched south-eastward along the Anatolian line. The railway became congested at once with the flow of these exiles from every quarter, and with the passage of troops in the opposite direction, returning from Syria for the defence of the Dardanelles. The exile-trains were held up for days at wayside stations, and at the larger halting places on the route—places like AfiunKara Hissar, high up on the bleak Anatolian plateau, or Konia, under the inner edge of Taurus, on the sultry rim of the Anatolian desert—they were simply turned out into the open, without housing or bedding or shelter, to await for months their turn to proceed; and this in the more inclement season of the year, for these deportations from the north- west did not begin in June and July, like those in the east, but in August and September, and dragged on into the winter months.

The worst miseries awaited these north-western exiles at the two gaps in the Baghdad line, where it was interrupted by the successive mountain-barriers of Taurus and Amanus, and the journey must be continued by carriage or on foot. There is a dreadful description of an exile-encampment in a bleak upland valley of Taurus, just beyond rail-head. The exiles were dying in their improvised tents of exposure and disease, while down the valley they could see all the way to Tarsus in the plain; but they were too destitute to hire conveyances, and too weak to walk. The conditions were even worse in the mountain-camps on Amanus—the second gap in the line— which were described by two Swiss residents at Adana who made their way to the scene to administer relief. The exiles had accumulated here in enormous numbers; the camps were deep in mud; there was no sanitation, and the exiles were living in inconceivable filth, and dying in numbers of disease. They had no spirit in them to struggle over the remaining stage of their journey to Aleppo, and. even if they still had money to pay the hire, there were no carts to be had to carry them to the rail- head of the Aleppo line.

At Aleppo the two streams of exiles from the north-west and the north-east flowed into one, but, as has been stated, only an inconsiderable proportion of the victims ever reached their goal. There are no comprehensive statistics, but such figures as we possess are terrible in the inferences they suggest. A combined convoy, for instance, of exiles from the provinces of Mamouret-ul-Aziz and Sivas, which marched out of Malatia 18,000 strong, numbered 301 when it descended into the plains again at Viran Shehr, and 150 when it reached Aleppo. Another convoy, from Kharput, was reduced on the way to Aleppo from 5,000 to 213, and one from a village near Kharput from 2,500 to 600. Yet the number of the convoys was so great that even these fractions that survived filled Aleppo to overflowing, and they were sent on in batches to Damascus and Der-el-Zor. Yet many were fortunate enough to find rest at Aleppo during that brief respite before they were driven forth on their road again. An American traveller who stayed some days in Aleppo in the autumn of 1915 describes how, every morning, the carts went round from door to door to carry away the dead.

These atrocities had as their deliberate object the extermination of the Armenian race, and it is not difficult to assess the guilt. The Kurds and Chettis, who did some of the most ghastly deeds, merely acted after their kind; the gendarmes who emulated them cannot be too vehemently condemned, and the Turkish peasants (who impressed their opponents so favourably as soldiers at the front) displayed an extreme barbarity towards their Armenian neighbours at home. But Kurds, Chettis, peasants and gendarmes would never have done what they did if they had not been licensed or incited from above. The guilt lay with the Young Turkish Government at Constantinople and with the local officials who acted in collusion with them. But there was a greater criminal even than the Young Turkish Government, for behind Turkey stood the country that was Turkey's ally and the dominant partner in the policy she pursued. There was a considerable variation in the conduct of individual Germans in Turkey. The German missionaries seem to have stood laudably by their principles, and the German Vice-Consul at Erzerum is said to have sent the exiles relief. But in the Aleppo province and Cilicia the German officials, both military and civil, threw themselves actively into the Young Turks' scheme; at Moush and Van German officers are believed to have participated directly in the slaughter, and at Erzerum they are reported to have taken their share of the Armenian girls.

Still worse than these isolated cases (for they were no more) of active participation is the condonation which both official and unofficial Germany extended to the crime. No protest was entered by the local German officials on the spot; Herr von Wangenheim, the German Ambassador at Constantinople, declared that it was not his role to interfere; the atrocities were defended by publicists in the German Press; they were first denied and then apologized for by the German Ambassador in the United States. In the German Reichstag on January 11, 1916, Herr von Stumm, chief of the Political Department of the Foreign Office, replied as follows to the urgent enquiries of the courageous Socialist Deputy, Dr. Liebknecht:

It is known to the Imperial Chancellor that revolutionary demonstrations, organized by our enemies, have taken place in Armenia, and that they have caused the Turkish Government to expel the Armenian population of certain districts and to allot to them new dwelling-places. An exchange of views about the reaction of these measures upon the population is now taking place. Further information cannot be given.

Germany, in fact, signified in the clearest manner that the Young Turks' attempt to exterminate their Armenian subjects was right in German eyes; and, indeed, this Young Turkish policy coincided precisely with German ambitions. One of the chief prizes which Germany hoped to gain from the war was the unbridled power to dominate all the submerged nationalities of the Near East—to blast their hopes of national liberty, to stunt their national growth, to drain their energies to her own advantage, and to rob them of a territory stretching from Belgrade to Aleppo, and from Aleppo, through Baghdad and Damascus, to the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal.


Back to Index