The Work of the School in 2018 by Professor John Bennet (Director, BSA) and lecture by Professor Roderick Beaton (King’s College London), “1919: Venizelos’ Asia Minor policy revisited” –
One hundred years ago this year, in on 2/15 May 1919, Greek troops landed in Smyrna. For many the event was a vindication of Venizelos’s policies and a prelude to the fulfilment of the ‘Grand Idea’ of expanding the Greek state to include the entire Greek nation in the east. The aim of this talk is to re-open the question of what Venizelos was trying to achieve, and in particular how realistic his aims were, now that we have the benefit of a century of hindsight that was not available at the time. The talk includes a résumé of key events that span a whole decade, from the First Balkan War of 1912 to the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922 and a reassessment of the nature and purpose of Venizelos’s policies and actions. In the light of these the causes for their eventual failure will be reconsidered.