Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Exposing the Lies of "Ambassador Morgenthau's Story"  
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Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

 On this page we'll take a look at the peculiarities of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau's "Story" book.

This is the terribly racist book that Prof. Roger Smith actually referred to as reliable history in an April 2005 "genocide" conference held in New York's Fordham University. Let's give just one example of the delights within this literary "masterpiece":

"One day I was discussing these proceedings with a responsible Turkish official, who was describing the tortures inflicted. He made no secret of the fact that the Government had instigated them, and, like an Turks of the official classes, he enthusiastically approved this treatment of the detested race. This official told me that all these details were matters of nightly discussion at the headquarters of the Union and Progress Committee. Each new method of inflicting pain was hailed as a splendid discovery, and the regular attendants were constantly ransacking their brains in the effort to devise some new torment. He told me that they even delved into the records of the Spanish Inquisition and other historic institutions of torture and adopted all the suggestions found there. He did not tell me who carried off the prize in this gruesome competition, but common reputation throughout Armenia gave a preeminent infamy to Djevdet Bey, the Vali of Van, whose activities in that section I have already described. All through this country Djevdet was generally known as the "horseshoer of Bashkale" for this connoisseur in torture had invented what was perhaps the masterpiece of all — that of nailing horseshoes to the feet of his Armenian victims." (Chapter XXIV, page 307)

Ever notice the absence of names in testimony as the above? Who was this "responsible Turkish official," and why would he have been so open about discussing internal matters with a hostile foreign agent? Secondly, if he "enthusiastically approved" the described tortures, why would that have made him "responsible"? Thirdly, is this what a courtroom of law or conscience of a good human being would call, "hearsay"?

Ambassador Morgenthau attempted to make the Turks as monstrous as possible. The attorney-ambassador allowed his Armenian assistants significant output, and his motives for demonization have been examined elsewhere in the site. (See links at page bottom.) But for Morgenthau to have written such fabricated material as the above was truly unconscionable. What kind of a man would be so bereft of morals to record such defamatory and horrible lies, as if they actually had taken place?

And what kind of man would be so bereft of morals as to repeat these disgusting stories in this day and age, as Peter Balakian gleefully did at every opportunity in his "Burning Tigris" abomination? (Mr. Balakian pointed to this horseshoe-nailing business above, among so many others.)



Prof. Sidney Fay, 1925: "Hardly a word of truth"

Excerpted from:

Harry E. Barnes, Genesis of the World War (New York: Knopf, 1926), pp. 241-247:

[begin quote]:

This luxuriant and voluptuous legend was not only the chief point in the Allied propaganda against Germany after the publication of Mr. Morgenthau’s book, but it has also been tacitly accepted by Mr. Asquith in his apology, and solemnly repeated by Bourgeois and Pages in the standard conventional French work, both published since the facts have been available which demonstrate that the above tale is a complete fabrication. The myth has been subjected to withering criticism by Professor Sidney B. Fay in the Kriegschuldfrage for May, 1925:

From His "Truly," Henry Morgenthau

From His "Truly," Henry Morgenthau 

The contemporary documents now available prove conclusively that there is hardly a word of truth in Mr. Morgenthau’s assertions, either as to (a) the persons present, (b) the Kaiser’s attitude toward delay, (c) the real reasons for delay, or (d) the alleged selling of securities in anticipation of war. In fact his assertions are rather the direct opposite of the truth.

a) As to the persons present, it is certainly not true that “Nearly all the important ambassadors attended.” They were all at their posts with the exception of Wangenheim, himself, and it is not certain that he even saw the Kaiser. Moltke was away taking a cure at Karlsbad, and Tirpitz was on a vacation in Switzerland. Jagow was also in Switzerland on a honey-moon and did not return until July 6. Ballin, the head of the Hamburg-American Line, who was absent from Berlin in the early part of July at a health resort, does not appear to have had any information until July 20, that there was a possible danger of warlike complications. Krupp v. Bohlen-Halbach, the head of the great munition works, was not at Potsdam on July 5, but saw the Emperor William next day at Kiel as the Emperor was departing for his Northern cruise. Nor is there any evidence that they were gathered at Potsdam on July 5 any of the others who were “necessary to German war preparations.” The only persons with whom the Kaiser conferred on July 5, at Potsdam after his lunch with the Austrian Ambassador, were Bethmann-Hollweg, the Chancellor, Falkenhayn, the Prussian Minister of War, and certain routine subordinate officials.

b) It is certainly not true that the Kaiser wished Austria to delay for two weeks whatever action she thought she must take against Serbia in order to give the German Bankers time to sell their foreign securities. There is abundant proof to indicate that Emperor William wished Austria to act quickly while the sentiment of Europe, shocked by the horrible crime at Sarajevo, was still in sympathy with the Habsburgs and indignant at regicide Serbs. As he wrote in a marginal note, "Matters must be cleared up with the Serbs, and that soon."

c) The real reasons for the delay of two weeks between July 5 and 23, was not to give the German bankers two weeks to sell their foreign securities. The real reasons for delay were wholly due to Austria, and not to Germany. They were mainly two, and are repeatedly referred to in the German and Austrian documents which were published in 1919. The first was that Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, could not act against Serbia until he had secured the consent of Tisza, the Premier of Hungary. It took two weeks to win Tisza over from his original attitude of opposition to violent action against Serbia. The second, and by far the most important reason for the final delay, was the fact that Berchtold did not want to present the ultimatum to Serbia until it was certain that Poincaré and Viviani had left Petrograd and were inaccessible upon the high seas returning to France. For otherwise Russia, under the influence of the “champagne mood” of the Franco-Russian toasts and the chauvinism of Poincaré, Iswolski, and the Grand Duke Nicholas gathered at Petrograd, would be much more likely to intervene to support Serbia with military force, and so Austria’s action against Serbia would less easily be "localized."

d) In regard to Germany’s alleged selling of securities in anticipation of war, if one follows Mr. Morgenthau’s suggestion and examines the quotations on the New York Stock Exchange during these weeks, and reads the accompanying articles in the New York Times, one does not find a shred of evidence, either in the price of stocks or the volume of sales, that large blocks of German holdings were being secretly unloaded and depressing the New York market during these two weeks. The stocks that he mentioned declined only slightly or not at all; moreover, such declines as did take place were only such as were to be naturally expected from the general trend downward which had been taking place since January, or are quite satisfactorily explained by local American conditions, such as the publication of an adverse report of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Here are the facts. The amazing slump in Union Pacific from 155 ½ to 127 ½ reported by Mr. Morgenthau represented in fact an actual rise of a couple of points in the value of this stock. Union Pacific sold “ex-dividend” and “ex-rights” on July 20; the dividend and accompanying rights were worth 30 5/8, which meant that shares ought to have sold on July 22nd at 125 ¾. In reality they sold at 127 ½; that is, at the end of the two weeks” period which it is asserted that there was “inside selling” from Berlin, Union Pacific, instead of being depressed, was actually selling two points higher.

Baltimore and Ohio, Canadian Pacific, and Northern Pacific did in fact slump on July 14, and there was evidence of selling orders from Europe. But this is to be explained, partly by the fact that Baltimore and Ohio had been already falling steadily since January, and partly to the very depressing influence exercised on all railroad shares by the sharply adverse report on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, which was published by the Interstate Commerce Commission. The comment of the New York Times of July 15, is significant: "Stocks which have lately displayed a stable character in the face of great weakness of particular issues could not stand up under such selling as occurred in New Haven and some others today. There were times when it looked as though the entire market was in a fair way to slump heavily, and only brisk short covering toward the close prevented many sharp net declines. For its own account, or on orders from this side, Europe was an unusually large seller of stocks in this market. The cable told that a very unfavorable impression had been created by the Commerce Commission’s New Haven report. The European attitude toward American securities is naturally affected by such official denunciations of the way in which an important railway property has been handled."

Most extraordinary is Mr. Morgenthau’s assertion about United States Steel Common. He says that between July 5th and 22nd it fell from 61 to 51 ½. The real fact, as any one may verify from the Stock Market reports for himself, is that Steel during these two weeks never fell below 59 5/8, and on July 22nd was almost exactly the same as two weeks earlier.

When the facts are examined, therefore, it does not appear that the New York Stock Market can afford much confirmation to Mr. Morgenthau’s myth of German bankers demanding a two weeks respite in which to turn American securities into gold in preparation for a world war which they had already plotted to bring about.

As Mr. Morgenthau has persistently refused to offer any explanation or justification of his "story" or to answer written inquiries as to his grounds for believing it authentic, we are left to pure conjecture in the circumstances. It appears highly doubtful to the present writer that Mr. Morgenthau ever heard of the Potsdam legend while resident in Turkey. It would seem inconceivable that he could have withheld such important information for nearly four years. The present writer has been directly informed by the Kaiser that Wangenheim did not see him in July, 1914. We know that Mr. Morgenthau’s book was not written by himself, but by Mr. Burton J. Hendrick, who later distinguished himself as the editor of the Page letters. We shall await with interest Mr. Hendrick’s explanation of the genesis of the Potsdam fiction as it was composed for Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story.

[end quote]


Holdwater: It sure would have been great if Burton Hendrick had been cornered during the 1920s to explain himself. But the immoral ghostwriter had a huge slice of the profit-sharing pie, as Prof. Heath Lowry exposed, and it would have been doubtful that Hendrick  would have come clean.

You'll note not a word was wasted on Morgenthau's treatment of the Turks, in the criticism above. (As Pauline Kael aptly noted in her film review of MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, "Who wants to defend Turks?" This was true in 1978, as it was true in 1925, and still true today.)

But I think that's just as well. The reader can get an excellent idea as to Henry Morgenthau's penchant for truth-telling, regarding other matters of history, and the sale of securities. And to think this is the man whom Prof. Levon Marashlian defended, telling us Morgenthau's testimony was "unimpeachable."


Thanks to Conan, and to this site.




Morgenthau's "Story": A Blueprint for Racism?

Mustafa Artun

Opinion, May 2003, The Turkish Times


Peter Balakian

Peter Balakian edited the reissue

 Of all the books used by the Armenian propagandists and their sympathizers to vilify Turkey, arguably the most often-quoted is Ambassador Morgenthau's Story by Henry Morgenthau who served as the American ambassador in Istanbul for twenty-six months from 1913 to 1916. First published in 1918, the book has been reprinted numerous times over the years. A new edition, edited by a leading Armenian propagandist, Peter Balakian, is being published this year with good deal of publicity fanfare. The book has been a standard reference for most of the so-called "scholarly" publications as well as journal and newspaper articles on the subject. The latest addition to the long list of publications that have utilized Ambassador Morgenthau's Story as if it were an objective and factual account of the events in 1915 is Samantha Power's A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide which won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in 2003. In her book, Power portrays Morgenthau as a heroic figure who strove to stop the killing of the innocent Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Equally important is the fact that whenever a resolution to condemn Turkey is introduced in state legislatures or at the U.S. Congress, Morgenthau's book is presented as prima facie evidence in support of the Armenian claims.


Samantha Power

Samantha Power; a lawyer, like her
hero, Henry Morgenthau

That Ambassador Morgenthau's Story has been a powerful arsenal in the Armenian propaganda machine against Turkey in the U.S. is not surprising. After all, Morgenthau was appointed by President Wilson to be the official representative of this country in the Ottoman Empire. Ambassadors are normally expected to provide factual, honest, and unbiased reporting about the countries where they serve.

Consequently, Ambassador Morgenthau's book, which seeks to indict the Young Turk leadership of having engaged in a systematic campaign of violence against the Armenians, carries the official stamp of credibility. What makes the book even more enticing for those who seek to slander Turkey is that Morgenthau's "story" includes lengthy passages about the author's alleged conversations with the leading Young Turk officials such as Talat Pasha where they confess their plans to annihilate the Armenians to the American Ambassador.

Although Morgenthau's book is widely quoted and used as an important and reliable source on the Armenian question, few seem to take notice its blatantly racist contents. In fact, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story is littered with the most appalling and demeaning characterizations of the Turks, their history and culture. For Morgenthau, the Turk is "psychologically primitive" (p.236) and a "bully and a coward" who can be "brave as a lion when things are going his way, but cringing, abject, and nerveless when reverses are overwhelming him" (p. 275)*. According to the Ambassador, the Turks "like most primitive peoples, wear their emotions on the surface" (p.195) and that the "basic fact underlying the Turkish mentality is its utter contempt for other races" (p. 276). Morgenthau describes the Turks variously as "inarticulate, ignorant, and poverty-ridden slaves" (p. 13), "barbarous" (p.147), "brutal" (p.149), "ragged and unkempt" (p. 276), and "parasites" (p.280). The Ambassador's unabashed hatred of all things Turkish leads him to make the following observation: "The descendants of Osman hardly resemble any people I have ever known. They do not hate, they do not love; they have no lasting animosities or affections. They only fear" (p.99).

Morgenthau's view of Turkish history and the treatment of non-Muslim communities in the Ottoman Empire offer further glimpses into his distorted and biased mindset. He notes, for example, "after five hundred years' of close contact with European civilization, the Turk remained precisely the same individual as the one who had emerged from the steppes of Asia in the Middle Ages" (p. 284). According to the author, when Turks conquered a territory, they "found it occupied by a certain number of camels, horses, buffaloes, dogs, swine, and human beings. Of all these living things the object that physically most resembled themselves they regarded as the least important" (p. 279). Even the millet system, long regarded by most historians as an important mechanism for peaceful coexistence among different ethnic and religious groups in the Ottoman Empire, does not escape the Ambassador's wrath: "The sultans similarly erected the several peoples" he writes "such as the Greeks and the Armenians into separate 'millets' or nations, not because they desired to promote their independence and welfare, but because they regarded them as vermin" (p. 280). In contrast to his utter disdain for the Turks, Morgenthau has nothing but praise for the Armenians. "The Armenians," he writes, "are known for their industry, their intelligence, and their decent and orderly lives. They are so superior to the Turks intellectually and morally" (p. 287). According to the author, the Armenians lived like "a little island of Christians surrounded by backward peoples of hostile religion and hostile race" (p. 288). And the Ambassador enthusiastically declares that like the Arabs who had revolted against the Ottomans in World War I, the Greeks and the Armenians "would also have welcomed an opportunity to strengthen the hands of the Allies" (p.227). Ambassador Morgenthau's Story stands as one of the remarkable documents of early 20th century — not for its value as an objective piece of historical writing, as the Armenian propagandists and their supporters claim, but for revealing the deep-rooted racist outlook of a person who managed to reach one of the highest and most prestigious positions in the U.S. government. It is telling that at a time when racism has become punishable by law in this country, a book that is filled with appalling racist remarks continues to be glorified in the American academia, intellectual circles, and legislative bodies by Armenians and their sympathizers determined to distort history and slander the Turks at any cost.

*All the quotes are from Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1918).


Further Reading:


Ambassador Henry Morgenthau

The Story Behind Ambassador Morgenthau's Story

Another reason for Mr. Morgenthau's ways involved his commitment to Zionism and the creation of a Jewish state:

"The Burning Tigris" Critique; Chapter 17 on Henry Morgenthau





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