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The Great Smyrna Fire


The First World War had great effects that resulted in inhumanity among the people. ‘The Great Smyrna Fire’ is one of the inhuman effects of World War One. It all started as a promise, and it ended up with massacre and destruction of Smyrna. Clearly, the events that took place before, during and after the fire best describe the magnitude of the whole catastrophe.


It began at the end of the First World War where the British promised to give the Greeks more territories if they emerged victorious. As a result, the Greeks were awarded Smyrna as part of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire in 1919. The Greeks started torturing the Turks by raping and killing them. It angered the Turks leading to the formation of the Turkish National Movement. The movement was able to form an army and in 1922, it attacked the Greeks at Smyrna.

In the attack, the Turkish National Movement was able to weaken the Greek army. As a result, it was able to penetrate and enter Smyrna. Although it is not clear who started the fire, on September 13 a fire broke out in the Armenian quarters soon after the Turks had taken control over Smyrna. In ten days, the Greeks, Armenians and other minor ethnic communities were burnt alive while others drowned running for their lives. Astonishingly, the American, Italians and British ships did not help but watch them die.

A city that was previously considered as one of the glorious cities full of rich multicultural practices and business in Asian minor was brought down to ashes. Scores of people died, and property was destroyed. The Turks tortured the survivors by imprisoning the able men while killing the weak, and raping women. As a result, a peace treaty was signed where the two parties, Greeks and Turks, were supposed to deport prisoners and refugees to the other party territories.


It has been more than ninety years now, and the whole world still remembers how a promise of territory at the end of World War One led to a fire killing people and destroying a city. Clearly, the fire was great as it signified the end of Greco-Turkish war. Additionally, the fire brought down a cosmopolitan city thought to be indestructible. For this reason, ‘The Great Smyrna Fire’ was recently declared genocide in remembrance of the atrocities that occurred during that period.