1919-08-27-DE-001
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Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1919-08-27-DE-001
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14106
Central register: 1919-A-23246
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 08/27/1919 p.m.
Embassy/consular serial number:
Last updated: 03/23/2012


"The Times"

"Kultur" in Armenia



Yesterday we published some account of the methods of German “militarism” as they are being applied in Upper Silesia in preparation for the plebiscite. Today we give the German official explanations tendered to the Allied Military Commission at a preliminary meeting in Breslau. We also publish on high German authority some facts about the German attitude in another part of the world by which the worth of such statements, when they are not independently established, may be gauged. They are taken from a book by Dr. Johannes Lepsius, just published in Berlin with the authority of the German Foreign Office. Dr. Lepsius asked leave last November to consult the archives of that Department upon Armenia, and Dr. Solf, the then Foreign Secretary, informed him that if he would collate the documents the Foreign Office would abandon their projected White Book upon the same subject, so as not to compete with his work. The book, accordingly, may be regarded as almost semi-official in character, and it is of unique interest and importance as the first authentic account of the relations between Germany and the ally upon whose chivalrous qualities the Ex-Kaiser loved to descant. What is the picture which he reveals to us of the black deeds of Turkey and of the way in which Germany tolerated and condoned them? It confirms from official German documents, and even from the protests of German generals, who cannot be suspected of any squeamish “humanitarianism,” the worst charges made against men like Enver, Halil, and the whole system practised by the Committee of Union and Progress - once hailed by Europe as the enlightened regenerators of their country. It shows that the wholesale massacres, robberies, and deportations deliberately perpetrated by them were known, not only to the German Ambassadors at Constantinople, among whom were men like Count Paul Wolff-Metternich, Herr von Kühlmann, and Count Bernstorff, and to the German generals in Turkey, such as von der Goltz and Liman von Sanders, but to Herr von Bethmann Hollweg, the whole foreign service in Berlin, to Hindenburg and Ludendorff, and what is perhaps most significant of all, to the Main Committee of the Reichstag. It is but just to say that some of the diplomatists and soldiers were disgusted by the senseless barbarity of their allies. The Ambassadors made academic protests. Enver, with true Turkish humour and a just appreciation of the position, begged them not to impede the “unification” of Turkey. Talaat met inconvenient expostulations by the reminder that Turkey had abolished the Capitulations with Germany’s consent, and that foreign interference in her internal affairs was most improper. He did not deny the massacres - over 20000 women and children were slaughtered outside Erzerum in four days, and 55000 corpses were buried at Meskene alone - but he pleaded “military necessity.” What could the apostles of Kultur reply? They had Belgium, French Flanders and Poland on their backs.
The truth was known in Berlin so far back as 1915. “The Committee,” the German Ambassador wrote home in that year, “insists that the last remnants of the Armenians shall be devoured,” and he explained that their policy of “Turkification” meant “to expel or to kill everything that is not Turkish,” and to destroy or appropriate other people’s property. “Herein,” he adds, “for the moment, and in the childish repetition of French liberal phrases, consists the vaunted new birth of Turkey.” So “the many-headed hydra of the Committee, with its chauvinism and its fanaticism,” was allowed to go its way unchecked. The Germans - who so often posed in the war as the champions of the altar and the throne - were under no misapprehension of the real purpose of their ally in what Dr. Lepsius describes as “perhaps the greatest persecution of Christians of all time.”

Forcible conversion to Islam was, as always, a feature in the Turkish attack upon the Armenians. The Germans acquiesced, because “in the East creed and nationality are synonymous.” They knew, too, that the Turks fully intended to destroy the existence of the Armenian nation, but that design could not greatly shock the heirs of the “Frederician tradition” as practised in Poland and Denmark, and as even then contemplated for Belgium. Count Wolff-Metternich and Prince Hohenlohe did, indeed, severally suggest to Herr von Bethmann Hollweg that at least Germany should dissociate herself from the enormities of her ally by articles in the German newspapers. But the course was not deemed expedient.

On the contrary, the North German Gazette, the semi-official organ of the German government, published the Turkish official denials of the massacres which the German Ambassadors reported, and rebuked the Allied Press for its slanderous suggestion that the Government of Germany’s ally could have had anything to do with whatever “excesses” might have been committed. That is a measure of the value to be attributed to other German official statements - including the official statements now being made on the origin and on the military suppression of the “insurrection” in Upper Silesia. Ludendorff, indeed, did protest against the Turkish invasion of Armenia beyond the districts assigned to Turkey at Brest-Litovsk. His protest, however, was made exclusively upon military grounds. Hindenburg concurred, and “as a Christian” added a plea that the population of the Caucasus might be spared. Enver treated the plea with contempt. His brother, Nuri Pasha, assured Baron von Kress, the German High Comissary at Tiflis, that “any little accident” which might have occurred would be repaired. That is all that Germany, with full knowledge of the facts, and with power for a long period to give commands to Turkey, obtained for the nation who were being deliberately extirpated by the ally she directed, financed, armed, and led. Her own High Commissioner warned her of the judgement her conduct must bring upon her. He had the courage to tell his Government in a dispatch that “the responsibility for the annihilation of this ancient Christian people would lie for ever upon Germany and Austria.” “History,” he went on, “will not, and cannot, admit that the two great Christian Empires of Central Europe were not in a position to impose their will upon their Asiatic ally, at least ... where the life and death of a whole people are at stake.” That is the judgement on the attitude of Germany and of her allies in Armenia from official German lips. We cannot imagine a condemnation more terrible or more just.



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