In May 1919, at the request of the Allied leaders, persuaded by Venizelos, Greek armies occupied the city of Smyrna and gradually spread eastward into central Anatolia, inciting the Turks led by General Mustafa Kemal to resist the occupation. By the summer of 1922, however, the former Allies France, Italy and Russia were all providing support to the Turks, leaving only Britain to support the Greeks. On Friday August 4, 1922, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George delivered a speech in Parliament to encourage the Greeks but which, ironically, may have actually hastened the Turkish counter-attack. Unknown to all, however, was the fact that Lloyd George was speaking not even for his Cabinet but only for himself.
“Armstrongs [the British armaments firm] have just signed a large contract with the G.Gov. & I wonder if that is what’s behind Ll.G.’s latest. … On Sunday [August 6] hired a motor and went out to Pyrgos to see the Serpieris. … M. & Mme Baltazzis were there too – said that he [the Greek Foreign Minister] had met you at the Metaxas [while in exile in Florence, Italy]. Everyone very bucked by Ll.G.’s speech. I said that I was afraid that Ll G was a gettatore [jinx] since all his pet nations seemed to end badly. They told me I was a pessimist which I suppose I am.” Gilbert’s sense of doom was insightful and dead right.
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