Germany’s Orient Policy and the First World War/ Part I.

In large part we have already transcribed and published the documents on “Armenia” as collected by the German Foreign Ministry, both those at the head office and those at the embassy in Constantinople and single consulates, as well as documents on the earlier history in Adana in 1909. In the future as well there will always be more individual documents relating to these themes in files that we have not yet worked through; as soon as they have been processed, they, too, will be published.

In this new edition, our concern is to bring forth the political and military context in which the decisions on the genocide were made. In the first part of this very extensive documentation we limit ourselves to about 1000 papers covering the time frame from the outbreak of war in 1914 to May 1915 when the official Turkish deportation orders for Armenians were issued. In following editions we will put out further political and military documents covering the period to the end of the war.

Certain special aspects of German Near East policy are to appear in small, special editions of Foreign Ministry files, for example, with respect to the “Holy War” sought by the German Emperor and proclaimed by the Sultan, which ended up in a complete fiasco, but which betrays a good deal about German as well as Turkish intentions.

There are protocols from certain registries here that we are publishing here for the first time, those under the rubrics “German-Turkish Alliance,” “Grand Headquarters,” “World War I,” and “World War I Secret,” each of which relates to the time between the outbreak of war and May 1915. The protocols contain the single documents we are publishing, plus about a hundred documents in full (but not indexed) which in our view are less important, as well as references to still other documents identified through brief descriptions. In all cases, we have selected only those documents which belong to the category of “German Orient Policy.”

We are a group of scholars who publish state documents, but we are not acting on any commission whatsoever and do not receive a penny of state support. All the more reason to single out for thanks those friends who have helped us substantially. Thus we express our deep gratitude to Mehmet Uluisik and Serdar Dincer in Berlin for having made documents available to us and prepared translations. In the United States we have received support from Marc A. Mamigonian, Director of Academic Affairs of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and the Knights of Vartan Fund for Armenian Studies, from Robert Mirak of the John Mirak Foundation in Arlington (MA) and his sister Muriel Mirak-Weissbach. We are very grateful to all of them not only for their material and project-related technical support, but also for encouraging us to continue our work on the documentation of the Armenian genocide.

I want to make special mention of the infinitely precious help of my wife Sigrid, who, despite a serious and painful illness, has tirelessly proofread and corrected the work; she has deciphered many hand written manuscripts which often even German historians had not managed to decode, a fact which helps explain why so many valuable remarks and commentaries have remained unpublished to the present day.

Hamburg, 11. April 2012
Wolfgang Gust

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