The Armenian Genocide marked the peak of the Turkish anti-Armenian state policy when the implementation of a predetermined program for the extermination of Armenians under the cover of WWI began.
Today, the principle of denial in the basis of the Turkish political and historiographical attitudes is aimed at presenting the Great Massacre as a consequence of a military situation rather than as a deeply developed program.
However, numerous documents, including those stored in the political archives of various states, undoubtedly prove the existence of a developed program aimed at the extermination of the Armenian people.
Regarding the responsibility of the Turkish state, an important role is played by the reports of military leaders and diplomats of the states-allies of the Ottoman Empire, namely, Germany and Austria-Hungary.
German and Austro-Hungarian diplomats in the Ottoman Empire even after the engagement of their countries in WWI carried on their activities, and the study and comparison of their reports show that for the Armenian Genocide, World War I was an occasion, not a cause.
The German military mission arrived in the Ottoman Empire in December 1913 and had about 7-8 thousand officers and 12 thousand soldiers involved in the military operations. This military presence strengthened the German influence in the region.
One of the Turkish generals, Ismet, even complained that the German military had presumed to closely observe the events in the country and that the Germans had been trusted with all state political and military secrets.
In particular, a German officer led the Second Directorate (or Intelligence) of the Ottoman army headquarters. This demonstrates how great the level of awareness of the German military and, therefore, of the German diplomats was.
At the beginning of 1915, the diplomats of the allies of the Ottoman Empire, based on the statements of the Turkish officials and the illegal actions carried out by them, already argued about the existence of a developed and established plan aimed at the extermination of the Armenian people.
The reports of German and Austro-Hungarian diplomats covered the entire territory of the Ottoman Empire where the consuls and deputy consuls with “secret” or “purely secret” resolutions informed their ambassadors and the foreign ministry about the massacres of deported Armenians and their consequences.
Reports of German (Scheubner-Richter, Roesler, Hoffmann, Holstein, Werth, Bergfeld) and Austrian (Kwiatkowski, Radimski, Nadamlentski) diplomats in Alexandretta, Adana, Mosul, Samsun, Smyrna, Sebastia, Trapezund, Erzurum, Aleppo, and other areas of the Ottoman Empire considered deportations and massacres to be equivalent methods of exterminating the Armenian people. The juxtaposition of these messages reveals the barbaric essence of this deportation.
The authenticity of the German and Austro-Hungarian documents is beyond doubt because during the war, the reports of the officials of the Ottoman Empire’s allied states could in no way be in favor of the Armenians.
Moreover, there is another feature that proves the authenticity of the German sources. The authors of these reports and messages basically did not have a positive opinion about the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire and had a negative attitude in some cases.
Ambassador Wangenheim in April 1915 reported to Berlin that the condition of the Armenians was hopeless and that non-interference was beneficial for the high interests of Germany. At the same time, he told Morgenthau (US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time) that Armenians are only insidious pests.
In addition, the war further strengthened the already high degree of diplomatic secrecy. Consequently, German and Austro-Hungarian diplomats, being confident in the secrecy of their reports, were in no way restricted when delivering them.
Representatives of the diplomatic staff of the two countries for many years functioned in the Ottoman Empire, were in close contact with the Armenian people, and were informed about their situation. Armenians were deeply involved in the economy of the empire. It is this fact that refuted the Turkish hypotheses about the Armenian uprising and revealed the true purpose of the deportation and the risk of an economic disaster that the Ottoman Empire could face due to the extermination of Armenians.
Countless reports of German diplomats and consuls with detailed descriptions of the massacres of Armenians were sent to Berlin. However, there was a clear order from the authorities not to interfere with anything and keep secrecy.
Diplomatic staff. Ambassadors and Acting Ambassadors:
- Baron Hans von Wangenheim, 1912-1915.
- Prince Wilhelm Hohenlohe-Langenburg, July 20 – October 2, 1915.
- Advisor to the Ambassador Baron Konstantin von Neurath (Acting), October 25 – November 15, 1915.
- Paul Wolff Metternich, November 15, 1915 – October 3, 1916.
- Advisor to the delegation Wilhelm von Radowitz, October 3 – November 16, 1916.
- Dr. Richard von Kühlmann, November 16, 1916 – July 24, 1917.
- Count Johann Heinrich Bernsdorf, September 7, 1917 – October 27, 1918.
- Counselor to the Ambassador Waldburg, October 27 – December 20, 1918.
- Johann Markgraf von Pallavicini, October 5, 1906 – November 30, 1918.
- Earl Karl Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg, replaced Pallavicini in September 1915 while the latter was in Vienna.
Consuls and Deputy Consuls
- Dr. Heinrich Bergfeld, Trabzon, 1910 – March 8, 1916. After serving as a consul was relocated to Samsun (March 8, 1916 – January 27, 1917; July-November 1918).
- Dr. Eugen Beuge, Adana, May 1910 – October 1918.
- Hesse, Sebastia, October 8, 1917 – August 1918.
- Walter Holstein, Deputy Consul, Mosul, 1911 – April 1918. Was sent to reconnaissance missions from November to December 1914, in October 1915, and in July 22 – September 23, 1916.
- Herman Hoffman, Deputy Consul, Alexandretta, May 10 – August 10, 1917.
- Kukoff, Deputy Consul, Samsun, 1905 – August 1917; gerent – August 1917 – January 7, 1918; gerent in Trebizond – January 27 – August 1917.
- Dr. Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter, Deputy Consul, Erzurum, February 17 – August 6, 1915.
- Dr. Walter Rößler, Aleppo, 1910 – May 1918.
- Prince Alois de Silva Dandini, Aleppo.
- Ernst von Kwiatkowski, Consul General, Trabzon, Samsun.
- Dr. Arthur Chevalier de Nadamlentski, Consul, Adrianople (Edirne).
- Vladimir Radimsky, consul and gerent, Izmir (Smyrna).
Material in Russian prepared by Serine Muradyan and Regina Galustyan