The Turkish War of Independence
A Military History, 1919–1923
by Edward J. Erickson
May 2021, 399pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7841-1
$75, £56, 65€, A102
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7842-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Almost 500 years after the last days of the Byzantine Empire, the Greeks finally got their chance to return to Asia Minor, fulfilling the “megali idea” that had animated Hellenic nationalism for years. But their headlong invasion of Anatolia in 1919 led instead to the creation of the independent Republic of Turkey.

The dramatic story of the turbulent birth of modern Turkey, which rose out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire to fight off Allied occupiers, Greek invaders, and internal ethnic groups to proclaim a new republic under Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk).

It is exceedingly rare to run across a major historical event that has no comprehensive English-language history, but such was the case until The Turkish War of Independence brought together all the main strands of the story, including the chaotic ending of World War I in Asia Minor and the numerous military fronts on which the Turks defied odds, fighting off several armies to create their own state from the defeated ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

This important book culminates Erickson’s three-part series on the early 20th-century military history of the Ottomans and Turkey. Making wide use of specialized, hard-to-find Western and Turkish memoirs and military sources, it presents a narrative of the fighting, which eventually brought the Turkish Nationalist armies to victory. Often termed the “Greco-Turkish War,” an incomplete description that misses its geographic and multinational scope, this war pitted Greek, Armenian, French, British, Italian, and insurgent forces against the Nationalists; the narrative shows these conflicts to have been distinct and separate to Turkey’s opponents, while the Turkish side saw them as an interconnected whole.

Features

  • Completes a trilogy of books by Edward J. Erickson on the conventional wars of the Ottoman and Turkish armies in the early 20th century, the first two of which are Defeat in Detail: The Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912–1913 (2003) and Ordered to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War (2001).
  • With no comprehensive English-language military history available, fills a massive gap in our understanding of this important war and Turkey's founding on the centenary of Turkey's birth
  • Contains the first reconciliation of combatant estimates of military and civilian casualties in the Turkish War of Independence
  • Analyzes the Turkish War of Independence as an early example of modern "hybrid-war" (combination of differing types of wars—in this case, simultaneously conventional, unconventional, counterinsurgency, and political-economic-information warfare)
Edward J. Erickson, PhD, is professor of international relations at Antalya Bilim University; retired professor of military history from the Marine Corps University in Quantico, VA; and retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who qualified as a foreign area officer specializing in Turkey. During his career, he served in field artillery and general staff assignments in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Erickson holds a doctorate in history from the University of Leeds and is widely recognized as one of the foremost specialists on the First World War in the Middle East. He has published 16 books and numerous articles.

Reviews

"This is an excellent operational history of the war or arguably wars … Highly recommended."—Balkan Wargamer, July 15, 2021
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