Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Who Was Talaat Pasha?

Talaat Pasha (Mehmed Talaat, 1874–1921) was one of the great monsters of the First World War. He was one of the earliest leaders of the Young Turk movement, spending time in prison for subversive activities. After the revolution of 1908 he was elected as a deputy to Parliament and subsequently held progressively important ministerial posts. With Jemel Pasha and Enver Pasha he eventually formed the triumvirate that would bring Turkey into the war and lead it to defeat.  

Talaat's Program in Action

Talaat gave up his hopes to form an alliance with Russia and, after delaying as long as possible, turned to the Germans and worked with  Enver to enter the war on their side. During the war, as Minister of the Interior, he ordered and served as the principal driving force behind the deportation of the Armenian Christians, which was a barely disguised, well planned genocidal extermination program. At war's end he was Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) and after the surrender, like Enver and Jemal, fled the country. Three years later, he was assassinated by an Armenian in Germany.