16 December 2006
The British not only sent Germans residing in England to "concentration camps" (prisons, really; the word from this British-controlled article is "internment") they also "deported" them (the euphemistic word is "repatriated")... well before the Ottoman Empire embarked on a similar policy! An analysis follows, after the article presentation.
GERMANS IN ENGLAND SUFFERING GREAT HARDSHIPS
Daily Kennebec Journal
May 28, 1915
(Associated Press Correspondence)
London May 15?The announcement that all Germans In England are to be interned or repatriated has brought a flood of worried visitors to the American Embassy which is now entrusted with the task of caring for the interests of Germans In England.
Most of the visitors are German women who regard with the [utmost?] apprehension the idea of being sent to Germany. Some of them expressed a desire to be allowed to go to the United States Instead, declaring that the task of finding a living would be there than in Germany.
When war broke out there was a large number of German women clerks, typewriters students, commercial travelers and tourists but those with few exceptions have already repatriation [sic]. The women who are here now are mainly wives of German men who have been interned or middle aged. German women who have lived here so long that they have lost touch with their own country. Although their sympathies are generally German, they have no desire to go into the midst of war [??] or to be thrown on their own resources in Germany at a time of peculiar economic tension like the present.
Few of them however have been able to find work in England since the war began with the exception of the German cooks who are apparently just as much sought after in English families as before the war.
There has been a considerable amount of privation and suffering among self supporting German women in England and among women married to interned Germans here. Only one per cent of the German men at large in England on May 1 were employed and there was much poverty. The German government, through the American authorities, makes an allowance in needy cases paid through the German Benevolent Society. The allowance amounts to $2.50 a week. plus 75c a week for each child, and is paid to German wives of interned Germans. The English government makes a grant of about the same amount to the English wives of Interned Germans.
(Thanks to Gokalp)
"World War I - German prisoners at Camberley, England. Photo taken in September
1914." From the web site of the Canadian newspaper, The Toronto Star.
Far be it for us to expect unreliable newspaper accounts, particularly from the WWI period, to substitute for actual history. But since this article appeared in an American newspaper, and since the British (after having cut the cable from Germany to the USA) largely controlled the news from abroad, the above account was, if anything, shown in the best possible light. Nevertheless, greater research is needed before reaching solid conclusions. But if we accept the above as mostly based on truth, it's only fair to expose the parallel with the Ottomans and their Armenians, as well as to expose British hypocrisy... regarding their "holier-than thou" ways with the Ottoman Turks.
The above does not serve as a direct parallel, obviously, as at least Germans in England were not exposed to en route dangers of massacre, and the women (and older men) were spared from internment (at least at the time of this article's writing; note the first line ominously suggests "all" Germans were to be targeted)... at least in terms of being forced to move away, but not always in terms of suffering. Let us, however, consider the differences:
1) If England were on her last legs and shared a land border with an enemy dangerously close to bursting through and to cause England's extinction, and if (say, in this case) the Germans living in England began to massacre the English and to hit the English armies from the back, anyone may speculate what would have happened to the Germans. The fact of the matter is, the English came down hard on their innocent Germans probably near the outbreak of the war, and did not even give the Germans a chance to engage in possible mischief.
In other words, what happened to the Germans in England was almost exactly the same as what happened to the Japanese (and a small sampling of Germans and Italians) in the USA & Canada of WWII, except in the case of the Japanese, entire families were resettled.
2) If a much wealthier nation as Great Britain was on a par with the bankrupt and less developed Ottoman "Sick Man," lacking railroads for movements of people, the safety of the Germans could not have been guaranteed. Bear in mind, Ottoman-Armenians from the west who could travel on the one-track railroad in existence arrived relatively unharmed in their destinations.
3) Note that even though Armenians were in serious revolt in many areas throughout the Ottoman Empire, and as soon as war broke out, it took the Ottomans over one full half year before taking serious action with the temporary resettlement decision. (May 27, going into legal effect on June 1st; "April 24" designated the arrests of the 235 ringleader suspects of the Armenian revolt. War began at the start of November, 1914.) Contrast with the speedy "concentration camp" and "deportation" actions of the English at an earlier stage (these policies were in effect well before this article's May 28 publication date), even though there was no relative sign of treachery from Germans living in England.
4) The Armenians who were resettled, unlike the interned Japanese of WWII America and the interned German men of WWI Britain, were not kept under lock and key, and could come and go as they pleased after their relocation, for the most part. Also of note is that these Armenians, as well as the ones who were never forced to resettle, were able to find jobs or were able to hold on to their jobs, for the most part. This is very ironic, of course, because the main reason for "genocide," we are told, was pan-Turkism or "Turkey for the Turks," and racial hatred against non-Turks. If there was wide scale hatred against Armenians, even after they were shown as a community to have betrayed their nation, no doubt public intolerance would have kept the bulk from being able to make a living. (Keeping in mind, of course, that some must have no doubt been mistreated for this very reason, and Armenians were generally skilled and sought after as workers, like the still-in-demand German cooks we are told of above. If racial hatred took sway, however, much of the Armenians' skills would have been moot, as were the relatively great talents of the Jewish community in Nazi Germany.) Now look at what happened in "enlightened" England: the German men were "all" (save for 1% still at large, as of May 1) forced out of work, for one reason and one reason alone: wartime prejudice.
5) Most Armenians who died did so from non-violent reasons, such as famine and disease. Genocide advocates unethically prefer to accuse the Ottoman Turks of having "murdered" these Armenians, but that would only make sense if the Ottoman Turks were also not dying en masse of famine and disease; even their soldiers. Now compare: The English public was not in danger of dying from starvation or pestilence. Yet note they let the German women totally adrift, in a society with an anti-German bias, practically refusing to give Germans work. Only the neediest would get a pittance from a German organization (and even in those days, how much food could seventy-five cents have bought per child, for a whole week?) The only ones the English government took care of were their own, the English wives whose German husbands were interned. (Allowing only a pittance as well, as though to punish them for marrying "Huns.") Sounds like a case of "England for the English."
Segments of Great Britain's Irish population were up in arms during WWI, by the way, not far from the behavior of Ottoman-Armenians. That is a different discussion, but it would be interesting to compare how the Irish were treated during this time. Were they treated more gently and kindly than the tolerant Turks treated their treacherous Armenians? Or as C. F. Dixon-Johnson wrote, comparing with the Ottoman decision to move out the Armenians, was it more a case of, "The British Government has never hesitated under much less critical conditions to suppress rebellion within its borders with an iron hand and by measures which, surveyed after the time of stress and danger was past, have appeared both harsh and cruel in the extreme" ?
.As Kamuran Gurun wrote in "The Armenian File," regarding the British and other allies who expressed an uproar over the Ottomans' necessary wartime move:
"In order to believe that the politicians who appeared as perfect humanitarians, and who shed tears claiming that Armenians were being killed, were concerned and saddened by the fate of the Armenians in Turkey, one must be not only rather naive but stupid."
The source site of this article gets revised often, as better information comes along. For the most up-to-date version, and the related photos, the reader may consider reviewing the direct link as follows: