The Great War and the Turkish-Armenian Question – Firsthand Account of a Witness


44 vorrätig


The ravages of time like to gnaw at the collective memory of societies. Some memories fade away, while other events remain vital through their mantra-like repetition and dominate the interpretation of the past. This way, the image of history gets distorted and becomes unbalanced when the culture of remembrance is only cultivated on one-sidedly.

The Armenian question is considered as a typical example of the collective amnesia of contemporary historiography and tendentious consideration when it comes to the identification of victims and perpetrators. The present volume, written in 1918 by Alfred Bilinsky, is regarded as the first treatise on the Armenian question, which attracted international attention. It picks up the reader and puts him in the turbulent time of a declining empire that inevitably slithers into the turmoil of the First World War. It describes the struggle for survival of a troubled nation which suffered a collective shock in the face of the tremendous brutality of Armenian militia in addition to the millions of expulsions of Ottoman Turks from the Balkans and the Caucasus. The systematic mass murders, the excesses of violence, the brutal expulsions, rape and torture, the humiliations and expropriations by Armenian militias during the Russian occupation of eastern Anatolia are still deeply rooted in the mind of the masses of Turkish society and are explained by Bilinsky with a small selection of affidavits documented from that time.

The parable “Turks are murderers. Armenians are victims” becomes a hollow phrase for the reader of this book because he realizes that the events before, during and after 1915 are too complex. This work, written by Bilinsky, is an appeal to all brave historians to leap over their own shadows with intelligence and courage, and not to close their eyes any longer to the war crimes committed against the Ottoman Turks by Armenian nationalists.

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Alfred Bilinsky












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