THIS WEEK IN ARMENIAN HISTORY
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee [ANEC])
Armistice of Mudros
(October 30, 1918)
The defeat of the Central Powers in World War I triggered the capitulation of the Ottoman Empire, which was forced to conclude the Armistice of Mudros on October 30, 1918, to end the hostilities with the Allies in the Middle Eastern theater. The armistice was signed by Ottoman Navy Minister Rauf Bey and British Admiral Somerset Arthur Gough-Calthorpe on board the British ship Agamemnon in Mudros, a harbor on the Greek island of Lemnos.
As part of several conditions, the Ottomans surrendered their remaining garrisons outside Anatolia and granted the Allies the right to occupy forts controlling the Straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosporus. Any Ottoman territory could be also occupied by the Allies in case of a threat to security. The Ottoman army was demobilized.
Armenia had proclaimed its independence on May 28, 1918, but according to the Treaty of Batum (June 4), its borders had been reduced to an area surrounding Yerevan, Alexandropol, and lake Sevan of approximately 12,000 square kilometers. Armenians anxiously waited for the end of the war, hoping that the Allies would fulfill their promises.
Several clauses of the armistice referred to Armenians:
“IV. All Allied prisoners of war and Armenian interned persons and prisoners to be collected in Constantinople and handed over unconditionally to the Allies.
XI. Immediate withdrawal of the Turkish troops from Northwest Persia to the rear of the pre-war frontier has already been ordered and will be carried out. Part of Trans-Caucasia has already been ordered to be evacuated by Turkish troops; the remainder is to be evacuated if required by the Allies after they have studied the situation there.
XV. Allied Control Officers to be placed on all railways, including such portions of the Trans-Caucasian Railways as are now under Turkish control, which must be placed at the free and complete disposal of the Allied authorities, due consideration being given to the needs of the population. This clause to include Allied occupation of Batoum. Turkey will raise no objection to the occupation of Baku by the Allies.
XVI. Surrender of all garrisons in Hedjaz, Assir, Yemen, Syria, and Mesopotamia to the nearest Allied Commander; and the withdrawal of troops from Cilicia, except those necessary to maintain order, as will be determined under Clause V.
XXIV. In case of disorder in the six Armenian vilayets, the Allies reserve to themselves the right to occupy any part of them.
Calthorpe had dictated the conditions of the armistice on behalf of the Allies without consultation with the other members of the Entente. Those conditions were discussed during the Peace Conference of Versailles, opened on January 18, 1919. At the end of January, the Allied Supreme Council approved a resolution to separate Armenia, Syria, Palestine, Arabia, and Mesopotamia from the Ottoman Empire.
However, in the future the Allies did not take any serious measure to execute the clauses of the armistice, which would have favored the solution of the Armenian Question. The signature of the Treaty of Sevres in August 1920 was the legal follow-up to the armistice, but it was never ratified due to the Turkish victory in the so-called “war of independence.”