Nation Building and the Lives it Changed Forever: A Reflection on the 100th Anniversary of the Greco-Turkish War

Curated by Elaina Ryan, Bennett Lowe, and Zachary Quint

Introduction

This online exhibit is a reflection on the 100th anniversary of the end of the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), along with the consequences of the Treaty of Lausanne signed at the war’s conclusion. The conflict began with the Greek invasion of Turkish İzmir (known to the Greeks as Smyrna) in 1919. The fighting ended in 1922 when​​ Turkish forces led by Mustafa Kemal pushed the Greeks out of Anatolia (part of Western Turkey). The Treaty of Lausanne signaled an official end to the conflict in 1923. A significant consequence was the transfer of 1.1 million Christians from Turkey to Greece and 400,000 Muslims from Greece to Turkey. The goal of this exhibit is to highlight the consequences of the population transfer and nation building, particularly how it changed the lives of millions of people. Both nations focused on homogenizing their populations, and national perceptions of the war impacted how each nation treated its incoming refugees. Despite a welcoming facade as they entered their new country, these incoming people faced policies such as forced assimilation from the government and xenophobia from their neighbors. 

This exhibit contains culturally sensitive or racist content and may be considered offensive to some viewers. The events are presented as a representation of cultural history for evaluation and critique. This is not an endorsement from the library but offered as a method to confront challenging histories associated with the objects through scholarship and discussion. Please use your discretion while exploring this site. Individual pages that contain culturally sensitive or racist materials will also be labeled. 



Language Note

The Greco-Turkish War is referred to in many different ways. The Greeks referred to the conflict as the Asia Minor..

The War Before the War: World War I and the Treaty of Sèvres, 1830-1920

This page contains culturally sensitive or racist content and may be considered offensive to some viewers. The events are presented..

Ashes to Ashes: The Greco-Turkish War and the Burning of İzmir/Smyrna, 1919-1922

This page contains culturally sensitive or racist content and may be considered offensive to some viewers. The events are presented..

A Farewell to Arms: Ending the War and Negotiating the Treaty of Lausanne, 1922-1923

This page contains culturally sensitive or racist content and may be considered offensive to some viewers. The events are presented..

Being a Refugee Twice: The Struggles of Greek and Turkish Expatriates, 1923-1929

While the Treaty of Lausanne put an end to the Greco-Turkish War, it also unleashed an unanticipated humanitarian crisis in..

The Death of a Dream: Developing a Modern Greek Identity

Although Venizelos and the Liberal Party made the decision to invade İzmir/Smyrna and to begin the Greco-Turkish War, the loss..

“Citizen, Speak Turkish!”: The Turkish National Identity and the Legacy of Mustafa Kemal

This page contains culturally sensitive or racist content and may be considered offensive to some viewers. The events are presented..

The Legacies of the Greco-Turkish War

“This is the end of their second siege of Troy.”
-Ernest Hemingway

It is important to acknowledge a potential pro-Greece bias in..