The Ottoman Armenian Tragedy is a Genuine Historic Controversy
Firuz Kazemzadeh
Feroz Ahmad
Arend Jan Boekestijn
Brendon J. Cannon
Mary Schaeffer Conroy
Youssef Courbage
Paul Dumont
Bertil Duner
Gwynne Dyer
Edward J. Erickson
Philippe Fargues
Michael M. Gunter
Paul Henze
Eberhard Jäckel
Firuz Kazemzadeh
Yitzchak Kerem
William L. Langer
Bernard Lewis
Guenter Lewy
Heath W. Lowry
Andrew Mango
Robert Mantran
Justin McCarthy
Michael E. Meeker
Hikmet Ozdemir
Stephen Pope
Michael Radu
Jeremy Salt
Stanford Shaw
Norman Stone
Hew Strachan
Elizabeth-Anne Wheal
Brian G. Williams
Gilles Veinstein
Malcolm Yapp
Thierry Zarcone
Robert F. Zeidner

Born in 1924. MA at Stanford University in 1947, Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1950. Research Fellow at Harvard University from 1954 to 1956. Instructor, then Assistant, Associate professor and finally Professor at Yale University, from 1956 to 1992. Chairman of the Yale Committee for Middle East Studies from 1979 to 1983. Editor of World Order from 1966 to 2000. Member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1998 to 2000.

major publications

  • The Struggle for Transcaucasia
    New York-Oxford, Philosophical Library/George Ronald Publisher, 1952.
  • Ideological Crisis in Iran, The Middle East in Transition
    Frederick Praeger, New York, 1958.
  • Russia and the Middle East, Russian Foreign Policy: Essays in Historical Perspective
    Yale University Press, New Haven, 1962.
  • Russia and Britain in Persia: A Study in Imperialism
    New Haven, Yale University Press, 1968.
  • Russian Penetration of the Caucasus, Russian Imperialism
    New Brunswig, Rutgers University Press, 1974.
  • Soviet Iranian Relations: A Quarter Century of Freeze and Thaw
    The Soviet Union and the Middle East: The Post World War II Era
    Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1974.
  • Iranian Relations with Russia and the Soviet Union  to 1921
    Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 7, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • Reflections on Church and State in Russian History, Proselytism and Orthodoxy in Russia
    John Witte and Michael Bourdeaux, editors. Orbis Books, New York, 1999.

RELEvANT publications

  • The Struggle for Transcaucasia
    New York-Oxford, Philosophical Library/George Ronald Publisher, 1952.

Source: The Struggle for Transcaucasia, NY-Oxford, Philosophical Library/George Ronald Publisher, 1952.

"For centuries they [the Armenians] had been loyal subjects of the Sultans even receiving the appellation ‘the Loyal Nation’. It was only under the influence of European nineteenth century nationalism that the Armenians began to stir.

The Armenians in Turkey were by no means an oppressed and miserable people. Through hard work, thrift, native intelligence, and a cultural level generally higher than the Turks, they had become a prosperous and important community. In the eastern vilayets they were the predominant economic force. In these vilayets, more than half of all merchants (58 per cent) and three quarters of all persons engaged in mining (75 per cent) were Armenins. In the same vilayets, the Turks accounted for only one quarter of all merchants, doctors and so on. By contrast, they accounted for well over half of all government, employees and magistrates." P. 8

"Long before the adoption of the programme of 1907, the Dashnaktsutiun [Nationalist Armenian party, created in 1890] developed into a strong, disciplined, conspiratorial organization. Already in the nineties they were preparing armed uprisings in Turkish Armenia, for they hoped to provoke conflicts which would attract the attention of Europe to the national struggle of Armenians.

Although at this stage the Dashnaktsutiun operated almost exclusively in Turkey, the base for their activities was Russian Armenia. It was there that they first organized armed bands, the khumbas, one of which, led by Kukujanian, penetrated Turkey but was later disarmed by the Russians. Other bands infiltrated accros Persian territory and caused considerable trouble to the Turkish authorities." P. 10

"On 5th August, 1914, the Catholicos [supreme chief of Armenian church] wrote a letter to the Viceroy [Russian governor of Caucasus], asking the latter no forget the Armenian question and to make use of the favorable historical moment for its solution. He stated that it was necessary that the following things should be done: the Armenian vilayets of Anatolia should be united into a single province and put under a Christian governor-general , selected by Russia and independent to the Porte; and a considerable degree of autonomy should by granted to the Turkish Armenia. The carrying out of this reform should be entrusted to Russia exclusively, otherwise no Armenian would even believe in it. The Catholicos called the attention of the Viceroy ‘the terrible dangers’ which would threaten the Armenians in Turkey should Russian turn away from them.

The Catholicos was clearly asking for a Russian attack upon Turkey. […] Russia was not really interested in the Armenians; she was prepared to use them as a tool of her expansionist policy and no more. Blinded by the hatred of Turkey, the Armenians did not realize what a sorry part was prepared for them in the coming war." P. 10

"In Tiflis, the Armenian National Bureau was organized with Alexander Khatissian, the mayor of that city, at its head. The Bureau helped the Armenian refugees, conducted auxiliary military works, and organized khumbas (bands, detachments) which entered the Russian army. As a matter of fact, the Dashnaktsutiun had begun to organize volunteers bands even before the war was declared." P. 26

"In April 1915, the Dashnaktsutiun sent a representative, Dr Zariev, to France and England in order to gain the sympathy of the said countries toward the realization of Armenian aspirations. Zariev asked the diplomats in Paris and London to introduce him to government circles. He told the Russian ambassador in Paris, Izvolskii, that the Russian Foreign Ministry intended to propose to the Powers the creation of an autonomous Armenia within the Ottoman Empire and under the protection of Russians, England and France. Zariev claimed that the territory of the proposed state would include not only the so-called Armenian vilayets [where the Armenians were a minority] but also Cilicia [where the Armenians were a smaller minority] and a port on Mediterranean Sea. He said that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved this plan it would be better for the Armenians themselves to deal with the Powers in order to allay their suspicious." P. 27

"The Armenians were the only Transcaucasian people who engaged themselves in diplomatic and quasi independent military activities during the war." P. 31

"The Armenians like the other peoples of Transcaucasia, welcomed the March Revolution [liberal revolution in Russia]. To the Dashnaktsutiun it meant first of all the solution of the national question of which they were so painfully conscious. More than any other party in Transcaucasia the Dashnaktsutiun wanted to win the war: the defeat of Turkey was with then an idée fixe, almost a mania." P. 43

"But it was neither the Kadets, nor the Mensheviks, nor the S.R.’s who saved the Soviet [of Baku] during the March [1918] Days. It was the Dashnaktsutiun, with its military organization that tapped the scales in its favor. At first the Armenian National Council proclaimed its neutrality in the quarrel between the Musavat [Azeri national party] and the Soviet. It has been even suggested that the Armenians told the Musavat that the latter might expect their help against the Bolsheviks. If it was the case, then the Armenians were largely responsible for the massacre that ensued, because the Musavat plunged into the armed conflict thinking that it had only one enemy to face." P. 71

"On the basis of the material presented above it is possible to state that the Soviet provoked the ‘civil war’ in the hope of breaking the power of its most formidable rival, the Musavat. However, one the Soviet had called upon the Dashnaktsutiun to lend its assistance in the struggle against the Azerbaijani nationalists, the ‘civil war’ degenerated into a massacre, the Armenian killing the Muslims irrespective of their political affiliation or social and economic position. The non-Bolshevik Russians sided with the Soviet for the simple reason that they were Russians and would rather see the triumph of the Soviet which obeyed Moscow, than the victory of the separatist Musavat.

When finally a semblance of order was restored in Baku, the streets cleared of the thousands of dead bodies, and the fires extinguished, the Soviet emerged as the greatest force in the city. The Muslims were defeated and completely disarmed, while the Armenians weakened." Pp. 74-75

"In the territories which the Russian army had conquered, and which were now [1918] held by Georgian and Armenian troops, the Muslim population was persecuted by the Armenian bent on vengeance. Vehib Pasha called the attention of the General Odishelidze to the cruelties inflicted on the Muslims. He cited cases of Muslims having been burned alive and other such of atrocities. Apparently Odishelidze admittet that there has been atrocities, for in another letter Vehib Pasha thanked him to protect the Muslims from the Armenians. But the massacres continued as before. On 15th and 16th January, several hundreds of Muslims were killed by the Armenians in Erzinjan [city of Eastern Anatolia]." Pp. 85-86

"The victory which had come to Armenians [in Fall 1918] after so much sufferings turned the heads of her leader. They visualized a Greater Armenia, a country stretching from Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea, and from the Black Sea to the Caspian. They claimed not only the six vilayets of Anatolia, but also Cilicia as well. They even claimed a part of the Persian Azerbaijan, though Persia had not been belligerent. Their fantasies were encouraged in Paris, London, and especially Washington. […]

But the Armenians were misled by their hopes and these promises. The interest of Europe and America in Armenia was not deep. Most people in the West did not know then, nor do they know today, whether Armenia is in Europe, Asia or Africa. An Irish member of the House of Commons used the Turkish massacres in Armenia as a convenient introduction to his speeches against what in his opinion were similar atrocities of the British in Ireland. Moreover, the Armenian failed to appreciate the vitality of he Turkish people and their determination not to bow to the victorious Allies.

In February 1919, Turkey [the actual Ottoman government, a British puppet] made an attempt to negotiate with Armenia, promising the Turkish Armenia autonomy within the Turkish state, and proposing to effect an exchange of population in some areas where tension was specially acute. Flushed with victory, the Armenians rejected the Turkish overture […]

No peaceful settlement could be achieved on the above terms which show that the Dashnaktsutiun were not really interested in settling their conflict with Turkey, but were pursuing the old policy of attracting Europe’s attention by their defiance of the Turks, just as they had done in 1896, when they startled Constantinople by capturing and holding for a few hours the building of the Ottoman Bank.
Meanwhile in those parts of Turkish Armenian which the Armenian army had reoccupied following the retreat of the Turks, massacres and pillage of the Muslim population reached tremendous proportion. A Soviet writer, Borian, himself an Armenian, states that the Armenian politicians had organized state authority not for the purpose of administering the country, but for the extermination of the Muslim population and the looting of their property. When voices were raised in Armenia against this murderous policy, many of the leaders of the Government answered: ‘The Turks always looted the Armenians; so, why is it so strange if the Armenians should for once loot the Turks?’ Borian comes to the conclusion that ‘these facts permits one to say that the Armenian Dashnaks have excelled the Turks.’  Borian’s opinion is largely supported by General Harbord [US chief investigator in Anatolia] who writes that the Turks committed many atrocities, but ‘where the Armenians advanced and retreated with the Russians their retaliatory cruelties unquestionably rivaled the Turks in their inhumanity’." Pp. 213-214

Home | Introduction | Scholars | Falsehoods | Photo Gallery | Media Archive | Links | Suggestions