Published by Palgrave Macmillan on November 12, 2013
Genres: Strategic Studies
Erickson’s book was called “courageous and provocative” by Tomlinson prize-winner Sean McMeekin. It offers a counterinsurgency military explanation for the 1915 relocation of the Armenians in eastern Turkey.
Erickson documents the beginning of the Armenian insurgency with the secret committees of the 1890s and their evolution into the Armenian armed resistance. When the Ottomans launched an offensive against Russia in late 1914 a small number of Armenians in the eastern provinces of Turkey rose in revolt and menaced the vulnerable Ottoman rail link to the Caucasus front. Threatened in the Dardanelles by Great Britain and France, pressured in the South by British forces, the Ottoman Army countered the Armenian uprising in the East using population relocation.
A successful counterinsurgency strategy against the Armenians became a public relations nightmare as thousands of Armenians were massacred or simply died of exposure during their relocation. The Ottomans were and remain defiant in defending their actions. Some Armenians continued to be killed for years, yet, as Erickson argues, more than 300,000 were allowed to remain in their homes in western Turkey. The “Armenian genocide” remains highly controversial.
Reviewed by Anne Merritt