The failure of the enosis policy in Cyprus after the Great War
Between liberal philhellenism and imperialism
in Exiting war
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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.

Exiting war

The British Empire and the 1918–20 moment

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