MODERN HISTORY AND POLITICS-Ottomans and Armenians: A Study in Counterinsurgency

By Gunter, Michael M. | The Middle East Journal, Autumn 2014 | Go to article overview

MODERN HISTORY AND POLITICS-Ottomans and Armenians: A Study in Counterinsurgency


Gunter, Michael M., The Middle East Journal


MODERN HISTORY AND POLITICS Ottomans and Armenians: A Study in Counterinsurgency, by Edward J. Erick- son. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 299 pages. $95.

Reviewed by Michael M. Gunter

Edward J. Erickson, Professor of Mili- tary History at the Coimnand and Staff Col- lege, Marine Corps University and a retired United States Army lieutenant colonel, has written an illuminating study of the connec- tion between military necessity and popu- lation transfer concerning the Armenian question during World War I. As a combat veteran and practitioner of war, Erickson brings to the debate valid insights often lacking from annchair intellectuals and academics. Furthermore, Ottomans and Ar- menians is mostly based on Turkish docu- ments and articles often ignored or simply unavailable in this hoary debate, although at times Erickson juxtaposes them against pro- Armenian articles to illustrate the opposing points of view. This is a military history of late Ottoman counterinsurgency campaigns. Its basic thesis is that the Ottoman decision to relocate Armenians in 1915 was a purely military course of action related to national security that sat within a context of a 25- year period of persistent empire-wide insur- gency and counterinsurgency.

The author traces the long history of Ar- menian revolutionary committees [gomidehs] dating from the latter part of the 19th century and the Ottoman counterinsurgency respons- es. The outbreak of World War I brought the situation to a head, and was "largely a result of the machinations of the allied powers, which encouraged and supported the eastern Anatolian Armenian revolutionary commit- tees to coimnit acts of terrorism and minor insurrections in early 1915" (p. 221). Erick- son argues that "these small and localized, but widespread, acts of Armenian violence appeared to metathesize [metastasize] during a major Armenian insurrection at Van in April 1915, which drove the Ottoman government into the belief that the Armenian insurrection was an imminent and existential threat to Ot- toman national security" (p. 221).

Erickson writes: "The lines of commu- nications supporting those Ottoman fronts ran directly through the rear areas of the Ot- toman annies in eastern Anatolia that were heavily populated by Annenian communi- ties and, by extension, by the heavily anned Armenian revolutionary committees" (pp. 161-62). The Ottoman armies at the fronts in Caucasia, Mesopotamia, and Palestine were not self-sufficient in supplies, and therefore were dependent on the roads and railroads leading from the west. Erickson observes that, "The Armenian revolution- ary committees began to attack and cut these lines of communications in the spring of 1915 and to the Ottomans presented an acute danger" (p. 162).

The Ottoman response was to relocate the Armenian population, which was giving support to the invading Russian enemy in the eastern provinces, and "was based on the same rationale that the Americans, British, and Spanish used to remove insurgent popu- lations in the Philippines, the Boer Republics, and Cuba" (p. 191). Such actions "became a template for the destruction of guerrillas and insurgents in the twentieth century" (p. 187) and were employed later by the British in Malaya in the 1950s, the French in Algeria, and the Americans in Vietnam.

In the appendix, Erickson reviews the five extant historical theses of why the Arme- nians were relocated, presenting his in con- text. He also poses a nmnber of provocative and unanswered historical questions about these events. Although the primitive state of Ottoman resources led to what might be termed criminal deaths due to neglect, star- vation, and just plain murder, Erickson ques- tions the Armenian genocidal thesis because these "horrific events were an unintended consequence of government policies and military strategies designed to end a threat to national security from 'enemies within'" (p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

MODERN HISTORY AND POLITICS-Ottomans and Armenians: A Study in Counterinsurgency
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.