Liman Von Sanders, 
Mustafa Kemal and Asia Minor

Page 3

By Stavros T. Stavridis

put an indomitable resistance against violent attacks. I was thus able to place total trust in his energy and determination.”9

On October 30, 1918 the Ottoman Empire signed the armistice at Mudros (located on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea) on board the British battleship Agamemnon.10 Before departing from Turkey, Liman Von Sanders met Mustafa Kemal at Adana for the last time. Their meeting showed a friendship and mutual respect which had been cultivated as comrade-in-arms fighting on the Gallipoli, Syrian and Palestinian battlefronts.

In fact Liman Von Sanders notes: - “I have known you at close quarters when you were commanding at the front, at Ariburnu and the Anafartas. To tell the truth, there have been certain vicissitudes and incidents between us; but when all is said and done they have only helped us to know one another. I think we have become sincere friends. To-day, at the moment when I am obliged to leave Turkey, I confide the armies under my orders to an officer whom I have been in a position to appreciate ever since my arrival in this country.

In this general catastrophe how can one help feeling a great weight of sorrow? Only one thing consoles me: the thought that I am leaving the command with you. From this moment onwards, it is you who are the master: I am your guest.”11

Concerning the news story above, Von Sanders correctly mentions that Kemal’s army was “before the frontiers of Asia and Europe” which offered them the opportunity to pursue the surviving remnants of the Greek army into Thrace. He questioned Britain’s resolve to halt a Kemalist advance on Constantinople. Unknown to him, the British Cabinet decided to take a stand at Chanak and was prepared to use force if the Kemalists entered into the neutral zone. Liman Von Sanders thinking was colored by his military experience from the Gallipoli campaign whereas commander of the 5th Ottoman army, he inflicted a major defeat on Britain. The article correctly states that the Gallipoli expedition was “England’s most monumental failure.”12

However the political and military realities of September 1922 were vastly different to that of 1918 for three reasons. Firstly in September 1922 Turkey had two rival governments-one in Constantinople (Istanbul) under the Sultan and the other in Angora (Ankara) under Kemal’s leadership. The Ottoman

9Mango, op cit., p.151

10Martin Gilbert, The First World War, Henry Holt &Co, New York, 1994, p.488; The text of the armistice with Turkey signed on October 30, 1918 is in Paul C. Helmreich , From Paris to Sevres: the partition of the Ottoman Empire at the Peace Conference 1919-1920, Ohio State University Press, Columbus, 1974, pp.341-2 . Articles 1, 8, 9 10, 15&24 of the armistice of Mudros are the important ones granting the Allies the authority to occupy and control strategic points in the Ottoman Empire.

11Kinross, op cit., pp.129-30

12Los Angeles Times, “SAYS TURKS CAN REGAIN STRAITS. German General Elated at War News Commanded Mohammedans in World Conflict Kemal Pasha His Pupil in Military Affairs”, September 17, 1922 part.1

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

Read More About the Greeks of Asia Minor

HCS readers who enjoyed this article may wish to view others about Smyrna and Asia Minor in our section specially created for these topics at the URL We also maintain a permanent, extensive archives of articles which readers are invited to browse at the URL .

2000 © Hellenic Communication Service, L.L.C. All Rights Reserved.