Changes to Greece Brought About By WWI.
World War One greatly affected many countries in Europe. Some of the post-war affects were the country’s population, economy, politics, and geography. Usually, when wars come to end, there are winners and losers. One party celebrates its victory while the other tries to overcome its defeat. Sometimes the victors see their enemies weak period as an opportunity to take back their rightful share.
In the early nineteen hundred’s Greece was playing with the winning team (Greece- History). It saw Turkey as weak, thus a chance to reclaim western Turkey. Western Turkey was important to Greece because it used to be Greek territory and still remained vastly populated by Greeks (Greece).
During World War One, the Greek troops served with distinction on the Allied side (Greece-History). When the war ended in 1918, Germany and the Ottoman Empire were defeated, but the Allies’ promised land to Greece in western Turkey was not forthcoming. In May 1919, for reasons of protecting the half a million Greeks living in Smyrna (present-day Izmir, Turkey), Greece decided to take matters into its own hands, and landed troops on Turkey’s coast. With a firm foothold in western Turkey, Greece organized an invasion inland (Greece).
Greece fought its way through the rough headlands of western Turkey. It pushed Turkish forces back to the Sakarya river. The Greeks at this point were extremely close to Ankara, the head of Turkey. They thought a captured Ankara would result in a unification with old Greek territory. This would reunite the millions of Greeks living in Turkey with mainland Greece once again. It would stabilize the economy and secure the Bosborus Strait (the strait between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea). The Greek army intended to continue its push right through Ankara. Once captured, it would stabilize its recaptured territory, and reunify it with the rest of Greece (Dr. Chrysomilides).
In May 1919, when the Greek military decided to land its forces in Smyrna, it was trying to take back its rightful share. Greece, after joining the Allies, was victorious in World War One (Greece-History). Turkey, one of the war’s great losers, was desperately trying to recuperate from its tremendous loss. Its Ottoman Empire was no longer in its peak, and Greece saw that as a time for reclaiming its old land.
Chrysomilides, George, Dr., Ph.D. Personal Interview. 30 Sep. 1999.
Clogg, Richard. A Short History of Modern Greece. Cambridge : Cambridge UniversityPress, 1979.
Curtis, Glenn E. “Greece.” Country Studies. Dec. 1994. Online. Library of Congress. Internet. 29 Sep. 1999. Available: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/grtoc.html.
“Greece-History.” World Book Encyclopedia. 1998 ed.