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The Destruction of a City

Marjorie Housepian Dobkin

In September of 1922, Mustapha Kemal (Ataturk), the victorious revolutionary leader of Turkey, led his troops into Smyrna (now Izmir) a predominantly Christian city, as a flotilla of 27 Allied warships -including 3 American destroyers- looked on. The Turks soon proceeded to indulge in an orgy of pillage, rape and slaughter that the western powers anxious to protect  their oil and trade interests in Turkey, condoned by their silence and refusal to intervene. Turkish forces then set fire to the legendary city and totally destroyed it. There followed a massive cover-up by tacit agreement of the Western Allies. By 1923 Smyrna's demise was all but expunged from historical memory.

This book reveals the origins of festering current hostilities in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and attitudes towards the United States, whose diplomatic stance during and after the Smyrna Catastrophe set an enduring pattern.

Marjorie Housepian Dobkin has rendered the first account of what took place within the city. She has used as sources diaries, letters and eyewitness reports of the participants themselves. The result as the historian C.M. Woodhouse has written, "is an authoritative piece of research as vivid as a novel, told with restraint and dignity."

"A poignant, meticulously documented chronicle of an all but forgotten tragedy...beautifully recaptures the flavor and richness of Smyrna in it's prime."
The New York Times Sunday Book Review. Selected one of its 100 Notable Books

"A documentary indictment of the inhumanity of religion, the callousness of Powers and the avarice of commerce"
The Sunday Times
Selected as Book of the Year 1972

"One of the keenest impressions which I brought away with me from Smyrna was a feeling of shame that I belonged to the human race."
US. Consul at Smyrna, George Horton

"The victims of the massacre-Greeks and Armenians-were estimated at 150,000. What was left of Smyrna was only its Turkish suburb. This very old and extremely beautiful Greek city had been founded in 3000 B.C. and restored by Alexander the Great. It used to be one of the most important economic centers of the Mediterranean. It used to be full of life and activity. It used to be prosperous. And now from one moment to the the next it was turned into a dead city. To a huge pile of ruins which emitted smoke. Those of its inhabitants who escaped the massacre fled, ousted and miserable, to Greece."
US. Consul at Smyrna, George Horton

"To mention the name of Sherman to a southerner of the United States is to fill him with burning indignation. Even the most ignorant yokel knows that the name Attila is associated with untold horrors and vandalism. Yet the Smyrna affair...has been somehow soft-pedaled and almost expunged from the memory of present day man."
Henry Miller
The Colossus of Maroussi

"Go! Kill without Mercy! Who today remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?"
Adolf Hitler to his generals

To order  this book e-mail contact Greece in Print

See also Smyrna: The Broken Land

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