The failure of the enosis policy in Cyprus after the Great War: between Liberal Philhellenism and Imperialism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


On 26 October 1920, in the comfort of the offices of the Colonial Office, Leo Amery, Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, informed a Greek Cypriot deputation that the government was not prepared to cede Cyprus to Greece – a policy called enosis. Amery had in fact made such an announcement in the House of Commons on 1 July 1920 and repeated it on 15 November in light of his meeting with the deputation. In the aftermath of the Armistice a debate ensued across various departments, and occasionally in the public in the UK, over whether or not to cede Cyprus to Greece. This chapter explores the failure of the enosis policy from all possible angles and from the varying positions of the different players, including the Cypriot peasant and lower classes. Ultimately, the enosis demand failed because it was not in fact a movement, with no widespread or even limited support from the broader population. There was little pressure on imperialists from the UK, Greece or Cyprus, and the demand for enosis was weak, illegitimate and contradictory; thus the retention of the island for dubious future strategic gain was hardly questioned.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExiting War
Subtitle of host publicationthe British Empire and the 1918-20 moment
EditorsRomain Fathi, Margaret Hutchison, Andrekos Varnava, Michael J.K. Walsh
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781526155832
ISBN (Print)9781526155849
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Publication series

NameStudies in Imperialism
PublisherManchester University Press


  • British Empire
  • First World War
  • Enosis Policy
  • Cyprus


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