Quotulatiousness

January 12, 2018

Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points I THE GREAT WAR WEEK 181

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military, Russia, USA, WW1 — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 11 Jan 2018

In the first full week of 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson outlines his points for peace. In the Caucasus, the increasing instability leads to daily skirmishes between the Armenians and Ottomans. Ludendorff continues planning for an upcoming German offensive whilst his countrymen negotiate peace terms with Russia.

January 2, 2018

The Defence of Baku – The Adventures of Dunsterforce Part 2 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Britain, History, Middle East, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 1 Jan 2018

In part two of the Adventures of Dunsterforce, we follow the Hush Hush Army on their travels through the Caucasus. Picking up where we left off, the Dunsterforce leave Enzeli, clash with Jangalis en route, and head for Baku. They had to journey through territory controlled by warlords, cossacks and bolshevik soviets and when they arrived during the Siege of Baku, Dunsterville and his men meet the five dictators that make up the Centrocaspian Dictatorship.

December 19, 2017

Transcaucasia in World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Europe, History, Middle East, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 18 Dec 2017

The Caucasus region with its many different ethnic groups and its resources was always of particular interest to the greater powers like Russia, Persia or the Ottoman Empire. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the idea of ethnic self determination and resulting national movements, the fluctuating powers situation caused by World War 1 created a unique situation for Georgians, Azerbaijanis and Armenians.

April 22, 2017

Movie on the Armenian Genocide attracts massive number of Turkish trolls

Filed under: History, Media, Middle East, WW1 — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

One of the worst aspects of the First World War was the attempt by Ottoman forces to eliminate the Armenian “threat” by launching an organized campaign of murder and deportation that killed an estimated 1.5 million Armenians. A new movie which is set in this time has been drawing trollish attention from Turkish detractors:

The Promise, the grandest big-screen portrayal ever made about the mass killings of Armenians during World War I, has been rated by more than 111,300 people on IMDb — a remarkable total considering it doesn’t open in theaters until Friday and has thus far been screened only a handful of times publicly.

The passionate reaction is because The Promise, a $100-million movie starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, has provoked those who deny that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred between 1915 and 1923 by the Ottoman Empire or that the deaths of Armenians were the result of a policy of genocide. Thousands, many of them in Turkey, have flocked to IMDb to rate the film poorly, sight unseen. Though many countries and most historians call the mass killings genocide, Turkey has aggressively refused that label.

Yet that wasn’t the most audacious sabotage of The Promise, a passion project of the late billionaire investor and former MGM owner Kirk Kerkorian.

In March, just a few weeks before The Promise was to open, a curiously similar-looking film called The Ottoman Lieutenant appeared. Another sweeping romance set during the same era and with a few stars of its own, including Ben Kingsley and Josh Hartnett, The Ottoman Lieutenant seemed designed to be confused with The Promise. But it was made by Turkish producers and instead broadcast Turkey’s version of the events — that the Armenians were merely collateral damage in World War I. It was the Turkish knockoff version of The Promise, minus the genocide.

“It was like a reverse mirror image of us,” said Terry George, director and co-writer of The Promise. George, the Irish filmmaker, has some experience in navigating the sensitivities around genocide having previously written and directed 2004’s Hotel Rwanda, about the early ’90s Rwandan genocide.

George bought a ticket to see it. “Basically the argument is the Turkish government’s argument, that there was an uprising and it was bad and we had to move these people out of the war zone — which, if applied to the Nazis in Poland would be: ‘Oh, there was an uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto and we need to move these Jews out of the war zone,’” says George. “The film is remarkably similar in terms of structure and look, even.”

The movie itself, however, didn’t win over A.V. Club critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky:

Among the many virtues of James Gray’s The Lost City Of Z is its sense of proportion, which turns a decades-spanning historical epic into a pas de deux between vision and madness. Unfortunately, most recent historical epics have been more on the order of Terry George’s The Promise: messes of soap and cheese. Here at last is a film that tackles the Armenian genocide by way of a flimsy love triangle and an international cast (it really captures the diversity of the Armenian people), straining so hard to show its good intentions that it doesn’t bother to be directed. What does a movie that can’t even mount a competent horse chase — despite repeated attempts — have to say about the murder of 1.5 million people? At least George can rest easy knowing that his film is less bungled than Bitter Harvest, the February release that turned the Holodomor into the stuff of schmaltz. Up next, presumably, is Nicholas Sparks’ Auschwitz.

Doing his best impression of Omar Sharif, Oscar Isaac stars as Mikael Boghosian, a village apothecary who agrees to marry doe-eyed local girl Maral (Angela Sarafyan) in order to use her dowry to finance his dream of becoming a doctor. (Pity poor Maral, as no two members of the cast seem to agree on how to pronounce her name.) Arriving in Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Mikael moves in with his wealthy uncle and enrolls in medical school, but soon develops a crush on Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), the modern young woman who tutors his uncle’s children. But it’s 1914, and the Ottoman Empire is about to enter World War I as an ally of Germany and Austria-Hungary and within months will begin a strategic elimination of its large Armenian minority. As if to make matters worse, Ana has an American boyfriend, Chris Myers (Christian Bale), the Associated Press’ bureau chief of Armenian genocide exposition.

Still from The Promise, by Open Road Films.

October 7, 2016

Douglas Haig’s Fantasies Drown In Mud I THE GREAT WAR Week 115

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 6 Oct 2016

Even though his troops are drowning in mud, Douglas Haig is still sketching grandiose plans for the breakthrough at the Somme. At the same time, the German Ambassador is recalled from Constantinople because he spoke out against the Armenian Genocide and with a clever offensive the Romanians harass August von Mackensen on the new Romanian Front.

June 14, 2016

Beyond The Genocide – Armenia in WW1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Published on 13 Jun 2016

The region of Armenia was a play ball between the interests of Russia and the Ottoman Empire long before World War 1. But the Armenian people were striving for self determination like the peoples all across Europe were doing too. In our special episode we take a look at the struggle of the Armenians beyond the Armenian Genocide.

August 28, 2015

The Battle of Hill 60 – Lunatic Persistence in Gallipoli I THE GREAT WAR – Week 57

Filed under: Britain, Europe, History, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 27 Aug 2015

Peter Hart described the state of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 as “lunatic persistence in the face of the obvious” – and the Battle of Hill 60 proved just that. Outgunned and with a lack of artillery support, the battle was one of the bloodiest days on the peninsular near Constantinople. The Ottoman capital was still out of reach for the Entente to capture. Meanwhile, the war spread to the Indian border region and on the Western and Eastern Front the carnage continued in the air and on ground.

July 10, 2015

Adapt or Die – The Artillery Barrage I THE GREAT WAR – Week 50

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 9 Jul 2015

The Great Retreat of the Russians during the last weeks has shown one thing: Artillery is the key to success. More specifically, a new kind of artillery tactic called the artillery barrage which focuses shelling on one part of the front. August von Mackensen had actually stolen this approach from John French. The Entente tried to use it on the Western Front a few months earlier without the expected breakthrough.

May 29, 2015

Frontline in the Alps – Italy Declares War I THE GREAT WAR Week 44

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 28 May 2015

After the defeats of Austria-Hungary against Russia, Italy is seeing her chance to grab disputed territories from them. Even though they are not prepared for a full scale war economically or militarily, the declare war against the Central Powers. So, just one month after the landing at Gallipoli, yet another front is opened in Europe. Meanwhile the Russians are still on the run from August von Mackensen and in Gallipoli the fighting stops to collect the dead.

May 13, 2015

The Armenian genocide, a century on

Filed under: History, Middle East, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

I saved this post by David Warren, then inconveniently forgot about it until now. Apologies to those concerned, but after a century, a week or two probably don’t make much difference … and perhaps a belated reminder might help keep the event in the minds of a few more readers:

The annihilation of more than a million Armenians (and their descendants) cannot be disputed. The larger estimates seem to be justified. April 24th, 1915, is recalled as a conventional opening event — when leading Armenian figures were arrested in Istanbul, on the pretext that they sympathized with the Russian enemy — but there were events before that. One could mention the Adana massacre of 1909, the Hamidian massacres of the 1890s (hundreds of thousands killed in these), and so forth.

This “Red Sunday” in Istanbul was itself immediately preceded by redder ones in distant Van. The official charge that Armenians were working with the Russians was occasioned by the fact that Russians had come to the aid of the Armenians in Van, threatened with imminent slaughter. In the end, Djevdet Bey, the murderous governor, was anyway able to exterminate more than fifty thousand of the Christians living in that vilayet alone.

Curiously, or not, the events of “Red Sunday,” then many similar as prominent Armenians were rounded up all over the country and sent to holding camps at Ankara from which they would never emerge, is closely connected with the other centenary we are celebrating, today. That is Gallipoli. The Ottoman authorities were acting under the impulse of war, in a moment when they began seriously (and reasonably) to doubt their own survival. But lest this seem an extenuation, it should be remembered that the same authorities had repeatedly turned on the Armenians each time their own global inadequacies had been exposed.

Under the notorious Tehcir Law, a model later for Hitler, all property belonging to Armenians could be seized, and arrangements began for their deportation to — undisclosed locations. These were prison camps which pioneered the methods of Auschwitz and Belsen. Germans and Austrians in the region, as allies of the “Sublime Porte,” were horrified by what they saw, using such descriptors as “bestial cruelty.” There was no possible question that the authorities intended to exterminate, not incarcerate. The Turkish people at large could also see what was happening around them, when not themselves participating in the slaughter. There is no extenuation for them.

The Treaty of Sèvres, after the War, proposed restoration of Armenian native lands within the defunct Sultanate to a new Armenian republic, but in turn triggered another campaign, now by the Turkish nationalists who succeeded the Ottomans. Their law allowed any remaining Armenian property to be seized by the state on the glib ground that it had been “abandoned.” During this later, post-Ottoman phase, perhaps another hundred thousand Armenians were massacred, often in places to which they had fled for safety. Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk,” the great secular Turkish patriot, was direct commander in the later stages of this Turkish-Armenian War, and much progressive effort has been expended washing the blood off his hands.

May 1, 2015

The Sea Turns Red – Gallipoli Landings I THE GREAT WAR – Week 40

Filed under: Australia, Europe, History, Middle East, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 30 Apr 2015

Completely underestimating the Ottoman army at the Dardanelles, the British commanders decide to let the ANZACs take the Gallipoli peninsular as a gateway to the Bosporus and Constantinople. After the landing in ANZAC Cove and on Z Beach one thing comes clear though: Mustafa Kemal and his troops will fight for every inch of this piece of rock.

April 27, 2015

Armenia and the Ottoman Empire

Filed under: Europe, History, Middle East, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In The Walrus, Atom Egoyan discusses the fading memories of the Armenian genocide:

They are disappearing. When I arrived in Toronto in 1978 and first became involved with Armenian issues, there were many survivors still alive. Every year on April 24 — the day commemorating the Armenian genocide — we would head to Ottawa. There, survivors would present testimonials, and offer living proof of the systematic campaign of extermination carried out by Ottoman Turks a century ago.

These people would tell their haunting stories — stories that Canadians needed to hear. Unlike the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide has not been universally acknowledged. Turkey — the successor state to the Ottoman Empire — still refuses to admit the historical fact of the event. And with each passing year, there are fewer and fewer survivors left to disprove the deniers with eyewitness recollections.

In the immediate aftermath of World War I, there was hope for accountability. When the Young Turk government collapsed in 1918, many former senior party members fled to Germany, a wartime ally. But the incoming Turkish administration arrested hundreds of those officials who remained in the country — and their collaborators — on suspicion of having participated in the orchestration of the deportations and killings. The suspects were charged with a variety of offences, including murder, treason, and theft. In a series of trials that took place between 1919 and 1920, former Young Turk officials delivered startling confessions and revealed secret documents that outlined the tactics they employed in carrying out their genocidal program.

After the war, the victorious Allies originally had advocated tough punishments for the criminals, as well as an independent Armenian republic in northeastern Turkey. But Turkish nationalists, led by Mustafa Kemal, opposed this. Kemal, who in 1934 was granted the surname Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), believed the ongoing trials exemplified the desire of foreign powers to tear apart his country. He moved to shut them down and also sought to abrogate the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, under which Turkey was to recognize Armenia as “a free and independent state.” He promised to help Western nations gain access to the region’s valuable oil fields in return for their support of his cause.

April 24, 2015

Gas On The Western Front – Baptism of Fire for Canada I THE GREAT WAR Week 39

Filed under: Cancon, Germany, History, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 23 Apr 2015

After experiments on the Eastern Front, the German Army is using poison gas for the first time on the Western Front. At the beginning of the 2nd Battle of Ypres, the wind blows in a favourable direction; the wide spread use of chlorine gas has a devastating effect on the French troops. Even the Germans are surprised by it. The incredible sacrifice of the Canadian troops make it possible to defend Hill 60 in the end.

April 17, 2015

Hubris – A General’s Worst Enemy I THE GREAT WAR Week 38

Filed under: Britain, Europe, History, Middle East, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Published on 16 Apr 2015

This week, generals on three different fronts show that they are not able to realise their mistakes. Basra falls to the British, the quick victory at the Dardanelles is getting more and more unlikely and the Russians are loosing their advantage in the Carpathians. But not the commanders have to pay the price for their mistakes, the soldiers have to.

April 10, 2015

The Armenian Genocide I THE GREAT WAR – Week 37

Filed under: Europe, History, Middle East, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 9 Apr 2015

The leaders of the Ottoman Empire are looking for a scapegoat after their collosal defeat in the Caucasian Mountains a few month earlier. They start the systematic relocation and disarm Armenian troops among their ranks to end all calls for Armenian independence. Today’s estimates place the death toll of the genocide up till 1.5 million men, women and children.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress