Sorry for the late reply.
That of the Armenians was a genocide that is located within the complex World War I and the rivalry between Turkey and Russia, with approximately 1.2 million deaths. What’s most controversial is that still today Turkey refuses to recognize these indiscriminate killings of Armenian population.
Here’s some background:
“For generations in the Ottoman Empire minority religious communities, like the Christian Armenians, were allowed to maintain their religious, social and legal structures, though they were often subject to extra taxes or other measures. Largely concentrated in eastern Anatolia, many of them merchants and industrialists, Armenians appeared markedly better off in many ways than their Turkish neighbours, most of whom were small peasants or low-paid government functionaries and soldiers.
Armenians marched by Turkish soldiers 1915As was also the case with the Jews, the relative prosperity of the Armenians provoked the envy of their neighbours. The fact that they were of a different religion made them objects of suspicion and resentment. But it was the outbreak of war that turned these elements into an explosive mixture of hate and fear. The defeats of the Turkish army on the Caucasian front threw petrol on the flames of religious and national hatred. Armenians were presented by official propaganda as agents of the Russians and blamed for the military setbacks.
It is true that there were Armenian nationalists who acted as guerrillas and cooperated with the Russians. In fact they briefly seized the city of Van in the spring of 1915. But the great majority of Armenians played no part in such things. They merely wished to be left alone to live their lives in peace. But this was not to be. The Young Turks began a campaign to portray the Armenians as a kind of fifth column, a threat to the state.
The Young Turks, who called themselves the Committee of Unity and Progress, launched a set of measures against the Armenians, including a law authorizing the military and government to deport anyone they “sensed” was a security threat. Another law later allowed the confiscation of “abandoned” Armenian property. April 24, 1915, marks the fatal date when several hundred Armenian intellectuals were rounded up, arrested and later executed. This was the start of the Armenian genocide, a bloody massacre which lasted until 1917.
Armenians were ordered to turn in any weapons that they owned to the authorities. Those in the army were disarmed and transferred into labour battalions where they were either killed or worked to death. Innocent people were executed and thrown into mass graves. Even worse was the fate of those men, women and children who were forced to go on death marches across the baking, waterless Syrian Desert to concentration camps. Many of these poor creatures perished along the way of a combination of exhaustion, exposure and starvation, or else were murdered by Turkish troops and bandits.
There had been other massacres of Armenians in 1894, 1895, 1896, 1909, and this was to be repeated again between 1920 and 1923. But in their scope and ruthlessness nothing can compare with the mass slaughter of 1915-17, which is correctly described as genocide. In his excellent book “A Peace to End All Peace” David Fromkin describes the terrible fate of the expelled Armenians: “Rape and beating were commonplace. Those who were not killed at once were driven through mountains and deserts without food, drink or shelter. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians eventually succumbed or were killed.”
Thousands of sick and hungry people, men, women and children, were driven to their deaths in this way. Those few pitiful human skeletons who managed to survive the march of death across the mountains into Turkish-occupied Syria did not live to tell the tale. The pretty ones were handed over to the Turkish soldiers for their amusement. The others died of starvation or were murdered.
These terrible atrocities were quite well documented at the time by Western diplomats, missionaries and others, creating widespread wartime outrage against the Turks in the West. Although its ally, Germany, was silent at the time, German diplomats and military officers wrote to Berlin expressing horror at what was going on. Later the Turkish authorities tried to downplay these horrors as merely “abuses” committed by “some officials”. But the American ambassador, Henry Morganthau Sr. wrote in his memoirs: “When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact.”
Following the surrender of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the three Pashas fled to Germany, where they were given protection. But the Armenian underground formed a group called Operation Nemesis to hunt them down. On March 15, 1921, one of the Pashas was shot dead on a street in Berlin in broad daylight in front of witnesses. The gunman pleaded temporary insanity brought on by the mass killings and a jury took only a little over an hour to acquit him.”