America's Black Sea Fleet: The U.S. Navy Amidst War and Revolution, 1919-1923
Drawing on previously untapped sources, Robert Shenk offers a revealing portrait of America's small Black Sea fleet in the years following World War I. In a high-tempo series of operations throughout the Black and Aegean Seas and the eastern Mediterranean, this small force of destroyers and other naval vessels responded ably to several major international crises. Home-ported in Constantinople, U.S. Navy ships helped evacuate some 150,000 White Russians during the last days of the Russian Revolution; coordinated the visits of the Hoover grain ships to ports in southern Russia where millions were suffering a horrendous famine; reported on the terrible death marches endured by the Greeks of the Pontus region of Turkey; and conducted the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Greek and Armenian refugees from burning Smyrna, the cataclysmic conclusion of the Turkish Nationalist Revolution. After Smyrna, the destroyers escorted Greek steamers in their rescue of ethnic Christian civilians being expelled from all the ports of Anatolian Turkey.
Shenk's incisive depiction of Adm. Mark Bristol as both head of U.S. naval forces and America's chief diplomat in the region helps to make this book the first-ever comprehensive account of a vital but little-known naval undertaking.