As Christians living in the Ottoman Empire, Armenians had long been treated as second class citizens. During World War I, the Ottoman army attempted to take back former territories from the Russians. When they were defeated, the Young Turks blamed their loss on the Armenians living in the region, claiming they had sided with Russian forces. The Young Turk government moved swiftly to imprison Armenian leaders and intellectuals; to remove and murder Armenians serving in the Ottoman armies; and to put in place a massive deportation and extermination plan for the remaining civilians. As Gregory Stanton noted, "more than half the Armenian population (1,500,000 people) was annihilated."
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