November 13, 2008 - 19:59 AMT
World War I had sad consequences for Armenia
Among many other things, the World War I also went down in history with the first mass killings of the peaceful population, which later on was to be defined as «genocide».
On November 11 the whole world summoned up the end of the World War I. In 1918 the world entered into the repartition process, which is not yet over. It was at that time that a new diplomacy was put into effect, and even 90 years later it has not finished yet. In total the World War I resulted in the collapse of four empires: the German Empire, the Russian Empire, the Dual Monarchy of Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, the last two being divided, while Germany and Russia ceased to be monarchies and were cut off in territory. However, it was especially their weakness that led to the World War II.
The World War I also went down in history with the first mass killings of the peaceful population, which later on was to be defined as «genocide». In November of 1914 the Ottoman Empire joined Germany and Austria-Hungary in the war. The Young Turks realized that the «Armenian, Assyrian and Greek» issues could be hastily and quietly solved at wartime, and they did it with unprecedented brutality. However, they were unable to accomplish their goal quietly. Diplomats accredited in Ottoman Turkey sent telegrams to their governments informing them about the ongoing slaughter and the governments, in their turn, expressed indignation and sent notes of protest to the Young Turks' Administration. But it was already late. By 1916 cleansing of «non-Turkish» population had been nearly over. And those who still remained in Turkey received the final blow from the Army of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who established modern Turkey on the bones of murdered Armenians and Greeks.
As a result of the War Armenia got 700 thousand refugees, illusive hopes on returning its native lands and judgment against the Young Turks. However, as usual, Armenians found themselves utterly defeated. First, for some unknown reason two delegations instead of one represented Armenia at the Paris Peace Conference, and they were unable to reach one common viewpoint. Requirements of the Armenian delegations were illegally ignored because of the so-called «pro-Russian» and now «pro-Soviet» orientation of Eastern Armenia. The winner states were not interested in Armenia. They were settling the problem of the borders of new states that were organized on the territory of collapsed empires. The only country that took notice of Armenia then was the USA.
In fact the World War I was finally concluded on signing in 1923 the Peace Treaty of Lausanne, which de-jure annulled the Sevr Treaty concluded on 10 August 1920. According to the Sevr Treaty signed by the states of the Entente, Armenia and Turkey the latter recognized Armenia as a «free and independent country». Turkey and Armenia agreed to appeal to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for an arbitration award on the Armenian-Turkish border within the Vilayets of Van, Bitlis, Erzurum, and Trabzon and agreed to his terms on Armenia's access to the Black Sea (through Batum). Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan were to establish their mutual borders through direct negotiations between these countries, and in case of unfeasibility to reach an agreement Allied powers were to mediate.
It was also intended to establish independent Kurdistan, whose borders would be defined by England, France and Turkey. According to the Sevr Treaty Turkey was to have only 30-35% of its present-day territory. In fact, the only thing that Armenia was left with is the arbitration award of Woodrow Wilson, which is not subject to time restriction and cannot be appealed in any international court.
It was exactly then that President Wilson formulated his well-known «The 14 points of New Diplomacy», one of which says: "Every people has a right to self-determination.", and not a word about territorial integrity. That principle appeared only after the World War II.
Another sad result for Armenia was the Brest-Litovsk Treaty signed between Soviet Russia and Germany on 3 March 1918. It finally put an end to independent Armenia within the boundaries of Woodrow Wilson.