The Armenian Massacre all started in the early 1900's when secret meetings began to be held by the Turks. It has been quoted that a man by the name of Dr. Nazim had once said "If we are going to do something like the Adana massacre of 1909, here and there, the result will do us more harm than good." Dr. Nazim goes on to say that the Turks would alert the Arabs and the Kurds, and that therefore the danger would be multiplied. In his final words at these meetings he had said that "We (the Turks) must not leave a single Armenian alive in our country, we must kill the Armenian name." The next thing that they did was take a vote regarding the extermination of the Armenians. The results looked disastrous for the Armenians when they voted that not a single Armenian should be left alive.
Their plans to eliminate the Armenians began in the town named Ras-Ul-Ain. While more and more Armenians were being deported every day there were reports of a shortage of room. There were so many Armenians that were being deported there that even the death rate of five to six thousand was still not enough to balance it out. The Turks sent out an order to stop all deportations and let the weak die and the ones who survive will be killed by the people living in the town. One day a man by the name of Jevdet Bey was passing through this town when the tents of an Armenian camp caught his attention. He believed it to be some kind of military camp and asked where these soldiers were headed. When a Turkish official told him that they were Armenian deportees Jevdet exclaimed..."Are those dogs still in existence? I command you to slaughter them all!" This was not the only massacre that was being taken place at that time. They had also been executing Armenians in Zeki Bay, Der-El-Zor, and Intilli. The casualties that had been reported from the results of these massacres were over 200,000.
That was not the only way the Turks had to destroy the Armenians. The Turks soon realized that they could not eliminate all the Armenians solely by the means of slaughter so they created what we would call an artificial famine. This caused many Armenians to die of hunger or forcing them to eat the carcasses of dead animals. I am about to tell you a story that is so sad that you wouldn't believe me unless you experienced it. In the desert of Der-El-Zor there were starving children that saw a cauldron in a nearby camp. They decided to steal a piece of what they thought was meat to survive. When they looked at what they had stolen they realized that it was not a piece of meat but the hand of a small child. Another story is of a very ill girl who hadn't eaten for several days because her family was driven to poverty. This girl smelled meat being cooked and kindly asked her mother if she were to go over and ask for a piece. The mother went but returned empty handed. The little girl then replied "Mother, if I die, don't give my flesh to the Turks. Eat it yourself." The Turkish soldiers spared nobody, not even children because they feared that they carried the seeds of vengeance inside them. There were only a few women that had not been slain and were sent to Ras-Ul-Ain where they fought for their survival. At the end of these ordeals suffered by many families the casualties was over 200,000 Armenians.
The photo above has to deal with what the Turks thought to be a festival of murder. Between the cities of Haftewan and Salmast 850 corpses were recovered from the wells and cisterns, every one of them had been decapitated. Why?? one might ask, well it is because the commanding Officer had put a price on every Christian head. This is an eyewitness account from "The Murder of a Nation", by Arnold J. Toynbee.
This boy in the picture watched his parents get murdered right before his eyes. He lived as a refugee and tailed the caravan of deportees from Tokat.
Although most people think the Armenian Genocide started in the year 1915, it didn't. It had been going on for years and years before that and continued to happen even when it was thought to be over. The first unofficial massacres began in the early months of 1915 when the Turks began to brutally destroy the Armenian race. But it was on September 16, 1916 when the Turkish government decided to destroy all of the Armenians living in Turkey. The Turkish government had made its decision and if there were any that opposed; they couldn't remain on the official staff of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were a huge power back in the day and they wanted to control all of Europe. On February 27, 1918 the Imperial Government issued orders to exterminate the entire Armenian race. Their operation consisted of 3 commands that were to be enforced by all officers. The first was that all Armenians in the Ottoman Empire that are five years of age or older are to be taken out into the desert and be slaughtered. Second, all Armenians serving in the Imperial Armies are to be taken into solitary places where the public couldn't see and be shot. And last was that all Armenians that serve as officers are to be imprisoned until further orders are given. The commanders that received these orders were murdered after they had enforced them, pretty ironic huh.
The Turks would stop at nothing, murdering men, women, children, doctors, and even government officials. The picture above shows hanged Armenians doctors with the Turkish hangmen above them. There were 163 deaths resulting from all the various Armenian physicians.
This picture shows all the casualties from the massacres of Der-El-Zor. You can imagine why there are few, if any, Armenians living in the provinces of Turkey.
The Turks began to round up all the Armenians inhabiting the nearby villages of Baibourt and brought them to Der-El-Zor. Within 6 days from when they had started gathering all the Armenians all the males 15 years of age and under had been murdered. All the while persecutions had been taking place in the Armenian village of Bardizag, Ovajik, Arslanbeg, Dongol, Sabandja, Ismid and many, many more. The casualties that resulted from these mass murders were somewhere around 17,000 people.
The picture above shows how the Turks tortured and degraded the women of Armenia. They were beaten, raped, starved, and murdered.
The picture on the top left shows a starved mother with her two children. They are being held prisoners in the Arabian Desert. The picture on the top right is the public square of Erzindjan, Turkey. They had planned to build an Armenian theatre in this square but all that is there now is the remains of slain Armenians who act out the roles of their tragedy.
The picture above shows the thousands of Armenians corpses that lined the roads to all the provinces in Turkey. A Moslem traveler best described his 9 hour journey from Malatia to Sivas as utterly gruesome as hundreds of thousands of Armenians lay with their limbs severed from their bodies. German travelers describe the misery of the deported Armenians as terrible. Along the route they saw the corpses of starved Armenians which were indescribably distorted.
One would think that after all the horrible things that I have mentioned things couldn't possibly get any worse, but it does. In the Village of Aleppo they had evicted all the Armenians living there and marched them off in convoys into the desert where they were told they would be settling. But the real story is that the Turks sent about 5,000 people there sparing only a few women and children and threw them into wells or into a fire while they were still alive. But it doesn't end there. For months afterwards the corpses of those murdered Armenians were observed to be floating down the Euphrates River. Most often the male corpses were hideously mutated in the sense that their sexual organs had been excised and the females were had usually been ripped open. And as if that wasn't enough the Turks added insult upon injury when they refused to bury the corpses with the excuse that he couldn't distinguish whether they belonged to the Moslems or Christians. "What happens to these corpses?" is what you are thinking, isn't it. Many German eyewitnesses have said that the remains of these Armenians were stranded on the banks of the rivers and were later devoured by dogs and vultures. Armenian parents took desperate measures to send their children away to foreign countries with tourists because they felt that they could not protect them anymore from the Turkish persecutions.
For a short while after that incident the Turks began to arrest Armenians that were living in the capital. But there wasn't enough room in the prisons that were there so they had to make some massive deportations. The total amount of deportees were about 2,492,000 Armenians and about 1,000,000 of those people were slaughtered. But then the murders began again, in 3 days the Turks rampaged 80 Armenian villages killing 24,000 Armenians. These bodies were sent to the city of Van, which served as a slaughterhouse for the dead Armenians. The entire village had been wiped out with the exception of some travelers and vultures that fed upon the putrefied human remains. A German traveler who stayed in Van saw the Turks bury the Armenians with dogs, divide the women who are married and who are not. They burned the schools and threw the babies into the lakes that were nearby, altogether murdering 40,000 of the 70,000 inhabitants of the Van district.
The Turks had killed all the Armenians that were living in Bitlis so they decided to divert their attention to the town of Moush. But it was different now because the killings weren't merely for the sake of extermination but for pleasure. The town itself is exceptionally big and had 25,000 Armenians inhabiting it, by the end of the Turkish slaughters only about 20 Armenians were left which were mainly women. At the same time the cities of Harpout and Mezre had become like cemeteries. The murderous Turks brought dead Armenians from all directions and had buried them there. Their bodies had been plucked of hair, breasts and genitals had been cut off, and their feet had been hammered with nails as if they were shoeing a horse. Some people couldn't take the torture anymore so they threw themselves along with their children into rivers to drown. Their remains were not buried but were left to be eaten by wild dogs and vultures.
A more sickening tale begins in the valley of Kabakh. The Turks used the shot of a revolver as a signal to attack the Armenians. An 18-year-old boy who survived this incident said that the screams and cries of the women were enough to give you nightmares for the rest of your life. After only two hours what was a valley became a cemetery for 15,000 innocent Armenians. At about the same time an even more disturbing massacre was taking place near the banks of the Euphrates. Along the banks and further outwards their were dead Armenians lying everywhere. This is because the Turks would throw the Armenians into the river and watch them drown to death, and the ones that could swim were shot as they struggled in the water. These same procedures were being enforced in Trebizond, Erzeroum, Sivas, and other Harpout Vilayets, which left 50,000 Armenians dead and about 500,000 were left to die.
The Armenian Genocide was now coming to an end but it was something that should have never started. The Turks had killed almost all the Armenians in Turkey and those who were living were very near death. Some had fled to other countries to stay alive. Armenia then gained independence and when the Turks tried to attack them Armenia was aided by Russia and then became part of the USSR in hopes of protection. However there is much truth lost in our history and encyclopedia books that we use today. It is much believed that there was 1.5 million Armenians massacred in the Armenian Genocide but the reality of it all is that there were more than 3 million Armenians that were brought to their death. Most Armenians left their homeland to insure their safety and went to places such as the United States and Europe. Although the Armenian Genocide was a horrible ordeal that we had to experience it was beneficial in one aspect. The Armenian Genocide greatly speeded up the Diaspora of the Armenians. For those of you who don't know what Diaspora is, it is the spread of Armenians that do not live in Armenia. For instance you right now are a part of the Diaspora because you are an Armenian and are not living in Armenia. But the consequences of the Armenian Genocide are still far to great to have any real benefits.
When I look back on what the Turks had just begun to do to the Armenians it sickens me greatly. They had trained themselves to completely destroy the Armenian race which I think is wrong and the Turks should have realized it while it was happening if not sooner. I feel that nobody has the right to chose who has the right to live and die. The lives of people are in Gods hands and for someone to tamper with what God has set aside to do can bring no good but only harm. I myself had heard stories from my grandparents and great-grandparents about how terrible the genocide really was. My great-grandfather had to bury my great-grandmother in the ground but left a hole so that she could breathe through as the Ottomans stormed through her village. Those are just some of the desperate measures that were taken by the Armenians just to stay alive. It is really disgusting to actually look back and try to imagine how many Armenians lives were during the Genocide. Because of the hardships suffered by my family and my fellow Armenians I am very proud to call myself an Armenian and so should you. We the Armenians got through the toughest times and despite Turkish efforts to eliminate our race we beat the odds and are here today to prove it. What I fear the most is that the Turks are now denying that they had anything to do with the Armenian Genocide and that it even existed. We must now come together like we did in the past to help get the recognition that we deserve. I think that more people should know about the Armenians and our cause, the reason why some people are clueless is because they have not been educated on it. I think that it should be taught in all schools throughout the world and show that it is a significant part in world history. Armenians around the world listen to me - we must put effort into this if we would like it to be accomplished. Write letters, emails, make calls but do whatever you can because we must not give up now after all we have fought for. Your time to read this article was greatly appreciated and I hope that I have helped you with learning about your Armenian heritage.