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Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1919-08-14-DE-001
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14106
Central register: 1919-A-22278
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 08/14/1919 p.m.
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Last updated: 03/23/2012

"New York Tribune"

Germany and the Armenians

What did Germany do to save the Armenian people from extinction? We have at last the final German answer to this question and from a source no less competent than Dr. Johannes Lepsius, chairman of the German Orient Mission and the German-Armenian Society. He is the German publicist who, when the German press was working overtime to clear the Turkish government from the charges of Armenian horrors, issued, on the basis of first hand intelligence, his “Report on the Condition of the Armenian people in Turkey,” containing the most sweeping indictment so far at hand of the methods and purposes of the Young Turkish government and indorsing in full the reports of American witnesses and the findings of the Bryce committee. This book, printed at Potsdam in 1916, was not offered for public circulation and the German press was prohibited from referring to it. Only the other day was the embargo removed by the Ebert government.
A curious feature of this book was the omission of references to the share of the German government in the responsibility for the extermination of Armenians. Dr. Lepsius dismissed this phase with a perfunctory remark to the effect Germany has vainly protested against the horrors. The inference was obvious that his failure to attempt a defense implied an admission of Germany’s guilt.

The correctness of this surmise is now proved beyond the possibility of doubt by the appearance in Berlin of another book of Dr. Lepsius’s, entitled “Germany and Armenia” and purporting to be based on the “entire material in the archives of the German Foreign Office.” The Berlin newspapers are playing up this book as a complete vindication of Germany’s course, and ridicule the charges raised by the Entente press, to which, they say, Dr. Lepsius has now dealt a mortal blow.

Unfortunately for this argument, the German papers also print extracts from Dr. Lepsius’s new book, and the passages quoted do not seem to bear out the accompanying editorial exultation. Yet it may be assumed that the extracts were chosen with a view to making out the strongest possible case for Germany’s innocence.

Well, we are told that on July 4, 1915, the German Ambassador at Constantinople submitted a memorandum to the Grand Vizier which “repeated, in the most solemn form, the representations, made as early as June, against ‘such shameful occurrences’” as the massacre of a few hundred thousand Armenian Christians. Strange to say, the memorandum, in spite of its “most solemn form,” did not make much of an impression, as twelve days later Ambassador Wangenheim wrote to the Imperial Chancellor: “The Porte continues to deport and annihilate the Armenians ... We cannot prevent the Turkish government from doing so, but must assign to her all responsibility for the political and economic consequences of the measures.”

Nor did the heroism of the German Ambassador stop here. In 1916, we learn, Secretary of State Zimmermann declared in a Reichstag committee that “the Turkish Minister of Interior had said the Ambassador was making a bore of himself” with his complaints about Armenia. Finally, on March 19, 1918, the Secretary of State said: “The German government went to the limit in exerting pressure on Turkey. No German government could have assumed the responsibility for a break with Turkey, with the consequent exposure of our southeastern front.”

In other words, Germany said naughty, naughty Turkey did not care, and Germany shrugged her shoulders. This is what the “complete vindication” actually amounts to. It leaves the matter standing just where it stood before. The one significant fact is that this sort of stuff, even to-day, eight months after the so-called revolution, still is swallowed by German public opinion.

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