Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  "MEN ARE LIKE THAT" -- An Analysis  
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Major Players
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Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

 The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis (1926).




During the creation of this web site, much of the material was a rehashing of pre-existing research others had already uncovered. One in particular appeared to be an extremely valuable source, documentation of Armenian atrocities by an Armenian... a book that, it has been speculated, the Armenian Diaspora has worked to eradicate from the world’s libraries; the presented evidence is far too damaging against the “Myth of Innocence” that the Armenians had cultivated so carefully these many years.

I was excited to have the opportunity to examine a copy of this book firsthand, and to provide more of its revealing excerpts on the Internet... along with my impressions.

The book is 1926’s “Men Are Like That,” parts of which had already been provided on this site’s page devoted to rare testimony by Armenians revealing their murderous ways.

Ohanus Appressian was born in the village of Khankandi, Shusa District, Azerbaijan in 1892. He was among over a thousand refugees engaged in agricultural reconstruction work in the Caucasus during Feb. 1922-Mar. 1924. The American Leonard Ramsden Hartill employed these workers, and Ohanus Appressian soon became indispensible. One night, Hartill and his crew were camped in a half-ruined Tartar (the word used for the Turks of Azerbaijan) mosque near the border of Persia and Armenia. When asked whether Appressian knew anything of the history of the village and its destruction, the Armenian replied matter-of-factly,
"Yes, I assisted in its sack and destruction, and witnessed the slaying of those whose bones you saw to-day scattered among its ruins. There was a Tartar of this village. He was a man. There was no one braver than he, not even in my old Russian regiment," etc. etc.

Boss-man Hartill must have been hooked, recognizing a story of incredible human dimension. He prevailed upon Appressian to tell his story over the period of almost a year. Sensing how unbelievable the tale must appear to Western audiences accustomed to Armenians presented solely as victims, the author made certain to assure his readers: "I have personally verified the complete truth of most of what is set down in the following pages."

The world owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. Hartill for documenting this rare “slip-up” among the Armenian faithful to state matters as they really occurred.

What I did was not only select the passages that are damaging to the Armenians, but also the ones damning the Turks. I want the reader of this page to understand that Mr. Appressian was no traitor to his cause. Quite the contrary, he possessed a conscience, and must have been haunted by the mindless slaughters he continually witnessed, committed by his kind against the innocent. It must have been a relief for him to get this heavy load off his chest, with a powerful American guiding him along the way. (One reason that makes me wonder why there was no Turkish counterpart equally wishing to unload his guilt, documenting his criminal experiences in print, if the Turks committed such wide-scale systematic destruction against the Armenians.) Yet, Appressian makes sure to spout the typical Armenian propaganda, making sure to tell the world what primitive beasts these Turks were... reinforcing what the Western world had already heard countless times during the war years, and earlier.


 This is an important point to consider, as we can accept the tales he tells that he was directly involved in as the truth, for the most part. (Interestingly, he does not dwell on the part he played during the many slaughters he was involved in, contrary to the admission he made to his boss in the book’s introduction. He prefers to show himself as performing humanitarian deeds which, to his credit, I believe he did.) However, when he gives his opinion about historical matters that he heard secondhand... we can understand he has come to believe the Armenians’ own propaganda at best, or serves to deceive, at worst. Appressian is a proud Armenian patriot. While he acknowledges the Dashnaks as fanatics and does not hero-worship them, we can see how the terrorist organization has played an important part in his development. Dashnaks went in and out of his father’s home, for example (“Armenian secret society whose purpose was to secure the independence of Armenia. Members called Dashnacks....I was aware that strange men came to my father's house from far places and that these men were Dashnacks... To me, a boy of 13 years, the name Dashnack became one of glorious though sinister intelligence”), and even his wife’s father was the Dashnak leader and head of government at Alexandropol. Appressian had a duty to maintain the party line.

Therefore when he tells us the Ottoman Turks were “sunk in barbarism,” that they “oppressed and restricted in every way” the Armenians, and that “Turkish Armenians could not rise above the level of their masters,” none of that makes sense in a nation where Armenians were allowed to rise to the highest ranks of society and government, and where Armenians were generally members of the wealthy upper class (as examined on this page). As a Russian Armenian, either he heard the horror stories and believed in them, or felt it was his obligation to “embellish” the truth.

For example, when he relates the tale that two-thirds of the 3,000 Turkish P.O.W.’s under Armenian care were cruelly put to death, we can believe him; he saw the events with his own eyes. (And probably participated in the murders, although he says he wished he could have lodged a protest.) But when he says the Turks got their revenge by, for one thing, cramming a church with Armenian peasants, and then setting it on fire... that is a story he only heard about. (Not to say it couldn’t have happened; it probably did. But once again, the Turk-damning testimony is only based on hearsay... as usual.)

My moment of discovery that the man was not a credible witness describing events he was not a direct party to occurred when he stated on pg. 206 that “
The Georgians invaded Armenia in an effort to seize Armenian territory.” That is absolutely false. It was the Armenians who attacked Georgia, forcing the leader of that country to state this very revealing passage.

There is no question that Appressian experienced pure hell relating anecdotes where men behaved worse than animals, as he poignantly keeps reminding us that “Men are like that.” He gets married and has two children (one of whom dies), and it’s heartbreaking to see the many times he had to leave his loved ones to a questionable fate, so that he could go off and perform his slicing and dicing, and other duties.

One tale about how a “giant” Azeri Turk faced a whole group of Armenian soldiers (P. 200 or so) was particularly moving. Around pg. 300, we are reminded of the despicable conditions of the countryside where famine and disease claimed untold Armenian victims... a reminder of how many Ottoman citizens lost their lives during the war years, where even Ambassador Morgenthau reported in his phony book that thousands of Turks were dying daily, and where even Turkish soldiers were dying in the thousands. This is an important point to bear in mind, because we can better understand the bulk of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire did not die from massacres as is usually presented, but by the same factors that claimed all Ottoman citizens.


 Appressian gives us a valuable idea of the roots of Armenian racism, so prevalent in Armenian guestbooks and forums today, where Turks are regarded as less-than-human. On p. 15:

I can see now that we Armenians frankly despised the Tartars, and while holding a disproportionate share of the wealth of the country, regarded and treated them as inferiors. The fact that the Russians looked down upon all Armenians in much the same way as Armenians regarded Tartars, far from proving a bond between ourselves and our racially different neighbors, intensified an attitude and conduct on our part that served only to exacerbate hostility.

As a boy, I was taught that the Tartars were always at fault. My reading of Russian literature helped to confirm this teaching, for Russian writers have emphasized Tartar ferocity. However, I always liked our Tartar servants and workmen. Many nights I have spent guarding our sheep on some lonely mountainside with only the stars above and Tartar shepherd boys for my companions. (p. 21)

For too many years Armenian mothers had lulled their children to sleep aith songs whose theme was Turkish fierceness and savagery. (p. 128; we can see the proud tradition of Armenian parents and even churches raising their innocent with hatred goes back a long way.)

In the Armenian-Tartar War of 1905 the Armenians had much the better of the fighting. Many of our men had served in the Russian Army, and were trained soldiers. We Armenians were rich and possessed arms. The Tartars had never received military training. They were poor, and possessed few arms beyond knives. (p. 23; little differently than during the outbreak of war, where Ottoman-Armenians had advanced weaponry stored in secret caches throughout the nation, while the Muslims -- like the ones at Van -- had to contend with old-fashioned rifles and limited ammunition.)

But at times, as in 1905 during the Japanese-Russian War, the Cossacks would be withdrawn,or made a tool of disorder, to send Armenians and Tartars at each other's throats ao that neither would be able to struggle against their common Russian oppressors. (p. 16)

When one remembers the length of time during which we Armenians have been an oppressed people, and knows our traditions, is it to be wondered at that we should have developed something of a slave psychology which manifests itself in many disagreeable traits, or that we should possess -- perhaps I should say, be possessed of -- a heritage of fear and hate where Turks are concerned? This inheritance explains why our men, when in contact with Turkish troops have lost heart and broken in panic, and why in moments of victory agaisnt Turks or Kurds or Tartars, they have been remorseless in seeking vengeance. (p. 129)

Prisoners are too great a hindrance to the free movement of guerilla bands that depend for their safety on their ability to travel far and fast; consequently, all captives are slaughtered. (p. 130)

(Referring to Hamidian, a soldier in his command while in Akhalkalaki): I know that he had been a Turkish Armenian and that he served with the British in Mesopotamia (p. 166; how revealing there were some Ottoman-Armenians who did not strictly join on the side of the Russians; when Armenians fault the Ottomans for subjecting more treacherous Armenians to the relocation policy than the ones in the war zone, they’d do well to remember practically the whold country was a war zone — and not just the eastern front.)

(Describing events in 1918): The Armenian villages we passed on the road were deserted. The Tartar villages were in ruins. (p. 181)


(Pp. 96-106):
(Armenia) was badly governed by the Russians. It suited the Russian policy to keep the people in ignorance and the country backward economically and socially. The Russians, it is true, built a railroad through the country and a number of hard surfaced roads; but this construction was dictated by military considerations. Russian ambition was fixed on obtaining Constantinople. Armenia was to the Russians merely a step toward the attainment of that goal. Some of the roads built by the Russians ran as straight as the flight of a bullet to the Turkish border, where they stopped abruptly. Beyond their point of termination was a wilderness of desert and mountains. Any purpose the roads could serve in the economy of the country was merely incidental to that for which they were built, the military invasion of Turkey.

I stress this point because Russians boast that they are responsible for the only developments in modernization that are to be found in Armenia, and they instance the military roads and the railroads as proof of the progress and benevolence of Russian rule. I think it is important to understand that such benefits as accrued to Armenia were incidental and not intentional. Armenia under the Czar was in fact a victim of imperial exploitation. However, as a rule, good order was kept throughout the country and there was security for life and property.

Turkish Armenia was far more backward than was Russian Armenia. Such education and. culture as were possible of attainment by Armenians living under Turkish rule was due to the generosity of America, France and Germany. These countries established schools and colleges in the Turkish province for the benefit of Armenians.

Turkey was sunk in barbarism. Turkish Armenians could not rise above the level of their masters. Under the government of the Turks there was no security for life or property from one day to the next. Armenians were oppressed and restricted in every way and often were the victims of massacres at the hands of the Turks or the allies of the Turks, the Kurds and Tartars. For this reason there was more need for some force to oppose the government in Turkish Armenia and more justification for extreme measures than was the case in Russian Armenia. En consequence the Dashnack organization developed more rapidly in the former province.

Within a few years, following the beginning of the movement, an invisible government of Armenians by Armenians had been established in Turkish Armenia in armed opposition to the Turkish Government. This secret government had its own courts and laws and an army of assassins called “Mauserists” (professional killers) to enforce its decrees.

Ramifications of the organization took root everywhere throughout Turkey and to a lesser extent in Russian Armenia. Its strongholds were the American, German and French schools and colleges in Turkey. In perhaps every one of these, chapters or branches existed, usually under the guise of literary societies. It was from among the students of the schools and from the Armenian members of the faculties that the leaders were recruited.

The Dashnacks were in continual open rebellion against the Turkish Government. The Turks took severe measures to stamp out this society but without achieving any great success because they had nothing tangible against which to direct their rage. It was as though they were battling with the air. The Russian Government joined with the Turks in this effort, for while Russia had no love for Turkey it was not in the Russian plan to see an independent Armenia thrown across the road to Constantinople, to say nothing of the dislike of the Russian governing class for revolutionary movements of all kinds.

Russian fear of revolution was even greater than Russian greed. This was shown when for a time it became the policy of the Dashnacks to stir up trouble between Russia and Turkey in the hope that Russia would conquer Turkish Armenia from the Turks and unite it with Russian Armenia. The Russian Government would have nothing to do with any movement inspired by revolutionaries, even when, as in this instance, the intention was to give Russia a pretext for seizing additional Turkish territory.

In 1896 the Dashnacks engineered a general revolt of Armenians in Turkish Armenia under the mistaken belief that European nations would intervene and secure independence for Turkish Armenia. The Turks were absolutely merciless in putting down this revolt. The massacre of one hundred thousand Armenians was but an incident of its suppression. England intervened to the extent of extorting certain concessions for herself from the Turks. The revolt was suppressed; nevertheless the Dashnack party continued to exist.


The Dashnacks were fanatics and as ruthless as the Turks were merciless. In planning the great revolt of 1896 the leaders knew full well that they had not at their command the strength necessary to success and that the Turks would retaliate with indiscriminate massacres of Armenians. Their one chance for success lay in European intervention, and to secure this they counted on the inevitable massacres that the Turks would perpetrate.

The revolution in Russia in 1905 following the Japanese-Russian War made it seem possible for a time to secure the independence of Russian Armenia. The Dashnacks took advantage of this situation and extended their revolutionary activities into the Russian province. They instituted a campaign of terrorism and employed threats and force in securing contributions to the party funds from rich Armenians. A wealthy man would be assessed a stipulated sum. Refusal to pay brought upon him a sentence of death.

Every member of the party was pledged to carry out orders without question. If a man were to be assassinated, lots might be drawn to select an executioner or the job might be assigned to one of the mauserists of the party.

The revolution in Russia was reflected also in the adoption by the Dashnack Party of certain socialistic principles. However it retained its own national aims and remained entirely independent of the Russian Socialistic Party. The introduction of socialism caused a split in the ranks of the Dashnacks that has never been mended, one branch remaining purely nationalist and the other national socialistic even to the present day.

The Russian Government through its agents, in order to suppress the revolutionary movement in Russian Armenia and in other provinces in 1905 when her hands were full with revolution at home, incited a Tartar-Armenian war throughout the Caucasus, some of the events of which I witnessed as a boy in Shusha, and which I have already described.

Since its conquest by the Russians, Russian Armenia has been the spearhead of the threatened Russian advance to Constantinople. A pretext for the invasion of Turkey by Russia was usually available in the never-ending disturbances in Turkish Armenia that frequently reached a climax in the wholesale massacring of Armenians by the Turks. Although these disturbances were frequently fomented by the Armenian Dashnack Society, it must be remembered that the society had its genesis and justification in Turkish misrule.

It was not the strength of Turkey but the unwillingness of the governments of Europe to see Russia in command of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles that held the Russians at bay. It required only a situation in which the great European nations would be powerless to intervene to start the Russian invasion. In anticipation of this longed-for opportunity the Russian Government kept a large army in instant readiness in Russian Armenia. Great army bases were built and strategic positions, chief among which was the city of Kars, were strongly fortified.

Russian administration did nothing to develop the resources of the country either in its people or industries, existing or potential; and the great mass of the population lived, as it had always lived, in a condition of extreme primitiveness, ignorance, squalor and poverty.

Ruins of the dwellings of the ancient Armenians testify that there has been no improvement in the homes of the peasants during the past thousand years. Now, as in the remote past, the houses are one-storied affairs with walls built of undressed stone, and floors sunk several feet below ground level. The roof of a house is constructed of soil and sod, supported by a few brush-covered rafters. A pit in the center of the floor serves as a fireplace; a hole in the roof permits the smoke to escape. Windows are nonexistent or a rare luxury.

Too often the live stock share these semisubterranean huts with the family. In the summer when the live stock is kept in the open, conditions are bearable; in the winter they are bad beyond description. The door is kept tightly shut. The only ventilation is that provided by the hole in the roof intended for the escape of smoke. In this almost air-tight chamber the family lives shut in with the cattle, sheep, chickens and dogs. Naturally there are many diseases epidemic among the people and the animals; measles, typhus, smallpox, malaria and tuberculosis being very common. In whole villages there is scarcely a person not suffering from trachoma.

The only fuel used, because it is the only fuel available, is dried animal manure, and the use of this is confined almost exclusively to cooking. The body heat of the animals occupying the huts with the people suffices for heating purposes except in extremely cold weather when a leuzzi or toniz is used. This is a large stool covered with a quilt or carpet. Fire of dried dung is placed in a pot and put beneath the covered stool. The members of the family keep warm by sitting around this contrivance, with their feet beneath the quilt.

The people live on the floor. Chairs, couches and beds are a rarity. For sleeping purposes a mattress protected by a grass mat is spread on the dirt floor. During the day the bedding is folded and placed in a corner. The bedding is always damp. For this reason rheumatism is common, especially among the women, as they spend a much greater portion of their time in the house than do the men, In their persons the people are extremely filthy. Vermin are a commonplace.

Hard work in the open throughout the summer enables the peasant to survive. He arises at daybreak, eats a piece of bread washed down with a glass of vodka, and goes to his work in the fields. At about eight o’clock he eats a breakfast of bread and water. At midday he has a lunch of bread and inatzoon or cheese. In the evening he finishes whatever remains from lunch and then returns to his home. Just before going to bed he dines again.

Women occupy an inferior status in the household. They take their meals with the children apart from the men. In the home, food is served in a single clay pot from which all help themselves with their fingers. At the end of the repast should anything remain in the pot, it is customary to offer it to the bachelor present if there be one. The host presents it to him with the admonition, “Clean the pot well if you wish for a brave wife.”

A typical village in Armenia exists largely independent of the rest of the world. Every man is his own mechanic. He builds and maintains his own house. The building materials are wholly indigenous to the locality; and so while the houses of all villages are alike in that they represent almost absolute minimum of shelter and comfort necessary in a home, they differ in that the houses of one village may be built of rough stones and those of another of sundried mud. In sections where clay suitable for tile-making is available, the houses are usually roofed with tiles. It is typical of the economic condition of the country that tile roofs are never seen elsewhere than close to the claypits. Tiles are never transported to districts where clay suitable for tile-making is not found. This is explainable in the mountainous nature of the country, which makes transportation both slow and costly. Away from the railroad, goods are carried on oxcarts and pack animals. As a consequence there is comparatively little intercourse or exchange of goods between different sections of the country. Each distinct region has therefore developed an economy sufficient unto itself and peculiar to itself.

Each village grows sufficient bread grains for its own needs. Fat-tail sheep supply meat, milk, cheese, wool for knitting, sheep-skins for warm overcoats, hats and bedding. It is necessary to obtain outside the resources of the community only a few articles and these mostly luxuries, such as tea, sugar and tobacco.

There is almost as great a diversity of climate in the small area that constitutes Armenia as in the whole of Europe. Climatic conditions, particularly rainfall, determine the type of agriculture, which in turn determines for the peasants, in their primitive mode of life, the architecture of their houses, their food and clothes and to a great extent their social customs and institutions.

Armenia is an old, old country. The origin of our people is unknown, though Armenian mythology credits us with being direct descendants, of the voyagers in the Ark. There is a small village at the foot of Mount Ararat which most Armenians believe to have been built by Noah. Mythology aside, there can be no doubt of our extreme antiquity as a people in this land of Armenia. Our occupancy through thousands of years has left its record plainly written in the ruins that dot the country, in the very rocks of the mountains.

The Armenian people have never known liberty, for even in the days of our independence the country was divided among a number of petty kings continually warring among themselves and holding the common man in serfdom; while during the past seven hundred years, during which time so many peoples have gained freedom and progressed far in civilization, we have been a conquered people under the galling yoke of Arab, Persian, Mongol, Tartar, Turk or Russian.

The conquerors have left an indelible Oriental stamp upon Armenia and her people. It is to be seen in our customs, dress and manners, our music and dances, our art and literature. There is one fundamental difference, however, that has served to mark us from the Oriental peoples with whom we are surrounded. I refer to the fact that we are Christians, it is said the oldest Christian people in the world.

The Armenian people were converted to Christianity during the third century of the Christian era. Since that remote day, wave after wave of pagan and Mohammedan peoples has swept across the country, reduced it and imposed the rule of the conqueror upon it; but still the country has remained Christian. By virtue of their religion the Armenian people have remained to their non-Christian neighbors alien, suspected, despised, hated and oppressed; and for the same reason they have retained their identity and unity.

Such was Armenia, a country of culturally primitive people isolated among the mountains of the Caucasus from all friends and allies, and surrounded by alien and hostile nations and races, when Bolshevism invaded the Caucasus, and the Armenian people, with no experience in self-government, divided among themselves into warring factions, were thrown upon their own resources upon the breakdown of the Russian administration.



NEWS of the Bolshevik revolution reached the troops of the Caucasus Army, at that time engaged in operations against the Turks. The Bolshevik doctrine of the universal brotherhood of man, with its corollary, immediate peace, and liberty to all to return to their homes at once, there to share in the division of wealth that the revolution was to secure, made an irresistible appeal to the soldiers who had struggled in a theater where warfare was particularly arduous and cruel, When the Russians and Turks engage in war against each other, they discard the conventions that seek to make war more humane, and both sides revert to the practises of the days of the Mongol hordes. The responsibility for this certainly does not adhere to the poor devils of soldiers, whether Turk or Russian, who are the immediate instruments. Russian literature has little of good to say for either Turk or Tartar but rather abounds in stories of Turkish and Tartar savagery and cruelty. The Russian taught to expect nothing else from these hereditary foes, often anticipates savagery with savagery.

(Pg. 132):
(As the Armenians retreated) a blighted country in which nothing consumable remained. Every abandoned house was destroyed, torn down to secure fuel—and there were few houses not abandoned. The few wooden rafters that support the dirt roof of the hut of an Armenian peasant were sufficient inducement to cause its destruction.

In every village there remained a small residue of the inhabitants, mainly old men and old women, and children who elected to remain and trust to the mercy of the Turks. When the Turks arrived, they would find a country almost deserted of its inhabitants and apparently utterly without resource of wealth or even of food; but in every village, there would, in fact, be buried stores of grain and treasure. In secret caves and in secluded mountain valleys cattle and sheep would be held in concealment against the day when the invader would retire. There is an art in survival, an art that Armenians have mastered through bitter experience. It constitutes the Armenians’ defense against invasions and conquests and attempts at their extermination. It consists, mainly, in clinging until death to the pitifully little of worldly wealth needed as a nucleus for a new start, a few sheep or cattle, a few poods of grain to be used as seed.

The main body of our troops in Northern Armenia was stationed at Karaklis, a town situated on the railroad about sixty versts from Alexandropol. It is the third largest town in Russian Armenia. On the approach of the Turks toward Alexandropol we fell back to Karaklis, there joining with our main force.

In this movement we took with us three thousand Turkish soldiers who had been captured by the Russians and left on our hands when the Russians abandoned the struggle. During our retreat to Karaklis two thousand of these poor devils were cruelly put to death. I was sickened by the brutality displayed, but could not make any effective protest. Some, mercifully, were shot. Many of them were burned to death. The method employed was to put a quantity of straw into a hut, and then after crowding the hut with Turks, set fire to the straw. One thousand of these prisoners were spared because it was known in Europe that we had inherited a large number of them from the Russians, and that no doubt an accounting would have to be made for them some day. The thousand who were spared were later liberated, as we had no means of caring for prisoners. No doubt they again took up arms against us; so in a way the killing of the two thousand was justifiable.

As was bound to be the case, the Turks soon took full measure of vengeance for this atrocity. Every verst of the road from Alexandropol to Karaklis became witness to reprisals. In one village a church was crammed with Armenian peasants, and then set on fire. All perished.

Our army took positions in the mountains near to Karaklis and awaited the coming of the Turks...


 (p. 192):
The English were in possession of the town. The English soldiers were black men from India, though their officers were white. They were fine troops and splendidly equipped. They had everything in abundance, including artillery, machine-guns and tanks, doctors to care for the sick and wounded, medical supplies, blankets, everything in fact that we Armenians had so badly needed.

In the advance on the Kars the English troops went ahead. The Armenian forces followed them. The Turks did not fight, but merely retreated before us. In this way we entered the, ancient fortified city that had once been the capital of an Armenian kingdom, that had been the scene of innumerable battles and sieges, and that still was the keystone in the defenses of the country.

Great swarms of peasants who had come out of their hiding-places on the retreat of the Turks followed our army as it advanced. They were gruesome creatures that had been men, women and children—now only the semblance of such—starved and in rags, their emaciated bodies covered with festering sores. They dogged the footsteps of the army, scavenging and thieving. They entered into the city with the army and immediately began plundering the stores that had been left by the Turks. The attempt on the part of the English commander to prevent this resulted in mêlées in which several English soldiers were injured. The looters were emboldened by the fact that the soldiers were under orders not to shoot or use their bayonets upon the refugees. Finally, two soldiers were killed. This so enraged the English commander that he gave orders that all robbers be shot on sight. A number of peasants were killed on the day this order was given, but following that there was no further trouble.

Everywhere the Turks retreated without fighting before the advance of the English, until the former had abandoned all of their conquests and Armenia was free of hostile invaders. The English were just in their treatment of all people. They protected Moslems equally with Christians. They even put Turks and Tartars in positions of authority in districts where Moslems predominated. This policy was greatly resented by the Armenians.

As long as the English remained in the country they were the real government and authority. The government formed by the Dashnack Party was a government in name only. The English did not remain for long, however, and when they left, the Dashnacks again had full control.

There was a recurrence of jealousy, hate and dissension. Many men were murdered by their political foes. No one of importance was free from espionage, or knew but that at any moment he might be executed by some mauserist with a mandate from a secret tribunal. Terrible vengeance was taken upon Tartars, Kurds and Turks. Their villages were destroyed and they themselves were slain or driven out of the country.

(p. 218):
Russian troops did terrible things in the Turkish villages. The world knows the fate of the Armenians in Turkey. We Armenians did not spare the Tartars. It is all a circle of hatred and revenge, an endless chain plunging ever farther into the depths and bringing forth the worst there is in human nature. If persisted in, the slaughtering of prisoners, the looting, and the rape and massacre of the helpless become commonplace actions expected and accepted as a matter of course. Men are like that. We Armenians, brutalized by the horrors we had endured and inflicted during our war with the Turks, were to be no more merciful toward one another in the civil war that was soon to come.

We live in a universe beyond the understanding. The serenity of God troubles the spirit of the thoughtful. I have been on the scenes of massacres where the dead lay on the ground, in numbers, like the fallen leaves in a forest. They had been as helpless and as defenseless as sheep. They had not died as soldiers die in the heat of battle, fired with ardor and courage, with weapons in their hands, and exchanging blow for blow. They had died as the helpless must, with their hearts and brains bursting with horror worse than death itself. The earth in such a spot should rot, and the air above it be black forever; but always the sun shines as warmly there, and over it the canopy of the blue sky spreads itself as protectingly as elsewhere. Birds sing as sweetly there, and flowers bloom with as much beauty.



 (pp. 200-207):
I had been at my post in Kagisman only a weeks when I received instructions to secure the submission of a Tartar village that was situated out of my district. My orders informed me that the Tartars were a menace to a neighboring Armenian village. When an Armenian and a Tartar village are adjacent to each other, you have a situation that gives rise to much trouble in times when the country is disturbed. The stronger takes advantage of the opportunity to oppress the weaker. The weak retaliate or are said to have done so, and are massacred. A job of cold-blooded butchery requires some justification, however slight; although it is remarkable how easily and quickly the necessary hate, envy and resolution can be engendered. Since I did not apprehend any difficulty from the Tartars, who, considering the location of their village, were probably in greater need of my protection than were their Armenian neighbors, I took with me but eight men. I established myself in an Armenian village that was barely four versts from the Tartar village. I sent two of my soldiers to summon to me for a conference the head men of the Tartars. My men did not return. I waited until the following day, and then, taking the rest of my men with me and bearing a white flag as evidence of our peaceful intentions, I started for the village where presumably my men were being detained.

As we approached the village we were fired upon. I had not sufficient force to make an attack and so retired. I dispatched a messenger to Kars to communicate the details of the situation to headquarters. It seems that, on receipt of my message at headquarters, the Turkish consul at Kars was informed of the trouble, for a few days later he arrived on the scene. He went to the Tartar village, and on his return reported to me that my men were safe, but were being held as hostages. He said that the Tartars wished to leave the country and go to Turkey and that, if permitted to do so unmolested, they would not harm my envoys. I had no way of stopping the Tartars if they undertook to leave and no authority to give them permission to go to Turkey. In view of this I was compelled to send another messenger to Kars requesting reinforcements and fuller authority.

The following morning I learned that the Tartars had abandoned their village during the night. I immediately rode over to the village and entered it. I found my men dead. What tortures they had endured may be left to the imagination. I found them with the skin removed from their bodies. They had been flayed alive. Some Tartar chief would have a highly valued pair of saddle blankets.

Incidents such as the above furnished the Dashnack Government with the needed excuse for undertaking a war of reprisal against the Tartars. This war quickly developed into one of extermination. Horrible things happened, things that words can neither describe nor make you understand. The memory of scenes I witnessed and of incidents in which I participated still makes me feel sick. But war is always horrible, for it liberates all the fear and hate and deviltry that are in men.

As the Turks had solved the Armenian problem in Turkey by slaying or driving the Armenians out of the country, so we now proceeded to solve the Tartar problem in Armenia. We closed the roads and mountain passes that might serve as ways of escape for the Tartars, and then proceeded in the work of extermination. Our troops surrounded village after village. Little resistance was offered. Our artillery knocked the huts into heaps of stones and dust, and when the villages became untenable and the inhabitants fled from them into the fields, bullets and bayonets completed the work. Some of the Tartars escaped, of course. They found refuge in the mountains, or succeeded in crossing the border into Turkey. The rest were killed. And so it is that the whole length of the border-land of Russian Armenia from Nakhitchevan to Akhalkalaki, from the hot plains of Ararat to the cold mountain plateaus of the north, is dotted with the mute mournful ruins of Tartar villages. They are quiet now, those villages, except for the howling of wolves and jackals that visit them to paw over the scattered bones of the dead.

In the capture and sack of one village, there occurred an incident illustrating the hate which made unavoidable the massacres that were common to both sides.

There was a giant Tartar who fought well. I saw him spring from behind a hut into the midst of a group of Armenian soldiers and with a clubbed rifle brain men, left and right. Shots were fired at him, but he continued to swing his rifle and shout, “Allah, Allah,“ the while he battled. A soldier succeeded in driving his bayonet through the Tartar. I saw the point of the weapon emerge through his back. The Tartar grabbed the muzzle of the rifle to which the bayonet was attached. The Armenian tried in vain to

wrest it from him. In the struggle the Armenian inadvertently stepped in close to the Tartar, who instantly let go his hold on the rifle and clutched his opponent by the throat. By this time a circle of soldiers had formed about the combatants, urging them on with shouts and laughter. They both fell to the ground. Another soldier seized a rock and pounded the Tartar’s head with it. The Tartar ceased to struggle and lay still. The Armenian who had bayoneted him sprang to his feet, wrested the weapon from the Tartar’s body, and, raising it to his lips, licked it clean of blood, exclaiming in Russian, “Slodkeyl Slodkey/” (Sweet.)

One evening I passed through what had been a Tartar village. Among the ruins a fire was burning. I went to the fire and saw seated about it a group of soldiers. Among them were two Tartar girls, mere children. The girls were crouched on the ground, crying softly with suppressed sobs. Lying scattered over the ground were broken household utensils and other furnishings of Tartar peasant homes. There were also bodies of the dead.

I was late in the matter of the girls, but I did what I could for them. I spoke to them in their own tongue and assured them that they had nothing more to fear. When they understood that I intended them no harm and sought only to help them, they gave way to their grief and wailed piteously. They were in terror of the soldiers and would not be comforted as long they were near. I took the girls along with me, leaving the soldiers in an ugly mood; for they considered that I was depriving them of what had become a recognized prerequisite of victory. A verst or two further on I came to another village that had met with the same fate as the first. As it was now dark, I decided to spend the night there. I shared the food that I had with the two girls, found them a shelter and another for myself. I was soon asleep. In the night I was awakened by the persistent crying of a child. I arose and went to investigate. A full moon enabled me to make my way about and revealed to me all the wreck and litter of the tragedy that had been enacted. Guided by the child’s crying, I entered the yard of a house, which I judged from its appearance must have been the home of a Turkish family. There in a corner of the yard I found a woman dead. Her throat had been cut. Lying on her breast was a small child, a girl about a year old. I soaked some bread in water that I warmed for the purpose and fed the child until she would eat no more. I placed her for the night in the care of the two Tartar girls. The next day I had an opportunity, of which I availed myself, to send all three unfortunates to Kars, with instructions that they be placed in the American orphanage there.

Shortly after the cleaning up of the Tartar villages I returned with my regiment to Kars, where for a short time I enjoyed a period of comfort and peace in the companionship of my wife and son. The little fellow was developing rapidly and was for me a never-failing source of joy. I felt that the hopes and plans ambitions I had held for myself had been irretrievably destroyed; but now as I held my son in my arms, his little fingers tugging at my mustache, my heart was sweetened with dreams for him. I would realize
through him the things that I had yearned for and struggled to attain.

It was during this interlude between wars that the Armenian Government received from the English a great shipment of cannon, rifles, ammunition, food, blankets and much besides, so that we were then able to expand and better equip our forces. Following this event I was assigned to patrol duty along a section of the Turkish Armenian border. This proved to be monotonous, lonely, uneventful work. The Turks were quiet and appeared to be thoroughly subdued.

At this time, on the face of things, Armenia would have been judged to be in a favorable position. True it was, the country had been ravaged from end to end and the people impoverished to a point where they had nothing more to lose. Famine and pestilence took daily toll, lengthening the long roll of those who had died. The old who had endured beyond their strength and the young who had no strength with which to endure were dying like flies at the coming of frost. But in spite of all calamities Armenia was again free and at peace. A great territory more than sufficient for our needs, was ours. We possessed friends among the powerful nations of the world who were pledged to protect and assist us. Our ancient enemies, the Turks, were badly beaten. It was understood that their country was to be dismembered, forever removing the ancient menace to us. Russia, who, under the guise of protecting us from the Turks, had swallowed a large part of our country and incorporated it into her imperial system, was prostrate under the Bolshevists and seemingly helpless.

The fair promise of those days was never realized. Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia engaged in a three-sided quarrel. The Georgians invaded Armenia in an effort to seize Armenian territory. Our men fought like heroes. They defeated the Georgians in every battle, drove them out of Armenia and half across Georgia, and would have captured Tiflis had not the English intervened to prevent this.

The Armenians in Baku, supported by the English, seized that great oil city and massacred twenty-five thousand of the Tartar population. The Armenians paid dearly for this when, a short time later, the Turks captured the city and massacred an equal or greater number of Armenians.

The incapacity of the government established by the Dashnack Party, combined with the pitiable condition of the people and the long years of war that our soldiers had endured, made of Armenia a fruitful field for Bolshevist propaganda. The communists seized their opportunities and were successful in undermining the morale of the army. Intrigue and dissensions among the great powers who were our allies left us without the support we needed and had counted on. Turkey saw its chance and again sent an army into our country.

(p. 274):
(Armenia) has been occupied by a great Russian Army located in many huge military posts thickly scattered over the country. Each of these posts became the center of the district in which it was located and dominated the life of the district economically, socially and morally. About each post there quickly developed a class of Armenian speculators and contractors notorious through the country for their greed and cunning. They became rich but remained subservient to the Russian officers and officials. They snared the peasants in a net of debt and destroyed their independence. Alexandropol, where was located one of the army posts, became a sink of vice. Its people were disliked and distrusted throughout the rest of the country.

Zangazour had remained free from the evil of great army posts, and its people retained the homely virtues generally associated with mountaineers. The British recognized this when they seized Baku and the great oil fields near that city, for at that time they attempted to send a mission to Zangazour for the purpose of organizing an army of the mountain people to operate against the Turks. The latter advanced so rapidly, however, that Zangazour was isolated; and the British, prevented from carrying out this plan, resorted to the expedient of creating an army from among the city-bred Armenians of Baku. When the Turks attacked the city, the Baku Armenians threw down their arms and fled. The British, left alone to struggle against vastly greater numbers, were cut to pieces by the Turks. Had the mountaineers of Zangazour been with the British, there would have been a different story to tell.

We, who were in flight from Erivan, hoped to find refuge with these sturdy people in their wilderness. We reasoned that they would be immune to Bolshevist propaganda, and strong enough and courageous enough to defy Bolshevist force.

We quit Erivan on the second day of April, 1921. A few versts out of the city we met with snow, which became deeper as we climbed higher. The plain of Ararat, from which we had departed, smiled with all the beauty of spring. There fruit trees were laden with blossoms. Over the floor of the plain the tender green of barley and wheat spread like a luxurious carpet blending with the red and gold, the mauve and purple of the spring-born plants of the deserts.

The farther we advanced into the mountains the colder, became the weather, and the deeper the snow we encountered. After a few days of travel, most of the women and children had dropped out through inability to continue. Groups of them were left in the various villages through which we passed. We, who were now refugees seeking in flight safety from the Bolshevists, had been the leaders of Armenia. Our numbers were made up of army officers, government officials, leading merchants and professional men, in short, all who were important and prosperous.


At that time railroad travel was free in conformity with the early extreme communistic theories of the Bolshevists. It seemed as though every one in the world was riding or seeking to ride. At every station an appalling mass, lured by the hope of better things elsewhere, fought to board the train that could hold no more. What pitiful human wreckage these people were! They had no objective other than to escape from where they were. In their flight death strode with them, and marked their way over mountains and plains with unnumbered bodies. Victims of famine and pestilence, the old and the young lay down by the wayside and died, while old and young with sufficient strength to continue on passed them by.

In Alexandropol I was successful in securing work with the Americans. During the period of acute famine I received a wage that was calculated as being sufficient merely to sustain life. Yet from this small sum I sent something each month to my wife.

It must have seemed to any observer in Armenia, during the year of acute famine, that the entire population of the country was doomed to extinction. Even Red soldiers in the Russian Army of Occupation died of starvation. ! It was a famine such as the country had never before seen. The contending armies had drained the country of its food. Pestilence added to the horrors of starvation. Typhus, cholera, typhoid and malaria reaped their harvest of death, more so than did the battles and massacres of the war. The people had no strength, and died as flies die with the coming of frost. I have, in my story, given you a brief account of horrible things, but things having to do mainly with the savagery and cruelty of wild people. I say wild people, because we, of this land, are not civilized. We are still living with the social and ethical conceptions of the days of the Mongol conquerors. Indeed, in many aspects of civilization we are not so far advanced as we were ,in those distant times. Awful as were the incidents I have described and related, they are not comparable in sheer horror with the happenings during the time of famine.

Compared with pestilence and famine all other calamities of war are merely mishaps. What words can convey the meaning of hunger and disease when these agents of death and bestiality have stricken an entire people! The young and the old lie dead on the streets, in the fields and on the roads. Each day in towns and villages the death carts rumble over the cobbles, bearing their ghastly loads to an open ditch in the fields. The wolves fatten and become bold. At night they range the streets to feast on the toll of the day.

I would not offend your ears with words about the awful acts of men at such times. Enough to say that men became beasts. But then there is a brighter side, for in such a pass there are men and women who become saints. There are those who give the last of their strength in the service of others, beasts and saints. Men are like that.







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