From the prologue (November 20, 1922) to the second edition of Toynbee's "The Western Question in Greece and Turkey"


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The following are, I think, the chief points on which, in the first edition, I anticipated developments which have come to pass -- or, more frequently, have merely come into notoriety -- in the interval, and in regard to which, changes in the text therefore seem unnecessary. Throughout (e.g. on pp. 44, 104, 106), I maintained that the ancient Anglo-French rivalry in the East was not only still in full vigour, but that it was one of the dominant and most dangerous factors in the present situation. I need not amplify this by describing here the tension between the two countries over Eastern Thrace and Chanak in the earlier stages of the present crisis.

I emphasised (e.g. on pp. 56-60) the profound repugnance of the Western public (a repugnance which transcends the geographical frontiers between Italy, France, and Great Britain) towards fighting on in the East when once the fighting had ceased in Europe. At the time when I wrote, this repugnance had already produced the Franklin-Bouillon Agreement; since then it has made it good business for English newspapers to conduct a "stop-the-war" agitation and has clouded the political prospects of Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Winston Churchill. While the British Government, in a half-hearted way, have been taking the French to task for treachery, and the French the British for war-mongering, the public in the two countries has been actuated (and itself actuating the Governments, whenever it has come to the point) by the same fundamental determination to preserve the peace. The only difference is that the French became conscious earlier than we did of our common state of mind -- and this not at all because they are a cleverer or more logical nation, but simply because the Turkish Nationalist Army made hostile contact with the French garrisons in Cilicia and Syria as early as January 1920, while the Greeks kindly interposed between them and the British garrisons at Chanak and Constantinople until September 1922. When the question "Will you fight?" was put in this concrete form, the British "No" proved as emphatic as the French "No" had been. There is not much to choose between our two nations in respect of common-sense, or between our two Governments touching the lack of it.

I also prophesied that the game of using the local nationalities as pawns, to which both our Governments have had recourse, would prove very poor economy (p. 62). In the light of what has happened, would we not eagerly cancel the services which the Greek Army has rendered to us during the last four years, if only we could at the same time avoid the damage which the Turkish Army has inflicted or still may inflict upon us? It were better indeed for the British Empire that the Greek Army had never set foot in Anatolia rather than that the Turkish Army should thereby be restored (as it has been) to life; and it were better for the French Republic, with her economic interests in Turkey and her Islamic provinces in Africa, that Great Britain should have established her ascendency at the Straits rather than that both Powers should be bundled out of Constantinople, bag and baggage, by the victorious *protege* of one of them.

The danger that Western civilization may be frozen out of Anatolia (p. 155) has only given place to the actualities of a more rapid destruction by fire. The fate of Smyrna hangs over Constantinople, and the Capitulations are laid upon the conference-table at Lausanne.

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My readers are likely to agree with me now, if not before, that the Turkish National Pact is a more interesting -- and, I may even venture to add, more important -- document than the Treaty of Sevres (p. 188); and that the failure of the Greek campaign in Anatolia in the autumn of 1921 marked a turn in a tide which had been flowing for over 200 years (p. 211). On the technical military question, I conjectured that the Graeco-Turkish war would not be terminated by a military decision, but either by diplomatic intervention or by a break-down of *moral*, and that, in the latter event, the Greeks' *moral* would break down first (pp. 212 and 239-46). This conjecture has, I think, been borne out. At any rate, my information is to the effect that the sudden expulsion of the Greek Army from Anatolia in the course of August and September 1922 was due to a failure of nerve and will rather than to inferiority in numbers, equipment, positions, generalship, or any other military factor.

I also prophesied (p. 299) that the Greek forces (regular and irregular) would eclipse their previous record of atrocities and devastations if they left the country under such conditions, and that -- under the same conditions -- a civilian Greek population numbering at least half a million would leave with them (pp. 241-2), partly in order to escape reprisals, and partly because national antipathies in the Near and Middle East have reached a point at which no nationality can go on living under the government of its neighbours. These two forecasts, the most melancholy of all, have unhappily been more than fulfilled. The climax of misery has come at the end, and the philanthropists of the West are staggering under the burden which the statesmen of the West have cast upon their shoulders. ...

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All the same, the criticisms that gave me the greatest pleasure were two private letters from a Turkish and a Greek friend of mine respectively. My Turkish correspondent, writing from the Italian Consulate at Smyrna, in which he had taken sanctuary, on the 4th September 1922, a few days before the end of the Greek occupation, said:

"Your book, it may seem strange to you, has more nearly made me a Nationalist than ever, and at the same time has done much to inculcate sympathy and esteem for the courageous and self-sacrificing side in the enemy [i.e. Greek] effort."

My Greek friend corroborated my theory of the "spiritual pauperisation" inflicted on Greece by the West (pp. 349-52), and was generous enough to tell me that though he disagreed violently with some of my book, he agreed so strongly with my general conclusions and with my moral of toleration and charity that his chief feeling was one of gratitude. His central criticism is so much to the point that I shall quote it:

"Where I think you have done some avoidable injustice to the Greeks", he wrote, "is in failing to exercise on their behalf the sympathetic imagination with which you have analysed so well the position and mentality of the modern Turk".

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