Treaty of Serves

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The partition of the Ottoman Empire began with the ratification of the Treaty of Sevres in August of 1920. The Treaty stated that the Ottoman Empire lost control of the entire Arab world and the empire would be split up by the Allies. There would also be a western zone of influence in Istanbul and individual zones of influence for Britain, France, and Italy. Armenia would be an independent republic. The Allies motives for splitting up the Empire varied from nation to nation. The British mainly wanted control over the oil rich lands of Mosul but also wanted to have an influence over Istanbul. The Italians desired to have the fertile lands of Anatolia. The French would split parts of Anatolia with the Italians and but had control Syria and Lebanon. The Greeks were given the coastal lands and much of Thrace. The Allies didn’t realize that splitting up the Empire made them weaker but more importantly made it easier for a effective rebellion. An effective rebellion could take out the differently controlled zones one by one.

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The treaty proved to be extremely harsh for Turkey. Their lands were being divided up by foreign powers and rebellion seemed likely. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a legendary World War I commander, put the wellbeing of the nation on his shoulders. He came to the conclusion if Istanbul would not defend the Turkish people then someone else had to step up. After gaining leave from Istanbul Ataturk headed to the interior of the country, Anatolia, and began the uprising.[1] The Allies indecisiveness in policies and the pure stupidity of letting the Greeks and Italians land on the coast helped Ataturk gather allies to his cause and lead him to launch a rebellion.[2]

video credit: NeilPowell100 “Treaty of Sevres 1920”

[1] Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Change the World, (New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2001), 433.

[2] MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Change the World, 434.