Hastings' operative phrase - "prompted ghastly reprisals" - neglects to acknowledge the role of racism in the slaughter and deportations of 1915. The genocide of Armenians was an act of racial cleansing, the tragic and horrifying culmination of two decades of racially-motivated assaults on Armenians, intent on destroying this Christian minority in Turkey.
Hastings goes on to write that the Germans "furiously protested" on grouds that were "not humanitarian but brutally pragmatic...The Turks proved indifferent to German pleas: they were overwhelmingly preoccupied with removing a perceived strategic threat to their lines of communication with Syria and Arabia."
Again, Hastings' key phrase - "removing a perceived strategic threat to their lines of communication" - fails to recognize the racial and religious prejudice at the core of Turkish "preoccupations," not to mention the massive - perhaps 'total' is the word - dimensions of this genocide, which began with the systematic arrest and the summary hanging or deportation of scores of Armenian community leaders in Istanbul (far removed from the railway to "Syria and Arabia") on April 24, 1915 and ended with the expunging of Armenians from Turkish life.
While Hastings writes of the Turks' "attitude presaging that of some of Hitler's lieutenants toward the slaughter of the Jews almost thirty years later," even this characteristically understated assessment is antiseptic and again fails to find the words to acknowledge the disease of genocidal "racial cleansing" which afflicted Turkey and Germany in these two periods. It is unfortunate to encounter such a blinkered rendering of the historical record in Mr. Hastings' usually excellent writing, let alone in a publication and intellectual forum as ambitious as The Review.
N.B.: A novel of mine about the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide was published in 2015, the centenary of the Genocide. Its title is "The Ash Tree" and it portrays the lives of the family of a survivor, over half a century in America. A record of my reading the first chapter is on YouTube at https://youtu.be/kkU5Pyx4BM8