Anatolia in World War I, 1914-1918

World War I broke out in September 1914. The Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Central Powers on October 29th 1914.
Eastern Anatolia is mountainous country (Mt. Ararat : 5,165 m) and had an ethnically mixed population, consisting of christian ARMENIANS and Greeks (the latter in the cities on the Black Sea coast), of muslim Kurds, Circassians and Turks. The country bordered on Russia.
Russian forces invaded, occupying the cities of ERZURUM in Feb. 1915, TRAPEZUNT (Trebizond) in April 1915, ERZINCAN in July 1915. The christian Armenian population collaborated with the Russian forces. In March 1916 the tide turned, and Ottoman forces, advised by German officers, went on the offensive; by 1917 Russian forces were expelled from Ottoman soil; Ottoman forces even moved into Russian Armenia and Georgia, as well as into (technically neutral) Persian Azerbaijan.
In the Peace of Brest-Litovsk, Russia ceded the border district of KARS to the Ottoman Empire.

The christian Armenian population of eastern Anatolia, regarded collaborators with the enemy, were dealt with in what was called a Resettlement Program; they were assigned desolate areas. Many of them died on the march; others emigrated. Historians refer to the event as the ARMENIAN GENOCIDE; the population loss is estimated at between 0.6 and 1.7 million.

Statistics of Turkey's Democide. Estimates, Calculations, and Sources, from Statistics of Democide by R.J. Rummel
Armenians during the Ottoman Empire, from Turkish Forum
El genocidi armeni (1920), from La Pagina de la Historia, in Catalan
DOCUMENTS Armenian Genocide Articles, site posting several hundred articles published in US newspapers (mostly the New York Times) in 1913-1922
Armenian Genocide, sample documents, from Armenian National Institute, 1915-1922, from US (9) and British (6) archives
Statement by Haham Albert J. Amateau, Sephardic Rabbi, on the Armenian Genocide, posted by Sephardic Studies
Armenians in Ottoman Documents 1915-1920, posted by Turkish State Archives
REFERENCE Jason Goodwin, Lords of the Horizons, 1999, 352 pp.

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on July 12th 2005

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