Silent Diplomacy.

Author:Jennings, Roger L.
Position:Greco-Turkish War, 1919-1922

Not all diplomacy is conducted by the State Department, foreign ministries or other government officials. Some of the best work has been performed by civilians that went unnoticed.

Two countries were at war - Greece and Turkey in 1919-22. This was a particularly ugly war. There was a 400 year history of Turkish oppression of Greeks. The Greeks hated Turks, and the Greek Army landed in Turkey in 1919 with the approval of diplomats by the Treaty of Sevres.

Immediately, Greek soldiers started killing innocent people. Before this war was over, people were hacked to death and burned alive in their houses by both armies. Every form of brutality was committed. Finally, the Turkish Army won the last battle by August 30, 1922, and the panic stricken Greek Army ran out of Turkey.

This is history that was created by the highest level personnel in the foreign ministries of European governments. Army Generals from the U.K., France and Italy, and an Admiral from the U.S. later wrote in the Inter-Allied Commission report that allowing the Greek Army to enter Turkey was a mistake by the diplomats, and an allied force should have been formed to protect the ethnic populations of Smyrna.

The Turks wanted vengeance. The Greek Army had left Turkey, but many ethnic Greeks remained. Some of them had joined in the violence against the Turks. The Armenians had been particularly violent against the Turks, and when the time for retribution came, the Armenians were singled out by the Turks for the greatest punishment. There was a large Jewish population in Turkey, but they were not contentious, and were not singled out by the Turks.

At the beginning of September 1922 there were 350,000 civilians trapped on the quay of Smyrna (Izmir today), Turkey. Turkish brigands were raping the women and girls, and killing innocent people at will for the fun of killing. The City was burned to the ground on September 13, 1922. There was insufficient water and food. Dead people, and parts of people were everywhere rotting in the hot sun. There were no sanitation facilities. The stench was horrific. Disease could break out at any time, and spread very quickly.

The American community organized by a YMCA employee formed The American Relief Committee. At first, they were feeding up to 350,000 people per day meager rations of bread and soup. They rescued all they could from the violence. Flour was gathered from local sources, and then they acquired the flour left behind by the Greek Army. Near East Relief, an American organization created to feed the Armenians, donated...

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