The Turkish war of independence would begin without Atatuerk

The Greco-Turkish War - a conflict between the major European powers?

Table of Contents


1. Relations between Athens and the Allies
1.1. Relations from Izmir to Sèvres
1.2. Relations from Sèvres to Lausanne

2. Relations between Ankara and the Allies
2.1. Relations from Mudros to Sèvres
2.2. Relations from Sèvres to Izmir
2.3. Relations from Izmir to Mudanya

3. Relations between Ankara and the Soviet Union


Bibliography and sources


The Greco-Turkish War, which raged in Anatolia as part of the Turkish War of Independence from May 1919 to October 1922, fundamentally changed the situation in Turkey after the end of the First World War. What was astonishing for the development and course of the war was that the victorious great powers had watched him, who destroyed most of the Allied post-war planning for the Middle East, almost inactive.1 The military situation during the war and the small number of those involved in the war, however, by no means coincided with the lively diplomatic activity. Because the war was preceded and accompanied by numerous conferences and top diplomatic meetings in Paris, London and other major European cities. The great powers seemed through this "2 so to have played a certain role in the development and course of the war. The question that concerns this work, which one? This is the task of this investigation to find out and it is to be shown that the Greco-Turkish war was not of an interstate but of an international character from the first shot. At the same time, the aim is to prove that it was not just the actions of the governments and general staffs in Athens and Ankara that were responsible for the emergence and outcome of the war, but especially the decisions of London, Paris, Rome and Washington. To this end, the diplomatic positions of the great powers on the governments in Athens and Ankara must be considered individually. The analytical view must not be limited to the major Western powers, but must rather expand to include the strengthening Soviet Union, because it had to play a key role as the territorial neighbor of Turkey and the ideological enemy of the West.

The study of the role of the individual great powers on the emergence and outcome of the Greco-Turkish War is accordingly divided into three chapters. The first chapter will deal in two steps with the importance of diplomatic relations between Athens and the Allies. The second chapter deals with the relations between Ankara and the Allies in three steps. Finally, the third chapter will analyze the particular case of the relations between Ankara and Moscow. The investigation is based on a detailed analysis of the diplomatic positions of all governments in relation to the Sultan's government under Mehmet VI. Vahdeddin renounce. The reason for this is that a corresponding consideration would go beyond the scope of this investigation and can also be neglected in this context due to the lack of decision-making competence in Istanbul.

1. Relations between Athens and the Entente

1.1. Relations from Izmir to Sèvres

Because the Greeks were only able to invade Asia Minor through the favor of the Allies and thus start the war, at this point we will analyze who on the side of the victorious great powers was responsible for the Greek disaster in Asia Minor and why there was no other solution than the military one could be found. In the following, in addition to the French and Italian positions, the Greek-British relations will be a focus.

At the beginning of the First World War, there was still no agreement in Greece as to whether or on whose side one should enter the war. In principle, Great Britain was therefore initially responsible for bringing the Greeks into the world war through territorial promises. About the "great concessions in Asia Minor" of British Prime Minister Edward Gray in 1915 and the desire to realize a megalopolis3 Greek Prime Minister Venizelos controlled his country until the entry into the war in June 1917.4 The determination with which Venizelos represented the massive Greek demands after the end of the war in Paris contributed significantly to the building of a relationship of trust between Venizelos and the new English Prime Minister Lloyd George, which was to be decisive for the stability of the Greek-British relationship . Lloyd George enthusiastically spoke of Venizelos as "the greatest statesman that Greece had produced since Pericles."5 With the support of Lloyd George in this way, Venizelos demanded, before the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference, southern Albania, all of Thrace, all the islands of the eastern Mediterranean and western Anatolia for Greece. Greek claims were even made in Pontus.6 The indignation of the other Allied delegations in Paris over such excessive demands of an Ä last minute Victory power³ was correspondingly large.7 The Foreign Office under Lord Curzon raised great misgivings that

Greeks "who cannot even maintain order five miles outside Saloniki" to allow such a spread in Asia Minor.8 Curzon even went so far as to prophesy that a Greek occupation of Izmir could lead to "a cruel bloodlust" in the whole of the Orient.9 Even the British military, such as General Sir Henry Wilson, doubted the effectiveness of the Greek army. Lloyd George, however, brushed aside all concerns and argued that the Greeks would in the long term replace the Turks as the new power in the Orient and that this future great power would be favored for the benefit of British India would have to secure.10 On the Greek side, their own claims were justified with historical, ideological and demographic evidence against the suspicious allies. The manipulated (!) Population statistics in particular should justify one's own project in terms of Wilson's 14 points, i.e. the peoples' right to self-determination.11 When Great Britain advocated an immediate landing of the Greeks before the Supreme Council in Izmir and western Anatolia, which had already been promised to Italy, the Italian delegation under Orlando left the meeting in protest.12 Reluctantly, the Italians were able to return to the Supreme Council and accept a Greek landing as a fait accompli to be brought.13 It was too obvious to the Italians that Lloyd George, Wilson and Clemenceau wanted to slow down their own ambitions near Antalya, which had been occupied by Italy since the end of April 29, 1915 and in accordance with Article 7 of the Mudros Armistice, and to prevent it from spreading along the Aegean Sea.14 The Italian troops, which had already landed in Antalya, therefore marched hastily in a north-westerly direction to Ku'adasi, Ak'ehir and Afyon in order to anticipate further promises to Greece.15 Such hasty actions by the Italians led to further tensions in Paris. In addition to Lloyd George, in May 1919 the French also feared that Italy would gain strength in Anatolia and already saw their most recent conquests of Cilicia and Syria in danger.16 Under pressure from Lloyd Georges, Clemenceau and US President Wilson advocated a Greek landing in Izmir, which also happened on May 15, 1919 with 20,000 men.17 Nevertheless, the French viewed any further Greek appropriation in Anatolia with suspicion. This early cooling of the relationship of trust among the victorious powers in Paris made a reorientation of the French and especially the Italians towards the emerging militant Turkish nationalists likely. Even before a Greco-Turkish conflict had even begun, the Greeks had enemies in their own Allied ranks, a fact that was to be of considerable importance for the future failure of the Greek plans.

Shortly after the landing of Greek troops in Izmir, numerous complaints from British, French and Italian commanders about the behavior of the Greeks were received in Paris and London. Italian military claimed that the Greeks had crossed the agreed occupation lines and shot at the Meander Valley, which was occupied by Italy, with artillery.18 Venizelos dismissed the complaints far from himself. Complained to the Italians he even that they would encourage the Turkish nationalists to armed resistance against the Greeks. Italy would even allow the Turkish irregulars to use their own occupation zone to attack Greek positions. After the dispute between Greece and Italy over the division of the occupation zones in Anatolia threatened to escalate, the High Council asked both states to come to an agreement. The result was the extremely fragile Venizelos-Tittoni Agreement, which initially regulated territorial claims, but with every subsequent conquest of a contractual partner de facto became obsolete, as did the establishment of the Milne line.19 The French, too, were already showing strong doubts about the meaning of the Greek occupation of Izmir.20 As early as August 1919, Clemenceau asked Venizelos to provide precise information about the strength of the Greek troops so that no military illusions could arise. Clemenceau also made it unmistakably clear to him that the Greeks were completely on their own to defend their new borders in Anatolia and Thrace. France was not interested in a new Balkan war.21 Finally, against the will of Greece, France successfully requested an Inter-Allied Commission of Inquiry in Izmir, which ended its work in October and published results that were very unfavorable for Greece. In essence, the ruling of the commission called on the Entente to replace all Greek troops with allies as quickly as possible in order to put a stop to the spiral of violence in Anatolia.22 Even British military officials such as Admiral Calthorpe no longer had any doubts in late autumn 1919 that a peaceful and long-term agreement with the Turkish nationalists had been made very unlikely by the territorial concessions to Greece.23In a long memorandum he stated that "the situation has become much more serious since the landing of Greek troops in Izmir."24 According to Calthorpe, the Turks would probably have accepted tough Allied demands, but they found a Greek occupation simply humiliating and unbearable.25 For them, occupation was simply humiliating and unbearable. In the Greek-occupied zones in Thrace and Western Anatolia, innumerable "societies for the defense of rights" had already been founded, the germ cells of Turkish nationalism and were already engaged in a guerrilla war with the Greek occupying forces.26 On March 19, 1920, shortly before the start of the San Remo and Sevrès Conferences, the opponents of a Greek occupation of Izmir in the British Cabinet Lord Curzon, Churchill and General Wilson once again seized the opportunity to confront Venizelos and his ambitions.27 Everyone made it clear to him that “Great Britain would not help the Greeks in Asia Minor with either troops or money” and “a conflict with the Turks, the still with money would help³ XQG Ä a conflict with the Turks who plunge the Greeks into a ten to fifteen year war> «@ XQG UXLQLHUHQ Z UGH ³28 The warnings of the British Cabinet shattered Venizelos and continued to hope for a powerful demonstration by Great Britain in Anatolia, especially since he could count on the personal support of Lloyd George. Venizelos attributed the insecure and unstable situation in Western Anatolia to the United States, whose hesitant attitude towards accepting a mandate in Turkey and Armenia endangered the sustainability of the entire post-war order. It was obvious to the Allies that Venizelos wanted to capture the Greek achievements as soon as possible in a peace treaty with the Turks. The Greeks wanted a peace that was as hard as possible, because only then could they hope that the Turks would reject the conditions and that a further expansion of Greece in Anatolia would be feasible.


1 Yapp, Malcolm, The Making of the Modern Near East. 1792-1923, London 1988, p. 301.

2 Kinross, Patrick, Ataturk. The Rebirth of a Nation, London 2001, p. 231. 3

3.D \ DOL + DVDQ 7KH 6WUXJJOH IRU, QGHSHQGHQFH LQ 5HúDW .DVDED + J 7KH & DPEULGJH + LVWRU \ RI 7XUNH \ Turkey in the Modern World, Vol. 4, Cambridge 2008, p. 120; Kinross, Ataturk. P. 140.

4 Jensen, Peter Kincaid, The Greco-Turkish War. 1920-1922, in: International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 10, Issue 4 (1979), p. 553; Kinross, Ataturk, p. 140; Kreiser, Klaus, Ataturk. Eine Biographie, Munich 2008, p. 161.

5 Jensen, The Greco-Turkish War, p. 553; Kinross, Ataturk, p. 140.

6 Kinross, Ataturk, p. 140; Smith, Michael Llewellyn, Ionian Vision. Greece in Asia Minor. 1919-1922, Michigan 1998, pp. 71-73; Yapp, Malcolm, The Making of the Modern Near East. 1792-1923, London 1988, p. 307.

7 Yapp, Modern Near East, pp. 307f.

8 Kinross, Ataturk, p. 153.

9 Ibid., P. 153.

10 Jensen, The Greco-Turkish War, p. 553; Kinross, Ataturk, p. 233; Smith, Ionian Vision, p. 84.

11 Kayali, The Struggle for Independence, p. 120; Kreiser, Ataturk, p. 133.

12 Jensen, The Greco-Turkish War, p. 553; Kayali, The Struggle for Independence, p. 120; Kinross, Ataturk, pp. 140, 153.

13 Kreiser, Ataturk, p. 132; Smith, Ionian Vision, pp. 81f.

14 Kreiser, Ataturk, p. 132; Yapp, Modern Near East, pp. 307f.

15 Kayali, The Struggle for Independence, 120.

16 Jensen, The Greco-Turkish War, p. 554.

17 Benoist-0pFKLQ 0XVWDSKD .HPDO RX OD PRUW G¶XQ HPSLUH 3DULV War, p. 554; Kinross, Ataturk, p. 154; Kreiser, Ataturk, p. 161.

18 Smith, Ionian Vision, p. 108.

19 Ibid., P. 108f.

20 Ibid., P. 109.

21 Ibid., P. 109.

22 Smith, Ionian Vision, pp. 112f.

23 Ibid., P. 111.

24 Ibid., P. 106.

25 Kinross, Ataturk, p. 155.

26 Ibid., Pp. 147, 168; Smith, Ionian Vision, p. 110.

27 Smith, Ionian Vision, p. 121.

28 Ibid., P. 121.

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