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Books About the Greek-Turkish Asia Minor War 1919-1922

Updated on January 25, 2011

Unless you were directly impacted or needed to do a research paper on this war, odds are you know nothing about this in the West. 

The Asia Minor War, as it is known, began after WW1, 1919 and ended 1922. The war was between the Greeks and Turks in Turkey. In simplistic terms, the war plans began in Greece when Greece entered into WW1 in 1917, siding with the Allied nations of France and Britain. It was a back room promise made by the Allied governments that if Greece entered on their side, then Greece could pursue its "Greater Greece" policy of expanding its territory into much Turkey. The allied nations promised to bankroll the war by proxy, with only Greek troops fighting with French and British equipment. Thus, when WW1 ended, Greece pursued its claim and invaded unopposed at Izmir, Turkey. The whole affair was pre-empted when Italy became aggressive about seizing areas of Turkey in order to form Italian colonies (Turkey fought with Germany, Hungary, Austria in WW1). The French and British became angry and then urged Greece to act more quickly before Italy could seize more territory.

Nearly all the books about this war, from a military point of view (not political), are in Turkish or Greek. Only a few translations of them appear in English. Numerous volumes exist about the military campaigns and battles. Some of the Greek material is in "old Greek", which pose some problems even for the Greeks because "modern Greek" is different enough.

Below are many of the books:

Turkish

Turk İstiklal Harbi, Cilt (Vol.): II, Batı Cephesi, 6. Kisim (Chapter), III. Kitap.Title: Buyuk Taaruzda Takip Harekati  (31 Agustos - 18 Eylul (Sept) 1922)

 Turk İstiklal Harbi,  Cilt: II - Bati Cephesi, 1. Kisim. Title: Yunanlilarin (Greek) Bati Anadolu'da İstila Hareketine Baslamalari - Izmir'in İsagali - Mustafa Kemal Pasa'nin Samsun'a Cikmasi - Milli Mukavemet'in

 Turk Istiklal Harbi, Cilt: II - Bati Cephesi, 5. Kisim / 1. Kitap. Title: Sakarya Meydan Muharebesinden Onceki Olaylar ve Mevzi İlerisindeki Harekat (25 Temmuz (July)-22 Agustos 1921), 

 Stratejik ve Taktik Sonuclar Brosuru, Sakarya Mevziinde 25 Agustos 1921 Gunu Cereyan Eden Turktepe Muharebeleri, Note: Strategy & Tactics at the Sakarya Battle

 Turkiye'de Yunan Vahset ve Soy Kirim Girisimi (15 Mayis 1919 - 9 Eylul 1922)

 Adnan Sofuoglu, Kuva-yi Milliye Doneminde Kuzeybatı Anadolu 1919-1922, T.C. Genelkurmay Baskanligi, 20 USD

ENGLISH

The most complete study is the six volume set by Stanford Shaw. It is a more pro-Turkish position but still a good mix of the military and political aspects of the war, although lacking in maps and military force details. The series is:

FROM EMPIRE TO REPUBLIC: The Turkish War of National Liberation 1918-1923, ISBN 975-16-1232-2 (2000) in Turkey.

GREEK

Like the Turks, they have their own take on things and generally quick to blame themselves and France\Britain for losing. The defining battle was at the Sakarya River, in Aug. 1921, when Greek troops advance nearly to Ankara. The Turks were near their end and nothing seemed to slow the Greeks. But as the Turks were now closer to supply sources, the Greeks supply sources were hundreds of miles away. The Greeks arrived short of supplies and rationing had begun, of course, the Turks knew nothing of this. Neither did the Greeks know that the Turks were making a "last ditch stand" here. If the Turks failed, or wavered, the Greeks would take the capital of Ankara. Turkey would look very different today! Thus, the final stage was set. It was a slugfest about which side would blink first. The Greeks did as their supplies became exhausted. The Turks sensed something was odd and began to feel the pendulum swing in their favor, even though they were in no condition to continue either. The Greeks withdrew. The Turks were so relieved!

The Greek books are available in Greece, their military books are excellent sources of the military details historians love, some are in old Greek, others, in Modern Greek. Some are in English, but like the Turks, not very many because who in the West cares?

One of the best Greek English books is, The Index of Military Events in the Greek History, it covers all military things Greek. Pages 438-440, provides a snaphot of the Asia Minor War. All of the books about this war are produced by the Hellenic Army General Staff, orders of battles, maps are detailed.

Several more English books about the war are from Greece, however, these are not official army history, but memoirs, political studies about the event and so on:

Asia Minor
Chatziantoníou, Konstantínos

Pelasgos Publications (1995)
417 p.
ISBN 960-522-014-8

Chronicle of the War in Asia Minor

363 p.
ISBN 960-7809-09-2

Colonel Athanasios Frangos and the 1st Thessalian Battalion 

ISBN 960-7809-17-3

The Asia Minor Disaster, and Imperialist Strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean

ISBN 960-04-0472-0

Memories from the Battlefront 1920-1921 : Asia Minor - Thrace  Center for Asia Minor Studies, 1991. - 307p. 


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    • profile image

      Stavros T. Stavridis 

      6 years ago

      Stavros T.Stavridis, The Greek-Turkish war 1919-23: an Australian press perspective, Gorgias Press, NJ, USA, 2009

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