The Treaty of Lausanne is the last negotiated settlement in the aftermath of World War One that remains intact today. Replacing the Treaty of Sevrés, the Lausanne Treaty ultimately would define the borders and modern nations in the Mediterranean and Middle East.

The Lausanne Treaty continues to be upheld today, though violations of the treaty have brought several nations close to conflict and full-blown war.

The Treaty of Sevrés

The Treaty of Lausanne initially didn’t define the modern borders of the Mediterranean, and the Treaty of Sevrés preceded it. When the Ottomans capitulated to the Entente from World War One, their empire was partitioned into various zones of influence.

The British, French, and Italian empires proposed large swaths of the empire, with a zone of Italian and French interests in mainland Anatolia. The Hellenic Kingdom (Greece) was given the autonomous mandate of Smyrna, which could’ve been voted into a permanent province of the nation, and a proposed Western Armenian and Kurdish state could’ve been implemented.

The remnants of the Ottoman Empire were regulated into a rump state. With France mandated Cilicia, Greece given the vital merchant city to Smyrna, Italy given the Southwest coast, and Armenia given Trebizond, a modern Turkish state was left without any vital economic lifelines.

While the last Sultan, Mehmed VI, was okay with implementing Sevrés, one Turkish officer and capable commander, Mustafa Kemal, was not. Mustafa Kemal, who led the defense of Gallipoli, one of the few times Winston Churchill was defeated as an officer, would lead an insurgency against the Allied Powers.

Kemal’s army, known as the Kemalists, would score key victories against Armenia and France. Armenia’s mandate, proposed to be supported by US President Woodrow Wilson, did not have the senate support to make it into a protectorate, and the mandate was partitioned between a dual attack by the USSR and Kemalists. After heavy fighting, France signed an agreement with Kemal, freeing up the troops he needed for a war against Greece.