Britain determined to stop the Railway achieving a port at the Persian Gulf. So England had to continually widen the War, encouraging others to participate, in order to win it, no matter what the consequences for other parts of the world and the short and long-term damage to relationships between peoples drawn into the conflict. Andranik was said in a War Office report to the Foreign Office to be “surrounded by traitors and betrayers” making for unreliable allies. There was little food, fodder or oil. The massacre was unleashed by the Baku Soviet (city executive power in the Soviet times) and Armenian Dashnaks (nationalists) in Baku and Ganja, as well as in Shamakhy, Guba, Neftchala and Kurdamir regions, between March 30 and April 3, 1918. [xxxvi] For Curzon the source of the threat did not matter. Baku was thrown into flux by a series of events including the collapse of Tsarist authority, the disintegration of the Russian army, the Bolshevik coup, the arming and arrival of large bodies of Armenians, and the expectation of British Imperialist intervention.

Such an approach completely disregards the Armenian factor in Baku and the Eastern Transcaucasus, to say nothing of the fact of the Bolshevik-Dashnak cooperation. Enver Pasha had cannily bided his time after the revolution until the demoralized Russian army stationed in northeastern Turkey simply melted away, leaving the way to Baku invitingly open. There, he learned the details of his new assignment. However, the Bolshevik/Dashnak force was primarily an alliance of convenience against the Moslem majority. Firstly, they saw the Bolsheviks as merely the expansionary Russian State in new form, particularly since the Pravda Decree, On Armenia.

The British believed that the Young Turk Ottoman Government were driven by two ideological motivations: Pan-Islamism and Pan-Turanianism. Lord Robert Cecil wrote to his Uncle, the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour on 8 January 1918: “As for the Caucasus, the position is absolutely chaotic, or at least the accounts of it that reach us are of that description. [lxxxvii] FO 371/3657/27502. A company of the 9th Worcesters joined them there in midafternoon. [lxxxvi] FO 371/3284/66538/W/38. The March 1918 developments – the outcome of the Musavat riot. Brest Litovsk also provided the legal framework for the Ottoman armies to advance into Transcaucasia. The Ottoman Third Army had at this moment been worn down by 4 years of fighting and the famine of 1917 and had been weakened by large amounts of desertions.

Finally he could put off the impatient Bicherakov no longer, and after talks with Kuchik Khan failed, plans were made to attack his positions at Menjil. [xliii], On 21 December 1917 the British War Cabinet in a secret Memorandum urged the establishment of an Armenian state as “the only barrier against the development of a Turanian movement that will extend from Constantinople to China, and provide Germany with a weapon of even greater danger to the peace of the world than the control of the Baghdad Railway’. Also disturbing was the news that conscripts had abandoned the Armenian hilltop. The British Foreign Secretary, Balfour, summing up all of these fears wrote to Lord Reading: “Germany is trying to weaken us by reducing the Middle East and through it India to the same 
condition of disorder as she has reduced Russia.

Vahan Melikyan is going to publish a book regarding the developments in March 1918. The central committee adamantly resisted Dunsterville’s more realistic suggestion — that they prepare to destroy the oil fields — since its members considered them the city’s only claim to importance.

Dunsterville’s original mission was to organise the training of the mainly Armenian forces around Tiflis.[lxxii]. She hopes to do this by… Pan-Turanian propaganda, backed by Turco-German military force. However, the 1907 agreement represented a fundamental break in British Foreign Policy as part of a strategic re-orientation that led to the World War. [xxxii] CAB 24/54: Secret War Cabinet Memoranda: Note by the General Staff on the Caucasus and its value to Germany, 8 June 1918. Therefore, JAMnews requested two experts – Doctor of Historical Sciences Vahan Melikyan from Yerevan, and Toghrul Mashalli from Baku – to elaborate on the developments. Unfortunately for British designs the Armenians who were in receipt of monies could not help themselves from boasting to the Georgians and Azeris of the funding they were receiving, and this had a great effect on stirring up tension. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The extensive Transcaucasian Railways which the Russians had built, and which was feared as much by the British as the Berlin-Baghdad scheme before the War[xix] would now come into the possession of the Germans.[xx]. Henry Winkler, actor, director, producer; rose to fame as "The Fonz" on Happy Days TV series, a role that twice earned him a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy. Dunsterville arrived in Baghdad on January 6, 1918, to find orders, maps and intelligence reports awaiting him — but no army. Britain being a primarily maritime power and having been severely stretched by 3 years of warfare could not send large scale military forces to the Caucasus to pursue its policy. It was feared that if the Berlin to Baghdad Railway was built trade would increasingly go across land and be beyond the guns of the Royal Navy. And both led the Ottomans naturally to Baku. By late 1917 its allies, Russia and France, were in varying states of collapse. England had acted as an ally of the Ottoman Empire for most of the century before the Great War, determined to preserve the Ottoman State as a giant buffer zone between its Indian Empire and the expanding Russian Empire. For most of his life it had been Russia and now it was Germany. The local Persian population surrounded and threatened to massacre his small force. All these British obsessions with German world dominance and Turanian expansionism seem ridiculous now. Thirdly, the Bolsheviks had been using the Armenians, arming and organising them as a military force, and if the Bolsheviks were driven out what would be left was a serious threat to Moslem existence in the area. It first attempted to do this on socialist/ non-Bolshevik lines with Soviets centred in Tiflis and Baku. In the confused seesaw situation in Transcaucasia following the collapse of tsarist Russia, nothing could be taken as final. The Drang nach Osten was a German economic development Britain wished to block but it was also seen as being now connected with an ideological movement described as Ottoman Pan-Turanianism and Pan-Islamism. Thus, the Dunsterforce which had originally been assembled to block the Ottomans before the Caucasus now headed to Baku to stop the Ottomans at the Caspian Sea and secure the oil wells for the British Empire. Then there was the economic threat from the Germans: “It was all part of the German Weltpolitik to oust us from these lucrative markets of the Middle East, and to secure for German shipping a monopoly of the Gulf carrying trade. 338-41. That group was the one which Britain now armed. 30 April details British support given to Armenians.

Learn how your comment data is processed. But the Russian signing of Brest-Litovsk determined that the Russian State would be Bolshevik and Leninist. [lxxvii] FO 371/3284/75611/W/38. It was being suggested in England that Germany had reoriented the direction of its Drang nach Osten towards the Caucasus. It was also necessary to secure the safety of the Moslem population that now found itself without the protection of the Tsar’s armies and at the mercy of the Armenians. The heights to the immediate south of the city near the Bibi Eibat oil fields were held by 60 men of A Company, North Staffords, while 100 Armenians were held in reserve. John Adams, second president of the United States who helped draft the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Paris, ending the American Revolution. Brest Litovsk was finally signed on 3 March 1918 after the Germans convinced the Bolsheviks they meant business.

Mursal Pasha later stated that the Turks had suffered 2,000 casualties. [xxxvii] Interestingly this policy is contained in a speech made to the Imperial War Cabinet on 25 June 1918, 7 months after the Bolshevik takeover of power. They eventually attached themselves to Dunsterforce, which had spent the three weeks since its departure from Baghdad crossing the jungles of Gilan province and plowing its way through mountain passes filled with 12-foot snowdrifts and stray Jangalis.

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