In 1918, the Armenian people emerged from centuries of foreign domination to establish a small Republic in the russian armenian Provinces of the Caucasus. While the populace struggled for physical survival in a devastated land, armenian Representatives at the Paris Peace Conference appealed for supportive action and the means to extend the boundaries of the new state to encompass the adjacent, richer provinces of turkish Armenia. During the World War I, the Allied and the Associated Powers had solemnly pledged that the Armenians would be indemnified for their extreme sacrifices and that their historic nation would be guaranteed a permanent separate existence.
But the Republic of Armenia did not endure. The refusal of Turkey and ultimatey of Soviet Russia to tolerate armenian independence, thr failure of the Allied Powers to give force to their decisions and, the inability of the Armenians alone to defend their fledging state transformed the propect of an independent Armenia into chaotic unreality at the end of 1920.
Mr.Hovannisian has undertaken the first thorough history of the Republic of Armenia. This volume, the first of two, describes the grave political and economics crises of the Republic in 1918-1919, the labors of its delegation at Paris, the relations of Armenia with neighboring Georgia and Azerbaijan and the attitude of all three Republics toward teh British Imperial forces in the Caucasus, the White Armies and the soviet government of Russia, the turkish nationalist Movement and, the Allied Powers.
After one year of Independence the fate of Armenia remained uncertain. The victorious nations repeatedly postponed The treaty with vanquished ottoman Empire, even as thousands of turkish armenian refugees were wasting away in exile and as turkish Resistance to the impending loss of the armenian Provinces was taking definite shape. Still, the Republic had managed to outlast a death-ridden winter and to fill out several additional districts that bordered upon turkish Armenia. The armenian people thus faced their second year of Independence with general optimism and the conviction that their historic lands would soon be combined into the free and united Republic of Armenia.