British Policy and the Massacres in Baku of March 1918


Looking at the March massacres of 12,000 Azerbaijanis in Baku in 1918 one can only see those killed as victims of a series of events which began in 1907 and which culminated in the Great War of 1914. British understandings of the situation in late 1917-early 1918, that its Great War on Germany and the Ottoman Empire had produced, play a fundamental part in what happened in Baku. British policy had a major part in the tragic events and Britain’s changing relationship with both Russia and the Armenians impacted on the lives of the people in the area in a catastrophic way.

However, when looking at the period it is important to try to remove the course of subsequent events in 1918. To get into the minds of those who made important decisions of life and death it needs to be understood that the internal collapse of Germany, less than a year on, was not foreseen. It was thought that the Great War would probably go on until 1919 or 1920 at least. The outcome of the War at that moment was in the balance and it was certainly not the case that an Allied victory was inevitable in any time soon.

Background 1907-14

There was a revolution in British Foreign Policy, conducted by Sir Edward Grey and the Liberal Imperialists, between 1906 and 1914. This revolution in effect produced the Great War that made what happened in Baku in 1918. The 1907 agreement between England and Russia that prepared the way for Britain’s Great War on Germany and the Ottoman Empire was the seminal event in this process. At the time the 1907 agreement did not seem to indicate the catastrophic effects of the process it would lead to. It appeared to be largely a settling of affairs between Britain and Tsarist Russia, particularly with regard to the carving out of interests in Persia, which protected the Persian Gulf and British Indian Empire from Russian expansion. 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.

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. It was part of what was known as the ‘Great Game’ in England that “the Russians should not have Constantinople” and access to the Mediterranean.

What completely overturned British relations with Ottoman Turkey was the emergence of Germany as a commercial rival around the end of the 19th Century. Britain had since 1688 practiced a ‘Balance of Power’ policy with regard to Europe. Over centuries it had built its Empire by promoting Europe’s division and by giving military assistance to the lesser powers against any power that might be emerging on the continent. Whilst Europe was preoccupied with war England was able to get on with its business of expanding its Empire across the rest of the world.

During the 19th century Britain’s traditional opponent in Europe was France and her traditional rival in Asia was Russia. These Powers were viewed as the main rivals to British power in the world. However, England had came to the conclusion that Germany was the up and coming power. It was decided to overturn the Foreign Policy of a century and to establish alliances with England’s traditional enemies, France and Russia, so that Germany could be encircled and then when war came about Britain would join the conflict and destroy Germany as a commercial rival. Although this process was begun under the Unionist Government of Arthur Balfour the prime movers in the revolution in British Foreign Policy were a Liberal Imperialist cabal within the leadership of the British Liberal Party.

The alliance that Britain entered into with Russia in 1907 made a Great War on Ottoman Turkey inevitable because of why Britain needed Russia against Germany. Britain was an island nation and primarily a sea power. It did not have a large army and it had been opposed to military conscription. It would have been impossible for Britain to have opposed Germany by itself. Therefore, it needed the large French army and the even larger Russian Army to do most of the fighting on the continent for it in any future war with Germany. The Russian Army was particularly important because it made for the crucial second front that would encircle Germany and make a British naval blockade effective. The Tsar’s Army was described in England as the ‘Russian Steamroller’ that would roll all the way to Berlin, crushing German resistance by sheer weight of numbers.

The problem for Britain was that the Russians (unlike the French who wanted to recapture Alsace/Lorraine after their loss to the Germans in 1871) had little real reason to fight Germany. Therefore, something had to be promised to the Tsar for his help. That something was his heart’s desire, Constantinople.

The Situation in the Caucasus in 1917

During the Great War on Germany and the Ottoman Empire the original plan agreed between London and St. Petersburg was for the British to occupy Baghdad and the Russians to converge on Mosul to form a continuous front to the East of the Ottomans[i] The collapse of Britain’s eastern ally under pressure of fighting the Great War changed all that. A political vacuum began to appear in the region with the melting away of the military forces of the Tsarist State.

After the Tsar’s abdication and the resignation of his Viceroy in the Caucasus the region was initially left to its own devices to reconstruct itself. It first attempted to do this on socialist/ non-Bolshevik lines with Soviets centred in Tiflis and Baku. It did this through the Transcaucasian Commissariat. The essence of this was Menshevik with socialists directing the bourgeois revolution as a part of the Russian State. The Transcaucasian Commissariat intended the region to remain a part of Russia. The Bolshevik takeover in Petrograd was condemned and loyalty was pledged to the Provisional Government. When the Bolsheviks issued their Declaration of the Rights of Peoples encouraging self-determination the Transcaucasian Committee ignored it on the basis that nationalism was a reactionary development.

The problem was that the Transcaucasian Committee set themselves apart from the new nucleus of Russian development and as a consequence encouraged separatist tendencies within itself. By signing the Erzincan armistice as an independent entity and resisting the Bolsheviks Transcaucasia was made a place apart and thrown into the melting-pot to be fought over by the Imperialist powers. However, at the same time the Transcaucasian Committee resisted becoming an independent state and representing itself at Brest-Litovsk, turning down an invitation from the Ottomans. Instead it negotiated with the Ottomans informally. Not until April 1918 did it proclaim Transcaucasia an independent Republic, with a cabinet exercising executive powers. But by then the chain of events and development of forces which encouraged its break-up had gathered too much momentum to stop.

The Transcaucasus Committee was primarily concerned with constructing unity in face of external threat and maintaining internal order in an area where a multitude of peoples lived. The British saw early on that each group – Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis – were likely to split apart at an opportune moment and protect the interests of their own community.[ii] The Transcaucasus Committee was provisional in nature, and the National Councils that had already been established by each of the three groups were viewed by the British as more likely to provide the nuclei for future national development.[iii]

Enver Pasha attempted to support the Idea of a Caucasus state as a buffer zone against Armenian expansion. It would contain Armenian energy, block off Russian influence and subsume the Georgians, Armenians and Azeris in a state big enough to be of political consequence.

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. In early 1917 only a Russian advance deeper into Ottoman territory was expected. Even after the February Revolution the Russian Army of the Caucasus had held its lines easily in the summer of 1917 when Russian armies began to collapse elsewhere.

The Russian collapse had other important effects. With the disintegration of the Tsarist army around 200,000 Armenian soldiers returned from service at the various fronts to the Caucasus. The Bolsheviks themselves brought back and armed 100,000 Armenians to resist the Ottoman advance that had been triggered by Lenin’s revolutionary defeatism.[iv] The Russian army of the Caucasus, which had numbered around 320,000, left the vast bulk stores of its weapons and ammunition to the Armenians, under the command of General Andranik. The Armenians were never so well armed and equipped and able to independently assert their strength at the same time that the Ottomans had been weakened by 3 years of war and a devastating famine in Turkey.[v]

As the Russian Army began to disintegrate around Lenin’s Decree of Peace in November 1917, an Ottoman advance into the Caucasus became both possible and necessary.[vi] It was possible to recapture Ottoman territory lost to the Tsar’s armies not only from 1914 but also from the wars of 1878. 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. There had been no prospect of an Ottoman advance until Lenin’s Decree on Land invited the peasant soldiers home to claim their farms and dispersed the Russian forces in the Caucasus. This forced on an armistice signed on December 18, 1917 between the Ottomans and the Caucasus representatives.[vii]

This was the unexpected situation that confronted the British in late 1917 in the Caucasus.

Britain had not shown interest in the Caucasus region prior to the Great War. It was firmly within the Russian sphere of influence and Britain was a maritime power rather than a land power, incapable of penetrating this far inland. Lord Salisbury had once warned the Armenians that they should forget about attempting to draw in foreign powers through provoking Ottoman retaliation after Insurrection because the Royal Navy could never “climb up the Mountains of Taurus”[viii]. That was a very important fact that became forgotten a couple of decades later when the Armenians started to place their faith in British assistance for salvation.

Britain was certainly interested in the perceived mineral wealth of the Caucasus and especially the oil in Baku[ix] By 1900 the Baku wells accounted for half the world’s supply[x] and the switch over to oil powered battleships by the Royal Navy made Baku a valuable prize for British exploitation. However, large military forces would have been required and the area was firmly in Russian hands. This was explicitly conceded by Sir Edward Grey in 1907 when Northern Persia was formally agreed by Britain to be part of the Russian zone of influence.

In the Treaty of London in 1915 Britain agreed to Russian control of Constantinople and complete control of Northern Persia in return for British occupation of the buffer zone above its own Southern Persian zone that had been agreed in the 1907 agreement with the Tsar.

In 1917-18 the primary purpose of British strategy in the Caucasus was not the obtaining of oil but the restoration of the Caucasian front, left vacant by the Tsarist ally, against the Germans and Ottomans. Anything achieved beyond that, including the oil, would be a bonus for the British.

The New Drang nach Osten

The collapse of its Russian ally raised all sorts of fears in Britain about the infamous German Drang nach Osten that had obsessed the English for more than a decade, since the controversy about the Berlin-Baghdad Railway. This Railway was regarded as the centrepiece of the unwelcome German involvement in the Ottoman Empire. The Baghdad Railway had been viewed with great alarm for over a decade in London. Many thought it a major cause of the War because Britain saw the economic and strategic advantages it might provide to continental Europe and Asia and became worried about its effect on British predominance. At this time the Royal Navy controlled the world’s markets by ruling the seas. 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. It was also feared that the Railway would transport goods at a lower cost, giving the Germans a commercial advantage over Britain in the East. And there might develop a great customs union with Germany at its head, that would prosper outside of the global market that Britain had established for its own benefit and which the Royal Navy policed.[xi]

Britain determined to stop the Railway achieving a port at the Persian Gulf. It was the British policy to prevent any power establishing a trade route at this point because England was obsessed with the security of the ‘jewel in its crown,’ India. For this reason, a local tribal leader was encouraged to detach his territory from the Ottoman Empire and establish his own principality called Kuwait, guaranteed by Britain, so that the Baghdad Railway could be prevented from having a terminus and a means of shipping goods further on.

When the Germans saw how important this issue was to Britain they decided to make concessions and offered Britain a stake in the Railway. However, these concessions proved to be too late because anti-German feeling had been built up in England and the process of strategic reorientation and organizing for war had already begun.

In 1916 Noel Brailsford of the Union of Democratic Control published Turkey and the Roads of the East attempting to dismiss these fears to counter support for an expansion of the British Empire in Asia Minor. By that time the Bagdad Railway seemed to have been dealt a fatal blow by the British invasion of Mesopotamia and Palestine. However, by late 1917 and the collapse of Russia the issue had re-emerged in new form, this time with the Caucasus as its vital point.

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.

The British believed that the Young Turk Ottoman Government were driven by two ideological motivations: Pan-Islamism and Pan-Turanianism.[xii] Arnold Toynbee produced an extensive study of Pan-Turanianism for the Foreign Office in November 1917.[xiii] It suggested that the C.U.P. had become Pan-Turanian after the losses of the European areas suffered by the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan Wars. Toynbee suggested that Pan-Turanianism was a main objective of the war for the Turks. It was potentially powerful and wide-reaching because it could encompass Magyars, Bulgarians, various peoples of the Caucasus, Northern Iran, Central Asia and Chinese Turkestan. The Bolshevik takeover in Russia made such a project possible as it had never been in the past, due to the collapse of the strong Tsarist State. Germany supported it for the mutual benefits it would bring, and a new Berlin-Bukhara Railway could replace the Berlin-Baghdad Railway which had been prevented by the British conquest of Mesopotamia. Toynbee wrote: “The Berlin-Baghdad Railway may die but the Berlin-Bokura line through Asia Minor and Northern Persia will live. This is the new German ambition… this all-land route would be a direct menace to the British position in the Persian Gulf and would seriously threaten India from the west and north west.”[xiv]

The British Cabinet Eastern Committee established to deal with the Transcaucasus region began to receive detailed regular and detailed reports on Pan-Turkic movements in the region.[xv] It was believed that realising the Pan-Islamic and Pan-Turanian objectives would be complemented by adding the Baku oil fields to the Ottoman economy and the territory would be easily absorbed given the similar language and culture of the peoples.[xvi]

It was, however, more likely geopolitics[xvii] or the necessities of adapting to the changing war situation that actually drove the Ottomans eastward. Pan-Islamism and Pan-Turanianism were more instruments of policy rather than the cause.[xviii] The British feared that not only would the Germans control the Ukraine and Crimea as well as the Black Sea, but the Caspian Sea would be secured if they reached Baku. 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]

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. She hopes to do this by… Pan-Turanian propaganda, backed by Turco-German military force. Their agents are already endeavouring to stir up Persia, Turkestan and Afghanistan. The Turks have now captured Batum and if they capture Kars, as seems probable, they will be masters of the Caucasus and their road towards Central Asia and India will be open. Unless this movement is checked it is bound to have far-reaching effects…” [xxi]

The British, however, although feeling threatened by both these movements, also viewed them as fundamentally contradictory and purely opportunistic[xxii] employed simply to expand the Ottoman territories to the East as they lost ground in the West. Britain believed that Pan-Islamism was particularly dangerous because it threatened the great Musselman Empire of British India. And both led the Ottomans naturally to Baku.

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. With the German-controlled Bagdad Railway approaching completion, one shudders to realize what would have been our fate economically, if the sea-borne trade of Basra and Koweit had passed under the flag and into the hands of the enterprising Hun.” [xxiii]

This was one of the major reasons for the Great War itself, from a British perspective.

It was being suggested in England that Germany had reoriented the direction of its Drang nach Osten towards the Caucasus. The capture of Baghdad by the British in the spring of 1917 had denied the Germans the original objective of their Railway and they had diverted their route eastward instead. This complemented the Pan-Islamic and Pan-Turanian project of their Ottoman allies. As Major General Dunsterville later wrote:

“One of the big items in the deep-laid pre-war schemes of Germany for world-domination was the absorption of Asia Minor and the penetration into further Asia by means of the Berlin-Baghdad railway. When Baghdad was taken by the British in March 1917, and the prospect of its recapture by the Turks appeared very remote, the scheme for German penetration into Asia had to be shifted further north and took the obvious line BERLIN-BAKU-BOKHARA.” [xxiv]

The Cabinet Eastern Committee report at the end of November suggested that “The Berlin-Baghdad Railway may die, but the Berlin-Bokhara line through Asia Minor and Northern Persia will live. This is the new German ambition.” [xxv]

The British believed that the German reorientation meant that Georgia was going to provide the new axis. The oil pipeline from Baku to Batum and the main rail line running parallel to it, ran through the Georgian capital of Tiflis. The Georgians were understood to be conveniently pro-German. British Intelligence reports began to concentrate on understanding the political situation in Georgia.[xxvi] The original objective of the Dunsterville’s mission when it set out from Baghdad in January 1918 was to proceed to the Georgian capital of Tiflis and to support pro-British elements in an attempt to win over the Transcaucasus to the Allied cause. However, the Ottoman/German advance with the collapse of the Russian front made this impossible and Dunsterville’s objective had to be changed to Baku.

This is significant because during the Great Game Britain had been fearful of the Russian development of the Bokhara route and now it seemed that the Germans were about to step into the breach of what the Russians had left.[xxvii]

Contained in one of the reports is a speech made by Oskar von Sydow, Minister of Commerce, in the Prussian House of Deputies in which Sydow explained German policy:

“The war was made economically necessary for Germany by the ‘encircling’ policy of the Entente, and that from the first it had been conducted by England in a manner to destroy German trade and industry… In conclusion, he said that if Germany was ever to recover, peace must give her security from every point of view especially in the matter of raw materials. The economic war aims were at least as important as the general war aims. The most important thing for Germany was the supply of raw materials, and the guaranteeing of an outlet for her manufactures.”[xxviii]

This is quite an accurate description of the German predicament brought on by the British policy that launched the Great War. The strategy of blockading Germany by sea and encircling her by land posed a great threat to not only German’s ability to wage its defensive war but to feed its population. The collapse of Tsarist Russia and the opening of the Ukraine and Caucasus were a godsend to defeating the Allied siege of Europe.[xxix]

The British saw the economic value of Transcaucasia for Germany as enormous. The Baku oilfields which were calculated to be producing around 9 million tons of output in 1915[xxx] were believed to have the potential of trebling German oil supply if captured.[xxxi] There were also great supplies of wool, cotton, copper, manganese and timber in the region – all targets for the Royal Navy Blockade of Germany whose efforts would be nullified. Ten years of war planning by the Committee of Imperial Defence and Royal Navy Intelligence would be for nought if the Germans could break the Blockade by breaking out East.

Highly detailed reports and memoranda began to concentrate on supplying British policy-makers with information about the German threat to Transcaucasia and the potential resources it could acquire there.[xxxii]

Lord Curzon, who headed the Eastern Committee, told the War Cabinet:

“We must look at the Caucasus as one of the greatest sources of supply of materials essential to Germany that exists in the world. It is a country of great economic value. The natural product of cereals is very great; there is an immense amount of threshed corn preserved there in stacks; there are mines of silver, lead, copper, and manganese, capable of being developed to a greater extent than anything previously attained. On the eastern shores of the Black Sea tea is already cultivated and is capable of much wider development, and when you get towards the western shores of the Caspian you come to Baku and to Grozny on the railway line that runs to Petrovsk, and you find at these two places the most valuable oil wells in the whole of Asia.” [xxxiii]

The fact that Lord Curzon had been appointed by Lloyd George as Chairman of the Eastern Committee to assist the Government in formulating their policy in Asia is a matter of great significance. Curzon had a long-standing interest in Persia and had made visits to the Caucasus in 1888 and 1889. Long before he had been a famous Viceroy of India, indeed ever since he was a boy at Eton, George Curzon, had had a policy in mind for the region to the North West of British India. He had once called it a “glacis” after the killing ground that existed outside the ramparts of a castle.[xxxiv] This was the zone which Britain needed to maintain and in which death and destruction should occur at a safe distance from the British Empire in India.

Lord Curzon felt that Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, was not as concerned as he should be about the Caucasus and was too concerned with his Zionist project. He also felt that Churchill was so anti-Bolshevik that this blinded him to the importance of Russia as a buffer to the Germans, no matter whose management it was under. Both Balfour and Churchill thought Curzon obsessed with the Caucasus and Persia.[xxxv]

Curzon had in mind a chain of buffer states stretching from the northern confines of India to the Mediterranean to serve as this glacis or screen, giving protection against attack to India and the great arterial line of communication between Britain, Australasia and the Far East.[xxxvi] For Curzon the source of the threat did not matter. For most of his life it had been Russia and now it was Germany. In fact, in the true tradition of the Balance of Power policy now that Germany had become the foremost threat to Britain Curzon said that every effort must be made to re-create Russia “even though it may take ten years or twenty years” as a bulwark against German penetration toward India.[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.

Lord Curzon in emphasizing the danger from Germany pointed to what he took as the long-standing nature of German interest in the region. The Kaiser had made a celebrated visit to the Turkish capital and Palestine just before the turn of the century and had threatened to preserve and revive the Ottoman Empire as one of the great civilizations of the world. Kaiser Wilhelm had begun to help develop the infrastructure and military of the Ottomans and all the strands of German policy were to be woven together with the Berlin-Baghdad Railway which was “to place at the disposal of Germany the resources of Asia Minor and to take the Germans by easy stages to the head of the Persian Gulf and the frontiers of India”.

Lord Curzon emphasized that Britain had managed to block the main intended line of German advance through its conquests of Mesopotamia and Palestine, which were not “side shows” in the Great War but geopolitical imperatives, campaigns undertaken “for direct military and political advantages of the most obvious nature.”[xxxviii] Curzon argued that Britain should never cease to understand that Germany could afford to give up all her military gains in the West for her ambition and opportunity in the East. That was the vital front in the Great War and resources needed to be provided to defend the most important part of the British Empire, India. That had already been done to an extent through the cordon of forces deployed from the Persian Gulf up to the Caspian Sea[xxxix]

All these British obsessions with German world dominance and Turanian expansionism seem ridiculous now. However, they should not be seen as insignificant because of their absurdity. These beliefs, held in late 1917-18, within the most powerful and influential sections of the British ruling class were taken as the basis for action and they had real consequences for the peoples of the region, as we shall see.

Arming the Armenians

Britain could not win the Great War with its original allies. By late 1917 its allies, Russia and France, were in varying states of collapse. Britain itself had been militarily and financially drained by 3 years of attritional conflict. 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. Whilst the War would end one day the effects of the drawing in to conflict of various peoples against each other were to have unfortunate consequences lasting generations.

The British War Cabinet decided to provide financial assistance to Armenian forces at its meeting on 7 December.[xl] British Military Intelligence asked General Shore in Tiflis to provide the money required for the organisation of Armenian forces. General Shore met with Andranik to discuss the logistics of this process and reported that he would be able to set up a force of 10,000 from Ottoman Armenians and this would require a sum of 5 to10 million roubles.[xli] Andranik told Shore that if Britain and Russia supplied weapons and munitions, he would be able to expand the Armenian force to 20,000.[xlii] General Shore was then authorised by his superiors to promise the leaders of Armenian forces arms, ammunition and financial support.[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’. The Caucasus was defined as ‘most vital from the point of view of British interests”. [xliv]

Sir Mark Sykes minuted that “the Armenian question is the real answer to Pan-Turanism just as free Arabia is the answer to Turkish Pan-Islamism”.[xlv] It was noted that three things were required to meet the German/Ottoman challenge in the new situation of Russian collapse: 1. Money 2. Armenians and 3. Allied Occupation.[xlvi]

The melting away of the Russian armies in the Caucasus and Lenin’s refusal to continue the war on behalf of the Tsar’s ally, Britain, presented a difficult problem for the British. They would have to improvise a new policy to rescue the situation they had not counted on.

This was the unknown. Arthur Balfour’s niece later summed up the concern that was developing in London:

“It was a world which had been thrown into chaos by the fall of the Russian Empire, and now presented a fresh set of political and economic problems for all belligerents. No European really knew what forces might be gathering in the vast territories where Bolshevik rule was not established – in the Ukraine – in the Caucasus – in Siberia – nor what influence they might have upon the War in Europe. It was vital to discover, but at the turn of the year the searchers at Whitehall had not delivered very precise information…”[xlvii]

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. In South Caucasus the difficulty is that the Tartars, and possibly the Georgians, think that have now an unrivalled opportunity for exterminating the Armenians… We are engaged in trying to find money to help the Armenians to organise an Army, and at the same time to persuade the Georgians and Tartars to reserve their massacring temper for the Turks…”[xlviii]

This note showed how ignorant Britain was of the situation in the Caucasus. There were no Tartar inclinations to massacre the Armenians – precisely the opposite was the case, as was soon to be demonstrated. British Policy was being based on the stereotypes they had developed over a generation about the “terrible Turk” and “ravished Armenia”. The dominant racialist narrative about the peoples of the region that had emerged from the 1870s in the Anglosphere was being used to justify a dangerous policy that would indeed make one group “think that have now an unrivalled opportunity for exterminating”. That group was the one which Britain now armed.

So Britain began to desperately fund and attempt to organise the Armenians as their new front against the German/Ottoman drive into the Caucasus. Arthur Balfour, the Foreign Secretary informed the Foreign Office that the Armenians were to be encouraged to buy weapons and ammunition from the retreating Russian forces and provided with the funds to do so by the British Government. Payments were made by the British from a financial board through the existing Russian Staff, rather than directly to the Armenians.[xlix] British Officers were also sent to organise these forces into an army.[l] A series of communications were thereafter sent between London, Tehran and Tiflis, to drive this process.[li]

10 Million Pounds Sterling was needed to create this new army.[lii] The logistical problem was to get the monies to the Armenians. Two methods were used: Firstly, local agents drew Bills on the authority of the British Treasury and Foreign Office. Secondly, Roubles were purchased abroad and taken to Transcaucasia by courier. The British Consul at Tiflis drew money through Barings Brothers amounting to 250,000 pounds. The Imperial Bank of Persia was instructed to buy up all available rouble notes and pay 1 million roubles to the Armenian Committee and to use 3 million roubles for the purchase of arms and ammunition.[liii]

Ranald MacDonell, a British Intelligence Officer who led the British Mission in Baku became paymaster to the Armenians transporting personally millions of Roubles via Baku from Tehran to Tiflis over a period of months, to pay the Armenian forces.[liv] He reported to the Foreign Office that he was able to assemble 2 Divisions of Armenians, an Assyrian Division, 1 Russian Division and a mixed nationalities division composed mostly of Greeks.[lv] Nothing could be made of the Georgians who were reported to be either pro-German or pro-Bolshevik.

MacDonell later described the offers of Armenian support in October 1917 when a group of influential Armenians from Tiflis, visited Sir Charles Marling, British Minister at Teheran. This deputation wanted to get into touch with the British Foreign Office and find out what were the aims of the British Government in the Caucasus, and whether the Armenians could “rely on British support and if so to what extent.” The Armenians maintained that their own people would remain at their posts and, with the new forces that they hoped to form would be able to guard the frontier and avoid a Turkish invasion.[lvi]

MacDonell stated that:

“The (Armenian) deputation, according to their own statements, was informed that the British Government intended to support in every way possible i.e. morally, financially, and with material all elements who were willing to continue fighting the enemy and work for the good of the common cause. Further that every moral support and sympathy would be given to the aspirations of the Armenian people.”[lvii]

MacDonell noted:

“On my arrival at Tiflis most of the Russian Army had already left the front and was devastating the surrounding country on their way back into Russia. General Lebbidinsky was still the Commander in Chief of the Russian Army on the Caucasian front and General Averianov Officer Commanding the troops in the conquered territories, in other words the Armenian Army in Armenia. The Armenian troops still remained on the front, and it was hoped that we should be able to form a volunteer army of sufficient strength to hold the frontier and keep the conquered territory. The actual figures suggested were 2 Armenian Divisions…”[lviii]

Britain also attempted to co-opt local Moslems in this force. The driving force behind this was Sir Percy Cox in Persia, along with Captain Noel in the Caucasus. The idea was to use Islamic Fundamentalist propaganda in conjunction with the House of Saud’s support for the war against the Ottomans.[lix] A dispute about the wisdom of such a move followed. Arnold Toynbee argued against any British attempt to provoke a schism in Islam to fuel a jihadi movement as being counter-productive in the longer term.[lx] A British official in Cairo also counselled against such a move:

“I fear that the typical long-bearded Shieks with Patriarchal ideas and an intimate knowledge of the Quran who will
 probably be selected, will stand little chance as propagandists among the Tartars, with their Bolshevik ideas or compound with Turkish propagandists.” [lxi]

Lord Hardinge noted the concerns but suggested that the idea might be better than doing nothing. The British Government, in fact, sanctioned the scheme However, it was rendered inoperable with the advance of the Ottoman army into the region.

Britain would have utilised both Azeris and Georgians as cannon fodder against the Ottomans as well. However, both were reluctant to fight alongside the Armenians for various reasons. The Georgians tended toward support for the Germans. The Azeris had managed to ambush a Russian train in January 1918 and seize 15,000 rifles, which allowed them to spurn British overtures and gave them the possibility of pursuing an independent course.[lxii]

An alternative Azerbaijani development to the Armenian militarisation could not take place. Unlike, the Armenians the Azerbaijanis had not been told by the West that they were a nation, destined to arise from the surrounding peoples with a special case for nationhood. There were also few Azeris in the Russian army of the Caucasus. Despite a general conscription in 1886 the Azerbaijanis were not drafted because the Tsar distrusted them and imposed a tax on them instead. The Russian Army had no separate Moslem regiments, so the Azerbaijanis were militarily undeveloped as opposed to the Armenians, who were highly militarised in both regular Russian forces and irregular Dashnak bands. In many ways, the Azerbaijanis’ position was similar to the Irish Catholics, an unarmed and unmilitary people, opposed by the Ulster Protestants, a highly militarised people, armed both formally and informally by the British State and given their own Division in the British Army. All the military advantages lay with the Armenians, despite being much few in number in the region.

MacDonell was anxious to keep information about the funding of Armenian military forces away from the Azeris. 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. The Armenians boasted that “the primary object of the British mission was to help them’”.[lxiii]

However, the Armenian units of the dissolving Russian army now began to reconstitute themselves into an Armenian militia representing the interests of the purely Armenian section of the population. This militia, which was by no means a coherent body, began engaging in sporadic massacres and tax extortion activities against Moslem villages. Even Alevi Kurds who had been hostile to the Ottomans and who had assisted Russian forces in the past began to ask for Ottoman protection against the Armenians. Russian consuls themselves lamented the lack of protection the state could provide for the inhabitants. The Provisional Government had exacerbated the situation by allowing 150.000 Armenians to return home to the region.

The British suppressed news of these Armenian massacres of Moslems to the outside world and claimed they were enemy propaganda. Nubar Pasha was privately urged to restrain his people[lxiv] In February 1918 Arnold Toynbee, who had produced the Blue Book alleging Turkish massacres of Armenians, urged the British authorities to take steps to stop the Armenians and at the same time to launch counter-propaganda against the allegations.[lxv] Special attention was given to how these reports would be received in United States and it was decided to deny the truth of them, although their validity was admitted privately.[lxvi] Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Minister, told the Americans that the “whole story of Armenian massacres against the Muslims was based on hearsay” ”[lxvii]

But British faith in the Armenians was shaken, not only by the problematic massacres of Moslems but also by their increasing desire to look after their own local interests, not only as a people but with their own particular interest, as distinct from Magna Armenia and the British War effort. Andranik was said in a War Office report to the Foreign Office to be “surrounded by traitors and betrayers” making for unreliable allies.[lxviii] The Russian Armenians had deserted the Turkish Armenia defence under General Andranik and had returned to the Caucasus to fight there.[lxix] The British failure to support the Armenians was put down to the fault of the Bolshevik Revolution, which then enabled London to wash their hands of the Armenian problem[lxx] and to attempt to pass it on to President Wilson and the United States.[lxxi]

Magna Armenia was an insane project. Insanity can only come to be effective in catastrophe. The Great War provided the appropriate catastrophe. But even the great catastrophe of the Great War could not make insanity bear fruit on this occasion. Insanity came to grief and brought catastrophe for all concerned.

The Liberal Anglosphere encouraged the insanity of the Greater Armenia project and strengthened the Dashnaks in pursuance of it. A smaller, more compact, Armenian state was possible, much like what ultimately came about. However, even this had to be accomplished through extensive ethnic cleansing of local Moslem inhabitants and the taking of traditional Azeri lands – the Erivan Khanate – in its foundation. And one manifestation of this is what happened in Baku in March 1918.

The British and the Bolsheviks

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 had to rely not only on the Armenians but also on its ideological enemy, the Bolsheviks, and even had to construct a temporary alliance of convenience with them in the Caucasus.

The other aspect of the British plan involved the sending of an expeditionary force led by General Dunsterville from Baghdad, via Baku to Tiflis, to bolster local resistance to the Ottoman advance through a British commitment and presence. Dunsterville’s original mission was to organise the training of the mainly Armenian forces around Tiflis.[lxxii]

In February 1918, after the collapse of the talks at Brest-Litovsk, which Trotsky attempted to draw out to play for time, and a workers revolution in Europe, where the Ottoman army advanced into the Caucasus. The Ottoman army should have faced resistance from the Armenian army of over 20,000 standing in its way but the mainly Russian Armenians instead of fighting for the territories they claimed for Magna Armenian devoted their energies to attacking Moslem villagers as they fled the Ottoman forces. There seemed to be a plan of ethnic cleansing to clear the territory of Moslems to make an Armenian state possible. Only the small size of the Armenian army and the advance of the Ottoman forces prevented it being more successful.

The Transcaucasian Seim attempted to defy the conditions agreed at Brest-Litovsk at peace talks with the Ottomans at Trabzon. By this time the Ottomans had retaken Kars, Ardahan and Batumi in any case and the Seim’s denunciations of Brest-Litovsk were meaningless. The delegation claimed it was part of Russia but denied the Bolshevik right to represent Russia at Brest-Litovsk and refused to accept the legitimacy of the agreed terms.

At the same time the Bolshevik platform at Brest Litovsk in negotiating with Germany involved deluging the world with propaganda about self-determination which could only have had the effect of stirring up nationalisms, particularly in Russia’s territories like the Caucasus. Rosa Luxemburg viewed this as a big mistake. She thought that Lenin, in attempting to use slogans against the Provisional Government was encouraging nationalisms to develop which could only be anti-socialist and cause later problems.

Lenin’s January 11 Decree endorsing self-determination for ‘Turkish Armenia’ and the arming and training of Armenian legions had the effect of convincing Enver that the Russian leopard had not changed its spots, despite the Bolshevik peace propaganda.

Brest Litovsk was finally signed on 3 March 1918 after the Germans convinced the Bolsheviks they meant business. Lenin threatened to resign if his comrades did not assent to the Treaty being signed. He may have assumed that the Germans would win when he finally signed the peace treaty so as to protect the Bolshevik State and allow it to concentrate on its internal enemies. If the Bolsheviks had taken the alternative course and lasted out against Germany for another 8 months things may have been very different for the world.

It is important to understand that the Bolsheviks did not become enemies of Britain from the moment they had taken power in October 1917. Bruce Lockhart’s book, Memoirs of a British Agent, makes that clear.  This is a presumption based on later events. After all Liberal England had made an alliance with the Tsarist autocracy to fight Germany. In late 1917 they still needed the Russian State, no matter under what management, to finish the job, or at least hold the line, until the Americans arrived in numbers. The event that turned British policy against the Bolsheviks occurred when Lenin decided to take Russia out of the Great War on Germany by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. March 1918 was actually the high point for British hopes regarding the Bolsheviks, according to Lockhart, before their hopes were dashed by Lenin.[lxxiii] A Bolshevik armoured train leading 9 other trains with 10,000 men helped escort the British toward Baku as they abandoned Tiflis in front of the Ottomans advance.[lxxiv]

The British Foreign Office had been informed that Trotsky agreed with the policy of using the Armenians to fight the Ottoman forces. Trotsky had been a great admirer of the Dashnak leader, Andranik, since he encountered the Armenian irregular who was fighting in the Balkan Wars. Trotsky wrote gushing reports about the ‘Armenian Hero” as a journalist reporting the wars.[lxxv]

The British contacted Trotsky to ask if he could facilitate Dunsterville’s mission.[lxxvi]It was only local Bolsheviks who disagreed with Trotsky helping the British Imperialists who blocked Dunsterville’s first mission and made it a failure.[lxxvii]

The Germans had sent Lenin back to Russia to sabotage the Russian war effort and he duly obliged.[lxxviii] It seems to have been understood in Germany that England had engineered the first Russian Revolution in February in order to prevent the Tsar making a separate peace with Germany.[lxxix] Lenin’s decision to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk peace deal with Germany was crucial. Other factions outside the Bolsheviks wanted to continue the war, as did many of the Bolsheviks, like Bukharin. Trotsky the Foreign Minister, wanted a neither peace nor war position. But the Russian signing of Brest-Litovsk determined that the Russian State would be Bolshevik and Leninist. This was because once Germany was conceded to and the war was called off this ended coalition government in Russia and single party Bolshevik government, led by Lenin, became the norm.

However, the British, as late as April 1918, still believed that they could turn the Bolsheviks from class struggle to rejoining the ranks of the Entente against Germany.As the British Foreign Secretary pencilled in on a note from Russia: “What we must if possible get them to do is to postpone the anti-bourgeois millennium until they and we have beaten the Germans.”[lxxx]

At that point the Russian Civil War began, and Britain gave up on influencing the Bolsheviks and began intervening on the Tsarist side in the civil war. Brest Litovsk also provided the legal framework for the Ottoman armies to advance into Transcaucasia.

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.

Baku was the only major stronghold of the Bolsheviks in Transcaucasia. It was important for the oil industry that had developed over the previous three decades and had something of a proletariat which had developed out of it. Around a quarter of a million lived there of three peoples – Azerbaijanis, Armenians and Russians. There was a large temporary workforce resident in Baku, mostly Russian. The Azeris were the predominant permanent element of the population in the town and surrounding country.

At the end of March, the Baku Bolsheviks allied themselves with the Armenians to repress the Azeri Musavat Party and the ‘March Events’ in Baku occurred. Stepan Shaumyan, who was appointed Commissar for the Caucasus by Lenin and who led the commune in Baku was an Armenian who combined his Bolshevism with anti-Moslem proclivities. Certainly, under his authority a substantial amount of ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijani villages occurred in early 1918.

Shaumyan had another interest in pursuing an ethnic war against the Azerbaijani Moslems, completely against socialist principle. He had been appointed to act as head of a provisional government of an Armenian state as part of the Bolshevik ‘On Armenia’ Decree.[lxxxi]

On March 2 Shaumyan made a speech condemning the Musavat Party for attempting to secede from Russia. He had been stung by the victory of the Musavat in the elections to the Baku Soviet. There is evidence from a letter signed by both Lenin and Stalin, that the Bolsheviks had concerns about Shaumyan’s Armenian-Nationalist deviation. The letter, in March 1918, told Shaumyan that Comrade Kobozev was being sent as Extraordinary Commissar to Baku and urged him to develop an accommodation with the Moslems and grant autonomy if necessary. The object was to fortify Bolshevik power in Baku by winning round a sizeable section of Muslims. Any confrontation with local inhabitants was unnecessary and counter-productive. However, Shaumyan did not act in accordance with the letter, if he received it before the end of March, and acted instead in an Armenian ethnic-nationalist manner against the Moslems.[lxxxii]

The Azerbaijanis were unwilling to fight with the Bolsheviks for a number of reasons. Firstly, they saw the Bolsheviks as merely the expansionary Russian State in new form, particularly since the Pravda Decree, On Armenia. [lxxxiii]

Secondly, the leader of the Bolsheviks was an Armenian with a clear anti-Moslem agenda. 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.

However, the Bolshevik/Dashnak force was primarily an alliance of convenience against the Moslem majority. Over two-thirds of the 20,000 strong anti-Azeri forces were Armenian and the Armenian element from the Russian Caucasus Army was the best trained element. The Armenian force was indispensable to the Bolsheviks who did not have the support necessary to impose themselves on the Moslem majority inhabitants.

The Armenians initially declared neutrality in the power struggle between the Bolsheviks and the Musavat and deployed for self-defence, hoping to see both forces weakened in the conflict, leaving the city for their taking afterwards. However, as soon as the conflict began the Dashnaks ordered their forces into battle. The Azerbaijanis, who had taken the Armenian neutrality in good faith, were taken by surprise by the turn about in their position. After Bolshevik gunboats had decimated the Moslem quarters of the city Lenin urged Shaumyan to call a ceasefire. The Armenian forces availed of this to carry out a large massacre of the Moslem population.

British Foreign Office reports note that the Armenians, after initially declaring neutrality, availed of the Bolshevik assault on the Musavat to kill over 8,000 Tartars and massacre 18,000 in Elizavetpol. [lxxxiv] It was reported that the Tartars had suffered substantial losses and a large proportion had been driven out of Baku.[lxxxv]

The March events temporarily strengthened the Bolsheviks in Baku. Azerbaijani political power was crushed and the Armenians weakened. The Armenian forces were absorbed into the Baku Red Army and the remainder disbanded. The Baku Council of People’s Commissars was set up on 25 April and declared itself the first Soviet government in Caucasus. The Armenians had a much different agenda than the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks did not want British intervention whereas that was the primary aim of the Armenians.

Shaumyan dressed up the massacre in the language of class struggle to please his masters and justify his actions. However, by using the Armenians to repress the Moslem majority the Bolsheviks completely alienated the Azerbaijanis. Many fled the city and waited on the Ottoman Army as their saviours. The Bolsheviks and Armenians became dependent on British Imperialism and the despatch of a British Expeditionary force under General Dunsterville. British Intelligence Officers in the city prepared the ground for the demise of the Bolsheviks and a British/Armenian defence of the city.

The British decided to ally with the Bolsheviks and Armenians and defend Baku with Dunsterville’s expeditionary force. “If the Armenians get the upper hand it may be possible for General Dunsterville to effect something” said Colonel Pike’s report from Tiflis[lxxxvi] This suggested that the British believed that ultimately it would be the Armenians, who the Bolsheviks in Baku had become dependent on, who could be relied upon to open the gates to the British forces and ultimately displace the Bolsheviks altogether. 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.

Ronald MacDonell, the British vice-consul of Baku in 1918 later recorded his view of the March events in a report for General Dunsterville:

“… trouble started between the Bolsheviks and Musselman over the disarmament of a Musselman ship and culminated in the March massacres. The Armenians joined hands with the Bolsheviks and the Musselman was practically turned out of Baku, not a single Musselman of any importance remaining.

 “As may be imagined this added fresh fuel to the hostile feeling felt against us by the Musselman of the Caucasus. Even Russian Officers asked us, half in jest, how much the British Government paid to carry out such a successful campaign and rid Baku of the Turkophile elements.

 “At the time I protested before the Armenian National Council, and still maintain that they made one of the biggest mistakes in their history when they supported the Bolsheviks against the Musselman. The whole of the blame for this policy must be laid at the door of the Armenian Political Society known as the Dashnachtsasoun… Without Armenian support the Bolsheviks in those days could never have dared to take action against the reactionary Musselman.”[lxxxvii]

Although MacDonell was truthful in his allocating blame for the massacre of 12,000 people to the Armenian Dashnaks he was being disingenuous in avoiding responsibly on behalf of his own government. It could not have been believed, given the record of the Dashnaks, that the British Government could use them as mere instruments of a policy. The Armenian Dashnaks had their own fundamental objective of clearing territory of Moslems to establish their Greater Armenia and the fact cannot be avoided that the British facilitated them in this, in pursuance of what MacDonnell himself called “the common cause”.


[i] Allen, W.E.D., and Muratoff, P (1953) Caucasian Battlefields, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 385.

[ii] CAB 24/45/GT 3957, 16 March 1918.

[iii] FO 371/3300/10284/W/38, 16 January 1918.

[iv] Sean McMeekin (2010) The Berlin-Baghdad Express, Allen Lane, London, p. 330.

[v] Antranig Chalabian (2009) Dro, Indo-European, Los Angeles, p. 77.

[vi] Sean McMeekin (2010) The Berlin-Baghdad Express, Allen Lane, London, pp.319-21 and pp.330-1

[vii] Sean McMeekin (2010) The Berlin-Baghdad Express, Allen Lane, London, pp.321-2.

[viii] Robert Taylor (1975) Lord Salisbury, Penguin, London, p.168

[ix] Reynolds J. Francis, Allen L. Churchill, and Francis Trevelyan Miller, eds. (1916) The Story of the Great War: History of the European War from Official sources (8 vols.) P. F. Collier & Son, New York, p. 288.

[x] John P. McKay, Baku Oil and Transcaucasian Pipelines, 1883-1891: A Study in Tsarist Economic Policy, Slavic Review 43, no. 4, Winter 1984, p. 606.

[xi] There are numerous commentaries on the threat of the Berlin-Baghdad Railway in British Imperial writings. See M. Jastrow, The War and the Baghdad Railway, pp.194-5. G. Lowes Dickson (1917) The European Anarchy, pp.101-3. Frederic Howe (1919) The Only Possible Peace, pp. 146-53. Also, Sean McMeekin (2010) The BerlinBaghdad Express, Allen Lane, London.

[xii] CAB 24/144: Eastern Report 40, 1 November 1917.

[xiii] FO 371/3060/226241/W/44, 28 November 1917.

[xiv] FO 371/3060/226241/W/44, 28 November 1917, Supplement on Report on Pan-Turanian movement

[xv] CAB 24/144: Eastern Report 44, 29 November 1917.

[xvi] CAB 24/144: Eastern Report 44, 29 November 1917.

[xvii] Michael Reynolds (2011) Shattering Empires, Cambridge University, Cambridge, p. 219.

[xviii] Reynolds, Buffers, not Brethren, Past and Present, Vol.203, May 2009, p. 140.

[xix] See for example David Fraser (1909) The Back Door to India; the Record of a Journey: Along the route of the Baghdad Railway, Blackwood, Edinburgh, pp.318-34.

[xx] FO 371/3300/49453/W/38, 18 March 1918.

[xxi] FO 371/3327/69398/W/38, 20 April 1918.

[xxii] CAB 24/144: Eastern Report 44, 29 November 1917.

[xxiii] Major M.H. Donohoe (1919) With the Persian Expedition, Edward Arnold, London, p. 18

[xxiv] Major General L.C. Dunsterville (1920) Adventures of Dunsterforce, Edward Arnold, p. 1.

[xxv] CAB 24/144: Eastern Report 44, 29 November 1917.

[xxvi] CAB 24/32: Secret War Cabinet Memoranda on Georgia, 19 November 1917.

[xxvii] See for example George Curzon (1889) Russia in Central Asia, Longmans, London, pp.151-5 and Demetrius Charles Boulger (1879) England and Russia in Central Asia, W.H. Allen, London, pp.171-91

[xxviii] CAB 24/148: Western and General Report 60, Part II, 20 March 1918.

[xxix] Alfred E. Zimmern (1922) Europe in Convalescence, Putnam, London, pp.15-16

[xxx] FO 371/3301/107255/W/38, 6 June 1918.

[xxxi] FO 371/3334/114499/W/38, 23 June 1918.

[xxxii] CAB 24/54: Secret War Cabinet Memoranda: Note by the General Staff on the Caucasus and its value to Germany, 8 June 1918.

[xxxiii] CAB 23/43: Imperial War Cabinet Minutes, 25 June 1918.

[xxxiv] Earl of Ronaldshay, Outskirts of Empire, Blackwood, Edinburgh, p.322

[xxxv] Gilmour, Curzon, p.514

[xxxvi] Earl of Ronaldshay (1928) Life of Lord Curzon, Vol III, Ernest Benn, London, p.209

[xxxvii] Ibid, p.211

[xxxviii] Ibid, p.210

[xxxix] Ibid, pp.211-13

[xl] CAB. 23/4, War Cabinet, 294, Minutes of a Meeting of the War Cabinet held at 10 Downing Street, 7 December 1917.

[xli] FO 371/3016/235937, General Shore to DMI, 10 December 1917.

[xlii] FO 371/3016/235937, General Shore to DMI, 10 December 1917.

[xliii] FO 371/3018/236815, 14 December 1917. FO 371/3018/237859, 16 December 1917.

[xliv] David Lloyd George, War Memories II, pp. 1550-1

[xlv] FO 371/3063/220908/W/44, from Sir H. Rumbold to FO, 19 December 1917.

[xlvi] FO 371/3283/4022/W/38. 7 January 1918.

[xlvii] Blanche E.C. Dugdale (1930) Arthur James Balfour, 1906-1930, National Book Association, London, p.187

[xlviii] Ibid p.188

[xlix] FO 371/3657/27502. L465. 5 December 1918.

[l] FO 371/3016/230983/W/38. 5 December 1917.

[li] FO 371/3018/236459/W/38, 13 December 1917, FO to Tehran. FO 371/3018/237859/W/38, 23 December 1917, FO to Tiflis. FO 371/3016/234179/W/38, 8 December 1917, FO to Tiflis.

[lii] FO 371/3283/4022/W/38. 7 January 1918.

[liii] FO 371/3284/75611/W/38. 30 April details British support given to Armenians.

[liv] Peter Hopkirk, On Secret Service East of Constantinople, p.264

[lv] FO 371/3657/37175/W38. 8 March 1918.

[lvi] FO 371/3657/37175/W/58 8 March 1919, including Major A. R. MacDonell’s report on his activities between September 1917 and August 1918 in the Caucasus.

[lvii] FO 371/3657/27502. L465. 5 December 1918.

[lviii] FO 371/3657/27502. L465. 5 December 1918.

[lix] FO 371/3300/3644/W/38. 7 January 1918.

[lx] FO 371/3300/3651/W/38. 7 January 1918.

[lxi] FO 371/3400/41977/W/44. 7 March 1918.

[lxii] Peter Hopkirk (1994) On Secret Service East of Constantinople, Murray, London, p.263.

[lxiii] Ranald MacDonell (1938) And Nothing Long, Heinemann, London, pp.220-40

[lxiv] FO 371/3301/131359/ W/38.

[lxv] FO 371/ 3400/36460/W/44,

[lxvi] FO 371/3400/37581-18/W/44, March 14, 1918.

[lxvii] ibid

[lxviii] FO 371/3284/75611/W/38. 30 April 1918.

[lxix] Antranig Chalabian (2009) Dro, Indo-European, Los Angeles, p. 84.

[lxx] FO 371/3284/75611/W/38. 30 April 1918.

[lxxi] See Pat Walsh (2017) The Armenian Insurrection and the Great War, Manzara, Frankfurt, pp. 338-41

[lxxii] FO 371/3284/75611/W/38. 30 April 1918.

[lxxiii] R.H. Bruce Lockhart (1932) Memoirs of a British Agent, Putnam, London, p.250

[lxxiv] Peter Hopkirk (1994) On Secret Service East of Constantinople, Murray, London, p.267.

[lxxv] David Pearse (1980) The Balkan Wars 1912-13: War Correspondence of Leon Trotsky, Monad, New York, pp.248-52.

[lxxvi] FO 371/3404/67063/W/38. 30 March 1918. From Bruce Lockhart to Foreign Office.

[lxxvii] FO 371/3284/75611/W/38. 30 April 1918.

[lxxviii] Sean McMeekin (2010) The Berlin-Baghdad Express, Allen Lane, London, pp.327-8.

[lxxix] Major General Max Hoffmann, War Diaries and other papers, Naval and Military Press, London, p.176.

[lxxx] Blanche E.C. Dugdale (1931) Arthur James Balfour, 1906-1930 National Book Association, London, p.189

[lxxxi] Richard G. Hovannisian (1967) Armenia on the road to Independence, 1918, Univ. of California, Berkeley, p.100.

[lxxxii] Azerbaijan Republic Political Parties and Public Movements State Archives, copies fund № 453.

[lxxxiii] Michael Reynolds (2011) Shattering Empires, Cambridge University, Cambridge, p. 178.

[lxxxiv] FO 371/3301/121658/W38. 11 July 1918.

[lxxxv] FO 371/3301/122337/W/38. 11 July 1918.

[lxxxvi] FO 371/3284/66538/W/38. 15 April 1918.

[lxxxvii] FO 371/3657/27502. L465. 5 December 1918.



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