100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

American-Armenians Volunteer To Fight

Armenian troops

Armenian troops

The Armenian people have been under Ottoman rule since the 15th century. Although primarily Christian, the Armenian community had been allowed to rule themselves under their own system of governance with fairly little interference from the Muslim Ottoman government but they are regularly overtaxed and victims to violence and forced conversion to Islam without any recourse of help from the authorities. Like all other Christians and Jews, the Armenians are accorded certain limited freedoms (such as the right to worship), but are treated as second-class citizens and referred to as “infidel” or “unbeliever”.

In 1908 the Young Turk Revolution in Constantinople hope to re-establish a constitutional monarchy. There were two distinct groups: the liberal constitutionalists and the nationalists; the former were more democratic and accepted Armenians into their wing whereas the latter group was more intolerant in regard to Armenian-related issues and their frequent requests for European assistance. A counter-coup in 1909 brought about a brutal crackdown on Armenian nationalists and 15,000 to 30,000 Armenians were killed.

In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire opened the Middle Eastern theater of World War I by entering hostilities on the side of the Central Powers and against the Allies. Many Armenians saw this as an opportunity to gain independence from the Ottoman empire and sided with Russia in the conflict. When they Ottomans were recently defeated at the Battle of Sarikamish, Ottoman military leaders publicly blamed this defeat on Armenians in the region having actively sided with the Russians.


On January 8, 1915 a group of American-Armenians are ready to deploy to fight for Russia in the Caucasus where Ottoman forces recently suffered a disastrous defeat. This can only but add to the growing resentment against Armenians by the Turkish government.



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