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Germany and the Armenian Genocide

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  • Germany and the Armenian Genocide

    Germany and the Armenian Genocide: An Interview with Margaret Anderson
    By Khatchig Mouradian

    The Armenian Weekly
    www.armenianweekly.com
    November 11, 2006

    The issue of German responsibility in the Armenian Genocide has been
    researched by a number of scholars in the past decades. The Ottoman Empire
    was an ally of Germany during WWI, when up to a million and a half Armenians
    were uprooted from the Empire and perished in a state-sponsored campaign of
    mass annihilation.

    On June 15, 2005, the German Parliament passed a motion honoring and
    commemorating "the victims of violence, murder and expulsion among the
    Armenian people before and during the First World War." The Bundestag
    deplored "the deeds of the Young Turkish government in the Ottoman Empire
    which have resulted in the almost total annihilation of the Armenians in
    Anatolia."

    The Bundestag also acknowledged and deplored "the inglorious role played by
    the German Reich which, in spite of a wealth of information on the organized
    expulsion and annihilation of Armenians, has made no attempt to intervene
    and stop these atrocities."

    In this interview with Professor Margaret Anderson, conducted by phone from
    Beirut, we discuss issues related to Germany and the Armenian Genocide.

    Margaret Anderson is a professor of history at the University of California
    in Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. from Brown University. She has
    researched electoral politics and political culture in Germany and in a
    comparative European perspective; democracy and democratic institutions;
    religion and politics; and religion and society, -especially Catholicism in
    the 19th century. She is the author of Windthorst: A Political Biography
    (Oxford University Press, 1981 and , Practicing Democracy: Elections and
    Political Culture in Imperial Germany (Princeton University Press, 2000).

    Her research has more recently revolved around Germany and the Ottoman
    Empire during the Armenian Genocide.

    Khatchig Mouradian: How did you first become interested in the Armenian
    Genocide?

    Margaret Anderson: It was quite an accident. When I finished my last book, I
    needed to do something different so that I didn't get stale. A colleague of
    mine, who researched Italian history during the same period, said "You
    should work on the Armenians." I told him that I can't work on the
    Armenians, I don't read Armenian, I don't read Turkish. And he said, yes,
    but you read German and there is a lot of stuff to do on Germany." He was
    right. There are 56 volumes in the German Foreign Office devoted to the
    Armenian persecutions, as well as many more under other titles-like the
    embassy in Constantinople-that are quite relevant to this horrible story.

    I have a colleague, Stephan Astourian, a specialist in Armenian history,
    without whom I could never have begun this. He was immediately helpful in
    steering me to the proper Armenian sources and letting me understand the
    historiography.

    K.M.: How thoroughly have these documents been researched?

    M.A.: Vahakn N. Dadrian has used them, most notably in German Responsibility
    in The Armenian Genocide: A Review of the Historical Evidence of German
    Complicity (1996), and even before that several other people have done it.

    Ulrich Trumpener had an excellent chapter in his 1968 book, Germany and the
    Ottoman Empire 1914-1918. More recently, Rolf Hosfeld's Operation Nemesis:
    Die Turkei, Deutschland und der Volkermord an den Armeniern (2005); Isabel
    V. Hull, Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in
    Imperial Germany (Cornell, Ithaca, 2005) and Donald Bloxham, The Great Game
    of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Armenians
    (Oxford, 2005) employ these documents to good effect. As far as I know,
    scholars in Turkey haven't published anything using these materials; though
    when I was in the German Foreign Office Archives in Berlin, it was clear
    that some Turkish scholars had seen them. When you work in German archives
    you have to sign a sheet saying you have used these documents. So sometimes
    you can see who has used them ahead of you. Now, the documents from the
    German Foreign Office published by Johannes Lepsius in 1919 (under the title
    Deutschland und Armenien), along with the parts that his edition left out
    (which are not as significant as some scholars have thought) can be found
    online, edited by Wolfgang Gust. Gust has inserted in italics the parts that
    Lepsius's Deutschland und Armenien left out. Gust was able to do this by
    comparing Lepsius's collection with the original documents. These are
    available online [at www.armenocide.de].

    K.M.: In German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide, Dadrian argues that
    Lepsius left these sections out on purpose.

    M.A.: I think Gust himself has now become a little more moderate on that
    issue. Most of the phrases and passages left out are completely
    insignificant from the standpoint of the question, Was there an Armenian
    Genocide and who was involved? They do not bear significantly on the
    question of the Genocide's character. In some cases, Lepsius-if it was
    Lepsius who was responsible for the omissions-may have been protecting
    fellow Germans and Germany's reputation, but in most of the cases, it seems
    to me, he was protecting Armenians. That is-and the national school of
    Turkish historians will be quick to jump on this-he would soften or leave
    out cases of Armenian revolutionary violence, and cover that up. Lepsius
    presents a picture of almost complete Armenian victimhood, of a people with
    no ability to strike back. Well, we know that is not true; the Armenians
    struck back when they could. But Lepsius was a churchman, and so disapproved
    of violence. And he was also trying to protect Armenians against what he had
    long known was the false charge of the German Turkophiles: that the
    Armenians were terrorists, that the "deportations" were a security measure
    against traitors, and that the CUP [Committee of Union and Progress] was
    only protecting the Ottoman state.

    K.M.: Before we discuss Germany and the Ottoman Empire during WWI, can you
    put the pre-war German-Ottoman relations into perspective?

    M.A.: Twenty years before the war and even right before the war, Germany
    didn't have as many interests in the Ottoman Empire as, for example, the
    French and even the Austrians. It had less economic investment and fewer
    cultural institutions, but it certainly hoped to have a future there. Until
    the second Balkan war (1912-13), Germany worked very hard to keep the
    Ottoman Empire in operation because it was afraid, as many of the great
    powers were, that if the Ottoman Empire disintegrated, another European
    power would get it-probably Russia, and maybe even England or France. There
    was the fear that any country that annexed the Ottoman Empire, or parts of
    it, would grow too powerful, and the European equilibrium would grow
    dangerously unbalanced. Germany would suffer in particular, because unlike
    the others it had no foothold in the Mediterranean. This is why the Germans
    didn't want the Ottoman Empire to dissolve.

    After 1912, the Ottoman Empire began to look as if it were going to dissolve
    anyway, whatever Germany or the other European powers did. This feeling that
    it would soon go into "liquidation," as the German Foreign Office called
    it, caused Germany to suddenly support the Armenians in 1913-14 in ways it
    had not done before. Germany in fact now so supported the reform deal in
    Eastern Anatolia that the powers finally forced the Ottomans to sign in
    February 1914, granting the Armenians in Eastern Anatolia a certain parity
    in public offices with the Muslim population there, and thus a kind of
    regional autonomy. Germany had not been in favor of insisting on reforms in
    the past, siding with the Ottoman government in resisting them. But in 1913
    and the first half of 1914, seeing that the dissolution of the Empire might
    be near, it wanted to have friends in what would be the leftover pieces.

    These friends, they hoped, would be the Armenians.

    K.M.: But this was far from materializing into something positive for the
    Armenians, wasn't it? According to Hilmar Kaiser, from 1915-16 a uniform
    position toward the Ottoman Armenians did not exist.

    M.A.: Well, yes. But by 1915-16, Germany was in the midst of a World War,
    which changed every calculation. And remember, the German government lacked
    a uniform position on many burning issues: about the future of the Ukraine,
    which the Germans were occupying in 1915, and the future of Belgium, which
    they had occupied since August 1914. There was no uniform German position on
    any of the central questions about the post-war settlement. Rather, there
    were huge conflicts within the German government itself during WWI as the
    right-wingers (much of the Army) and the moderates (mostly the Chancellor,
    Bethmann Hollweg, and the Foreign Office) struggled for control over future
    policy. So the absence of a uniform position on the Ottoman Armenians is not
    surprising. However, having said that, I think it is also true that at the
    higher reaches of the German government, the decision was that they had an
    ally-the Ottoman government-and they would not do anything that would
    jeopardize their alliance with it. Although there were many Germans in the
    Ottoman Empire itself-businessmen, bankers, engineers,
    diplomats-protesting the Ottoman policy, by the time the issue got to the
    top in Berlin, the Chancellor's position was clear: Whatever the Turks may
    do, they are our allies and not the Armenians.

    K.M.: So can we say that there was a policy of denying the extermination of
    the Armenians.

    M.A.: Yes and no. Yes, it was denied to the public at large. This was a
    policy in which other sections of society were complicit. My work has been
    on German public opinion, and the elites knew what was going on. Top
    professors of oriental languages; some journalists; at least six
    superintendents (roughly bishops) in the Protestant church; certainly the
    lay leadership among German Catholics (such as the Center Party's leader in
    parliament Matthias Erzberger, who was assassinated by Right-wing thugs
    after the war); the pope; the head of the Deutsche Bank (as Hilmar Kaiser
    and Gerald D. Felman have shown); and other important members of the
    Reichstag, such as the later winner of the Nobel Peace Price, the liberal
    Gustav Stresemann, knew. Stresemann decided to keep silent about it. An
    Armenian-born graduate student in Berlin, Frau Elizabeth Khorikian, did a
    study of one of the largest circulation (and Left-wing) newspapers in Berlin
    during 1915, the Berliner Tageblatt. This paper issued sometimes three to
    four different editions a day, because every time there was war news, they
    brought another edition. And She looked at every single one. And in all of
    these issues, she found only five mentions of the Armenians during that
    whole period. Three were interviews with Talaat Pasha, Enver Pasha and Halil
    Pasha, and two were reproductions of Turkish news releases. That's it. The
    newspapers knew very well what was going on. Both the Social Democratic and
    the Christian press knew it. Christian journals said the most, although they
    said it carefully and in guarded language. Lepsius gave an interview on the
    5th of October, 1915, to a group of newspapermen in Berlin, to tell them
    what he had learned on his recent trip to Constantinople/Istanbul from late
    July to early August. An editor of a socialist newspaper wrote: "If one
    wanted to apply European concepts of morality and politics to Turkish
    relationships, one would arrive at a completely distorted judgment." In
    general, the newspapers were willing to follow the view that, We are in a
    war and the government thinks this alliance is important to us, so we will
    continue this alliance.
    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

  • #2
    Part II.

    K.M.: Are you saying that there was no direct censorship?

    M.A.: There was also direct censorship. When Lepsius printed 20,500 copies
    of his documents, many of them were confiscated by the German General in
    charge of censorship for the Berlin area before the Turks had even
    protested. But I think that had the press wanted to break the story, they
    could have done it. There was so much self-censorship that the government
    didn't have to intervene. We will never know what would have happened if
    the press had tried to distribute Lepsius's material, but they didn't try,
    because they believed that it was more important to have the Turks on their
    side. The Allied invasion of Gallipoli began in March 1915. The defense of
    Gallipoli, it was believed, was absolutely central to a German victory,
    which Germans equated with their survival. And remember: 1,303 German
    soldiers died, on average, every day between August 1914 and armistice in
    November 1918. Not surprisingly, Germans were preoccupied by what was
    happening in Belgium, France, Galicia and the eastern front. They were not
    thinking that much about Turkey.

    For me, that is all the more reason to see Lepsius, for all his flaws, as a
    hero. He didn't pay attention only to what was best for Germany. Five days
    after his son was killed on the eastern front, he arrived in Constantinople,
    and according to him interviewed not just Enver Pasha but also Talaat. In my
    view, nobody has looked into the genuine mysteries behind Lepsius's trip to
    Constantinople/Istanbul enough: Why did the German Foreign Office give him
    permission to go? How was he able to get an interview with Enver, and if he
    was telling the truth, also with Talaat? An ordinary friend of the Armenians
    and an ordinary writer and journalist (he wasn't a pastor anymore since he
    had been forced to give that up when he refused to stop agitating on behalf
    of the Armenians in 1896) certainly would not have been able to in wartime
    talk to the War Minister or the Interior Minister of his own country, much
    less a foreign one. I believe that he was only able to do that because the
    German Foreign Office put pressure on the Turks to receive him. Why do you
    think they would have done that? Isn't that a question worth asking?

    K.M.: Why do you think they did that?

    M.A.: In my view, they did it because at that time Lepsius made the German
    Foreign Office believe that the Armenians were, in fact, militarily
    important. Lepsius was playing a very dangerous game. He tried to play up
    the military importance of the Armenians on the Russian side of the border,
    and argued that they could be rallied to the side of the Central Powers
    (Germany and Austria), and that if they weren't rallied behind the German
    cause-and here was the dangerous corollary-that they could actually hurt
    the Germans and the Turks in the war. That is, of course, the very excuse
    the Turkish government uses to justify what happened. But I think that in
    fact Lepsius was trying to exaggerate the military danger of the Armenian
    revolutionary movement in order to get Germany to pressure the Turks to stop
    the deportations and massacres. But by the time he got to Constantinople, by
    late July or early August 1915, most Armenians had already been deported,
    and it was clear to the German government that they had nothing to offer the
    Germans and posed no military threat to the Turks.

    K.M.: Are there any documents on this?

    M.A.: Beginning in late May 1915, Lepsius began contacts with the German
    Foreign Office in connection with the Van massacres and offered himself as a
    mediator between the Turks and Armenians. He tried to impress the Foreign
    Office with how important the Armenians could be for Germany. "One cannot
    treat a nation of four million as a quantite negligeable," he said. He
    described the Armenians as a rope stretching from Turkey to Russia, with one
    half of in Russia and the other in Turkey. "It cannot be to our advantage,
    if one half, the Russian half, is constantly courted and flattered, while
    the other, the Turkish half, faces only oppression." Like a tug-of-war, the
    advantage would go to whichever side can pull that rope over to its side.

    "It is impossible to cut that rope. Language, Literature, Church, Customs
    are an unbreakable band. The extermination policy of Abdul Hamid only wove
    the rope even tighter." In early June 1915, the Undersecretary of State at
    the German Foreign Office, Arthur Zimmermann, thought that it might be true
    and asked the German Ambassador to Constantinople, Hans vonWangemheim, to
    arrange an interview. Wangenheim said that the Turks don't want to see
    Lepsius, and advised against any visit. But the Foreign Office insisted, I
    think, not out of any particular humanitarianism, but because Lepsius had
    managed to convince it that the Armenians would be helpful to them. Lepsius,
    of course, knew that they were being victimized. If Lepsius had been able to
    get to Constantinople right away, maybe in early June, he would not have
    been able to convince the CUP. But given his Foreign Office backing, he just
    might have been able to bring more German influence to bear on Turkish
    policy.

    It is not only now that Turkey tries to deny what happened. Even then the
    CUP tried to keep everything absolutely secret in order to maintain
    "deniability" at all times. In my view, the major weapon against what was
    happening was publicity, and that is what the Turkish government, and later
    Lepsius, understood. But not everyone who supported the Armenians understood
    that. On the 16th of July, 1915, the U.S. Ambassador to Constantinople,
    Henry Morgenthau, wrote to the American State Department that "a campaign
    of race extermination is in progress," yet he recommended against any
    protest, because he thought it would make the situation worse. Morgenthau is
    a hero among the Armenian-Americans (see, for example, Peter Balakian's
    book, Black Dog of Fate), not only because of the efforts he made on behalf
    of the Armenians while he was in Turkey, but also, probably, because at the
    end of the war he writes memoirs in which he makes himself look brave and
    good-and the German diplomatic personnel look all bad. I don't deny that
    Morgenthau helped the Armenians, and he gave information to Lepsius to
    publish. But he was also first and foremost an employee of the American
    government (just as German diplomats in Turkey were first and foremost
    employees of their governments). After he left Constantinople in the late
    winter of 1916, Morgenthau even went around making public appearances with
    the Turkish ambassador to the U.S. This infuriated an Armenian journal
    published in the United States. Pro-Armenians in America could not
    understand how Morgenthau would deign to appear on the same platform with a
    representative of the murderous Turkish government. They couldn't
    understand why Morgenthau would do such a thing. He did it because he was an
    Ambassador of the USA and the USA was a neutral power interested in good
    relations with the Turks. In the summer of 1915, he reported everything to
    the American government, and privately did his best to help Armenians (as
    did German consuls on the spot). But he also advised his government that
    protests might only make matters worse, and suggested that it inform
    missionary groups to do the same, as well.

    K.M.: What was the reason he did this?

    M.A.: Well, don't forget that when diplomatic pressure was brought to bear
    upon Abdul Hamid in 1896, he responded by massacring the Armenians in
    Istanbul/Constantinople. People like Morgenthau did not think the Turks were
    civilized people, for good reason. I'm not saying there weren't any
    civilized Turks in the Ottoman Empire, but Turks and Kurds had already
    behaved so horribly in the 1890s, that some people didn't think the Ottoman
    government would respond to something like the pressure of European and
    American public opinion. Morgenthau didn't. Noting that even men like
    Morgenthau believed this, I think, gives a little bit of respectability to
    other people-like the pope-who believed, however mistakenly, that you
    could get more accomplished for the Armenians by working behind the scenes
    to convince Turks to do this or that.

    K.M.: Couldn't the German government interfere in any way to stop the
    Genocide and the deportations?

    M.A.: German soldiers in the Ottoman Empire were not part of the German Army
    but were all under Ottoman command-and that includes the worst of them,
    like the first assistant chief of staff of the Turkish General Staff,
    Colonel Bronsart von Schellendorf. There was no practical legal way that the
    German government could have ordered them to intervene. What the German
    government could have done was to have ordered them to withdraw from Ottoman
    service and come home. It is also sometimes asked, "Why didn't the German
    government threaten to cut off their supplies to the Ottomans?" That is a
    good argument. I used to believe it myself before I read the interviews with
    Zimmermann in 1915-interviews that had nothing, by the way, to do with
    Armenians-which revealed that he was in constant anxiety because Germany
    was unable to get supplies to the Ottomans. It was not until mid-January
    1916, after Serbia was conquered, that German trains could reach Istanbul.

    Before then, they could not ship supplies to Turkey (except for money, which
    was useless), so there were no supplies that they could cut off in 1915. Or
    at least, so Zimmermann said.

    K.M.: What can you say about the Baghdad Railroad?

    M.A.: I have seen documents from the company archives that show \ the
    company knew what went on. Representatives on the spot did in fact, as
    Kaiser said, try to hide Armenians and protect them; they also protested and
    reported to their home offices. However, the German officer delegated to be
    the liaison between the German army and the Baghdad railroad, Lt. Col.

    Bottrich, overrode the Baghdad (Anatolian) railway personnel and signed a
    deportation order for some of their Armenian workers himself. I'm not
    trying to say that there weren't certain Germans in Turkey who clearly
    adopted the position of CUP.

    K.M.: Reading the literature, I didn't feel there was a concerted policy,
    and this could have been why some people behaved differently.

    M.A.: I haven't done the kind of intensive research that I would like to on
    German military behavior; and most of Germany's military archives were
    destroyed by bombing in World War II, so we will never have the kind of
    certainty that we have with the diplomatic record. But there were two German
    officers, at least, who behaved differently. Field Marshall Liman von
    Sanders saved the Armenians in Edirne and Izmir. True, there weren't many
    Armenians in those two towns, so they were less important to the CUP than
    the Armenians in Van or Urfa. In that sense, Liman probably faced less
    resistance from the Ottoman authorities than he would have had he attempted
    something similar in Eastern Anatolia. But he did meet resistance, and he
    absolutely refused to allow them to be deported. (Liman, however, had a
    personality that everyone disliked, and he disliked everyone, so you can
    almost predict that he would do the opposite of what other people wanted him
    to do. Had every German office and diplomatic official behaved like Liman,
    the results would probably have been terrible for Ottoman-German relations.

    On the other hand, the Ottoman Empire was by then so deeply involved in the
    war, and had so many enemies in the Entente powers already committed to
    gaining territory at its expense, that we have to ask, Would it really have
    left the German-Austrian alliance? Probably not. But if the Turks had made a
    separate peace with the Entente, it would have given them an even freer hand
    with the Armenians. The other German officer who behaved differently was
    Colonel (later General) Kress von Kressenstein, the chief of staff of Jemal
    Pasha. He apparently convinced Jemal not to deport 400 Armenian orphans.

    In German-occupied territory in the Russian Empire, the German army
    prevented pogroms against the Jewsby local populations (Ukrainians and
    Russians, for example), which were incited by the retreating Tsarist armies.

    There was a very similar hysteria against ethnic minorities throughout
    Europe during World War I, and specifically Eastern Europe and encouraged by
    the Tsarist army. In some cases, it was the German minority that was the
    target; in others it was the Ukrainians or Poles or Baltic populations. But
    the targets almost always included the Jews. Wherever it went, the German
    army protected the Jews. But they had orders to do so from Berlin. And they
    were occupying territory they had conquered. Berlin couldn't give orders to
    German officers who serve in the Ottoman army.

    K.M.: Dadrian mentions that these German officers were misguided by
    information they received from Turkish subordinates. Was this a frequent
    occurrence?

    M.A.: In some cases that may have been the case. It's interesting that
    Wolffskeel von Reichenberg, a Major in Marash, was told that Armenians were
    massacring Turks. He was there and he saw that the story was not true and
    quashed that story. Later on, however, under the command of Fakhri pasha, he
    subdued Zeitun and the Armenians in Urfa, and was there at Mousa Dagh, so I
    don't think that the best explanation for their behavior is that German
    officers were given false information, as much as they adapted and began to
    see things from the perspective of the people they worked for.

    K.M.: Is the word "complicity" appropriate, in your opinion, in describing
    German involvement in the Armenian Genocide?

    M.A.: In my view it gives a false impression. I think the German historians
    are harshest in judging the Germans (although Dadrian judges them harshly
    too), particularly Tessa Hoffman and Wolfgang Gust, as well as Swiss
    historian Christoph Dinkel. They tend to make these Germans look like early
    Nazis. That may be true of a few of these officers, but I think in general
    the Germans did what people in all countries do most of the time, which is
    to operate on what they think is best for their own country.

    For example, the Jews in England were horrified at the treatment of the Jews
    in Russia before the war; yet just like the friends of Armenians in Germany
    with regard to Turkey, they didn't want England to have an alliance with
    Russia. They really hated it when the Entente with Russia was established in
    1907. Then came the war and England allied with Russia, even though the
    Russian army "evacuated" three million Jews. (You can call it
    deportation.) They didn't usually massacre them, but they did forcibly
    evacuate them, as a "security measure," and as a punitive measure,
    accusing them of collaborating with the Germans. In many cases, the evacuees
    lost everything they had: homes, furniture, businesses, everything. And the
    Tsarist armies were complicit in the pogroms that sometimes ensued. Jews in
    England protested, and they were allowed to protest. That is a difference.

    But did their protests against Russian treatment of the Jews affect the
    policy of the British government? No. And in fact, the British Ambassador to
    St. Petersburg, Sir George Buchanan, wrote back to his government saying
    that "There cannot be the slightest doubt that a very large number of Jews
    in German pay and have acted as spies during the campaigns in Poland." That
    is, he believed and transmitted all those lies the Russian army was telling
    about the Jews. Well, I have to say that the German diplomats in the Ottoman
    Empire were more objective and honest than that. They carefully looked into
    the charges the CUP was making against the Armenians. They were convinced
    that the majority of the Armenians were innocent of the charges against
    them, that the mass of the Armenian people had not behaved as traitors. And
    they informed their own government of the truth. I think the term
    "complicity" sets up a false impression of the behavior of German
    officials. I don't want to say the Germans were "good," but they behaved
    the way officials of most countries would.
    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

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    • #3
      Part III

      K.M.: What do you think about the view that the Armenian Genocide was a
      precursor to the Holocaust and that some officers who served in the Ottoman
      army were later high ranking Nazi officials?

      M.A.: There are certainly some carry-overs, although the fact that men who
      later served the Nazis also spent time in Turkey is not surprising given the
      war and given the importance of the Constantinople post and the Ottoman
      Empire generally. Many of the same people also spent time in Belgium and
      France. One of the worst Germans, as far as being unwilling to help the
      Armenians, was Constantin von Neurath. He was charge d'affairs in the
      German Embassy at Constantinople and later became the first Foreign Minister
      under Hitler, though he was not a member of the Nazi Party. He wrote Berlin,
      in the fall of 1915, that he hoped the friends of the Armenians in Germany
      [The German-Armenian Society founded by Lepsius] could be made to keep
      quiet, though he admitted that the German government couldn't actually shut
      them down. He thought that the money they were collecting for Armenian
      relief would be better used for German relief. So he was clearly a heartless
      guy.

      However, I should also mention one of the true ironies. Max Erwin von
      Scheubner-Richter was the vice-consul of Erzerum and an officer in the
      Bavarian army. He had been sent out to eastern Anatolia to organize Muslim
      guerrillas behind the Russian lines, much like the way some people have
      argued the Russians were organizing Armenians. However, when he got there,
      the consul of Erzerum had just been captured by the Russians, and so
      Scheubner-Richter was made the vice-counsul in his place. This man
      constantly protested the treatment of the Armenians to his government. He
      was also extremely bold in protesting it to the Ottoman government. He got
      reprimanded by his own government for being too undiplomatic towards the
      Turks. He took out of his own money to feed some Armenian refugees going
      through Erzerum. At this stage, he is a true hero. After the war, he became
      a Nazi and in 1923 was shot down in Munich, marching next to Hitler in the
      Beer Hall Putsch. He was at that time Hitler's main right-hand man for the
      party's finances. Hitler refers to him in letters from the period as "my
      delegate." He served as the liaison between the early Nazi movement, the
      military interests, and the business interests.

      The worst person in Germany, as far as the Armenians were concerned, was
      Ernst Jackh, a journalist who also had some academic credentials. He founded
      an important pro-Turkish lobby in Germany, the German-Turkish Union, and
      advertised himself as close to Enver Pasha. His wartime activities were
      largely confined to propaganda, but he worked hard to see that a pro-Turkish
      message was constantly disseminated to the German public. He was practically
      an employee of the Turkish government, someone who joined the
      German-Armenian Society in order to spy on them. He also spied on Lepsius
      and reported on his activities to his government, and was always working to
      twist information in a pro-Turkish direction. After the war, he became a
      leading spokesman in Germany for the movement on behalf of the League of
      Nations. In 1933, he left Germany for New York, and became a professor in
      Columbia University and a big-time democrat and liberal. In fact, he had
      always been a liberal. So, I don't think you can draw any straight line
      between the perpetrators in WWI and those later on in the Nazi regime.

      K.M.: And what is the line that we can draw between the Armenian Genocide
      and German responsibility?

      M.A.: In that regard, I think the connection is "ethnic cleansing." The
      CUP was very influenced by integralist nationalism and-as Žukru Haniošlu
      has shown-social Darwinism and European racist thought as the basis of a
      powerful nation-state. German intellectuals were powerful contributors to
      these currents and German successes seemed to demonstrate the truth of the
      argument: homogeneous nation, powerful state.

      K.M.: There is Marshal Colmar von der Goltz who has proposed something like
      ethnic cleansing.

      M.A.: Some people say that but I haven't seen the proof. They also say that
      about the publicist, Paul Rohrbach, which I doubt very much, at least in the
      sense attributed to him. Rohrbach was certainly a German nationalist and an
      imperialist-as were most men in the educated classes in those
      days-although he advocated "peaceful imperialism": spreading German
      culture and "ideas" through development help, schools and cultural
      exchanges. He was actually a friend of Armenians, and on the board of
      directors of Lepsius's Geman Armenian Society. People say Rohrbach thought
      it would be a good idea to remove the Armenians along the route of the
      prospective Berlin-Baghdad railway and plant Germans there, but I don't
      think that can be true. When Rohrbach found out about the deportations he
      was devastated, and resigned his membership in Jackh's German-Turkish Union.

      I don't know about von der Goltz; I'd like to see the hard evidence on
      that.

      The continuity between the two regimes-CUP and Nazi-is in their common
      desire to create an ethnically homogeneous state. The Young Turks got that
      idea from Europe, but the Nazis were the first European country to try hard
      to put it in effect in any consistent and rigorous way. I think the CUP were
      like the Nazis, but I don't think they were that way because there were
      Germans who were allied with the Turks in WW1, and then these Germans did it
      themselves the second time around. Žukru Haniošlu, of Princeton, has shown
      in his two volumes on the CUP, that even before 1908 they had adopted Social
      Darwinist ideas. Rather, the both movements "drank from the same well" of
      integralist nationalism. I think the CUP was the Turkish version of what
      would later be called "Fascists."

      A colleague of mine who teaches Turkish history in the United States (let us
      not give his name because I don't think he could visit his family in Turkey
      if his name is published) told me that he has no doubt that there was a
      Genocide. For him, the only question is how far the responsibility goes
      within the CUP. How many people were involved in the decision? Because it
      was a dictatorship. An interesting difference between the CUP Genocide and
      the Nazi one is that in the Third Reich when the Jews are being killed,
      there are no protests from German officials ever! In Turkey, several valis
      and lower Ottoman officials did protest. And paid the price. In Turkey,
      also, some Kurds, Arabs and even some Turkish Muslims criticized the policy
      and rescued Armenians openly. In Germany, those few Germans who did rescue
      Jews did not do it openly. Unless you count the riot by the Christian wives
      at the Rosenstrasse Berlin railway station over the deportation of their
      husbands. And that was unique. Perhaps this difference with Turkey is
      because Germany was such an "organized" country and it was much harder to
      get away with behavior that was counter to official policy (or at least, so
      people may have thought) than it was in Turkey.

      K.M.: What about Germany today? Does it have the moral responsibility to
      acknowledge the Genocide?

      M.A.: Absolutely! As does Turkey. However, Turks have been raised on one
      view of history. If they are told by foreigners that they have to change
      their view of history, they may end up signing on the dotted line-if, for
      example, that is the price for entering the EU-but it won't make them
      believe it. My hope comes from the fact that there are Turkish historians in
      Turkey today who absolutely know the truth and don't dare to, right now,
      say what it is. But that is changing. As Turkey becomes more democratic and
      as the army becomes more and more discredited, there will be freedom of
      debate in Turkey. And I think then historians who want to be credible
      outside of Turkey will have to look at the evidence the same way we look at it.
      General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

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