“How was it possible that such vast numbers of innocent Armenians, people not involved at all in any crime, were killed? Declaring Jihad, more than 1.5 million people were killed, dispersed and in the end destroyed…through such methods as cannon fire, and burning alive. These crimes were compounded by resort to massive plunders of the movable and immovable properties of the victim population and desecration of their sacred monuments.”
“More than one million Armenian city dwellers and peasants were savagely slaughtered and made to choke quietly on their own blood…The executioners were deaf to the crying and weeping of these wretched victims, even to their pleas to shoot them so that they might escape the torment: the order had come from on high and the jihad against the Armenians truly had been proclaimed ”
—Grigoris Balakian, from his 1914-1918 eyewitness travelogue account, Armenian Golgotha, first published in 1922
“[T]he terrible holocaust of 1915, when a million and a half Armenians perished.”
—Bernard Lewis, from The Emergence of Modern Turkey, 1962 edition; Lewis’s later volte face, i.e., denying the Armenian genocide, or in his parlance, their “terrible holocaust,” is better known—and has never been adequately explained.
“Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?”
—Adolph Hitler, from a United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality document, August 22, 1939
During a Fox News Hannity panel appearance on Friday September 12, 2014, I alluded to the timeless Koranic injunction to wage jihad war against Jews and Christians, specifically, Koran 9:29, for the purpose of forcibly imposing a Sharia-based Islamic order upon them. I then provided a graphic, modern historical manifestation of this eternal Islamic “imperative”: the 1915-19 jihad genocide of the Armenian, Assyro-Chaldean, and Syrian Orthodox Christian communities of Anatolia, and northern “Mesopotamia,” i.e., modern Iraq, by the last Caliphate—the Ottoman Caliphate.
Notwithstanding the recent horrific spate of atrocities committed against the Christian communities of northern Iraq by the Islamic State (IS) jihadists, the Ottoman jihad ravages were equally barbaric, depraved, and far more extensive. Occurring, primarily between 1915-16 (although continuing through at least 1918), some 1 to 1.5 million Armenian, and 250,000 Assyro-Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox Christians were brutally slaughtered, or starved to death during forced deportations through desert wastelands. The identical gruesome means used by IS to humiliate and massacre its hapless Christian victims, were employed on a scale that was an order of magnitude greater by the Ottoman Muslim Turks, often abetted by local Muslim collaborators (the latter being another phenomenon which also happened during the IS jihad campaign against Iraq’s Christians). I concluded my brief comments September 12, 2014 by noting, “we are only coming up on the 100th anniversary next year (i.e., 2015) of the Armenian Jihad Genocide.”
That solemn centennial commemoration will take place this Friday, April 24, 2015. Failure to formally recognize the genocidal anti-Christian jihad depredations of the World War I era, and its immediate aftermath—punctuated by the Armenian genocide—is a lingering moral stain on the U.S. body politic. The geo-political consequences of this profound ethical and intellectual delinquency—rooted in jihad appeasement, and denial—are once again manifest. Vestigial remnant Eastern Christian populations who barely survived those 20th century jihad depredations, may now face their final liquidation, wrought by contemporary jihadists. Majority approval of H. Res 154 (the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution) would mark a necessary, albeit very limited, first step in rectifying the continued tragic impact of this state of denial.
Recent specific statements on H. Res 154 by Democratic California representatives Adam Schiff, and Anna Eshoo, and independent remarks, not related to the Resolution, by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, underscore the importance of recognizing the early 20th century mass killings of the Armenians (and other Christian minorities of the former Ottoman Empire), as genocidal. The comments by these U.S. politicians address shared themes: reinforcing the frank words of Pope Francis, and adding their own observations about the pitfalls of denial, as Middle East Christianity is once again being ravaged, now.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who is the lead sponsor of H. Res 154, invoking Pope Francis’s public pronouncement characterizing the Ottoman slaughter of the Armenians as “the first genocide of the 20th century,” hoped the Pope’s remarks would
inspire our President and Congress to demonstrate a like commitment to speaking the truth about the Armenian Genocide and to renounce Turkey’s campaign of concealment and denial.
America must speak plainly about the facts of what happened one hundred years ago, when in the throes of defeat, the Ottoman Empire murdered one and a half million Armenian men, women and children. With the centennial of the genocide fast approaching, and with a few survivors still among us, the time for inexcusable silence has come to an end.
As a prominent Jewish Congressman, Schiff’s comments denouncing “Turkey’s campaign of concealment and denial,” have particular resonance—and irony. Turkish historian Rifat Bali has chronicled how the raison d’être for Turkey’s small remnant dhimmi Jewish population has devolved, perversely, into
collaborating with the Turkish Foreign Ministry and various American Jewish organizations to block the annual resolutions submitted to Congress calling for official recognition of the events surrounding the 1915 Ottoman deportation of its Armenian population as a genocide.
Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), noting her combined Armenian and Assyrian descent, framed her support for H. Res 154 with reference to the current depredations against Middle East Christians.
I know the stories. I lost family in the genocide. History does repeat itself. Today, we are seeing the elimination of Christians across the Middle East. And so, history is repeating itself. The Armenian Genocide took place because Armenians were Christians—they had a mark on them. The Christians in the Middle East today are suffering at the hands of yet others who seek to exterminate them.
Like Rep. Schiff, Sen. Cruz extolled Pope Francis’s candor, in an April 18, 2015 written statement the Texas Senator addressed to the Armenian Church of Austin.
One hundred years ago, the world was too silent as the Armenian people suffered a horrific genocide. Today, we commemorate more than a million souls who were extinguished by the Ottoman Government. Let the terrors of those events awaken in us the courage to always stand for freedom against evil forces. As Pope Francis rightly said, “Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.” The massacre of the Armenian, Assyrian and other Christian people should be called what it is: genocide. Sadly, many today are still unaware of this 20th century atrocity. We cannot neglect the brutality carried out on these innocent souls because we cannot leave any room for them to occur again. If we forget the annals of history, we will not honor those who suffered in the death camps of the Holocaust, Soviet Union, Cambodia, and many others. That is a tragedy we can and should prevent. As the Russian novelist and Soviet prisoner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn reflected, “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future.” I commend your efforts to illuminate the past, and to prevent such injustice from occurring again, whether in your homeland or in any country around the globe.
But even the laudatory observations of Schiff, Eshoo, and Cruz each contain a glaring lacuna: none of their remarks acknowledge how jihad was the motivating Islamic ideology which fomented, and rationalized, the genocidal Ottoman Muslim killings of Armenian, Assyrian, Greek Orthodox, and other Christians. Jihad denial by U.S. policymaking elites across the political spectrum is a mindset so pervasive, and on occasion, egregiously delusive, at present, it reflects mindslaughter.
Why The Armenian Genocide Was a Jihad, and April 24th is an Appropriate Commemoration Day
April 24, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the date officially (and appropriately) commemorated as the start of the Armenian Genocide—a jihad genocide. The Armenian genocide is formally commemorated each April 24th because on that date in 1915, the Turkish Interior Ministry issued an order authorizing the arrest of all Armenian political and community leaders suspected of anti-Ottoman or Armenian nationalist sentiments. In Istanbul alone, 2345 such leaders were seized and incarcerated, and most of them were subsequently executed. The majority were neither nationalists, nor were they involved in politics. None were charged with sabotage, espionage, or any other crime, and tried. As the intrepid Turkish author Taner Akcam has acknowledged,
…Under the pretext of searching for arms, of collecting war levies, or tracking down deserters, there had already been established a practice of systematically carried-out plunders, raids, and murders [against the Armenians] which had become daily occurrences…
Within a month, the final, definitive stage of the process which reduced the Armenian population to utter helplessness, i.e., mass deportation, would begin. Indeed, the diary of Talat Pasha—a member of the infamous ruling Ottoman triumvirate during WWI—finally published in 2008, concedes that some 972,000 to 1,150,000 Armenians underwent deportation, and/or “disappeared,” between 1914 and 1917. Moreover, the subsequently published (2011) Judgment at Istanbul features the conclusions of the Ottomans’ own post World War I (Nuremberg-like) Military Tribunals which long ago established the facts of a centrally organized mass murder committed against the Empire’s Armenian population.
Contemporary accounts by European diplomats written from 1890 through the of World War I era, also demonstrate that these genocidal massacres were perpetrated in the context of a formal jihad waged against the Armenians because they sought the equal rights promised to them, but never granted, under various failed schemes to reform the discriminatory system of Ottoman Islamic Law (“Sharia”).
During the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid, the Ottoman Turks massacred over 200,000 Armenians, between 1894-96. This was followed, under the Ottoman Young Turk regime, by the Adana massacres of 25,000 Armenians in 1909, and the first formal genocide of the 20th century, when in 1915 alone, an additional 600,000 to 800,000 Armenians were slaughtered. The massacres of the 1890s had an “organic” connection to the Adana massacres of 1909, and more importantly, the events of 1915. As Vahakn Dadrian, the preeminent historian of the Armenian genocide, argues, these mass killings facilitated the genocidal acts of 1915 by providing the Young Turks with “a predictable impunity.” The absence of adverse consequences for the Abdul Hamid massacres in the 1890s allowed the Young Turks to move forward without constraint.
Contemporary accounts from European diplomats make clear that all these brutal massacres were perpetrated in the context of a formal jihad against the Armenians who had attempted to throw off the yoke of dhimmitude—non-Muslim subjection under Islamic law—by seeking equal rights and autonomy. For example, the Chief Dragoman (Turkish-speaking interpreter) of the British embassy reported, regarding the 1894-96 massacres:
[The perpetrators] are guided in their general action by the prescriptions of the Sheri [Sharia] Law. That law prescribes that if the “rayah” [dhimmi] Christian attempts, by having recourse to foreign powers, to overstep the limits of privileges allowed them by their Mussulman [Muslim] masters, and free themselves from their bondage, their lives and property are to be forfeited, and are at the mercy of the Mussulmans. To the Turkish mind the Armenians had tried to overstep those limits by appealing to foreign powers, especially England. They therefore considered it their religious duty and a righteous thing to destroy and seize the lives and properties of the Armenians.
Historian Bat Ye’or confirms this reasoning, noting that the Armenian quest for reforms invalidated their “legal status,” which involved a “contract” (i.e., with their Muslim Turkish rulers). This
…breach…restored to the umma [the Muslim community] its initial right to kill the subjugated minority [the dhimmis], [and] seize their property…
Lord Kinross’s study of the Ottoman Empire has described the tactics of Abdul Hamid’s agents, who deliberately fomented religious fanaticism among the local Muslim populations in Turkish Armenia, and the devastating results of this incitement:
It became their normal routine first to assemble the Moslem population in the largest mosque in a town, then to declare, in the name of the Sultan, that the Armenians were in general revolt with the aim of striking at Islam. Their Sultan enjoined them as good Moslems to defend their faith against these infidel rebels. He propounded the precept that under the holy law the property of rebels might be looted by believers, encouraging Moslems to enrich themselves in the name of their faith at the expense of their Christian neighbours, and in the event of resistance, to kill them. Hence, throughout Armenia, ‘the attack of an ever increasing pack of wolves against sheep.’… Each operation, between the bugle calls, followed a similar pattern. First into a town there came the Turkish troops, for the purpose of massacre; then came the Kurdish irregulars and tribesmen for the purpose of plunder. Finally came the holocaust, by fire and destruction, which spread, with the pursuit of fugitives and mopping—up operations, throughout the lands and villages of the surrounding province. This murderous winter of 1895 thus saw the decimation of much of the Armenian population and the devastation of their property in some twenty districts of eastern Turkey. Often the massacres were timed for a Friday, when the Moslems were in their mosques and the myth was spread by the authorities that the Armenians conspired to slaughter them at prayer. Instead they were themselves slaughtered, when the Moslems emerged to forestall their design. The total number of victims was somewhere between fifty and a hundred thousand, allowing for those who died subsequently of wounds, disease, exposure, and starvation…In each of thirteen large towns the numbers of those dead ran well into four figures. In Erzurum, the bazaar of a thousand shops was looted and wrecked by the Moslems, while some three hundred Christians were buried the next day in a single massed grave…Cruelest and most ruinous of all were the massacres at Urfa, where the Armenian Christians numbered a third of the total population. Here in December 1895, after a two-months siege of their quarter, the leading Armenians assembled in their cathedral, where they drew up a statement requesting Turkish official protection. Promising this, the Turkish officer in charge surrounded the cathedral with troops. Then a large body of them, with a mob in their wake, rushed through the Armenian quarter, where they plundered all houses and slaughtered all adult males above a certain age. When a large group of young Armenians were brought before a sheikh, he had them thrown down on their backs and held by their hands and feet. Then, in the words of an observer, he recited verses of the Koran and ‘cut their throats after the Mecca rite of sacrificing sheep.’…When the bugle blast ended the day’s operations some three thousand refugees poured into the cathedral, hoping for sanctuary. But the next morning — a Sunday — a fanatical mob swarmed into the church in an orgy of slaughter, rifling its shrines will cries of “Call upon Christ to prove Himself a greater prophet than Mohammed.” Then they amassed a large pile of straw matting, which they spread over the litter of the corpses and set alight with thirty cans of petroleum. The woodwork of the gallery where a crowd of women and children crouched, wailing in terror, caught fire, and all perished in the flames. Punctiliously, at three—thirty in the afternoon the bugle blew once more, and the Moslem officials proceeded around the Armenian quarter to proclaim that the massacres were over. They had wiped out 126 complete families, without a woman or a baby surviving, and the total casualties in the town, including those slaughtered in the cathedral, amounted to eight thousand dead.
A widely disseminated 1915 Ottoman Fatwa, believed to have been written by Sheikh Shawish (entitled, Aljihad, and translated into English, March 10, 1915) was brought to light by the Jewish community of Alexandria, before its official United States consulate translation. The general calls to religiously motivated violence against non-Muslims, as sanctioned by Islam—i.e., jihad war—were unmistakably clear.
Bat Ye’or has placed the continuum of massacres from the 1890s through the end of World War I, in an overall theological and juridical context, as follows:
The genocide of the Armenians was the natural outcome of a policy inherent in the politico-religious structure of dhimmitude [the violent imposition, or re-imposition of Islamic law via jihad]. This process of physically eliminating a rebel nation had already been used against the rebel Slav and Greek Christians, rescued from collective extermination by European intervention, although sometimes reluctantly.
The genocide of the Armenians was a jihad. No rayas [non-Muslim dhimmis] took part in it. Despite the disapproval of many Muslim Turks and Arabs, and their refusal to collaborate in the crime, these massacres were perpetrated solely by Muslims and they alone profited from the booty: the victims’ property, houses, and lands granted to the muhajirun [“holy warrior” jihadists], and the allocation to them of women and child slaves. The elimination of male children over the age of twelve was in accordance with the commandments of the jihad and conformed to the age fixed for the payment of the jizya. The four stages of the liquidation—deportation, enslavement, forced conversion, and massacre—reproduced the historic conditions of the jihad carried out in the dar-al-harb [territories not formally under Islamic law, or paying tribute to Muslim rulers] from the seventh century on. Chronicles from a variety of sources, by Muslim authors in particular, give detailed descriptions of the organized massacres or deportation of captives, whose sufferings in forced marches behind the armies paralleled the Armenian experience in the twentieth century.
Grigoris Balakian, a leading Armenian priest of his era who was in fact arrested April 24, 1915, managed to escape and compile his personal memoir of the years 1914-1918, the monumental Armenian Golgotha, originally published in 1922, but only available in full English translation since 2009. Balakian’s first hand narrative confirms the jihad motivation for the genocide.
More than one million Armenian city dwellers and peasants were savagely slaughtered and made to choke quietly on their own blood. Tens of thousands of Armenian males, lashed together with string or rope, were mercilessly butchered along all the roads of Asia Minor, or massacred with axes, like tree branches being pruned. The executioners were deaf to the crying and weeping of these wretched victims, even to their pleas to shoot them so that they might escape the torment: the order had come from on high and the jihad against the Armenians truly had been proclaimed. Yes, it was necessary to mercilessly slaughter them until not a single Armenian was left within the confines of the Ottoman Empire.
Missionary and scholar Johannes Lepsius’ complementary eyewitness accounts from Turkey, during World War I, further documented the results of such invocations of jihad:
559 villages whose surviving inhabitants were converted to Islam with fire and sword; 568 churches thoroughly pillaged, destroyed and razed to the ground; of 282 Christian churches transformed into mosques; of 21 Protestant preachers and 170 Armenian priests who were, after enduring unspeakable tortures, murdered on their refusal to accept Islam.
Lepsius concluded with this rhetorical question: “Is this a religious persecution or is it not?”
American Witnesses to the Armenian Genocide: Observations from U.S. Diplomats, 1915-1917
H. Res 154 contains the following reference to U.S. Congressional resolutions adopted in 1916, and 1920, contemporaneous to the jihad genocide of the Armenians:
Whereas even prior to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the United States has a record of having sought to justly and constructively address the consequences of the Ottoman Empire’s intentional destruction of the Armenian people, including through Senate Concurrent Resolution 12 adopted on February 9, 1916, Senate Resolution 359 adopted on May 11, 1920…
The diaries of Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 1913 to 1916, in conjunction with the extended report by American consul Leslie Davis in Harput (remote eastern), Turkey, from 1915 to 1917, and the recently published United States Official Records on the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1917—the latter consisting of memos filed on a daily basis, informing the U.S. Secretary of State and President Woodrow Wilson of the efforts to rescue as many Armenians as possible (and including the obstacles confronting the rescuers’ efforts)— provide the raw data for the World War I era Congressional resolutions cited in H. Res 154.
This combination of official diplomatic correspondence, and private memoirs, provides a lucid, often repellently detailed historical accounting of what the U.S. government knew regarding the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian genocide.
Ambassador Morgenthau, wrote a letter to his son on June 19, 1915, as the massacres of the Armenians reached a murderous crescendo,
The ruin and devastation that is being wrought here is heart-rending. The government is using its present opportunity while all other countries are at war, to obliterate the Armenian race…
His despair was intensified by feelings of impotence as a diplomat for a neutral nation, made all the more distressing by his sympathetic understanding of such mass persecution as a Jew:
…and the worst of it is that it is impossible to stop it. The United States as a neutral power has no right to interfere in their internal affairs, and as I receive report after report of the inhuman treatment that the Armenians are receiving, it makes me feel most sad. Their lot seems to be very much the same as that of the Jews in Russia, and belonging to a persecuted race myself, I have all the more sympathy with them.
Morgenthau reiterated his overall assessment that a frank genocide, in modern parlance, was taking place, both in his diary, and a plethora of memos submitted to the U.S. Secretary of State, Robert Lansing. He stated, for example, that the
…persecution of Armenians is assuming unprecedented proportions. Reports from widely scattered districts indicate a systematic attempt to uproot peaceful Armenian populations and through arbitrary efforts, terrible tortures, wholesale expulsions and deportations from one end of the Empire to the other, accompanied by frequent instances of rape, pillage and murder, turning into massacre, to bring destruction and destitution on them.
Aleppo (Syria) Consul, J.B. Jackson wrote to Ambassador Morgenthau on September 29, 1915 confirming the genocidal organization and scale of the unfolding tragedy:
The deportation of Armenians from their homes by the Turkish Government has continued with a persistence and perfection of plan…32,751…[arrived in Aleppo] by rail from interior stations…In addition thereto it is estimated that at least 100,000 others have arrived afoot. And such a condition as these unfortunates are in, especially those coming afoot, many having left their homes before Easter, deprived of all their worldly possessions without money and all sparsely clad and some naked from the treatment by their escorts and the despoiling depopulation en route. It is extremely rare to find a family intact that has come any considerable distance, invariably all having lost members from disease and fatigue, young girls and boys carried off by hostile tribesmen, and about all the men having been separated from the families and suffered fates that had best be left unmentioned, many being done away with in atrocious manners before the eyes of their relatives and friends. So severe has been the treatment that careful estimates place the number of survivors at only 15% of these originally deported. On this basis the number of those surviving even this far being less than 150,000 up to September 21, there seems to have been about 1,000,000 persons lost up to this date. [emphasis added] There have been persistent reports of the selection of great numbers of the most prominent men from nearly every city, town and village, of their removal to outside places and their final disappearance by means of which we are not positively informed but which the imagination can more or less accurately establish, as months have passed and no news has come of their existence. The heinous treatment of thoroughly exhausted women and children in the open streets of Aleppo by the armed escorts, who relentlessly beat and kicked their helpless charges along when illness and fatigue prevented further effort, is evidence of what must have happened along the roads of the interior further removed from civilization.
The exhausted condition of the victims is further proven by the death of a hundred or more daily of those arriving in this city. Travelers report having seen the numberless corpses along the roadside in the adjacent territory, or bodies in all sorts of positions where the victims fell in the last gasps of typhoid, fever and other diseases, and of the dogs fighting over the bodies of children. Many are the harrowing tales related by the survivors, but time and space prevent the recital thereof.
And Harput Consul Davis contrasted the idyllic beauty of the Lake Goeljuk region, with the gruesome atrocities committed against the Armenians there, under the aegis of the Turks:
Few localities could be better suited to the fiendish purposes of the Turks in their plan to exterminate the Armenian population than this peaceful lake in the interior of Asiatic Turkey, with its precipitous banks and pocket-like valleys, surrounded by villages of savage Kurds and far removed from the sight of civilized man. This, perhaps, was the reason why so many exiles from distant vilayets [provinces] were brought in safety [from afar]…and then massacred in the “Slaughterhouse Vilayet” of Turkey. That which took place around beautiful Lake Goeljuk in the summer of 1915 is almost inconceivable. Thousands and thousands of Armenians, mostly innocent and helpless women and children, were butchered on its shores and barbarously mutilated. Some of the bodies had been burned…probably in the search for gold. We estimated that in the course of our ride around the lake, and actually within the space of 24-hours, we had seen the remains of not less than 10,000 Armenians who had been killed around Lake Goeljuk. This, of course, is approximate, as some of them were only the bones of those who had perished several months before, from which the flesh had entirely disappeared, while in other cases the corpses were so fresh that they were swollen up and the odor from them showed that they had been killed only a few days before. I am sure, however, that there are more, rather than less, than that number; and it is probable that the remains which we saw were only a small portion of the total number in that vicinity. In fact, on my subsequent rides in the direction of Lake Goeljuk I nearly always discovered skeletons and bones in great numbers in the new places that I visited…
From the Armenian Jihad Genocide to The Holocaust
Perhaps the earliest recorded evidence of Adolph Hitler’s serious interest in the jihad was provided by Muhammad ‘Inayat Allah Khan (who adopted the pen name “al-Mashriqi”—“the Orientalist” or “the Sage of the East”). Born in the Punjab in 1888, al-Mashriqi was a Muslim polymath who attended Cambridge on a government scholarship and excelled in the study of oriental languages, mathematics, engineering, and the sciences.
Not only did Mashriqi translate the standard abridged version of Mein Kampf (then commonly available) from English into Urdu during one of his sojourns in Europe, which included time spent in Berlin, he met Hitler in the early years of the Fuehrer’s leadership of the National Socialist [Nazi] Party. Their meeting took place in 1926 at the National Library. Here is the gist of Mashriqi’s report on his interaction with Hitler as described in a letter to the renowned scholar of Indian Islam, J. M. S. Baljon:
I was astounded when he [Hitler] told me that he knew about my Tazkirah [a jihad-promoting work]. The news flabbergasted me . . . I found him very congenial and piercing. He discussed Islamic Jihad with me in details.
Albert Speer, who was Hitler’s minister of Armaments and War Production, wrote a memoir of his World War II experiences while serving a twenty-year prison sentence imposed by the Nuremberg tribunal. Speer’s narrative includes a discussion which captures Hitler’s effusive praise for Islam, “a religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and subjugating all nations to that faith. Such a creed was perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament.” Hitler, according to Speer’s account, repeatedly expressed the conviction that, “The Mohammedan religion . . . would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?” These sentiments were also expressed by Hitler to Dr. Herman Neubacher, the first Nazi mayor of Vienna, and, subsequently, a special delegate of the Nazi regime in southeastern Europe. Neubacher wrote that Hitler had told him Islam was a “male religion” and reiterated the belief that the Germans would have been far more successful conquerors had they adopted Islam in the Middle Ages. Additional confirmation of Hitler’s very favorable inclination toward Islam is provided by General Alexander Loehr, a Lutwaffe commander (executed in 1947 for the mass murders of Yugoslav civilians). Loehr maintained a smiling Hitler had told him that Islam was such a desirable creed the Fuehrer longed for it to become the official SS religion.
Hitler appears to have viewed the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad as an appropriate model for waging genocidal, total war. During the mid to late nineteenth century, jihad total war campaigns—adapted to the conditions of modern warfare—were waged by the Ottoman Empire against its Bulgarian and Armenian Christian minorities. The Ottoman tactics included innumerable atrocities, mass slaughter, and extensive, murderous deportations. Official Ottoman jihad declarations during World War I assured that the genocidal aspects of Islamic doctrine were “updated” by the application of modern total-war offensive doctrines and directed at the Armenians, in particular. This jihad-inspired policy begot razzias (raids), massacres of villagers, massacres of Armenian conscripts in work battalions, and mass deportations—all representative of an overall total-war strategy implemented by the Ottoman state and military high command.
And the disintegrating Ottoman Empire’s World War I jihad genocide against its Armenian minority, specifically, served as an “inspirational” precedent to Hitler. During August 1939, Hitler gave speeches (for example, as contained in this U.S. Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality document, pp. 753-54) in preparation for the looming invasion of Poland which admonished his military commanders to wage a brutal, merciless campaign and assure rapid victory. Hitler portrayed the impending invasion as the initial step of a vision to “secure the living space we need,” and ultimately, “redistribute the world.” In an explicit reference to the Armenians, “Who after all is today speaking of the extermination of the Armenians?” Hitler justified their annihilation (and the world’s consignment of this genocide to oblivion) as an accepted new world order because, “The world believes only in success.” The specific comments about the Armenians, dated August 22, 1939, and recorded by German Admiral Canaris, were made two days after Hitler accepted the Soviet terms for a non-aggression agreement, and prior to the German invasion of Poland.
Historian Vahakn Dadrian has observed that although Hitler’s motives in seeking to destroy the Jews were not identical with those of the Ottoman Turks’ in their attempts to eliminate the Armenians, “the two victim nations share one common element in Hitler’s scheme of things: their extreme vulnerability.” Moreover, Hitler emphasized the urgent task, “of protecting the German blood from contamination, not only of the Jewish but also of the Armenian blood.” Predictable impunity—the ease with which the Armenian genocide was committed and how the perpetrators escaped retributive justice—clearly impressed Hitler and his henchmen, considering a similar action against the Jews. As historian Abram Sachar noted, “the genocide was cited approvingly twenty-five years later by the Fuehrer . . . who found the Armenian ‘solution’ an attractive precedent.” Finally, the German Jew, Richard Lictheim who as a young Zionist leader had negotiated with Ottoman leaders in Turkey during World War I, characterized the “cold-bloodedly planned extermination of over one million Armenians . . . [as] akin to Hitler’s crusade of destruction against the Jews.” Hitler’s murderous actions, consistent with those of his Ottoman “inspirers,” and personal affinity for Islam, are better characterized as a jihad against the Jews.
The historical record of the jihad genocide of the Armenians a century ago, through the present day jihadist atrocities against Christian communities in the Middle East, and beyond, demonstrates that ancient Islamic jihad war theory continues to be acted upon by Muslims, regularly, across the globe, till now. What remains is for the Muslim intelligentsia to acknowledge, and then eliminate this practice, as Bat Ye’or explained 25-years ago, in 1990:
…[T]his effort cannot succeed without a complete recasting of mentalities, the desacralization of the historic jihad and an unbiased examination of Islamic imperialism. Without such a process, the past will continue to poison the present and inhibit the establishment of harmonious relationships. When all is said and done, such self-criticism is hardly exceptional. Every scourge, such as religious fanaticism, the crusades, the inquisition, slavery, apartheid, colonialism, Nazism and, today [i.e., circa 1990], communism, are analyzed, examined, and exorcized in the West. Even Judaism—harmless in comparison with the power of the Church and the Christian empires—caught, in its turn, in the great modernization movement, has been forced to break away from some traditions. It is inconceivable that Islam, which began in Mecca and swept through three continents, should alone avoid a critical reflection on the mechanisms of its power and expansion. The task of assessing their history must be undertaken by the Muslims themselves…
A quarter century later, it is now readily apparent such a long overdue, mea culpa-based Muslim self-examination will never begin if the non-Muslim, especially Christian, targets of jihad genocide, remain in their own abject state of jihad denial. U.S. politicians could help facilitate that Muslim re-evaluation process by not only demanding recognition of the Armenian genocide, but further identifying those mass killings as a jihad genocide, specifically.