Complicity in the Genocide: Germany’s Responsibility Towards the Armenians

For the first time in history, in 2015 The Bundestag or the constitutional and legislative body in Germany, referred to the atrocities of the Armenians as “genocide”.

What was Germany’s role? The following urges us to explore even more fundamentally.

Jürgen Gottschlich
Jürgen Gottschlich

Jürgen Gottschlich has published a book called “complicity in genocide” a breach in the existing research on the genocide of the Armenians. From Germany’s far-reaching influence in the annihilation of the Armenians so far no one wanted to know.

Jürgen Gottschlich: “Then, after both German politicians and the military (…) have found out that the Turkish side not only comes to deportations, not just about bringing a certain population from A to B, but actually to the destruction of the Armenian race in the Ottoman Empire, as the German Ambassador Wangenheim has then reported to Berlin himself, goes, no later than then you would have had to expect that the Germans are trying to intervene. ”

But they did not. The nationalist Young Turks were very useful for German great power aspirations. Since August 1, 1914, Turkey was an ally of Germany. The German Empire wanted to expand to the east, in order to show off power to the British Empire. The conquest of the Armenian territories along the eastern Anatolian frontier signified free rein to Russia and the Caucasus. The Young Turks were Well known was one of Germany’s accomplices, according to Gottschlich.

Complicity in Genocide. Germany's role in the annihilation of the Armenians
Beihilfe zum Völkermord. Deutschlands Rolle bei der Vernichtung der Armenier

“The book sheds light on Naval Attaché Hans Humann; son of the Carl Humann, who rediscovered the Pergamon Altar in the mid-19th century (…) and made Berlin famous. (…) Hans Humann plays an important role. And I have, more or less, discovered it by chance that at an American university, Yale University, the estate of another German journalist who has worked in the meantime in the Foreign Office, Ernst Jäckh superimposed. (…) And the mentality of these people reveals itself very well on this correspondence between Jäckh and Humann. ”

A discovery which has been observed by research. And in the German military archives in Freiburg, Gottschlich found supplementary materials related to Humann and his network. The German Empire supplied weapons and ammunition to Turkey and it was decided by commanders and advisers: Chief of Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces was General Friedrich Bronsart of Schelldorf; Chief of operations of the Turkish army was Otto von Feldmann; and Hans Human was close to the all-powerful Minister of War and Deportation advocate Enver Pasha. “Tough, but useful” commented Humann in June 1915, the extermination of the Armenians.

Carl Humann
Carl Humann

“He is then born in Smyrna, ie in Izmir,. His father has since worked as an archaeologist. He was very familiar with Turkey, was himself very turkophil. And a close friend of the then at least the second most important man in the Turkish government, namely Minister of War Enver Pasha, had direct access to him, was informed about everything, has also informed what the Germans want, and vice versa, and has thereby behind the scenes had a much greater impact than ex office. (…) I then got to the figure of Humann that tells the whole story. And that’s my opinion, as a character study for the persons who were involved at that time, very enlightening. ”

“Complicity in genocide”, is the title of Gottschlich’s study in which he makes the complicated story vividly and plausible. Wolfgang Gust had first raised the issue in the public ten years ago. The journalist published in a comprehensive documentation under the title “The Armenian Genocide of 1915-16” documents from the Political Archives of the German Foreign Office. From the complicity of German diplomats and military personnel, it is clear says Gust.

Indifference to the fate of the Armenians

Wolfgang Gust Winner of President Prize
Wolfgang Gust Winner of President Prize

Wolfgang Gust:…. “The German diplomats have protested though and have sent notes to the Ottoman government, but these notes were very soft written was quite different the Mittun German military (…) The German officers were clear that one can read, think that this genocide was justified. ”

Jürgen Gottschlich quoted extensively from Gusts documentation of 2005. But now Gottschlich can deepen the findings to date.

Jürgen Gottschlich: “Overall, this was just a small group that was so busy in Turkey with the important soldiers and diplomats, there were maybe ten or twelve people in Germany, there were a few key figures in the Foreign Office and the Chancellor… and his advisers, so maybe 20, 25 people who were involved in the whole issue and then have taken the decisions. ”

Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg had power in December 1915 clearly. As Foreign Office, he wrote:

Quote: “Our only goal is to keep Turkey until the end of the war on our side, whether Armenians perish or not.”

Wolfgang Gust
Wolfgang Gust

Apathetic and useful, these were the decisive statements of German officials about the atrocities and genocide against the Armenians. Jürgen Gottschlich has written a mature and exciting book, a book that will have consequences. Yet even this is only a first step towards clarifying. GottSchlich was massively hindered in his research in Turkey, especially in the Turkish military archives.

“There are various documents in the archives: In German, Oh great, because the other is in Ottoman, which is really very hard to read (…) If Arabic script, a mixture of Arabic!. ., Persian, Turkish, so really hard in German.

So if the Turkish President Erdogan should keep his promise sometime to open all Turkish archives for research, then further light will certainly fall on Germany’s participation in the genocide against the Armenians. Gottschlich has taken a very important step towards the clarification. More documents are in the military State Archives of Turkey under wraps. The research has to go on.

Beihilfe zum Völkermord: Deutschlands Rolle bei der Vernichtung der Armenier (German Edition)

The Armenian Genocide: Evidence from the German Foreign Office Archives, 1915-1916

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