Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in History



Major Advisor

Michael Zirinsky, Ph.D.


Despite the voluminous historical literature concerning American missionary efforts in the Middle East during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the international work of the Young Men’s Christian Association has figured only marginally into most of these accounts. Similarly, the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 and the “Great Fire” of İzmir, which concluded that conflict and brought an end to Hellenism in Asia Minor, remain largely disregarded episodes in the English-language historiography of the immediate post-World War I era. This thesis will address the place of İzmir between the Greek “Great Idea” and Kemalist “Anatolianism,” the YMCA’s efforts to establish itself in this contested city during the Greco-Turkish conflict, the vital role of the YMCA secretary Asa K. Jennings in evacuating Greek and Armenian refugees during the fire, and conclude with Jennings’ subsequent drive to continue YMCA work in Turkey under the nascent Kemalist Republic of Turkey.