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GENOCIDE

By Sempad Shahnazarian

Preface

his book is not a statistical study of the 1915-1918 Turkish Genocide, when Armenia had sacrificed over one million five-hundred thousand men, women and children and billions of dollars of real estate property to the Allies victory.

  It is merely a realistic presentation of some segments of my life during World War I, when Turkey had embarked on a diabolical policy of solving the Armenian National Cause by trying to exterminate the Armenian nation by general deportation and massacre.

  I had just graduated from the Armenian High School in Constantinople, when war was declared between the Central Powers and the Allies. As a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, I was inducted  as a candidate for reserve officer. After a few months of intense training, I passed the examination and became a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery.

  During my service in the Turkish army, and later in the Allied forces, I came into contact with the derelicts of the Genocide.  Groups of little orphans huddled here and there, in ditches, by the corpses of their parents, dazed, terrified, dying.

  I have walked through fields, with human skeletons scattered around, bleached by the sun and molested by beasts.

  I have seen churches converted into stables, with their altars bare and desolate of their Holy articles.

  Under the inner torture of these gruesome sights, it became impossible for me to stay, any longer, in the Turkish service. I deserted and joined the Allied forces: “La Legion d’Orient,” and fought the Turks for three years. The Turkish government had converted the Eastern Vilayets, which had a predominantly Armenian population, into a veritable slaughter house.

  Thousands of survivors had succeeded in crossing the frontier and joining Armenian Volunteers’ Battalions spearheading the Russian army on the Caucasian front.

  They had started to hammer the Turkish Divisions, while their other brothers in La Legion d’Orient were getting ready for a decisive offensive under the command of General Allenby, in the Middle East.

  When the Bolsheviks took over the leadership of Russia, their army pulled back on the entire Caucasian Front, leaving  the  Armenians all alone to hold the line.

 The moment had become critical, requiring superhuman effort and wise strategy to come out alive from the possible disaster.

That effort was, fortunately, created by all civil, religious and military leaders. Generals Piroumian, Araradian, Siligian, Paghramanian, Hovsepian, Antranik, Dro, Paroyan and many others were assembled under the command of General Nazarbekian. At the May 1918 battles of Sardarabad, Bah Abaran and Karakillisseh, Turkey was defeated. The Armenian Parliament proclaimed Armenia as United and Independent on May 28, 1919. The victorious Allies together with their “Little Ally” Armenia, as well as defeated Turkey, officially signed the Sèvres Treaty on August 10, 1920, recognizing the existence of Armenian Independence.

  Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States, delineated the western boundaries of Armenia, establishing a United Armenia covering 161,370 square kilometers, in response to the invitation given him by the Sèvres Treaty.

 Here is the important array of the signatories:

 The British Empire, France, Italy, Japan, Armenia, Belgium, Greece, Hedjaz (Saudi-Arabia), Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Serb-Croat-Slovene State, Czechoslovakia, and Turkey.

  The United States, as a non-belligerent of Turkey in World War I, was not a signatory but played a role as observer.

  At the Treaty of Lausanne, as a result of  the Turco-Bolshevik friendship, three years after the signing of the Sèvres Treaty, those nations, which had signed, came to an agreement with the Kemalist government of Turkey, without even mentioning the question of Armenian rights.

  Besides the newly created friendship of Red Russia with Kemalist Turkey, controversies among the Allied Powers, degenerated international morality, and the apathy toward justice, were the principal factors in renouncing Sèvres and agreeing on the Treaty of Lausanne. Turkey thus emerged  from its grave, with a diabolical smile on her face.

  The provisions of the Sèvres Treaty still remain unfulfilled. The attention of the world once again must be drawn to what the Treaty had conceded to the Armenian people as the price of their enormous sacrifices.

  For a visual grasp of events, I have introduced in my book some pictures taken from well known Album Revolutionnaire  by Avo, showing types of our old-time Fedayis, and of the derelicts of Genocide, without going into any detailed interpretation of them.

  There is no picture of a Turk in my book.
 

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.   I wish to thank my daughters Arsinee Malconian and Arminee Shishmanian, and my son Arsen Shahnazarian for reading the manuscript and making many useful and constructive suggestions. 

As to the title of my book, I am glad to say its God-Mother is Arminee Shishmanian, who suggested it after reading the manuscript.

Sempad Shahnazarian
Brownsville, Texas 1976. 


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