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First World War – a tragedy that unites countries worldwide

First World War – a tragedy that unites countries worldwide
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This year along with other countries Armenia marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. StampNews.com is glad to inform that on this occasion Armenian Post is to issue a special souvenir sheet. The item will be released and put into circulation on the 29th of September.

In 1914 the Ottoman Empire was home to at least two million Armenians, most of whom inhabited the six provinces in Eastern Anatolia that separated the heartland of Ottoman Turkey from the Russian Caucasus. As a substantial Christian minority in a Muslim empire, with their own vibrant culture and nationalist aspirations, the Armenians endured an uneasy relationship with the Ottoman government.

After the Ottoman Empire's entry into the First World War on 29 October 1914, fighting between Turkey and Russia quickly spilled into Eastern Anatolia. After a series of Ottoman military setbacks, most notably at Sarikamish (29 December 1914-3 January 1915), the Armenians were accused - in a few cases justly - of conspiring with the advancing Russian forces to ensure Turkish defeats. The legend of "Armenian treachery" gave the Ottoman government the pretext to sanction measures designed to remove all traces of the Armenian population from the empire.

Beginning in April 1915, the Ottoman authorities rounded up tens of thousands of Armenian men and had them shot. Hundreds of thousands of Armenian women and children were deported. Many Turkish historians have contended that these actions were a justified, or at least explicable, response to a serious threat to national security. They cite in particular the Armenian 'revolt' that began in the city of Van on 20 April. In fact, the 'revolt' was a desperate response to the persecution already underway - by 19 April, 50,000 Armenians had already been killed in Van province, and tens of thousands were being deported from neighboring Erzerum.

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