Under the Dark Disguise of WWI
From 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire committed deathly atrocities against its own Armenian people. The Ottoman government assumed that the tragedies in which they were soon to cause would be masked by the mass casualties in the ongoing battles of World War 1. The Armenian Genocide, or the 'Great Crime' (as called traditionally by Armenians), was planned and administered by the Turkish government over the Armenian population of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. This eight year period resulted in a predicted number of 1.6 million deaths.
1894 - 1896
1914 - 1915
1915 - 1923
1923 - Present
Armenia becomes the first national state to adopt Christianity as its official religion.
Ottoman Empire is firmly established, including the borders of Armenia. Labeled second-class citizens, Armenians were granted religious freedoms, but were not allowed an equal legal standing as they were not subject to Islamic law.
Ottoman Empire declines, its economy stagnates, and various included ethnic groups begin to mobilize for independence. Simultaneously, Armenians advocate for reform that would grant them equality, protection, and fair law.
In response to Armenian activism for civil rights, around 300,000 Armenians are killed under Sultan Abdul Hamid II (this gives him international infamy under the name: 'The Bloody Sultan'). These killings become known as the Hamidian Massacres and attract world-wide attention. US Congress debates intervention, and later the American Red Cross establishes its first ever international mission for these Armenian victims.
The Young Turk revolution overthrows Sultan Abdul Hamid II, and raises hopes for Armenians and others that a new constitution will be put in place which will protect and enhance the rights of the Empires populations. The Young Turks were ambitious junior officers in the Turkish Army who wanted to halt the countries steady decline, and their political introduction seemingly guaranteed that idea to their hopeful people.
Armenians quickly celebrate this newfound potential for long awaited rights, and are massacred at Adana. The Ottoman idea of 'Pan Turkism' is adopted as a fierce nationalist policy, being designed to unite the new country under the Young Turks.
Ottoman Empire enters World War I, quickly suffering a bad defeat by the Russians. This turns into a pretext for attacks on the Armenians, who are accused of uniting with the Russians. Along with the ideas of 'Pan Turkism' and the Armenian Christian minority, this treason accusation sparked the beginning of a genocide that would kill 1.6 million Armenians.
The Armenian Genocide commences. Forced death marches, attacks by special militias, abductions of children and women, and direct massacres outline the atrocities committed against the Armenian people. 1.6 Armenians are estimated to have been killed as a result of the Armenian genocide, along with a vast number of destroyed Armenian communities, businesses, and property.
The Turkish government immediately any accusation of the Armenian Genocide. Efforts continue to this day to deny these atrocities.