Page:Ambassador Morgenthau's Story.djvu/353

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295
AMBASSADOR MORGENTHAU'S STORY

war. Union and Progress agents appeared in Erzeroum and Van and appealed to the Armenian leaders to go into Russian Armenia and attempt to start revolutions against the Russian Government; and the fact that the Ottoman Armenians refused to do this contributed further to the prevailing irritation. The Turkish Government has made much of the "treasonable" behaviour of the Armenians of Van and have even urged it as an excuse for their subsequent treatment of the whole race. Their attitude illustrates once more the perversity of the Turkish mind. After massacring hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the course of thirty years, outraging their women and girls, and robbing and maltreating them in every conceivable way, the Turks still apparently believed that they had the right to expect from them the most enthusiastic "loyalty". That the Armenians all over Turkey sympathized with the Entente was no secret. "If you want to know how the war is going," wrote a humorous Turkish newspaper, "all you need to do is to look in the face of an Armenian. If he is smiling, then the Allies are winning; if he is downcast, then the Germans are successful." If an Ottoman Armenian soldier should desert and join the Russians, that would unquestionably constitute a technical crime against the state, and might be punished without violating the rules of all civilized countries. Only the Turkish mind, however—and possibly the Junker—could regard it as furnishing an excuse for the terrible barbarities that now took place.

Though the air, all during the autumn and winter of 1914-15, was filled with premonitions of trouble, the Armenians behaved with remarkable self-restraint.