Hans Freiherr von Wangenheim

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Baron Hans von Wangenheim

Hans Freiherr von Wangenheim (1859–1915) – German diplomat. Ambassador Extraordinary to Mexico. German Minister at Athens, 1909-12. During World War I, from 1912 to October 25, 1915 was ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

In 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Ismael Enver, the Ottoman General Minister of War, asked if an alliance with Germany could happen.[1] Andrew Mango continues with the history at this time in his book Ataturk. Here he describes the jumbled alliance-structure that existed that would threaten the current relationship between Germany and the Ottoman Empire. For instance, Germany had already claimed war against Russia and it had an alliance with Austria-Hungary. This agreement with the Ottoman Empire would allow Germany to take a leadership role in alliance-making before World War I. It would also force Russia and Serbia to alliance-make to condemn the assassination.[2]

In 1914 the wave of deportations, executions, and genocide directed against the Armenian population started in Ottoman Empire. During the May and June 1915 major newspapers of the neutral nations (Switzerland, Denmark, United States) published numerous reports about these events. Under mounting international pressure and in response to the accusations of German complicity on July 4, 1915, Wangenheim, issued his memorandum of protest stating German official position on the Armenian Genocide. It began with expression of support for the Ottoman government security concerns:

"The measures of repression by the Imperial Government [Young Turks] against the Armenian population of the eastern Anatolian provinces having been dictated by military considerations and constituting a legitimate means of defense, the German Government is far from opposing their execution inasmuch as these measures have objective of consolidating the internal security of Turkey and avoiding attempts at insurrections."

Wangenheim then proceeds:

"On the other hand, the German Government cannot disguise the dangers created by these rigorous measures and notably by the mass expatriations which include the guilty and the innocent indiscriminately, especially when these measures are accompanied by acts of violence, such as massacre and pillage."

While von Wangenheim did not go further, his successor Ambassador Paul von Metternich reacted much more strongly. In August 1916, two top Young Turks leaders, İsmail Enver and Mehmed Talat Pasha, signed a memorandum demanding Ambassador Metternich’s recall citing his stance on the Armenian Question.

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Notes[edit]

Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a title, translated as Baron, not a first or middle name. The female forms are Freifrau and Freiin.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mango, Andrew (1999). Ataturk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey. Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press. p. 133. ISBN 1-58567-011-1. 
  2. ^ Ibid.  Missing or empty |title= (help)