Wolfgang Gust


Hilmar Kaiser, one of the first German historians to work on the Armenian Genocide and one who has often written about it as a historical fact, is now trying to dilute that history. In his latest article, which consciously avoids use of the term genocide, Kaiser seeks to portray Mehmed Djemal Pasha, a member of the Young Turk triumvirate ruling the Ottoman Empire during World War I, as an individual resisting the genocidal policies of his co-conspirators within the Committee of Union and Progress. Kaiser claims to employ Ottoman documents to demonstrate that the initial intention of the Turkish government was to relocate the Ottoman Armenians for military reasons, although he admits that they posed no imminent danger to the state. Kaiser indicates that the first “relocations” of Armenians took place in areas controlled by Djemal and were initiated by him, then goes on to claim that even though the infamous death camp of Deir-es-Zor was located within his sphere of power, he, in reality, protected the Armenians. However, facts showing the extent of the genocide have been overlooked. This article will use archival documents from the Foreign Office of the Ger- man Empire, the Ottoman Empire’s wartime ally, to demonstrate the shortcomings of Kaiser’s evi- dence and arguments.