GLENDALE–More than 600 community members turned out Saturday to hear Prof. Vahakn Dadrian discuss Germany’s role in the Armenian Genocide–during a lecture organized by the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region at the Armenak Der-Bedrossian hall at St. Mary’s Church.
Dadrian who is Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York and director of the Genocide Studies Project supported by the Guggenheim Foundation–recently completed a book entitled German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide–the thesis of which was presented at this lecture.
In his presentation–Dadrian presented the thesis in four main parts.
Dadrian began with addressing historian Johaness Lepsius’ compilation on the Armenian Genocide–stressing that in comparing Lepsius’ book and the actual man’script found in the Berlin Archives–he noticed that numerous sentences–phrases and adjectives describing the German government’s actions–and subsequent role–regarding the Genocide were omitted from the actual published text.
Dadrian said that this discrepancy pointed to the official and unofficial role of German military personnel in the Armenian Genocide.
The professor stressed that German complacency in the Genocide could be proved through German official documen’s–which include a large number of diplomatic correspondence and testimonials.
While those documen’s did not mention mass-annihilation–they–however–did include order to the Turkish Ottoman leaders for mass deportation of the Armenian population in Anatolia.
In focusing on the second aspect of his thesis–Dadrian stressed British–French–Italian–Austrian–German and Russian diplomatic and political interests as reasons for the commencement of Armenian martyrdom beginning from 1894 to 1899 with the Sultan Abdul Hamid massacres.
Dadrian also discussed Kaiser Wilhelm II’s continued support of Turkey and his pro-Turkish statemen’s which directly or indirectly pledged Germany’s tolerance toward the massacre of Armenia’s. He further discussed the Kaiser’s visit to Istanbul in 1899 when he undertook the multi-million dollar construction of the Baghdad-Constantinople railway and further expanded Germany’s sphere of influence over the Ottoman Empire.
Dadrian said that the Kaiser dispatched military officers for training of Turkish soldiers. The Kaiser’s assistance to Turkey continued following the demise of Sultan Abdul Hamid and with the Young Turk regime–during whose reign the massacre of Adana was planned and executed–Dadrian said.
Dadrian also discussed the Russian Tsar’s policies–which–based on political gains–supported Turkey and ignored the Armenia’s’ physical security.
The third phase of German Responsibility focused on a top-secret meeting between Germany and Turkey in February 1914 in Berlin–where a high-ranking German official suggested the mass-deportation of Armenia’s.
By providing numerous documen’s and minutes from the meeting–as well as testimonials from diplomats and German officials–Dadrian attested to the German military’s role and the Kaiser’s responsibility in the Armenian Genocide.
The fourth and final aspect of Dadrian’s lecture focused on the legal ramifications of German responsibility and explored ways by which Germany could be called to task for its role in the Armenian Genocide.
Dadrian cited Article 46 of the Fourth Hague Convention–whereby world powers condemn war crimes against a specific segment of the population–and the May 24–1915 declaration by Russia–France and England condemning Turkey’s inhumanity to man and its crime–the Armenian Genocide.
As Turkey’s ally in World War I–Germany and its support for Ottoman atrocities–Germany should be held responsible–Dadrian explained–adding that the question of retribution and reparation do also emerge.
If Germany accepts its role in the Genocide–then Turkey would have no other choice but to accept its responsibility in masterminding the planned annihilation of the Armenian people.