90 Miles From Tyranny : 10 Disturbing Facts About The Armenian Genocide

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

10 Disturbing Facts About The Armenian Genocide

2015 marked the hundredth year since the Armenian Genocide began, where it is approximated that 1.5 million of the two million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire lost their lives. The Ottoman Empire’s meticulous cover-up of events, as well as the overwhelming scale of their systematic barbarism, means that the real number will never be known and greatly fluctuates from source to source. Such is the nature of genocide, that the perpetrators wish to eradicate any record of the victimized. From the sources that have survived, we have compiled the following ten disturbing facts about the Armenian Genocide.

10. The Three Pashas Led the Ottoman Empire into War and Enacted the Genocide
The Three Pashas is the collective name given to Talât Pasha, Grand Vizier (the equivalent of Prime Minister); Enver Pasha, Minister of War; and Djemal Pasha, Minister of the Navy; during World War I.

Talât Pasha’s hatred towards Armenians was longstanding. In his memoirs, Danish philologist Johannes Østrup contends that Talât shared his intent for the complete annihilation of Armenians with him as early as 1910. He quotes Talât as saying, “If I ever come to power in this country, I will use all my might to exterminate the Armenians.”

His wish for power came true in 1913, by way of a coup. The following year, the Ottoman Empire entered World War I, and then a year later began the systematic murder of Armenians.

Following the Empire’s defeat in the war, all three fled the country. The new government vilified them as the reason for the Empire’s debilitating participation in the war, and they sporadically acknowledged the Three Pashas for their overwhelming crimes against humanity.

When referring to the massacres that took place under the Three Pashas’ rule, Abdülmecid II, the last Caliph of Islam from the Ottoman Dynasty, is quoted as saying, “They are the greatest stain that has ever disgraced our nation and race.”

9. One of Hitler’s Early Co-Conspirators Was a Witness to the Armenian Genocide
Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter was the German vice-consul in Erzerum at the time of the Armenian genocide. He condemned the Ottoman Empire’s practices in his writings as a policy of annihilation.

Upon his return to Germany, however, he became deeply involved with the Nazi movement, developing a close relationship with Hitler. He was shot and instantly killed during the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, marching with his arm linked to Hitler’s. Hitler would go on to dedicate the first part of Mein Kampf to Scheubner-Richter. While records of their conversations are scarce, it is a likely leap that Hitler was well-versed on Scheubner-Richter’s writings and experiences.

On August 22, 1939, Hitler gave a speech at his Obersalzberg home. It was a week before the German invasion of Poland, and he expressed to his Wehrmacht commanders his wish for the total annihilation of the Poles. Louis P. Lochner, who had sources within the Nazi government, claimed he had been given an original transcript of the speech, which he then published in his 1942 book, What About Germany? It quotes Hitler as saying, “I have put my Death’s Head formations in place with the command relentlessly and without compassion to send into death many women and children of Polish origin and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space we need. Who after all is today speaking about the destruction of the Armenians?”

Although it is a matter of content how much of a direct influence the Armenian genocide was on the Holocaust—the similarities are clear, as well as Hitler’s knowledge of the atrocities.

8. Able Men Were Put to Death and the Remaining Armenians Were Marched into the Desert
The genocide’s starting date is often cited as April 24, 1915, when up to 270 Armenian community leaders were forcefully removed from Constantinople and moved to Ankara. Predating this, the Ottomans had moved all Armenian people in the army to unarmed labor battalions, to make their eventual extermination easier to enforce.

Once all able-bodied Armenian men of the Ottoman Empire were slain, women, children, the infirm, and the elderly were marched into the desert under the guise of resettlement. In total, up to 1.5 million Armenians died in the genocide. At the start of World War I, two million Armenians were living within the Ottoman Empire, meaning three out of four were killed.

Many Armenians died from starvation and dehydration. Females of all ages were habitually raped and left for dead. Mass shootings, drowning, burning, and poisoning were also common. People who managed to cling to life for the entirety of the death march were then placed in concentration camps, where they were massacred.

7.  ISIS Is Blamed for Destroying the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir ez-Zor
Construction of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church reached completion in November 1990, and it was consecrated on May 4, 1991. The church was an important pilgrimage site for many Armenians. The greatest massing of...

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