Greek Cypriot ‘Volunteers’ in the Greek Army, 1914-1922: Querying Loyalties and Identity

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Traditional historiography has claimed that, from 1897 to 1922, Greek Cypriots served in droves in the Greek army, thus exhibiting their loyalty to their alleged motherland. But the number of Greek Cypriot volunteers in the Greek army from 1912 to 1922 was minuscule, especially compared to the numbers serving in the British army from 1916 to 1920. Additionally, many Cypriots with Greek citizenship avoided and/or refused to enlist in the Greek army when called up during the Great War, while other Greek Cypriots (who had British Cypriot national status) were seemingly kidnapped in Egypt, Greece, and parts of Greek-occupied Anatolia, and were forced to serve during the 1919–1922 Greco-Turkish War. More men served as auxiliaries in the British forces during the Great War and many preferred to be protected by the British from serving in the Greek forces from 1919 to 1922. These preferences have implications for the traditional nationalist narratives surrounding the formation of Greek ethno-national identity and universal anti-colonialism in pursuit of énōsis (unification of Cyprus with Greece) in Cyprus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-500
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Modern Greek Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Greek army
  • Greek Cypriots
  • Great War


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