Liman Von Sanders, 
Mustafa Kemal and Asia Minor

By Stavros T. Stavridis

Los Angeles Times
‘September 17, 1922 part.1

(Copyright, 1922 Public Ledger)

Berlin, Sept.16- Gen Liman Von Sanders who commanded the Fifth Turkish Army during the World War in the defense of Gallipoli and the Dardanelles and who was the instructor of the Turkish forces, believes that nothing can stop Kemal Pasha and the Turks from winning back Constantinople, Thrace and control of the Straits.

He sets forth his views in tonight’s 8 o’clock news and exults that the Turkish flag has been hoisted by all Islam from Stamboul to Calcutta to honor Turkish advances.

The editor in printing the article points out that the general’s sympathies and hopes are colored, perhaps by the fact that Kemal Pasha was for many years his pupil. In the course of the article, which is largely directed against the British oriental policy, Von Sanders says:-

“The armies of Kemal Pasha now stand before the frontiers of Asia and Europe and the question is, can and will England prevent them from entering and taking over Constantinople, their historical capital, Thrace and the shores of Dardanelles? I say it is impossible because the Allies during the World War would not occupy a foot of ground in Thrace and their Gallipoli was justly called by the Times ‘England’s most monumental failure.’

Nothing can stop the march of the Turks, until they have regained what they lost in the World War.”


This interesting news article appeared in the Los Angeles Times several days after the Kemalists entry and subsequent destruction of the Greek and Armenian quarters in Smyrna. Some significant questions arise from this article: Who was Liman Von Sanders? Why did he speak of Kemal in glowing terms? How accurate was Von Sanders observation of the Near East situation in September 1922?

Liman Von Sanders (1855-1929) was born on February 17, 1855 in Stolp Pomerania in today’s Slupsk in Poland. In 1874 he joined the German army and later was posted to the 115th Infantry regiment. He held various military positions on the general staff and commanded the 22nd Division in Cassel before going to Constantinople.1

The appointment of General Liman Von Sanders to command the 1st Turkish Army Corps in Constantinople in December 1913 caused a furore among the European powers, especially for Russia.

1GP Gooch & Harold Temperley, British Documents on the Origins of the War 1898-1914, Vol. X pt.1, London, 1936 reprinted by Johnson Reprint Corporation, New York, 1967, pp..338-9;;

About the Author

Stavros Terry Stavridis was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1949 of Greek parents. He migrated to Australia with his parents in September 1952. Stavros has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Political Science/Economic History and B.A (Hons) in European History from Deakin University and M.A in Greek/Australian History from RMIT University. His MA thesis is titled "The Greek-Turkish War 1919-23: an Australian Press Perspective."

Stavros has nearly 20 years of teaching experience, lecturing at University and TAFE (Technical and Further Education, the equivalent of Community College in the US) levels. He has presented papers at international conferences in Australia and USA and has also given public lectures both in Australia and on the West Coast of the US. Many of his articles have appeared in the Greek-American press. He currently works as a historical researcher at the National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research, Latrobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.

Stavros' research interests are the Asia Minor campaign and disaster, Middle Eastern history, the Assyrian and Armenian genocides, Greece in the Balkan Wars 1912-13 and the First World War and history in general.

HCS maintains a large selection of fine pieces written by Mr. Stavridis which viewers are invited to view at the URL

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